Monday, June 05, 2006

You're getting sleeeepy

I came across one of my favorite topics on Lifehack today, sleeping. It was an article about the myth that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep a night and proposed an experiment to find out how many hours will work for you.

Personally, I find that the less sleep I get, the more awake I feel in the morning. And by less sleep, I mean approximately 6 hours, not like 2 hours. The problem, is that I just can't get out of bed and I love sleep. Hmmmm. I guess I could experiment with it though.

Click here to read the article: Lifehack.org

Before the advent of the electric lightbulb, it wasn'’t much of an issue, people hit the hay after a couple of hours by candlelight, and stirred at daybreak. But the invention of artificial lighting, and the subsequent introduction of shift working, has progressively '“detached us from the 24-hour cycle of light and dark,'” says Russell Foster, professor of molecular neuroscience at Imperial College, London.

Today, our culture of long hours at work and the 24-hour availability of almost everything from convenience stores to television and e-mail have demoted sleep in our priorities. To manage fatigue, says Dr Foster, '“we'’ve fallen into a stimulant-sedation loop, where stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine are used for wakefulness during the day and sedatives such as hypnotics and alcohol are used at night to induce sleep.'”



The eight-hours mantra has no more scientific basis than the tooth fairy.

That has compressed the sleep cycle. A report published last year, entitled “Insomniac Britain”, by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy found that adults in the United Kingdom sleep an average of six hours 53 minutes each night. Is that enough? Not according to the ancient formula of eight hours of rest, eight hours of work and eight hours of play, which many physicians and therapists still swear by. And it'’s not enough for the survey respondents, many of whom considered themselves '“sleep-deprived'”.

[Article at The Economist]

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