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Fri, 08/31/2012

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Earlier this week I posted an article about a study that suggests that morning people are happier than night owls. Interesting enough the article says that there is a shift when you get older. As a teenager you tend to stay up late while when you are 60 and older it is more likely that you have become a morning person by then. Funnymen the percentage is 7 percent in both cases: young people being morning people and older people being night owls. Actually I gave this some thought and observed my own family. I remembered that my grandfather could not stay in bed after 8 o'clock in the morning anymore. At that time – I was a young teenager than – it was impossible for me to imagine to be up this early on a voluntary basis. When I could I loved to sleep in and it became worse the more I grew into my older teenage years. Later on I was so accustomed to being up late and getting up late that I never considered it. But sooner or later I realized that a part of the day was missed. Occasionally even night owls are forced to get up early. If early enough they can experience beautiful morning sun in an almost empty city or they experience how much they can do before 10 o'clock. But it is not easy to shift. For once: when staying up late one does not waste ones time but uses it too, but different. Staying up late has reasons. In my case I think it has something to do with low blood pressure. Until I am able to really get going it almost is afternoon. So I cannot go running before 3 p.m.. On the other hand: I would love to be out in the countryside quite early but living in Berlin means at least a one hour drive to get there. Image how early I had to get up for this! But times are a'changing. I tend to get up earlier those days while my teenage daughter sleeps in during holidays. And my father nowadays is up earlier than ever. As we use to joke: pre-senile bed-flight is clearly setting in. And that does not mean anything different as the study says: getting out of bed earlier as one grows older.

But all that discussion leaves out one aspect – probably the central one: do I get enough sleep? Whether one is a morning person or a night owl does not matter as long as one gets the normal amount of sleep which is around eight hours each night. According to a US-government report nearly a third of all workers in the U.S. aren't getting this amount of sleep, as NBC News reports. They only sleep around six hours which is not enough. This can have serious consequences. Besides poor job performance, too little sleep has been linked with obesity and cardiovascular disease, the report noted.

What sleep is, why it is so important, how much sleep we need and how you can tell if you're not getting enough sleep discusses Alok Jha with Professor Russell Foster in a podcast of the British newspaper The Guardian. In it Russell Foster explains the importance of sleep and invites listeners to take part in his experiment comparing the sleep patterns of Germans and Britons.

And if you have trouble sleeping My Health News Daily has seven tips how to cope with sleeping problems.

Have a good nights sleep – don't let the bed bugs bite :)!