POSTED 9 APR 2001 Are you getting it? Probably not. Even though it's free, fun and organic, sleep is way down on most people's list of priorities -- far below wage slavery and other forms of Productive Behavior.
That's the word from a survey just released by the National Sleep Foundation. NSF is a non-profit organization funded by individuals and corporations, including drug companies and mattress makers, with an interest in sleep. They say most Americans are getting less sleep, less fun and less sex than they were five years ago.
The survey found that 63 percent of Americans don't get the recommended eight hours of sleep. Nearly one-third get less than seven hours. (However, eight hours is not sacrosanct. Although more people need eight hours than other amounts, many need less -- or more.)
I'll do it on the job...
If the NSF figures can be believed, 40 percent of Americans are working more than 5 years ago, and 30 percent less. The average employed person worked 46 hours per week, and 38 percent worked more than 50 hours.
Sixty-nine percent of the respondents have at least one symptom of sleep disorder. Fifty-one percent experienced a symptom of insomnia, such as difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, or waking without feeling refreshed, a few times a week over the past year.
But the study has flaws, cautions Terry Young, a sleep researcher and professor of preventive medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She says the results may overestimate the prevalence of sleep disorders because people with sleep problems were more likely to answer the survey.
Young studies one of the worst sleep disorders, sleep apnea -- a temporary cessation of breathing caused by a blockage of the airway. Apnea can arouse its victims many times each night, interfering with the deepest sleep and causing extreme daytime drowsiness.
Because obesity tends to narrow the windpipe, apnea is most common and severe among the overweight, occurring almost entirely among snorers. But because many people don't fully awaken, apnea can be elusive.
little dose'll do ya
Four percent of women and 9 percent of men have that much apnea, she adds.
Apnea can be treated by fitting a gadget over the mouth and nose to maintain pressure in the airway and prevent the temporary blockages. After treatment, Young reports, "people think back and say one the worst problems is that the motivation to do things is so low when they're tired -- as they so often are."
Apnea causes its victims to seem lazy and uncaring in relationships and at work, she adds. "Their overall quality of life suffers."
song: the real blues
we couldn't ignore
good is sleep?
Indeed, there aren't any decent working hypotheses at this point. We Why Filers wish we could help, but (yawn!) we feel the need for a nap. I guess we'll have to sleep on it...
-- David Tenenbaum
|Credits | Feedback | Search|