December 15, 2010

New Proof of the Power of Sleep

We have all observed that people look better after a full night of sleep. Now a research team has measured this scientifically. At BBC News: Beauty sleep concept is not a myth, says study.

The idea of people needing “beauty sleep” has acquired some scientific backing, according to a Swedish study. . . .

The authors wrote in their paper published in the British Medical Journal: “Sleep deprived people are perceived as less attractive, less healthy and more tired compared with when they are well rested.”

People under time pressure often imagine they can create more time for themselves by staying up late or getting up early. This may work to a slight extent or to get through a crisis situation, but when people try to do it as a lifestyle, the costs of a shorter night quickly overwhelm the gains of a longer day. From Fear of Nothing:

Moderate sleep deficit is known to cause irritability, diminished alertness, bad test scores, weight gain, and accidents. Increasing levels of sleep deprivation lead to impaired judgement, emotional instability, paranoid thoughts, hallucinations, and falling asleep involuntarily.

And sleep loss isn’t pretty, either. When it seems as if you always have too much to do, the right approach is not to cut back on sleep, but on the to-do list.


Fatima said...

What happenes if we work night and sleep day time? Will that affect our health in any way? Weekend do I have to follow the same routine? Or is it ok to sleep at night?

Rick Aster said...

Research is not entirely conclusive about irregular sleep schedules. Some people clearly benefit from sleeping at the same time every night and for the same length of time every night. For others, it does not seem to matter much.

Meanwhile, it is becoming more clear that the amount of sleep matters. Sleep researchers used to say that the need for sleep is an individual quality, that some people need more sleep than others. Now they are no longer convinced of that. The people who appear to do fine on three or four hours of sleep get the same performance and health improvements as everyone else when they extend their sleep to 8 to 8.5 hours.