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Science

The Shorter Your Sleep, the Shorter Your Life: the New Sleep Science (independent.co.uk) 142

An anonymous reader shares a report: A "catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic" is causing a host of potentially fatal diseases, a leading expert has said. In an interview with the Guardian, Professor Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, said that sleep deprivation affected "every aspect of our biology" and was widespread in modern society. And yet the problem was not being taken seriously by politicians and employers, with a desire to get a decent night's sleep often stigmatised as a sign of laziness, he said. Electric lights, television and computer screens, longer commutes, the blurring of the line between work and personal time, and a host of other aspects of modern life have contributed to sleep deprivation, which is defined as less than seven hours a night. But this has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, obesity and poor mental health among other health problems. In short, a lack of sleep is killing us.
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The Shorter Your Sleep, the Shorter Your Life: the New Sleep Science

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  • Next up (Score:5, Funny)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:02AM (#55259039)

    Eight hours or more work days are killing us. Learn more on the news at 23:00.

    • Re:Next up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:40AM (#55259271) Homepage Journal

      Federal compensatory time legislation [johnmoserforcongress.com] and corresponding rules about accounting for outside-hours work [johnmoserforcongress.com] are on my list of major issues. Salaried workers in this country work on average 47 hours, and get paid for only 40; it is time to deal with that.

      I am also considering a 32-hour work week [johnmoserforcongress.com], although this one requires more careful planning and execution, if we are to execute it at all. It should be much easier after deploying Universal Social Security [johnmoserforcongress.com].

      • You know, every job I worked salary was like that but had the understanding that if you needed a sick day or leave early, it was understood and allowed with no issues.

        It's not like that where I work now. We have to use our PTO for a doctor's appointment even if we physically work on site 50 hours. It actually pisses me off.

        I fought and won with HR about not using 2 hours of PTO if I left 2 hours early but had worked 8 hours (with the stipulation on their part that there was a business need for me to be on

        • It's not like that where I work now. We have to use our PTO for a doctor's appointment even if we physically work on site 50 hours

          See, when I had PTO, I also had comp time. When I worked an extra 8 hours, I skipped a day and used 0 PTO. Each quarter they let me cash out (whole or partial) and get paid for it. I worked, so I got paid.

          They also had us track our time, because we needed accounting for this. Once, it snowed, and they comped us 2 weeks due to weather, so I don't mind the exchange. Besides, if I expect them not to make me work without pay, they can expect me to show I was at work.

          I actually wouldn't be opposed to a

        • You know, every job I worked salary was like that but had the understanding that if you needed a sick day or leave early, it was understood and allowed with no issues.

          It's not like that where I work now. We have to use our PTO for a doctor's appointment even if we physically work on site 50 hours. It actually pisses me off.

          My employer is like this (although fortunately my boss is relaxed and doesn't enforce it). What's worse, we don't get very good PTO to begin with- 3 weeks a year (for sickness, and vacation)... and we don't even get things like Xmas off... well, everyone takes Xmas off but it comes out of your PTO. If you take Xmas, thanksgiving, New Years, July 4th, etc off- that doesn't give you much time less to be sick and no time to take vacation. I usually end up hogging all my time for my end of year employment

      • You should bolster your website with some info about your economic education, experience, and credibility. The ideas you list here are so easily worked around and you don't even address the obvious unintended consequences, so most people who have a background in economics are not going to take you seriously.

        Start with how you're solving the Economic Calculation Problem [mises.org] in your economic model (and publish the model too).

        It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized disciplin

        • I don't propose any socialist policies, so the economic calculation problem doesn't apply. My economic solutions are all market-based.

          For example: I prefer a public-option healthcare system because we can use the lower-deviation remittance rates negotiated between private insurers and private providers as the range in which the Government will pay those specific providers for healthcare services. With the current healthcare mandate, employers must provide health insurance benefits; yet this payroll cos

        • by Chryana ( 708485 )

          I love how you reject with no explanations the suggestions of the GP and then proceed to refer him to a website about the Austrian school, which is not considered 'main stream' in economics, as far as I know.

          I do not pretend to know much about economics either, so I'm not going to comment on the feasibility of the 32 hour week or UBI(which Universal Social Security looks like, as far II can gather from a quick perusal of the GP link). However, I think forcing someone to work overtime all year long for no ex

      • On my list... Major issues... To deal with it... I'm considering...

