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Medicine Science

One in Ten Americans Are Chronically Sleep Deprived 329

Posted by Zonk
from the good-thing-no-one-reading-this-works-a-high-stress-job dept.
WirePosted writes "A CDC research study released this past week indicates that the physical and mental health of many Americans is being adversely affected by a lack of sleep. According to the study, a part of the organization's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, one in ten US citizens are consistently failing to get enough sleep every night. Almost 40% of the people surveyed didn't get enough sleep for more than a week every month. The article notes that this trend can have far-ranging implications for health beyond simple fatigue."
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One in Ten Americans Are Chronically Sleep Deprived

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  • Cue the 3AM jokes... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adam (1231) * on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:23AM (#22622002)
    Oh, the delicious amusement that struck me at seeing this article about sleep deprivation appear at 3:30AM (Pacific time zone, United States).

    In all seriousness, despite being a major geek (I'm posted to slashdot at 3am on a Sunday, that should be geek-cred enough!), I decided to get rid of my HDTV (and in fact, stop watching TV alltogether) as an experiment. Although I miss The Daily Show, Colbert, and a few others, I've found I actually prefer not having it.. and as a rather shocking side effect, I actually keep better hours now. Suddenly I realized that the insomnia I've had since I was 13 or so, is at least in large part, related to certain stimuli. TV being one of them. As you can probably tell by the fact that I'm awake at 3:30AM on a Sunday, the Internet is an even bigger culprit.. and I'm in the process of working out how I can dial back its hold on me.
    • by flajann (658201) <.flajann. .at. .linuxbloke.com.> on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:32AM (#22622026) Homepage Journal
      Well, now you can retreat to the recesses of a cave and be sure to get all the nocturnal winks one desires -- and needs.

      I defenestrated the TV long ago. These days, it's my ongoing nasty divorce situation keeping me up at night, and there is nothing much I can do about that. Defenestrating the wife is a difficult thing to do. :-)

      • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:42AM (#22622042) Homepage

        Defenestrating the wife is a difficult thing to do. :-)

        And something that should be done before filing for divorce, in order to not rise suspicion.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Uhm, I think "defenestrating the wife" just means you no longer have to peer at the fat, lazy, disgusting nag she turned into after the vows were exchanged (while you yearn for the hot women who haven't yet "hooked" a man, only to end up marrying them and repeating a vicious cycle).
        • by KirkH (148427) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:15AM (#22622482)
          Hans? Is that you?
      • I considered getting rid of my TV because I was staying up late watching the late night shows after a few solid hours of prime time TV watching...but technology saved me.

        I bought a DVR for my computer and recorded shows onto my computer and put them on my mp3 player to watch while commuting and at work when I was bored. Time shifting shows allows me to get the sleep I need.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          That's what I do, except I don't watch the late night shows. I just watch the shows I would usually watch in the evening, 8-11 PM, and use my time from 8-11 on stuff that I wouldn't be able to do on the bus.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Basehart (633304)
          We turned our cable service off and returned the DVR at the end of last years Formula 1 season because that was pretty much all we watched on TV (all the kids stuff we buy on DVD or get from iTunes) but I'll tell ya, watching the European races live really hurts when you're on Pacific Time:

          1. Set the alarm for 3:30AM
          2. Cook full English breakfast
          3. Start drinking beer if Kimi is winning.
          4. Go to sleep ready for normal life

