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Businesses Medicine

Sleep Is the New Status Symbol (nytimes.com) 117

The New York Times has a good story on how sleep is increasingly becoming a big business -- and the tech industry is rushing in to tweak our natural rhythms. From the article: At M.I.T.'s Media Lab, the digital futurist playground, David Rose is investigating swaddling, bedtime stories and hammocks, as well as lavender oil and cocoons. [...] Meanwhile, at the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew P. Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology and the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory there, is working on direct current stimulation as a cure for sleeplessness in the aging brain. [...] In Paris, Hugo Mercier, a computer science engineer, has invested in sound waves. He has raised over $10 million to create a headband that uses them to induce sleep. [...] Ben Olsen, an Australian entrepreneur, hopes to introduce Thim, a gadget you wear on your finger that uses sound to startle you awake every three minutes for an hour, just before you go to sleep. [...] Sleep entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and beyond have poured into the sleep space, as branders like to say -- a $32 billion market in 2012 -- formerly inhabited by old-style mattress and pharmaceutical companies.
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Sleep Is the New Status Symbol

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Find something everyone needs, or they will die, figure out a way to sell it back to them, profit.

  • Sleep transferrence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If only there was a way to transfer sleep - it would many of the world's problems. Poor people could just sleep and get paid, rich people could produce even more wealth; maybe parents could get a little more personal time away from their children?

    • Well if you see any think like that in the movies you better sue.

  • A couple years at most, then the next big thing will be the new "status symbol".

    Granted, I'm a morning person, but if you want good sleep, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time as much as possible. No sleeping in on days off.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @01:56PM (#54208367)

      Granted, I'm a morning person,

      Oh, go take a long walk on a short pier!

      *grumbles and goes for more coffee*

    • Sleep restriction. Take your total sleep time, set your bedtime by rolling back from your desired rise time. When your sleep efficiency over a week reaches 90% or more, move bed time back by 15 minutes. If it falls below 80%, move it forward.

      I'm an insomniac with a prior ADHD diagnosis. I got Modafinil from a psychiatrist after my attention issues became asinine; it was fucking awesome for 2 weeks, then I got hit with sudden suicide-grade depression. Modafinil doesn't interrupt my sleep; and since I

      • Imagine if you only had to eat because you'd become dizzy and weak eventually, and food wasn't really that palatable; eating would be terrible, but necessary.)

        That's me about half the time. Eating & food is such a huge pain in the neck. Huge waste of time & money. And yet I get the shakes and fuzzy headed if I don't keep the calories coming in on a regular schedule.
        Because it's a social thing, you can't just find a nerd replacement like Soylent or some other "get it out of the way" solution - the wife & kids need & want food too.

        The human body is just an awful thing to have to maintain.

        • The human body is just an awful thing to have to maintain.

          Given that you're going to stay with it for the rest of your life, you might want to learn to enjoy it, like the rest of us. Cooking and eating is a ceremony here in Europe, akin to a ritual.

          Experimenting with flavours and cooking techniques may be a wonderful hobby, whether you cook yourself or pay someone to do it, although I recognize that it may be quite expensive in that dysfunctional food culture you have over there in the States, where poision is subsidized and quality raw ingredients are more expensive than processed food.

        • When I was on amphetamine, I started using soylent because I could only get 1200kcal/day. The original dose (20mg MAS ER) was so powerful I couldn't eat at all: food had a terrible taste and texture, and swallowing felt like an invasion. It was hard to get down. I eventually settled on 15mg MAS ER; 10mg gave me anxiety, and 15mg only made me mildly-depressed. I break over at 20mg like an avalanche effect, complete with a mix of mild and moderate-severe overdose symptoms. The pharmacological window fo

    • If you really want good sleep, find work where you can set your own hours and then sleep whenever you like. I never had any luck trying to force sleep, but being able to choose when to sleep works great.

      • by ZeRu ( 1486391 )
        Good luck finding that. I believe that not forcing them to get up everyday at the same time is a necessary condition for happy and creative employees.
      • by K10W ( 1705114 )

        If you really want good sleep, find work where you can set your own hours and then sleep whenever you like. I never had any luck trying to force sleep, but being able to choose when to sleep works great.

        that works in delayed or advanced sleep phase disorders really well if people can manage it. Delayed sleep phase disorders is surprisingly common and advanced not far behind so shifts or odd hour work can be perfect when matched to those. Some things like my own are more disruptive because they are out of sync at the reset point and move. Basically I start at delayed and move through over time to point it hits advanced phase point. Then I stop sleeping completely, even at times where I had weeks I could sle

    • by K10W ( 1705114 )

      A couple years at most, then the next big thing will be the new "status symbol".