        Dude, you're a powerless peon posting on Slashdot. You have no power, you never will. Nobody is ever going to take you seriously, probably because you're insane.

        No, I'm not better than you. I'm a powerless peon who will also never be taken seriously or in a position of power.

        You are going through one of your cycles again. You're starting to present as though you're a serious economist that is respected and considered. Your posts are starting

        • Dude, you're a powerless peon posting on Slashdot. You have no power, you never will.

          The same can be said about Barack Obama, Franklin D. Roosevent, or Bill Clinton. Well, could, at any rate. Both Clintons started pretty much middle-class, although Bill's mom married a used car dealer. Obama was also born to parents of little note and not great wealth. These weren't the poorest people in the land; they weren't much different than any other peon who can afford at least a nice suit.

          Sounds to me like

        • I noticed this too he was intelligent and somewhat likable when I talked to him yesterday but he was clearly manic... going way way off topic at a million miles an hour. If be it drugs,brain chemistry or overwork he should be talking to someone about this shit.

    • This one is gold.
      http://www.theonion.com/articl... [theonion.com]

  • It's basically an advert for the guy's book. He's probably right, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:23AM (#55259165)

    By sleeping 10% more, you can extend your life by 4%.
    If you consider: SLEEPING = LIVING
    If not, then you have lost 6% of your life to sleep.

    • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:30AM (#55259207)
      I don't enjoy my life when I'm tired, so I'll take sleeping.
    • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:31AM (#55259221) Journal

      Don't confuse living with enduring.

      • Don't confuse living with enduring.

        I don't. I like my life. And I hate spending so much of it unconscious.

        • Don't confuse living with enduring.

          I don't. I like my life. And I hate spending so much of it unconscious.

          If you are ever unconscious for any amount of time, you need to see a doctor. That is NOT normal and is a sign of serious illness.

          • Don't confuse living with enduring.

            I don't. I like my life. And I hate spending so much of it unconscious.

            If you are ever unconscious for any amount of time, you need to see a doctor. That is NOT normal and is a sign of serious illness.

            Are you conscious while you're sleeping? Really?

    • by ET3D ( 1169851 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:33AM (#55259235)
      Extending life by 4% is equivalent to 1 hour a day. Sleeping 10% more, assuming you sleep 6 hours, is 6.6 hours, so you gain 0.4 hour. If you extend an 8 hour sleep by 10%, it's 8.8 hours, so you gain 0.2 hour. So either case is a win. I'm guessing you posted the above without getting enough sleep. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good at math, bad at critical thinking. Sure, you might sleep more than your life is lengthened, but experiencing better health, less disease (and related cost), and overall better quality of life (and productivity) by being rested is a pretty good tradeoff.

    • By increasing 360 minutes (6 hours) per day of sleep by 10% (to 396 minutes), you increase your life by 4%. Your day life includes the full day, all 1440 minutes (24 hours) of it, which you increase by 4%, to 1497.6 minutes. Sleeping an extra 36 minutes, then, grants you another 57.6 minutes of living, or another 21.6 minutes of waking time.

      That's 151.2 minutes (a little over 2.5 hours) per week, 655.2 minutes (just shy of 11 hours) per month on average, and 7862.4 minutes (just over 131 hours, or just un
    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      Sleep isn't so bad. I have vivid and entertaining dreams. I'm usually reluctant to wake up, and sometimes those dreams contain creative ideas that carry over in productive ways to waking life.

  • Slashdot staff is way ahead of you folks!

  • Longer you sleep, your life will extend by exactly the same number of hours you slept. So there is no net new active hours added to your life.
    • A pair of brilliant scientists, the Tappet Brothers, Click and Clack, made a great observation with respect to exercises.

      The Tappet Brothers Law of Exercises:

      Exercise extends life exactly by the duration spent exercising.

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        I think an early anti-smoking campaign went the opposite direction: when asked to figure out the harm a cigarette does, someone went out and timed how long it took to smoke one. Seven minutes. So the phrase, "Every cigarette you smoke takes seven minutes off your life," was born.

      • A corollary of that is that hours spent doing things you enjoy, which also count as exercise, are free.