          With the 2008 season a week away from firing back into action I'm seriousl
      • by Kamineko (851857)
        You probably should have asked before throwing out her telly.
    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:39AM (#22622040)
      Well, it's 2:30PM here in Iraq and I'm wide awake. While not sleep deprived myself, many of my coworkers here and at my last unit work 16-20 hour days for months on end. I think some of them think they're being hard (and some get paid for evey hour worked), but their lack of sleep is counter-productive. Many will fall asleep in the middle of a conversation with you. I also have to wonder about brain damage as another side effect. The people who have been doing it the most look like they've been lobotimized even right after they've woken up. It's the same sort of look in someone's face who's wasted their mind on alcohol; they look like they were bright once but have killed too many brain cells. The effects I've seen of long-term sleep deprivation here are enough to make me get 8 to 9 hours sleep every night.
      • I can testify to exactly that- it's 6:48 and I didn't sleep tonight (was watching Battlestar Galactica on the Internet, theres a perfect storm situation for you GP poster) and I have mono, the sleepy kind. Anyway looking in the mirror I have that lobotomized look- I feel it too, but it's not so bad once you're actually there! And of course a good 24 hours sleep (not kidding) will erase it, it's not bad enough that even sleep doesn't cure me.
      • by DrLang21 (900992) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:54AM (#22622348)
        Lack of sleep causes a lot of crap problems for people. I work for a company specializing in sleep therapy consumer devices and we see all kinds of problems that sleep depravation causes. One of the most interesting problems is that with a consistent sleep depravation, people will perceive that they get used to it and their ability to react goes back to normal. However, the real effect is that it keeps getting worse. If you want to have a healthy and productive work force, it is essential that they get sufficient sleep (generally about 7-8 hours a day). It is also essential that those who work night shifts are exposed to bright light throughout their work day to fool their circadian rhythm.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CrazedWalrus (901897)
        After years of working in jobs where I'd get 3-5 hours of sleep in a night, I can say that I was one of these people. I had increased anxiety, was thinking significantly slower, had problems comprehending other people's speech, and a terrible memory to boot. As someone who was always very intelligent, this bothered the hell out of me because I felt like I'd dropped about 100 IQ points.

        That's in addition to extreme irritability and just being a downright nasty person sometimes -- even to people I care about.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kelbear (870538)
          I've just reached the end of a 2-3 month crunch period in my job(at least I hope so) and I've noticed the same things. I'd become intensely pessimisic, anti-social, and depressed. In the back of my mind I'm watching myself and wondering what the hell is wrong with me.

          Part of me was aware that this really wasn't how I should be feeling and acting. My life wasn't a horrible mess like my anxiety kept telling me, if I could just dial down for a good night's sleep everything would be turned around the next day.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MikeURL (890801)
          One of the things that is scary about being sleep deprived is that research shows the body seems to have a "sleep memory". So if you have short changed yourself out of 500 hours of sleep, you have to sleep that amount (over and above your normal 7-8 hours per night) to get back to "normal". I think the longest about of time this "sleep memory" issue was demonstrated was 3 weeks. Meaning that the researchers showed that the body remembers sleep deprivation for 3 weeks. Studies on that are limited and it
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833)
      You think you're a tough guy? I'm posting at 4am!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You think you're a tough guy? I'm posting at 4am!

        I think you are doing an honorable job making sure that nobody posts anything wrong on slashdot without being immediately corrected or 1up'd

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cybereal (621599)

      Oh, the delicious amusement that struck me at seeing this article about sleep deprivation appear at 3:30AM (Pacific time zone, United States).
       
      Clearly you mean 6:30am, a perfectly valid time for new news, lest ye be disrespecting the Eastern Standard Tribe...
    • by dirtyhippie (259852) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:26AM (#22622224) Homepage

      Dude, my experience is even more eerily on-topic. I just got back from a sleep lab where I had a CPAP [wikipedia.org] titration at a sleep lab to treat Sleep Apnea [wikipedia.org], pull up slashdot, and here this is.

      If you feel chronically tired, are a little overweight and don't get a lot of exercise (queue predictable slashdot demographics joke) and you are told you snore by a significant other (queue another predictable slashdot demographics joke), you should look into it. All reports are that using the CPAP vastly improves quality of life. Plus, you can make believe you are a jet fighter pilot!

      • by Cadallin (863437) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:07AM (#22623420)
        Absolutely! Hell, anyone who has chronic feelings of fatigue should ask their Doctor to have a sleep study done. If you are actually getting 7-8 hours of sleep (or more, many people with undiagnosed sleep apnea chronically oversleep), and you still experience fatigue, odds are you've got a diagnosable sleep disorder. And, unlike depression, the treatments are quite straightforward, and are very effective.

        I don't have anything to do with any on the companies. I'm just a patient. For the longest time, I had chronic fatigue, I just felt exhausted all the time. Unless something forced me awake, I would easily sleep 12-14 hours a day. My Doctor thought it was just symptoms of depression, but eventually he suggested having a sleep study done. It turns out I had undiagnosed , severe sleep apnea, that probably manifested in highschool (I had horrible problems getting up to go school, and was late all the time). This means that I stop breathing in my sleep, over 30 times an hour. I've been using a CPAP machine for the last few years since then, and it makes an enormous difference in quality of life.

