sleep

zzz.— Supposed to represent the sound of snoring. A snoring sound, implying that somebody is asleep.

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The common assumption that population sleep duration has declined in the past few decades has not been supported by recent reviews, which have been limited to self-reported data. The aim of this review was to assess whether there has been a reduction in objectively recorded sleep duration over the last 50+ years. […]

The results indicate relative stability of objectively-recorded sleep durations in healthy sleepers assessed over the last half-century. Similar results were found across all age groups, in both men and women. […] These data are consistent with recent comprehensive reviews that found no consistent or compelling evidence of significant decrements in self-reported sleep duration and/or prevalence of short sleep over a similar range of years. Together, these data cast doubt on the notion of a modern epidemic of insufficient sleep. […]

The cliche of an ever-expanding 24/7 society is not well-supported by empirical evidence, at least not over the past 50 y. For example, evidence suggests that the prevalence of shift-work has remained stable at about 15-20% over this interval of years. Such data might seem counterintuitive in light of the increased number of 24-h services and businesses. However, while many of these businesses (e.g., restaurants and convenience stores) can operate all-night with just a few employees, over the past half-century there has been a dramatic shutdown of factories which once employed thousands of shift-workers. Moreover, over the past 10-20 y, protective regulations and practices which limit shift-work and sleep deprivation and/or better accommodate individual’s preferences (e.g., flex time and telecommuting), have been implemented for various occupations, including medical residents, truck drivers, and transportation workers.

It is a widely repeated hyperbole that never before in human history have we faced such challenges to our sleep. It has been hypothesized that industrialization, urbanization, and technological advances have caused us to ignore or override our natural tendency to sleep more, and we do so at great costs to our health and quality of life. […] The light bulb has been blamed for sleep loss. However, recent anthropologic studies of people in societies with little or no electricity have failed to indicate that these people sleep more than people in industrialized societies. […]

The notion of a recent epidemic of insufficient sleep, and speculation that this is a primary contributor to modern epidemics of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc., rests largely on the question of whether sleep duration has declined in the last few decades. Consistent with recent reviews of subjective data, this review does not support this notion, at least not in healthy sleepers. […]

Reasons for persistent assumptions about a temporal decline in societal sleep duration could include a larger number of people assessed and diagnosed with sleep disorders with the emergence of sleep medicine; greater knowledge about sleep and the risks of inadequate sleep; increased prevalence of depression; misperceptions about population norms; and persistent claims in the popular and scientific literature regarding a so-called modern epidemic of insufficient sleep.

{ Sleep Medicine Reviews | PDF }

photo { Aug. 5, 1962. Police officer points to an assortment of prescription bottles on the bedside table in Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom in Los Angeles, where she was found dead }

Hey, I’m married to a banker. You shouldn’t generalize. It’s a mere 99% that give the rest a bad name.

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The first column shows that the sun setting one hour later within a location reduces nighttime sleep by roughly 20 minutes per week. […] The second column shows that daily sunset time also affects earnings in a location. A sunset time one hour later reduces earnings by a significant 0.5%, on average.

Our analysis demonstrates that workers experiencing an earlier sunset get more sleep. […] In the short run the additional sleep largely comes at the expense of leisure, while in the long run it comes at the expense of both work and leisure. Insofar as these changes in other time uses impact worker productivity, our instrumental variables estimate of the effect of sleep on wages will also contain those effects. […]

We show that increasing short-run weekly average sleep in a location by one hour increases worker wages by 1%. Increasing long-run weekly average sleep in a location by one hour increases wages by 4.5%.

{ Time Use and the Labor Market: The Wage Returns to Sleep | PDF }

photo { Marton Perlaki }

Zurrun-zurrun

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The researchers recruited 25 non-obese adult subjects. All had moderate sleep apnea, with somewhere between 15 and 30 episodes per hour at night. (All them also reported that they snored.)

Fourteen of these subjects were randomly assigned to learn the didgeridoo. […] They learned proper lip technique and circular breathing (inhaling through the nose while continuously blowing on the instrument). They also had to practice at home for at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week.

After four months […] people who’d been playing the didgeridoo had fewer sleep apnea events at night. And they reported feeling significantly less tired during the day.

{ Inkfish | Continue reading }

Breccia marble, copper, steel { Elena Damiani, Rude Rocks No. 3 and No. 2, 2015 }

What looks easy until you actually try it?

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A survey of 5000 sleepers from across the world has revealed that women get the most sleep, particularly those under the age of 25. […] As a whole, women appear to sleep on average for 30 minutes longer than men, thanks to going to bed slightly earlier and waking up slightly later.

For an individual, the time they woke up had the strongest link to how much sleep they got, suggesting that having a job that starts early every day can mean that you get less sleep than someone who starts work at a later hour. […]

People in Singapore sleep for an average of 7.5 hours a night, while Australians get 8.1 hours. Late bedtimes seem to be to blame – people in Singapore tended to stay up until after 11.45 pm each night, while people in Australia were likely to hit the hay closer to 10.45 pm.

The team found that, in general, national wake-up times were linked more to daylight hours than bedtimes. This could be because bedtimes are more affected by social factors.

