THERE MIGHT NOT BE A SLEEPLESSNESS EPI­DEMIC

Focus-Science and Technology - - Sleep -

It’s pretty clear that we don’t get enough sleep, with many of us strug­gling to ob­tain the rec­om­mended seven to nine hours. How­ever, what is less cer­tain is whether this sit­u­a­tion is new. Prof Mal­colm von Schantz from the Univer­sity of Sur­rey ex­am­ined so­ci­eties on the cusp of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, and it ap­pears that the in­tro­duc­tion of elec­tric­ity is linked to go­ing to bed later – yet this doesn’t di­rectly trans­late into less sleep. Fur­ther­more, when con­sid­er­ing sleep data over the re­cent decades, it is un­clear whether sleep length has changed. Re­gard­less, Dr Kris­ten Knut­son from North­west­ern Univer­sity has pointed out that the ef­fects of less sleep might be dif­fer­ent now. For ex­am­ple, if sleep­ing less is as­so­ci­ated with in­creased ap­petite, then it’s not a prob­lem if your job is phys­i­cally ac­tive or you have lim­ited ac­cess to calo­ries. How­ever, it may be more of a is­sue for peo­ple who have a se­date life­style – like those of us who are stuck at our desks all day – with easy ac­cess to calorific snacks.

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