  • Learn to get to bed and go to sleep early enough to get the requisite sleep. Stop all this bullshit about 'Muh biologies' as an excuse to stay up later. And then complain that the school day* starts too early.

    Aside from getting a head start practicing what will be required in one's employment career, I concur that late nights and less sleep are very unhealthy (based on my anecdotal observations). I have been involved with several groups that split between members preferring daytime activities to those who

    • Actually, it's been pretty rigorously demonstrated at this point that teenagers bodies really genuinely do need sleep later in the day than adult ones. They really are biologically late sleepers, and late risers.

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        Some teenagers. And now I can pick them out of a crowd. All my night-owl classmates look like shit and are starting to die off in their 60s.

        If it turns out that this really is a majority of teenagers, I suggest that we start looking for shared environmental factors. And I'd start with blue LEDs.

    • Rule of thumb: one hour of sleep before midnight equals two hours of sleep after midnight. So yes early to bed early to rise.
      • by Bongo ( 13261 )

        Personally I feel there’s something to that. Although at 1 am I can get a lot of (for me) creative clarity, if I stay up, it takes such a toll on the next day, that it’s not worth it. But if I get into deep sleep by 11pm, I get way better rest overalll. In our household, bed time is 9.15 pm and we’re up anywhere from five to six thirty. Which also means we always have time for excercise and a full cooked breakfast. None of this carby sugary cereal crap.

      • You just pulled that from a dark smelly place. It's just not true.

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        And one hour of sleep during staff meetings is worth three at night.

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      Over the course of a few decades, the apparent age difference of the earlybirds vs the night owls has really started to stand out. With the 'sundowners' (to borrow a term from dementia studies) aging about 10 to 20 years more in appearance than the early risers.

      The only way you could possibly get this impression is if your "sundowners" group was highly correlated with smokers, alcoholics and unwise drug use (of the kind further correlated with pre-existing neurological imbalance).

      I had N24 for thirty years

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        highly correlated with smokers, alcoholics and unwise drug use (of the kind further correlated with pre-existing neurological imbalance).

        On the other hand, this neurological imbalance may very well be a symptom of a lack of sleep.

        Sleep deprivation leads to a) caffeine-seeking behaviour, and b) sugary-snackâ"seeking behaviour,

        Caffeine, when consumed in moderate amounts and when not used to artificially modify ones natural sleep cycle isn't really a problem. And if you read TFA, lack of sleep is linked to hyperglycaemia due to a loss of response to insulin. That makes sugary snack seeking behavior worse.

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:30AM (#55259211) Homepage

    And yet the problem was not being taken seriously by politicians and employers

    Why should politicians and employers be involved? Because you're a bunch of kids who need daddy to tell you what to do?

    Electric lights, television and computer screens, longer commutes, the blurring of the line between work and personal time, and a host of other aspects of modern life have contributed to sleep deprivation

    Yeah, anything but personal choice to do more stuff and sleep less, then make it up by taking stimulants.

    My wife and I go to bed at a reasonable time each night (10PM) and get up at 6AM, no need for an alarm clock. Yes, it takes discipline.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      We set things like working hours by the Free Labor Standards act in the United States. We don't have a Federal compensatory time rule, so employers can work you for 60 hours if you're salaried and pay 40. On average, a salaried employee works 47 hours per week--about 1 extra unpaid day.

      Federal compensatory time legislation [johnmoserforcongress.com] and corresponding rules about accounting for outside-hours work [johnmoserforcongress.com] are on my list of major issues. A 32-hour work week [johnmoserforcongress.com] is on the table for consideration, although this one requires mor

      • We set things like working hours by the Free Labor Standards act in the United States. We don't have a Federal compensatory time rule, so employers can work you for 60 hours if you're salaried and pay 40. On average, a salaried employee works 47 hours per week--about 1 extra unpaid day.

        Sounds like you need to consider going into contracting!!!

        As an independent contractor, you can negotiate your bill rate, making sure you get paid for EVERY hour worked.

        And let's face it, these days, employers have NO loya

        • I've been a contractor, and it was better; we can't, however, force every business to just hire contractors. My experience contracting is a large part of my expertise in solving these sorts of problems; the other part is my knowledge of project management and, by extension, my understanding of both the use of subject matter experts (my own knowledge is always limited) and the importance of involving and considering the needs of all stakeholders (employees, lawmakers, state economies, employers, etc.).

