THERE MIGHT NOT BE A SLEEPLESSNESS EPIDEMIC
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.