      Granted, I'm a morning person, but if you want good sleep, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time as much as possible. No sleeping in on days off.

      that is an over simplification sadly and not true for many who have problem just because it is for you. There are a lot of causes of sleep problems and insomnia is more of a catchall generic term. I have disruptive sleep phase disorder myself and my "natural" peak and trough alertness times (associated with sleep ease) linked to circadian rhythm changes as it doesn't map neatly to the normal 24 hour ; in environmental queues present every day environments, I mean I know it goes longer for the typical folks

  • . . . . I do my best to spend weekends and days off, sleeping in. Because, between the job, the commute, and everything else I'm committed to, I'm currently booked at 25+ hours on a GOOD day.

    8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is pretty much a luxury to me. . .

  • by GlobalEcho ( 26240 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @01:34PM (#54208167)

    Sleep is the new status symbol

    My teenagers have unbelievably high status, then.

  • What helped me sleep better at night is a heating pad on low setting underneath my left side.
  • by scunc ( 4201789 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @01:42PM (#54208233)
    Whiskey. Works every time!
    --
    Carpe noctem!
    • Would that it were so simple! I love a nice single-malt, but have been advised that whiskey before bedtime is not conducive to good sleep hygiene. For reference, consider this review [sciencedaily.com] that purports to have "for the first time consolidated all the available literature on the immediate effects of alcohol on the sleep of healthy individuals".

      Quoting from the linked article:

      ... short-term alcohol use only gives the impression of improving sleep, and it should not be used as a sleep aid.

      ... alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night's sleep. Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn't expect better sleep with alcohol.

    • the problem with drink is you need enough to keep you out till morning.
    • waking up at 5 am with a throbbing headache and not being able to fall back asleep isn't very restful
    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )

      I understand that was how my father preferred to handle baby teething. Just smear a little on the baby's gums, and the pain would subside enough for everybody in the house to get a little sleep.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @01:42PM (#54208237)

    Hey, ladies! I'm well rested... every... day. ;)

  • Not having to sleep would be a huge competitive advantage. I know my coworkers are lazy and start to drag after about eighty hours. Many of them complain about not being able to sleep when they can. If they worked harder, then they would be more tired so they would be able to sleep. That or exercise which would be better for them, but not as good for the team.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This. So many of my coworkers complain about not being able to sleep. If they could sleep when they have a chance, then they would not have an excsue to be so damn lazy and screw-over their team. So many of those lazy people screw us and make our lives shit. I haven't had a sick day in over thirty years, but lazy people keep taking them. That was the reason I left Microsoft. Most of the people were so lazy they'd whine constantly about sixty hours. I now work 50% more than that since I'm not lazy, an

      • The average human needs 8 hours a night of sleep and it is proven to be particularly bad for us to wake up between 5:30am and 7:30am. This is what the average human needs as sure as they need water to drink. Does your place of business provide that for them?
        • What's been proven is that 8 hours in one block is far too much. The natural sleep cycle is 7 hours, with about 1.5 hours spent awake just past the halfway point. It's also seasonal, requiring a bit more sleep in winter than summer. Your data is out of date.

          • I'm honestly not sure if I could get away with that. I know when I sleep 6.5 hours a night a feel crappy and when I sleep 8 hours I feel good. Also I imagine it depends a lot on what you do for that 1.5 hours. I imagine you need to do something fairly non stimulating.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Looks like I'm good there. I get up at 5:00am.

    • Not having to sleep would be a huge competitive advantage.

      The longest I stayed awake was 168 hours (seven days) when I was a teenager during a summer break. Worse than masturbating 27 times in 24 hours. I literally felt like I was burning both ends of the candle. I sleep for the next three days to recover.

      I know my coworkers are lazy and start to drag after about eighty hours.

      When I was a lead video game tester at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple personality disorder), I worked 40 hours straight to prepare for a code release meeting, took Wednesday through Sunday off to recover, and my boss was pisse

    • Kind of sad when actual UW Seattle research shows 7-8 hours is optimal.

      Look, it's all the blue screens. Turn them off an hour before bed. And stop doing "work" in bed.

      Seriously, anything to avoid dealing with reality ....

  • ... when you say you "slept" with that hot girl from biology class, you actually mean you slept with her? And that's a status symbol?

    • by scunc ( 4201789 )
      Student 1: I don't mean to brag, but I took part in an orgy the other day ...
      Student 2: No, you didn't. You just fell asleep in biology class.
      Student 1: Totally counts!
      --
      Carpe noctem!
  • Snake Oil is the new Snake Oil.

