Z is for Zzzzzzz

More than almost any topic in the popular media, sleep, or the lack thereof, has been the subject of seemingly countless articles. This article from PARADE magazine is a typical example, which notes: “If you feel tired all the time, talk to your doctor. Persistent ­fatigue could ­signal a medical condition such as sleep apnea, an underactive thyroid, or ­anemia.” Here is Mark Evanier’s sleep apnea history, for example.

The Centers for Disease Control has a whole section devoted to sleep and sleep disorders, which cites diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression as being associated with insufficient sleep. According to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of men and women experience sleep problems almost every night. Harvard University research suggests that 7 out of every 10 adults do not get the quality sleep they need.

One of the great interrupters of sleep is Daylight Saving Time, which Jaquandor kvetched about. There is an increased number of accidents each time the clock goes forward.

Still, I was fascinated by a BBC article: “A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

“In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep. Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.”

The Beatles recorded at least two songs about sleep, I’m Only Sleeping and I’m So Tired.

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

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30 thoughts on “Z is for Zzzzzzz

  1. LOL, I can explain that “sleep in two chunks” thing. I’m living it.

    Right now, I am living somewhere – Fairbanks Alaska – where some inconsiderate jerk has left the light on all night. I’ve lived through a variation of this before in Denmark, although it wasn’t as intense: a month or two of all-light and a month or two of all-dark.

    Even with a clock it’s disorienting. Without the sun giving me clear signals, I wake up (like I did this “morning”/night/1:30 am) with the sense that I just took a “nap,” and it’s go-time again.

    I think humans didn’t sleep “naturally” in two time periods. I think that like many animals and birds the sun tells us when we should be sleeping.

  2. My natural sleep cycle – when I don’t have to adjust for the demands of civilization, seems to be 2am to 10am. I also have taken almost daily naps for decades, usually to “reboot” after work. I am now back on the overnight shift – 10pm – 8am, and am therefore sleeping 10am – 7::30pm, which is fine for the bulk of the week. However, getting off of schedule for the weekend and picking the pattern up again on Monday has been a bit of a challenge over the last four weeks. Different biorhythms for differnt folks!

  3. Great post and so pertinent. This morning, I woke up exhausted. I know I’m not a great sleeper…although I also know that we all have ‘good’ sleeps and not so good sleeps. I try for 7-8 hours, but don’t always get them…

    Looking forward to your captaining skills!!! Thanks for taking the con!

  4. Catching some z’s is like recharging a battery and so important to revitalizing energy. I think the body naturally knows what amount is right. But society, responsibilities and worries can keep people tossing and turning all night long or grabbing catnaps along the way. 🙂

  5. Apparently, it’s very hard on the system to work shift work because of not getting adequate sleep. My personal system seems to work well by sleeping 11:00 pm to 8:00 am so I’m doing better now that I don’t have to get up to go to school. But I still get that doZy feeling just after 3pm – probably residual from when the kids were finally gone and I could relax. Looking forward to having you as the boss next round, Roger!

    Leslie
    abcw team

  6. First off…thanks for making me yawn looking at that picture. Talk about suggestive behavior.
    I do wish I slept better. When I sleep undisturbed the whole day just feels better.
    Glad to hear you are at the helm of our next ABC Wednesday.
    Kudos!

  7. I’ve always felt required sleep depends on the person, especially after reading Da Vinci averaged a couple hours a day. I’ve actually been tempted to try the “sleep of genius” but I can never adjust.

  8. Perhaps it’s just modern world ennui!

    Actually, the study sounds interesting. I’m sure someone must have studied people who live in areas where they have long winter nights and long summer days. I wonder if their sleep patterns change.

  9. I’ve had disordered sleep for many years, Roger, and I can sure understand the sleep-study participants who slept for four hours, then woke up for one or two, and slept another four. I’ve done that more than once. However, it wasn’t possible when I was working.
    Shift work is a killer for sleeping, particularly when people must change shifts often. I enjoyed working 10pm to 6am, and so did my father, because we weren’t morning people at all.
    Very interesting subject, but your first photo has made me sleepy, so now I’m going to nap.
    K

  10. Once my hubby’s sleep apnea was diagnosed and he receieved a C-pap machine he catches lots of Z’sss. I really have never had any problem sleeping, but I feel best when I sleep around 6 hrs.
    Ann

  11. Some nights are heavenly, – the ones when I hardly move in my sleep. But other nights I am awake every hour, peering at the clock, determining how much time I have left to sleep if I quickly nod off. As a consequence I am an early riser, and find those quiet times very energizing.

  12. There is so much we don’t know about sleep, it always generates a lot of calls when there is a phone in about it which stacks up with your figures for the number of people with problems. I remember reading somewhere we used to have a first sleep at night and a second sleep later in the day in the middle ages.

  13. Great post, Roger! Thanks for entering mine! Thanks also for your comment.It’s interesting to see that all bloggers who commented on my post belong to different signs.
    We are all happy that you take over from Denise and that she will be co pilot!The two of you have done great jobs.Have a great week!

  14. How is that Z became the honored letter for sleeping? Is it the noise of a snore? Is it because it is the end of the line? Is it considered the most boring letter? This is going to keep me up at night♫♪

  15. Yes, you have hit on a current focus in the media. Just last night, there was a documentary on sleep disorders on TV. I am convinced that many people (perhaps even most people) are sleep-deprived. Let’s just say that I’m thankful internet wasn’t around until I was well past middle age 🙂 That said, I seem to do quite well on about six hours of sleep a night.

  16. Lex snores like a buzzsaw, so he went for apnea tests. Turns out all he needs is a chin strap thingie to keep his mouth shut. (I will resist further commentary here, such as my need for one during the day!) I oversleep because of my condition, but I do awake refreshed. I’ve learned not to sit in front of the computer just before sleep, because it sends out weird electronic impulses that screw with your brain. That’s the LAST thing I need, hee hee. Peace to you, and plenty of zzzzzzs, Amy (PS I’m surprised you didn’t write about Zsa Zsa Gabor!)
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/07/11/ground-zero-fukushima/

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