Tuesday, 26 November, 2013
You could dispense with an alarm clock, were you to go to sleep around the same time each night, every day, and wake up at the same hour the next day. Such a routine allows for the optimisation of a protein called PER, that regulates sleep, largely ensuring you wake at the same time every day.
If you follow a diligent sleep routine – waking up the same time every day – your body learns to increase your PER levels in time for your alarm. About an hour before you’re supposed to wake up, PER levels rise (along with your body temperature and blood pressure). To prepare for the stress of waking, your body releases a cocktail of stress hormones, like cortisol. Gradually, your sleep becomes lighter and lighter.
health, neuroscience, sleep
Monday, 29 April, 2013
Nine hours sleep a night seems to becoming the norm, in the US at least, and while the prospect may seem like bliss, especially on a Monday morning, and after what, for some, may have been a long weekend, oversleeping, as with too little sleep, likewise poses health risks:
Although there’s been lots of talk about society sleeping too little, not much attention has been paid to the problem of too much sleep. However, studies show that sleeping more than nine hours a night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, thinking problems and premature death.
health, psychology, sleep
Wednesday, 6 March, 2013
While I’ve not encountered any sleep-walkers to date, I’ve often heard that they should not woken mid sleep-walk. It seems this advice is more for the well-being of the person trying to help someone who is walking (or cooking, or driving even) in their sleep, rather than the sleep-walker:
Sleep experts warn that forcefully bringing a person out of a deep sleep into this impaired state can cause them to become startled, confused or agitated. Not immediately recognizing you as someone they know, they may push you, strike you, or otherwise lash out at you. Even if they don’t react aggressively, some sleepwalkers have been known to drive or prepare meals in their sleep, and having a groggy, confused person behind the wheel or at the stove can be dangerous for them and for others.
health, psychology, sleep
Wednesday, 23 January, 2013
The eight-hours sleep a night we currently enjoy may become a thing of the past, if drugs that safely allow people to get by on two to three sleep, become commonplace. This has the potential to free up a person’s day by about five hours. So what to do with this extra time, work, or pursue more leisure activities?
Well, it could be you do not have a choice in the matter:
Workers would probably prefer to allocate the bulk of that extra time to leisure but I doubt employers will let that happen. Let’s make a generous breakdown and give work an extra 3 hours and let workers spend another 2 as they wish. This increases working hours by around 34% and potentially increases leisure time by 80%. This increases the number of hours a worker spends at work from around 1800 hours a year now to about 2,400.
productivity, sleep, work
Tuesday, 9 October, 2012
Circadian rhythms are back in the news… if we were more in sync with them, those early morning starts may not be so harsh as to invoke a five stage grieving process:
The first is Denial, which entails pressing the sleep button when the alarm goes off. Five minutes later it’s buzzing again, so I proceed to Anger. This is followed by Bargaining, during which I attempt to calculate how many more minutes I can stay in bed without being late. The stage of Depression hits as soon as I realise that – shit – now I’m late. And finally, when I get to work, I reach Acceptance.
psychology, sleep, well being
Wednesday, 3 October, 2012
The in development Ostrich Pillow just might be what it takes to block off the outside world, if you want a power nap while travelling or otherwise away from home.
Ostrich Pillow is a revolutionary new product to enable easy power naps anytime, everywhere, Ostrich Pillow’s unique design offers a micro environment in which to take a cosy and comfortable power nap at ease. Ostrich Pillow has been designed to allow you to create a little private space within a public one, to relax and unwind. Its soothing soft interior shelters and isolates your head and hands (mind and body) for a short break, without needing to leave your desk, chair, bench or wherever you may be.
design, sleep, travel
Friday, 7 September, 2012
Could particularly severe nightmares, or night terrors, or parasomnias, result in death? These are not the most pleasant of sleep disorders:
But something is still wrong. I am now completely panicked, and I jump back onto my bed and lean over the half-wall that my bed is up against, overlooking the hallway. There, I see what’s causing all the problems, and I push it downward and off the wall with all my might. It shatters loudly, glass flying everywhere. Then, finally, I wake up. My two dogs are cowering in the corner, and I put on shoes to sweep up the glass. I am confused and embarrassed, though there is no one besides the dogs there to see that I just pushed a framed poster off a wall and broke it. I clean up the glass and go back to sleep, and it is not until the morning, when I see my shoes scattered everywhere, that I look into the closet and realize that I have also ripped the TV cable completely out of the back wall of my closet.
dreams, health, nightmares, sleep
Tuesday, 17 April, 2012
US engineer Paul Sammut has constructed an alarm clock that is equipped with – for want of a better term – a dead man’s switch of sorts. This means that the only way the alarm can be turned off is by getting out of bed, going into another room, and entering a code into a keypad connected to the clock.
Once it goes off, to stop it you must get out of bed, go into the kitchen or bathroom, and punch the day’s date into a telephone-style keypad. That’s the only way to stop the loud ‘ding-ding,’ designed to sound like a customer angrily banging on a concierge bell at a hotel.
clocks, sleep, time
Thursday, 8 March, 2012
Resetting your “food clock” looks to be the most effective way of overcoming jet lag, with the idea being not to eat for twelve to sixteen hours prior to whatever time breakfast is served in the overseas destination you are travelling to.
eating, jet lag, sleep, travel
Friday, 24 February, 2012
Sleeping for four hours, then waking up and doing something, then sleeping for another three or so hours, referred to as first and second sleeps in some historical texts, seems to have been a common practice up until the late 1600s. Somehow the idea that we ought to sleep for eight hours straight came along only relatively recently.
A doctor’s manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day’s labour but “after the first sleep”, when “they have more enjoyment” and “do it better”. Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.
health, insomnia, segmented sleep, sleep