Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to both your health and productivity. Yawn. We’ve heard it all before. But results from one study impress just how bad a cumulative lack of sleep can be on performance. Subjects in a lab-based sleep study who were allowed to get only six hours of sleep a night for two weeks straight functioned as poorly as those who were forced to stay awake for two days straight. The kicker is the people who slept six hours per night thought they were doing just fine.
The sample size is way too low to take the news seriously, but for a follow-up study? I’d be curious to know how people do when they routinely get 4-6 hours of sleep during the week, but then catch up by sleeping 8-10 on the weekend.
It seems that since the people sleeping 6 hours per night didn’t show really ill effect until 10 days in, that being able to “reset” once or twice per week might make a real difference. I know I’ve had times where I’m suddenly aware that I’m quite tired, go for a nap to find I’ve been out for hours.
It is a common story. You haven’t slept well for three days now. The alarm is set for 7 a.m. You get into bed early, hoping that tonight you’ll fall asleep early and stay asleep. Instead, you wake up at 2 a.m., staring at the ceiling, wide awake, frustrated and worrying about how you’ll function at work the next day. It takes more than two hours to fall back asleep and, before you know it, the alarm is blasting and a new day begins.
Off-license users of modafinil—a drug developed to treat various sleep disorders—have known for some time that it doubles as a surprisingly effective cognitive enhancer, and with very few side effects. A new systematic review shows it’s true, raising some important ethical questions about the use of smart drugs.
The amount of sleep you get every night is important, but what’s even more important is that the sleep you’re getting is good sleep. If you have aches, pains, indigestion, or tend to snore, these are the positions that can help cure what ails you.