        This isn't the only disorder they can find, there are many others. They hook you up to an Electro-encephalogram and other stuff to monitor you, and the results can be extremely informative to your doctor for making recommendations.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mw13068 (834804)
        I have sleep apnea which went untreated for 10 years. I would tell my doctor that I was falling asleep in the middle of the day, and while driving, despite getting 8-10 hours of sleep (and feeling like total shit when I regained consciousness) and he had no clue what the problem was. I finally found my own diagnosis after doing one simple Google search on "sleep disorder." The first result was an article about sleep apnea that listed every one of the symptoms that I told my doctor about. At my last appoint
    • by cart_man4524 (623980) <wesleyaguirre@msn . c om> on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:35AM (#22622260)
      After reading this post, me and my lady friend started talking well into the wee hours of the morning. I finally decided that she was right, that I did need more sleep. So i took out her neatly placed batteries, and deflated her. Now I can get more sleep.
    • but there are so many teach yourself in 24 hour books so i can learn everything but feel a little sleepy. maybe they could make the chapters longer and reduce it to teach yourself in 18 hours so i can get a little sleep.
    • by Inda (580031)
      I find it funny that people here are stating that TV keeps them up until the early hours. TV sends me to sleep. I can't sleep without it.

      And it's not the boredom that sends me off. I often fall asleep while watching late night football game repeats, only to wake up when the adverts comes on. This is real end to end football; soccer, as some of you would call it.

      Without the TV on in bed, all I can hear is the PC fan downstairs, the pump on freezer, bubbles from the fish tank, train in the distance... It's to
  • by ettlz (639203) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:24AM (#22622004) Journal
    People not getting to bed early enough; film at 11.
    • by gozu (541069) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:07AM (#22622144) Journal
      Joking aside, workaholism leads to lack of sleep which may lead to chronic fatigue and depression.

      Perhaps that is part of the reason why we americans do not rate very highly on the global happiness scale.

      Think about it.
      • >Perhaps that is part of the reason why we americans do not rate very highly on the global happiness scale. Really? You all look happy (or is the grin genetic?) and are always saying how great it is to be American. Seriously, is this true? I'd always assumed American's to be a fairly happy if slightly crazy bunch on the whole. Certainly all the ones I know are frighteningly chipper and full of energy. Tires me out just talking to them.
    • Help! (Score:2, Funny)

      *slurp* What are these? What is this "bed" you speak of? What is this "sleep" everyone here keeps talking about? *slurp* And you do this when? At night? *slurp* Shouldn't you guys be doing something productive?

      *slurp*

      Mmmmmm....coffee!

      *slurp*
  • ...to borrow the 'obvious' tag from FARK.com
    • by blcamp (211756)

      ...to borrow the 'obvious' tag from FARK.com
      So, why not just tag it that way yourself?
  • I for one (Score:2, Funny)

    by jonaskoelker (922170)
    I for one welcome our... *blink* our sleep-depri... *yawn* sleep-deprived overl... *bigyawn* overlor... *snore*
  • I'm awake (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asm2750 (1124425)
    Sucks not being able to fall asleep when you want to.
  • by lunchlady55 (471982) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:54AM (#22622094)
    ...you insensitive clod!
  • Great.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:55AM (#22622098) Journal
    Now I'm going to be up all night worrying about if I get enough sleep or not.
  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:57AM (#22622104)
    You mean some people get 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night? I guess we are turning into a country of slackers.
  • Stimuli (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ammin (1012579) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:00AM (#22622122)
    150 channels, billions of internet pages, consoles, text messages, MMOs. Gone are the days when there was nothing to watch at 11:00 but the local news, leaving sex and reading (both good for sleep) as one's final options for the night. TFA mentions shift work, which seems rather off the mark, as much "shift work" went overseas to China with our industrial base.

    Our sleep deprivation, I would hazard to guess, is mostly voluntary (or semi-voluntary.) And overall it's not such a bad thing -- our time is short, and who can blame us for resenting the hours lost to sleep?

