Dubious bargain: trading sleep for Leno and Letterman.

Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021, USA.
Sleep (Impact Factor: 5.06). 06/2009; 32(6):747-52.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sleeping less than 7 hours daily impairs alertness and is associated with increased obesity, morbidity, and mortality; yet up to 40% of US adults do so. Population data indicate work time is the primary activity reciprocally related to sleep time in the United States. Reducing work time and its economic benefits to increase sleep time may not be feasible for most of the population. We sought to identify waking activities under discretionary control and adjacent to the sleep period that would be a more feasible source for increasing sleep time.
American Time Use Survey data from 21,475 respondents aged > or = 15 years were pooled for the years 2003-2006 to explore activities in 2-hour periods prior to going to bed and past getting up on weekdays.
Long workers (> or = 8 hours) terminated bed time an average of 0.68 h earlier than short workers (< 8 hours, P < 0.0001) and 1.31 h earlier than respondents not working on the interview day (P < 0.001), but time of going to bed did not differ among groups (22:37 vs. 22:42 vs. 22:37, respectively, P = 0.385). Watching television was the primary activity people engaged in before going to bed, accounting for 55.6 min (46.3%) of the 2-h pre-bed period. In the morning, travel time and work time increased steadily toward the end of the post-awakening 2-h period, accounting for 14.8% and 12.3%, respectively.
Watching television may be an important social Zeitgeber for the time of going to bed. Watching less television in the evening and postponing work start time in the morning appear to be the candidate behavioral changes for achieving additional sleep. While the timing of work may not be flexible, giving up some TV viewing in the evening should be possible to reduce chronic sleep debt and promote adequate sleep in those who need it.

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    ABSTRACT: Sleep, which is evolutionarily conserved across species, is a biological imperative that cannot be ignored or replaced. However, the percentage of habitually sleep-restricted adults has increased in recent decades. Extended work hours and commutes, shift work schedules, and television viewing are particularly potent social factors that influence sleep duration. Chronic partial sleep restriction, a product of these social expediencies, leads to the accumulation of sleep debt over time and consequently increases sleep propensity, decreases alertness, and impairs critical aspects of cognitive functioning. Significant interindividual variability in the neurobehavioral responses to sleep restriction exists-this variability is stable and phenotypic-suggesting a genetic basis. Identifying vulnerability to sleep loss is essential as many adults cannot accurately judge their level of impairment in response to sleep restriction. Indeed, the consequences of impaired performance and the lack of insight due to sleep loss can be catastrophic. In order to cope with the effects of social expediencies on biological imperatives, identification of biological (including genetic) and behavioral markers of sleep loss vulnerability as well as development of technological approaches for fatigue management are critical.
    Progress in brain research 01/2012; 199:377-98. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-444-59427-3.00021-6
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    Sleep 01/2010; 33(1):13-4.
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    ABSTRACT: To determine (1) whether short sleep has increased over 31 years; (2) whether trends in short sleep differed by employment status; (3) which sociodemographic factors predict short sleep; and (4) how short sleepers spend their time. Time diaries from eight national studies conducted between 1975 and 2006. U.S. adults > or = 18 years. Short sleepers were defined as those reporting < 6 hours of sleep in their time diary. Unadjusted percentages of short sleepers ranged from 7.6% in 1975 to 9.3% in 2006. The 1998-99 study had the highest odds of short sleep. The odds ratio for the 31-year period predicting short sleep was 1.14 (95% CI: 0.92, 1.50, P = 0.22), adjusting for age, sex, education, employment, race, marital status, income, and day of week. When stratified by employment, there was a significant increase for full-time workers (P = 0.05), who represented over 50% of participants in all studies, and a significant decrease for students (P = 0.01), who represented < 5% of participants. The odds of short sleep were lower for women, those > or = 65 years, Asians, Hispanics, and married people. The odds were higher for full-time workers, those with some college education, and African Americans. Short sleepers in all employment categories spent more time on personal activities. Short sleepers who were full- and part-time workers spent much more time working. Based on time diaries, the increase in the odds of short sleep over the past 31 years was significant among full-time workers only. Work hours are much longer for full-time workers sleeping < 6 hours.
    Sleep 01/2010; 33(1):37-45.


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