          Bu

          • Businesses are going to go corp-to-corp contracting because it's more-efficient,

            I'm advocating individiuals do corp-to-corp contracting.

            I have set myself up as an S-Corp and do my work corp-to-corp....works out great.

            If you are a W2 employee of a contracting house...you kinda end up getting the worst of both worlds and are handing money off to a middleman that really isn't required.

            • I meant that corp-to-corp is more-efficient because the work you do as an S-Corp is consolidated by organizational leaders, instead of having to organize yourself as a business. In large businesses, executives make anywhere from half a penny to two and a half pennies per employee per year; in smaller businesses, executives have lower salaries, albeit they may amount to thousands of dollars per employee per year. Businesses with thousands of employees have half a dozen people in their payroll departments

        • Sounds like you need to consider going into contracting!!!

          Not everyone can go into contracting. The entire point behind legal reform is to address the problem across the board.

          There are also financial risks associated with independent contracting, and people shouldn't need to take on those risks just to have a healthy sleep schedule.

          If you're only going to get the job security of a contractor, you might as well get the independence and bill rate of a contractor.

          Most companies have a very low number of contractors. Especially in roles related to their core competency.

          And those that contract extensively... well, they usually contract with other businesses because they need staffing and availabi

          • Not everyone can go into contracting. The entire point behind legal reform is to address the problem across the board.

            Perhaps we should change things, to make it easier for most folks to do independent contracting...?

            • Perhaps we should change things, to make it easier for most folks to do independent contracting...?

              That may work; it depends on the specific changes. On the other hand, it may be possible to give regular employees more freedom. Most employers want an exclusive arrangement for business-essential roles, so there will be more hurdles than just finance and legal issues.

              Essentially, I see it far more wide-reaching to split the difference between wage-slavery and contracting. I.e., establish a reasonable ability for workers to: set working hours, take breaks, schedule leave, be left alone outside of working ho

        • You've got a good thing going if every hour worked is billable.

          That said contracting IS better. Clients never get confused and start to think they're your dad. Employers sometimes do.

    • Why should employers be involved?

      Yeah, why should employers care? If you die, there's a line of them waiting to replace you. Plus they don't have to pay out severance. The less you sleep, the better it works out for them.

      • Ok - lets change it.

        How should they stop it? Not allowing overtime? Micromanaging salary people more to make sure they get the full 40 hours from their employees during their assigned shifts and then not allowing them into the building / online after those 40 hours?

        Having a sleep test to even walk into the building in the morning? Warn than fire people up if they have an outside of work life that conflicted with this article's definition of enough rest even though they are productive at work?

    • Because, depending on your employer and your position, your boss might be calling or emailing after normal work hours? You might be under pressure to work extra hours, and that cuts into your non-work time, and sleep is regularly the first thing to be affected by that sort of thing?

      I mean, hell, I work a 9-5 job (in-house developer for a smallish company), and there have been times where one member of management or another has pulled a "Oh, we absolutely have to have this done today" at 4:45.

      And I've gotten

  • Like we need ANOTHER reason for corporations to automate.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    All scientific studies of increased or decreased human lifespan due to a specific factor are BS. There are way too many confounding variables over a human lifetime to make any claim credible.

  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:41AM (#55259277)

    I have no love for either politicians or bosses, but is this really their problem? I suppose if you have a job where you have to work for 16 hours a day, your employer is definitely taking away your sleep time. I don't think that describes too many people.

    I think most of our sleep is being lost from OUR choices. We stay up late binging on netflix, or playing games, or otherwise entertaining ourselves. We pack our day with work, kids stuff, entertainment, commute, etc. We kind of bring on a very busy, very hectic schedule and sleep is just sort of sandwiched in there.

    One can argue that a 40 hour work-week is no longer really that important, but I have no reason to believe that even if we went to a 20 hour workweek we would sleep even 5 minutes more. We'd just find more stuff to pack in there. In contrast I probably could say "I'm too sleepy, I'm going to show up for work in a few hours" and my boss wouldn't give a crap as long as I got my work done. It'd come off as all kinds of horrible, but I have some karma to burn. The problem is that it wouldn't fix anything. I'd sleep in, go to work, do my job, then come home and do the same bad thing that cost me sleep previously, only later, to later hours...