    (And it's 5:00 a.m. and I really wish I could sleep. Stupid new Wii and its evil bowling . . . .)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IBBoard (1128019)

      Gone are the days when there was nothing to watch at 11:00 but the local news...

      Yeah, now with the amount of trash on TV (even with Sky) then there is nothing to watch from 7pm but the news, and even that repeats every half-hour!

      On a more related note, who are most likely to be sleep deprived if it is only one in ten - the lowest earners, who need to work every hour they can to survive, or the highest earners, who feel they have to work more than their contract to keep their job?

      Personally, I get about seve

    • Anything that stimulates you is bad, you want the brain to be inactive, doing ANYTHING before you go to sleep therefor is bad. If you really want to sleep well do so in a DARK, SILENT room with no stimuli, don't read in bed, don't talk in bed, don't watch tv etc etc. It also helps if the room is a bit colder then you would keep the living room.

      I agree with the rest, with 10 or more hours spend on working, several more on chores, who indeed has time to sleep? It is one reason I really miss an old job where

  • What's enough? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:01AM (#22622124)
    The article states that

    The National Sleep Foundation reports that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night to be adequately rested,
    Maggie Thatcher was notorious for existing on three to four hours a night and she wasn't exactly an underachiever. Much as I loath and detest her I'd be proud to have her level of achievement.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kvezach (1199717)
      Not all people are Maggie Thatcher clones.

      (Which is probably just as well.)
    • by tinkerton (199273) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:36AM (#22622262)
      Look what it did to her hair though.
    • by ultranova (717540)

      Maggie Thatcher was notorious for existing on three to four hours a night and she wasn't exactly an underachiever. Much as I loath and detest her I'd be proud to have her level of achievement.

      Wasn't Thatcher against a welfare state and labor unions and for privatization ? I wonder if there's a connection between that and being chronically sleep-deprived ?

    • by SharpFang (651121)
      Oh, IMHO that only explains why she's such a bitch.
    • Re:What's enough? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jandersen (462034) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:26AM (#22622560)

      Maggie Thatcher was notorious for existing on three to four hours a night.
      She may have managed on little sleep, and she may even have achieved a lot. But who knows what she lost in the process? Although it may be productive in a certain sense to work without stop, humans need to take time out to do other things. Sleep isn't actually idle time either; not only does the brain seem to require this time to 'reorganize' in, but many good, creative ideas are conceived during sleep.

      Taking time out to do 'nothing' can enhance your productivity. If all you are doing is routine tasks - stamping papers or debugging program code - then perhaps you can go on for days on end, I know I have. But it kills your creativity - when I encounter a difficult problem, the best way to solve it, in my experience, is to stop thinking about it, do something else and let the task run in the background. Albert Einstein famously drove himself to desperation trying to find a way to integrate gravity in the relativity theory; when at last he gave up, he suddenly had the solution. IOW, stop trying too hard.
    • Maggie Thatcher was notorious for existing on three to four hours a night and she wasn't exactly an underachiever. Much as I loath and detest her I'd be proud to have her level of achievement.

      Some people, with very little physical activity, can eat 4000 calories a day and never gain a single pound. I wouldn't advise it for everybody.

      Some people can eat nothing but cheese and meat and sugar and have low cholesterol and low triglycerides. I wouldn't advise it for everybody.

      Some people can go for years without seeing a dentist and end up with no cavities when they do finally visit. I wouldn't advise it for everybody.

      Some people smoke 3 packs a day and live to be 90 years old. I wouldn't advise

  • by Zekasu (1059298) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:05AM (#22622138)
    1 in 5 Americans visit slashdot.
  • /me looks at watch. Realizes he just spent the last 15 hours straight working on one assignment... may get an hour's sleep if he's lucky.

    Yup. I'd believe it...
  • Recommended Reading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:14AM (#22622178) Homepage Journal
    He's also written several other books having to do with sleep and circadian rhythm.

    Among the anecdotes in the book are an account of a coast-to-coast airplane crew who put the plane on autopilot then all fell asleep. The plane, loaded with passengers, overshot the destination and was a hundred miles out to sea before air traffic control was able to wake them over the radio.

