Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sleep is for wimps! - yeah, but smarter wimps.

When I was a kid, I admittedly hated sleep.  I had to share a room with my older brother, who was not always very kind to me at night (farting in my face, for example).  I used to wake up so early on Saturday mornings, that the test pattern was still on the Chicago PBS station, WTTW channel 11. ["Stay tuned for the 'Childrens Fair' the announcer would proclaim, but all they showed was Sesame Street & Electric Company, never showed a single dern Fair! Grrrr!]  I used to always think "Sleep is for wimps!" and "why waste time sleeping? I have a life to live!"  As I've gotten older, and wiser, I've appreciated a good night's sleep, more and more each year.

Today I heard on the radio, studies by Dr. Avi Sadeh have shown repeatedly that grade school children who get as little as 15 minutes less sleep each night, score lower on cognitive ability tests, IQ tests, mechanical skills tests and showed higher incidence of behaviour problems.  So it makes perfect sense why medical residents, army sentries, rotating manufacturing shift workers and others do such poor quality work while lacking sleep, and why airline pilots and over-the-road semi-truck drivers are Required, by Federal Law, to get adequate amounts of sleep (so they don't kill the rest of us) when they are doing their jobs. 

As little as 15 minutes less?  Wow.  I need to get to bed as soon as Colbert is done each night (on east Coast feed from cable) so I can be Up and Awake at 4am Arizona time with Bangalore each morning!

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