  • Television Ads (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    No need for market research, just note the television ads. So many for pillows, mattresses, pharmaceutical sleep aids, etc. Now I can start my pyramid scheme of having people sleep under pyramid tents that focus the "somnorific rays."

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @02:17PM (#54208577) Homepage Journal

    How is waking you up every three minutes supposed to help you sleep?

    • How is waking you up every three minutes supposed to help you sleep?

      You got it wrong, it helps the guy selling it sleep at night, not you. Huge piles of money is apparently very comfortable.

    • Literally the next sentence in TFA:

      "Sleep disruptions, apparently, can cure sleep disruption (and Mr. Olsen, like all good sleep entrepreneurs, has the research to prove it)."

  • Like many other recent "tech fixes", this one attempts to paper over fissures in society that have quite different causes. More and more people are "badly off", however you measure it. They have less money, they are deeper in debt, even while they spend less; and increasingly, they have to work longer hours and have several earners per household. One of the obvious consequences is that people have less time for sleep, and more worries to distract them from it.

    If you are doing something you find enjoyable or

  • Science fiction author Larry Niven [larryniven.net] came up with a way to solve this problem, which this article reminded me of: 'Russian sleep sets' would induce a current in your brain, causing you to sleep. It was super-efficient, and only a couple hours under it's influence would leave you as refreshed and ready to go as a full 8 hours' normal sleep. I can't imagine we'd get anything so great as that, but to be able to put on a headset of some sort, set a timer, be instantly asleep, sleep deeply, and wake up completely
    • "Two hours in the dream machine keeps me sane": Gustav Graves, Die Another Day.

      Sleep machines were also used by the Judges of Mega City One (and others) so they could get back out on the streets and deal with perps.

    • There is a drug that can do this, can't find info on it now but I read an article on it in Wired a few years ago. People testing it were sleeping for just 2-3 hours a night and woke up feeling like they'd slept 8. There are other drugs that can defer the need to sleep. I think the only reason it hasn't caught on and made 13-hour work days the new normal is the overabundance of labor.

      • It might Morphogen. From Isaac Asimov's "Fantastic Voyage". Thirty minutes of solid dreaming and then you're set for a day!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I (40 year old single male) recently griped at work that I only got 6 hours of sleep, and my coworkers who are parents got a good laugh out of that one, saying if they are able to get 6 hours of sleep it's a luxury.

  • Look, you can't "create trends".

    This is not a trend.

    Hashtag that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    " Ben Olsen, an Australian entrepreneur, hopes to introduce Thim, a gadget you wear on your finger that uses sound to startle you awake every three minutes for an hour, just before you go to sleep. "

    Got one - it's called a cat, though generally she wakes me for three minutes every hour, either by walking on my head, or sticking a paw in my mouth.

  • by Riddler Sensei ( 979333 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @03:24PM (#54209227)

    Being proud of your lack of sleep is like being proud of the monthly balance that you've been carrying on your high interest credit card for the past decade. You're not more successful due to your lack of sleep - you're successful despite it.

    Sleep more and see how the speed and quality of your work improves, thus making more time for the very sleep that enabled such work (not to mention the overall quality of life improvements).

  • The irony of all being that Silicon Valley innovations, making phones and tablets just that much more addictive, are one of the big drivers [scientificamerican.com] in the poor quality of sleep these days.
  • This problem already has a solution, it's called: LESS STRESS

    But no because America is a culture of burnout referring to other countries as slackers, we have to innovate to sell you more crap to solve a problem that was the invention of that very same society!

  • I honestly don't understand how people manage on such little sleep, even 8-hours seems marginal. It seems to me that I need 80 hours total per week (average 10 per day). If I skimp on that by sleeping "only" 8 (or fewer) hours a day, I just end up sleeping in even more on the weekend to make it up.

    I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and putting me on a CPAP eliminated my snoring but did nothing for the duration of sleep I seem to desire. I typically wake 2-3 times in the early morning (that I am aware of) but

  • Ben Olsen, an Australian entrepreneur, hopes to introduce Thim, a gadget you wear on your finger that uses sound to startle you awake every three minutes for an hour, just before you go to sleep.

    I've already started my happy hour, so can someone please explain to me how having a gizmo on your finger that startles you awake every three minutes is going to help with sleeplessness?

  • Actually, the REAL reason for the rise in sleep interest are the possibilities of brainwashing citizens on a larger scale, and via a more easily manageable (tool).

    Wait a minute! Where was I yesterday?!
    Didn't I used to hate that politician?!
    Why does scientific fact no longer matter?!

    And I digress from there.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. -- Albert Einstein

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