{ New Scientist | Continue reading }

The spread of national averages of sleep duration ranged from a minimum of around 7 hours, 24 minutes of sleep for residents of Singapore and Japan to a maximum of 8 hours, 12 minutes for those in the Netherlands. That’s not a huge window, but the researchers say every half hour of sleep makes a big difference in terms of cognitive function and long-term health.

{ Eurekalert | Continue reading }

still { Jean Delannoy, L’éternel retour, 1943 }

But joys all want eternity — Eleven!

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Lucid dreams are when you know you’re dreaming and you can consciously control events as they unfold: it’s like being the director and star of your own Hollywood movie. It’s estimated that about 20 per cent of people get to enjoy them fairly regularly (at least once a month). For the rest of us, a new study in the journal Dreaming suggests a really simple way to increase your odds of having lucid dreams – just start making more frequent use of the snooze function on your alarm clock.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to

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The method to achieving what seemed like a superhuman feat was called the Dymaxion sleeping schedule: four naps of 30 minutes taken every six hours. […] Problems began after 36 hours. I was finding it hard staying awake at night. […]

I changed to an easier sleep schedule: the Everyman, where I slept for 3.5 hours at night and took three 20-minute naps in the day. […] After three weeks and a few more obstacles, I finally settled into the new schedule.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

‘Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease?’ –Nietzsche

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In the early 1900s, the Dream of the Rarebit Fiend comic strip conveyed how the spicy cheese dish Welsh rarebit leads to bizarre and disturbing dreams. Today, the perception that foods disturb dreaming persists. But apart from case studies, some exploratory surveys, and a few lab studies on how hunger affects dreaming, there is little empirical evidence addressing this topic.

The present study examines three aspects of the food/dreaming relationship. […] Reports of vivid dreams were associated with measures indicative of wellness: better sleep, a healthier diet, and longer times between meals (fasting).

{ Frontiers | Continue reading }

photo { Todd Papageorge, Studio 54, 1978–80 }

related { An ingredient in olive oil kills a variety of human cancer cells without harming healthy ones }

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

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Sleep is undoubtedly important not only for how well we think, feel and behave in our daily lives but also for longer-term health. In childhood, the quantity and quality of night-time and 24 hour sleep have consistently been identified as predictor of health. For example, night sleep predicts weight status. These findings have led to the hypothesis that increasing quantity of sleep through promoting daytime sleep would benefit child health. We sought to look for evidence on the independent effects of daytime sleep on child health, learning and behavior to assess whether this hypothesis was supported. […]

The evidence suggests that beyond the age of 2 years when cessation of napping becomes more common, daytime sleep is associated with shorter and more disrupted night sleep. Those studies examining direction of effect all report that daytime sleep is not a response to poor night sleep but rather precedes poor night sleep.

Evidence relating to cognitive functioning, accidents, weight status and behavior were less conclusive.

{ Medical Research | Continue reading }

quote { Statements that Plato never made }

‘The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.’ –Bergson

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Few studies have investigated the role of sleep deprivation in the formation of false memories, despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function. We examined the relationship between self-reported sleep duration and false memories and the effect of 24 hr of total sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories. We found that under certain conditions, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing false memories.

{ Neuroethics & Law | Continue reading }

acrylic on canvas { William Betts, Amber, 03/19/04, 20:05:12, 2008 }

What are your unbreakable rules for yourself?

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Researchers in the US have used electrical brain stimulation to boost the vigilance of sleep-deprived military personnel working on an airforce base.

Experiments on 18- to 42-year old men and women on active duty found that half an hour of electrical brain stimulation improved their performance twice as much as caffeine, and the effect lasted three times as long.

{ The Guardian | Continue reading | via gettingsome }

‘Then they plunged a great needle into my butt and BAM! out I went for two whole days. When I woke up, wow! Rats all over the floor, wailing and screaming. We ate potatoes with spoons.’ –Edie Sedgwick

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Why do we dream? It’s still a scientific mystery. The “Threat Simulation Theory” proposes that we dream as a way to simulate real-life threats and prepare ourselves for dealing with them. “This simulation in an almost-real experiential world would train the brain to perceive dangers and rapidly face them within the safe condition of sleeping,” write the authors of a new paper that’s put the theory to the test. […]

The researchers contacted thousands of first-year students at the end of the day that they sat a very important exam. […] over 700 of the students agreed to participate and they completed a questionnaire about their dreams and sleep quality the previous evening, and any dreams they’d had about the exam over the course of the university term. […] The more exam dreams a student reported having during the term, the higher their grade tended to be.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

collage { Eugenia Loli }

‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.’ —Richard Feynman

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Damage to certain parts of the brain can lead to a bizarre syndrome called hemispatial neglect, in which one loses awareness of one side of their body and the space around it. In extreme cases, a patient with hemispatial neglect might eat food from only one side of their plate, dress on only one side of their body, or shave or apply make-up to half of their face, apparently because they cannot pay attention to anything on that the other side.

Research published last week now suggests that something like this happens to all of us when we drift off to sleep each night.

{ Neurophilosophy/Guardian | Continue reading }

art { Andy Warhol, Mrs. McCarthy and Mrs. Brown (Tunafish Disaster), (1963) }