Food is better than sleep, but only in your dreams

Monday, 14 March, 2011

If you had to choose between going without food or going without sleep for a week, giving up food would be the better option… sleep deprivation over that sort of time frame would be far more harmful than going hungry.

Say you decide to go on a fast, and so you effectively starve yourself for a week. At the end of seven days, how would you be feeling? You’d probably be hungry, perhaps a little weak, and almost certainly somewhat thinner. But basically you’d be fine. Now let’s say you deprive yourself of sleep for a week. Not so good. After several days, you’d be almost completely unable to function.

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Social contact exhausting for both introverts and extroverts

Thursday, 4 November, 2010

Social contact, which often leaves introverted people feeling drained, also appears to take a toll on extroverts, after a study on the impact of sleep deprivation across the two personality types, found extroverts lacked the levels of alertness of similarly sleep deprived introverts.

Interestingly though, sleep deprived extroverts denied social contact during the study were found to be almost as alert as the introverted participants.

While there was little difference in one of the tests, in which volunteers had to push a button as soon as possible in response to a light, introverts fared better in a “maintenance of wakefulness test”, which checks whether sleep-deprived people are able to stay awake over a set period of time. The extroverts in that group did badly in the test, but the extroverts in the second group – those denied social contact – performed markedly better.

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Public health warning: alarm clocks cause sleep deprivation

Friday, 11 June, 2010

Food for thought: in the interests of countering sleep deprivation, it is suggested that we do away with our alarm clocks.

The art of time-management makes it possible to live at a high speed with an alarm clock at your side, and still be free from stress. However, the societal damage inflicted by alarm clocks used to regulate sleep is unforgivable. An alarm clock that interrupts your sleep damages your memories, your ability to learn, your mood and temper, your relationships with other people, your ability to focus and your overall intellectual performance!

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Are we sleep deprived? Only in your dreams…

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008

Talk of increasing levels of sleep deprivation in recent years appear to be just that, talk. Or possibly the product of a sleep deprived mind or two

The fact is that most adults get enough sleep, and our collective sleep debt, if it exists at all, has not worsened in recent times. Moreover, claims that sleep deprivation is contributing to obesity and diabetes have been overblown. My assertion is that the vast majority of people sleep perfectly adequately. That’s not to say that sleep deprivation doesn’t exist. But in general we’ve never had it so good.

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Get more done by sleeping more

Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

It was really the invention of the electric light bulb that precipitated a decline in sleeping hours since it became possible to stay up till all hours reading or even working.

Add 24 hour television, and then the internet to the mix, and we’re rapidly becoming a sleep deprived lot.

According to a recent study, American adults are sleeping on average less than seven hours a night – down an hour and a half from the amount of sleep people got a hundred years ago. Many scientists believe that one of the major causes of our getting less sleep is the modern availability of round-the-clock activities and entertainment, the most pervasive source of which is now certainly the internet. With the Net, we can now work, study, or play at 3am and increasingly, we do. Naturally, most of us in the IT industry have formed an especially close bond with the Net, making us more prone to losing sleep.

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Wake up, smell the coffee

Friday, 13 June, 2008

A whiff of coffee may be just as reinvigorating as drinking it, if tests on sleep deprived mice are anything to go by.

A team led by Yoshinori Masuo at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, deprived rats of sleep for a day. When they examined their brains they found reduced levels of mRNA – messenger molecules that indicate when a gene is being expressed – for 11 genes important to brain function. When the rats were exposed to the aroma of coffee, the mRNA for nine of the genes was restored to near normal levels, and pushed to above normal levels for two.

And the… good news as a result of this research?

If the actual reinvigorating molecule in coffee can be isolated, factory owners may be able to pump it through workplaces to keep staff refreshed and alert, especially those who are unable to leave their machines unattended… for a coffee break.

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