    Also, the author was paid a visit by a Secret Service agent - the people who guard the life of the US President. It seems they were expected to stay on the same shift, in local time, no matter where in the world the President went. That is, if they work 9 to 5 Washington time, then fly to Iraq, say - where the president has visited a couple times - they are expected to then work 9 to 5 Iraqi time, without taking any time to get used to the time zone change. The agent who consulted the author felt that their constant exhaustion that resulted put the President's life at risk.

    My own experience includes, at my very first salaried programming job, where I wasn't paid very much and didn't get overtime pay, I was regularly expected to work twenty-hour days and once worked a twenty-nine hour day.

    When I was self-employed as a software consultant, quite often I'd work twenty hour days trying to make a milestone so I could get paid. Several times, when times were really hard, I worked forty-hour "days".

    Employers of salaried employees seem to feel quite justified in requiring their employees to work without enough sleep. I'd like to see legislation passed that forbids this. Even if your paid work isn't safety-critical, going without sleep needlessly puts lives at risk when you drive your car home. People are killed all the time when drivers fall asleep at the wheel.

    • I've *made* employees go home and sleep during busy projects. Not only don't I want to risk their health, but why would I want half asleep zombies working for me? Balancing personal and professional life can be delicate these days, but a good manager knows how to keep his people productive and as happy as possible.

      I agree that there needs to be something done. I am loathe to have the Government get involved in our lives anymore than they already are, but you may be right that there needs to be some kind o
      • by Zelos (1050172)
        Exactly, what kind of crazy employer would make office employees work such long hours they can't get 7 hours sleep?

        Say an hour commuting, 3 hours for dinner etc, 1 hour breakfast etc. that means they're working 12+ hours a day. If the workload requires that, you need to hire more people.

        (As an aside, the law in the UK is no more than 48 hours a week on average, with some exceptions. Seems to work pretty well)
    • by jandersen (462034)

      Employers of salaried employees seem to feel quite justified in requiring their employees to work without enough sleep. I'd like to see legislation passed that forbids this.
      You mean this isn't already forbidden in the US? It certainly is in most of Europe - that, at least, is one good thing the communists (in the labour unions) did for us.
    • by mpe (36238)
      Also, the author was paid a visit by a Secret Service agent - the people who guard the life of the US President. It seems they were expected to stay on the same shift, in local time, no matter where in the world the President went. That is, if they work 9 to 5 Washington time, then fly to Iraq, say - where the president has visited a couple times - they are expected to then work 9 to 5 Iraqi time, without taking any time to get used to the time zone change.

      If the US Government did not want to pay for them
  • by Zelos (1050172)
    6 hours a night? 2 nights in a row of that I'm completely useless at work the next day and most likely have a bad headache all day. How do people cope?
  • They suggest that 7 hours is the minimum in TFA, and I get 5.5 hours on weekdays if I'm lucky. If I tried to move up to the minimum of seven that they recommend, I'd have to face a packed to the gunwales train here in Japan. Indeed, surveys show that almost half of all Japanese get less than six hours shut-eye [whatjapanthinks.com] per night, but if you add back in snoozing on the train (or at meetings, a not uncommon sight) perhaps they manage to break the seven hour barrier?
    • by Heian-794 (834234) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:22AM (#22622532) Homepage

      Very informative data! I live in Japan and know that people don't sleep much here, but still, less than five percent of the people sleep for eight hours or more!

      In Japan, sleep deprivation is practically the national pastime -- may office workers, myself included for several years, can't sleep eight hours per day even if they climb into the futon the moment they get home from work. When you've got an hour-long commute and a 14-hour work day, this is what happens. Japanese husbands are often called inconsiderate pigs who only say three words to their wives when they get home: furo (bath), meshi (food), and neru (sleep). The problem is not that they're rude -- they're so exhausted that that's all they have the energy to say!

      My co-workers think I'm hopelessly lazy for wanting to sleep eight hours or more every day to keep my brain sharp -- they suggested sleeping in the nine minutes between getting on the train and changing lines!

      Yes, you're expected to be able to sleep in any position, in any environment. I supposed people with their level of chronic sleep deprivation can indeed fall asleep anywhere.

