11 Oct

Myth: Skipping a little sleep isn’t that horrible
Fact: Missing even 90 minutes of sleep for just 1 night can reduce your daytime alertness by as much as 32%.

That’s enough to impair your memory, your thinking ability, and your safety on the job and on the road. One Australian study found that volunteers who stayed awake just 6 hours past their normal bedtime for a single day performed as poorly on tests gauging attentiveness and reaction time as those who were legally drunk. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2009 poll showed that as many as 1.9 million drivers have had a car crash or a near miss due to drowsiness in the past year.

What’s worse, sleep deprivation also impairs your ability to recognize that you’re not running on all cylinders. In other words, you really shouldn’t be operating heavy machinery (or much else), but you don’t realize it. “The ability to judge how well you’re doing is probably one of the first things to go when you don’t get enough sleep,” says Cote. “That’s why you need to take preventive measures.”

Energy fix: If you miss several hours of sleep one night, consider calling in sick the next day or ask if you can work from home. (That way, you won’t have to drive.) If possible, set aside part of your lunch hour for a nap. Remember to set an alarm, or ask a buddy to wake you.

Myth: It doesn’t matter ‘when’ you go to sleep
Fact: Night owls are nearly 3 times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than early birds, one study found—even when they got the same total amount of sleep.

Experts aren’t sure exactly why, but there may be an optimal time within the 24-hour clock to fall asleep and wake up, says Lisa Shives, MD, sleep expert and founder of North Shore Sleep Medicine. “This and other research shows that going to bed late can be bad for your mood and your overall health.”

Energy fix: If you want to shift back your bedtime, start gradually: head to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier every few days, and make sure the lights in your home are dim for about 2 hours before that time, says Shives. Then set your alarm to wake up 7 to 8 hours later.

– Source:  Yahoo Health


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