From the perspective of medical anthropology, this study examines sleep loss as a cultural syndrome. Lack of adequate sleep is a common complaint throughout the United States, even though people often do not think of it as a medical condition. As a result of this, many individuals suffer from not getting adequate sleep and may not be aware of the negative health effects. Medical studies show that sleep is important for maintaining a good balance in cognitive functions, social relationships, physical performance, and sense of well-being. This study examines the sleep patterns of those in leadership positions through interviews and free-listing with people in management and professional positions. This group was chosen because of the wide influence they have on people and decision-making. Free-listing revealed terms and concepts that people used to categorize kinds of sleep loss and their associated meanings. An important finding from interviews is that interviewees expressed that their co-workers and customers perceived them (the interviewees) as lazy when they experienced symptoms of inadequate sleep, such as dozing off. These negative stereotypes of sleep loss influenced how these leaders reflected on themselves and affected their daily performance. Anthropological studies are important in order to call attention to sleep deprivation as a significant health issue. Identifying sleep loss as a culturally constructed syndrome can help people identify and understand these symptoms and find ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

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