      Fortunately in my own situation, I got placed on the overnight shift. Now I have to endure sleeping in daylight, but at least I get eight hours or more every day!

      Sleep needs to be respected. You wouldn't try to live on 300 calories a day, would you? Even prisoners aren't treated that badly. So why are companies permitted to do comparable things to people's sleep?

  • this has the same ring to it as 75% of Americans being chronically dehydrated [snopes.com]
  • by 3seas (184403) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:45AM (#22622310) Journal
    ... month long vacations like in some european countries.
    And to think how the dollar is falling against the euro.... go figure...
  • For me, anyway. Perhaps it's my military experience, where I learned that a good nights sleep, indoor plumbing, and a hot meal, are among life's greater pleasures.

    Go to bed at 10PM, asleep almost immediately. Often wake up before the alarm goes off at 6AM. Alarm is set to a local PBS station (WETA), so I wake up to classical music rather than a loud screech.

    • by kalirion (728907)
      "Greatesht pleshures in a mans life? Shoft toilet paper and good dentishtry."
      -Cohen the Barbarian
  • by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:54AM (#22622346)
    As Americans don't even rate in the Top Ten Worldwide for frequency, according to the folks at Durex [durex.com] (and they should know!).
  • by sckeener (137243) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:01AM (#22622390)
    Staying awake with the kids is my number one issue....basically I have to stay awake longer than them and basically get up with them.

    Of course there are activities that I want to do that I can't when the kids are awake...so I end up staying awake longer just to do them....heck...last night I stayed up to watch the first volume of Death Note on DVD. I can't exactly let my 7 or 4 year olds see something that is rated for >=14yr olds.

    Wash, rise, repeat....= lack of sleep.
    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:17AM (#22622500)
      Staying awake with the kids is my number one issue....basically I have to stay awake longer than them and basically get up with them.

      This gets exacerbated if one of your kids is a real early bird (would like to get up at 5:30 am), and the other one is a night owl (goes to sleep at 11 pm, but wakes up at 9 am).

    • by clickety6 (141178)
      Let's see

      a) get a good night's sleep so you feel healthy and refreshed in the morning

      b) stay up late to watch the first volume of Death Note on DVD

      Yeah, I guess on Slashdot (b) would be considered the only logical choice!
  • Try laying off the caffeine and nicotine.

    X.
  • by AdamWeeden (678591) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:27AM (#22622562) Homepage
    In this day and age it seems as if most people exist on six hours a night, with eight being a luxury, and greater than that considered lazy. Unfortunately for me, I have narcolepsy [wikipedia.org] (though fortunately the kind sans cataplexy [wikipedia.org]). Six hours of sleep for me is no more than a tease, and more often I'd be better off just trying to stay up. Eight hours for me is how I'd imagine six hours would feel for someone normal: enough to make you feel as if you had slept, without being refreshing in any meaningful way. My body simply does not function well on less than ten hours sleep. On the weekends I've slept as much as sixteen hours a day (depending how much sleep I got during the weekdays). This would not be so bad if it were not for all the horrible life effects that sleeping as much as this has. I essentially can not have what normal people consider a social life. My wife feels like she hardly sees me. A friend of mine will ask me to go play some pool or something and I never end up going because I get ribbed for being an "old man" for NEEDING to go to bed by 10 or 11 PM on a WEEKEND. Anything greater would throw off my sleep schedule for the following week. I did find some nice medicine [wikipedia.org] that helped GREATLY (only needed the normal 7-8 hours a night like anyone else!) but is unfortunately not covered by my insurance, and is thus out of my financial reach. (As an aside, you think software patents are bad? You should see the harm caused by some pharmacological patents. See that article for some detail). The alternative medication, that is covered, amounts to little more than legal meth [wikipedia.org] which turns me into a zombie who doesn't need his sleep as much, but am otherwise intolerable. So be happy with your 6-8 hours, it could be worse.
    • by Compholio (770966)
      The hours you keep sound very familiar. I discovered that I have B12 and adrenaline deficiency, while also not covered by insurance the supplements are fortunately not very expensive. I'm not exactly down to a normal night, but I'm at least down to about 12 hours on the weekend. What really throws me for a loop was how my old doctor ran a couple tests and concluded that nothing was wrong with me (when at the time I could sleep up to 17 hours a night on the weekend). Apparently my problem gets exacerbated
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AdamWeeden (678591)
        Fortunately my doctor never dismissed me, but it took a WHILE before I got to a diagnosis. Went through a number of tests on various maladies such as a thyroid condition and the B12 deficiency you outlined. Was on B12 injections for a number of months, though without any improvement in my life. Only after being monitored during a sleep study [wikipedia.org] was I able to get a diagnosis.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Agreed. I was having a lot of sleep issues when I first started college. Either not being able to get to sleep, or waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. I also was having issues staying awake in classes. I managed to graduate, and same issues with my job. I was getting enough sleep at around 8 hours/night, and while my nutrition wasn't great, it wasn't horrible either. I was also taking a general multivitamin.