    The article mentions I think only one point where work schedules are directly responsible: night shift workers with disrupted circadian rhythms. There is evidence that we are more ready to sleep at certain times of the day. That might push some groups to later hours than others. But that's not likely to solve the real problem.

    • I spent a couple years working nights and it was awesome! I would switch between two different schedules periodically so I either started at 5pm or 10pm. Regardless of which shift I was doing I'd get to bed around 7am and it was perfect. Going to sleep as the sun is rising has to be one of the more satisfying simple pleasures in life.

      The only thing I didn't like was roommates hosting friends in the early afternoon ruining my sleep. If I could get away with going back to working nights without my wife scalpi

    • You have to factor in commute time, eating, and running errands. And then something as common (in US) as an 11 hour day would be easily taking away sleep from people.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:50AM (#55259341) Homepage Journal

    "And yet the problem was not being taken seriously by politicians and employers"

    In America, perhaps you need to consider an employer's interest in this issue as finding the tradeoff between maximum profit and maximum employee productivity.

    Why are politicians involved? Some right being violated? Our politicians are mostly in the business of violating our rights already. No more work to be done there.

    Really, looking to government to solve the problem is usually THE PROBLEM.

  • It's the number of complete 90 minute sleep cycles! Cruddy protein folds get repaired. Brain processes and problem-solves the day's events via dreaming. Boners get exercised. (No, it isn't having to pee in the morning, its happening to wake up, having to pee, during this period.)

    Obesity (apnea), type II diabetes (excess sugar needing to pee, and neuropathy pain) all cut into this until you are lucky to get one full cycle.

  • Like someone else already commented here ... I don't get why any of this SHOULD be a problem for politicians or employers to address? Hopefully, as an adult, each one of us is capable of making our own decisions about how we live our daily lives.

    Even the biggest work-a-holic has to sleep sometime, and he or she can opt to go to bed a little earlier if the core problem lies with expectations they're up bright and early to report to the job. A person can only do so much in a day (or night). There's diminishin

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @10:20AM (#55259599)
    7.5 or 9 - you'll wake at the time your body is ready to. I have long suspected that 8.25 was the arithmetic mean of reported sleep spans and since the public hates decimal points, it was short-handed to 8, which is exactly when you should not be waking.
    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Better:

      Go to bed when you're tired, earlier if you have a big day ahead. It's not hard.

      Read up on "second sleep", previous generations knew about and thought it quite normal to wake up in the night, go and do some things, then go back to bed. Read storybooks and you'll see veiled references to it everywhere, people don't just go to bed and then wake up in the morning. Never heard of "midnight snacks"? Same phenomenon.

      Same for food. Hungry? Eat. Three square meals a day is a Victorian invention. It's

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't own an alarm clock or keep phones or tablets in the bedroom. I lay down and sleep when I'm tired. I get out of bed when I first wake up. I usually wake at sunrise because I don't use black out curtains and my region doesn't get much cloudy weather.
      Avoid living in a place with long dark winters, seasonal affected disorder will really need with your sleeping pattern.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @10:27AM (#55259659) Homepage

    "Electric lights, television and computer screens, longer commutes, the blurring of the line between work and personal time, and a host of other aspects of modern life have contributed to sleep deprivation"

    All of which, with the possible slight exception of commutes which may be out of their control, are about GROWN ADULTS who aren't able to take themselves to bed on time.

    Literally, people, I'm the most gadgety person in the whole of gadgetdom. And I switch them off, turn out the light, and go to sleep no problem at all, after using them for between 8-16 hours a day, every day, for my entire adult life.

    If you're not going to bed because you're up doing stuff, stop it and go to bed.

    • It's important to point out lights, TV, and computers so that adults know what they should do in their private lives to be healthier. Some people mistakenly believed that these things do no affect their health. This is more likely true of younger generations, as they have grown up with these things (possibly with bad role models the entire time).

      But it's also important to know about commutes and the blurring line between personal/professional time. Neither of things are wholly controlled by the person, and

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @10:58AM (#55259885) Journal

    Time for a nap. Because my life depends on it.

  • "Seriously. I just tell people Iâ(TM)m a dolphin trainer. Itâ(TM)s better for everyone."

    Space shuttle door gunner usually works for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    this is why i just sleep until i don't feel like sleeping anymore. only a loser gets up to an alarm.

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