        I gave in and went to see the doc, he ran the standard test
  • Whew. What a timely article. This past weekend was extremely hard on me and I have found out that serious sleep deprivation affects my ability to play, think, and create. This past Thursday night we retired to bed at 11:50 a.m, and had to wake up at 4:00 a.m.. Took my wife to the airport, went to my business and then got home around 1:30 or 2:00. On a normal day I would probably get a nap in, but in this case my best friends from our university days were coming down for a weekend of music making. So the res
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by rtobyr (846578) <toby.richards@net> on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:00AM (#22622772) Homepage
    Only one in ten Americans have children?
  • I say it's time to just stop. Seriously, let's all pick a day, in the middle of the week, and not work. Take the power back, so to speak. If things break, ignore them. If the boss calls, don't answer. We'll all get some sleep, and pay cash at the bar that evening. Our employers are ruining our lives for a pittance, and somehow think that relentless abuse of the individuals directly responsible for their organizations' engines of revenue is a good thing, and we've been cowed into believing that some ki
  • The summary (and, I assume, the article) talks about far-reaching effects. They're not kidding.

    I have diabetes. Despite my best efforts, my blood glucose control was poor until recently. I knew I needed to eat right; I was doing that pretty well. I knew I needed to exercise; I was doing poorly. I seemed to hit a brick wall every time I tried to fit regular exercise into my routine.

    I sort-of knew that I needed to get a good night's sleep. I never did.

    A while back, I was so exhausted I actually set asid
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:12AM (#22622898) Journal
    There seems to be a non-trivial correlation between lack of sleep and overweight.
    I think I read first about this sometime around the late 90's or early 2000's, and it seems logical: when you're overtired, your body reacts much as it does to starvation - increasing your appetite AND squirreling away calories (as fat) for the anticipated energy shortage.

    Experimenting as much as my job & family will allow, I find that if I get sufficient sleep - go to sleep when I'm tired, get up when I wake up, always try to get at LEAST 8 hours (I typically get 5-6 hours)...I've found that I slowly start shedding pounds without significantly changing my eating habits. Not insignificantly, I seem to FEEL better generally (although that of course could be placebo).

    But I can never manage that in "real" life for any extended time - hour commute, 9-10 hour work days - so, like most Americans I try to shoehorn in sleep 'when possible' and have to accept that I'll have this tiny 'lack of sleep' headache, and a bit of a gut, forever.
    • by Shados (741919)
      Yup. I currently work from home, and thus have no commute whatsoever, and I live alone (the fiancee's out of the country for the time being for work). I always wake up before work starts, and go to bed when I'm sleepy (since that gives me like 10 hours of sleep, which i definately don't need).

      My weight stayed stable, even though I eat WAY more and move WAY less now... Though in general (but not with my last job, thus why I can compare), I refuse to do 40+ hours week if I have more than 45 minutes each way t
  • by soulprivate (1011963) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:48PM (#22625408)
    the article refers to *North*americans, *Central*americans or *South*americans? I am chilean (therefore, I *am* american) and we do not have the sleep problem over here.
    Yes, I RTFA, so be kind and note the sarcasm.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sckeener (137243)
      I wish I could mod at this moment...but I posted instead.

      Thanks for pointing it out. I love pointing that fact out...that and I like pointing people to upside down world maps [google.com]

      Since North and South are arbitrary, I always like seeing other countries on top...

      humbling

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