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Out of Our Minds
Friday, April 07, 2006 12:52 PM
Do you get enough sleep?
Curt Rosengren on Health & Wellness

Is your life an exercise in sleep deprivation? Are you burning the candle on both ends and wondering how you can light up the middle too? If you and a good night's sleep are strangers, you might be surprised at how that affects you. In her career column in the Boston Globe, Penelope Trunk points out...
The Sleep Foundation determined that people who remain awake for 18 hours straight function similar to those drinkers with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, the level Massachusetts uses to determine whether someone is legally impaired to operate a car.

And, when you don't get enough sleep your brain starts thinking it needs to store food, according to Eve Van Cauter, a researcher at the University of Chicago. Leptin, a hormone that helps regulate hunger and body fat, drops from lack of sleep, triggering hunger.
Oh no! What to do?! (Well, besides get enough sleep, of course...) How about taking a "caffeine nap?"

Caffeine can clear your body of the chemical adenosine, which makes us want to sleep. Researchers at the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University in England...found that the best way to regain alertness if you feel like you're falling asleep is to chug a cup of coffee and then immediately take a 15-minute nap. The idea is to get the sleep in before the caffeine takes effect.

Not a good long-term solution - but it'll do in a pinch.



Monica Ricci - 5/7/2006 11:38:19 AM
It's no secret that Americans are sleep deprived. As Jan mentioned, shift work is a bear of a reality for a lot of folks. With my clients, I teach them that sleep is one of the most important things they can do to ensure their health and effectiveness both at home and at work. I once heard the expression "Fatique makes cowards of us all" and I believe it's true. I know when I'm sleepy, I can't even begin to do something as mundane as balancing my checkbook, let alone calling prospects! In many cases, getting more sleep involves becoming aware of why you're NOT getting enough sleep in the first place, and then addressing those issues individually. It means drawing boundaries on how thin you spread yourself, and perhaps changing your home routines and habits. This is sometimes difficult, but if you focus on the payoff, you will ultimately get better waking life results because you're getting more sleep. ~Monica
Jerrome - 4/7/2006 3:45:06 PM
What's funny about that last study, Curt, is that I often find myself tired in the afternoon right after I drink a cup of coffee. A 10-minute snooze works wonders. I wonder if those are related to that study...
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 4/7/2006 3:19:36 PM
Curt, My husband is a fire-fighter so I see first hand what sleep deprivation can do to a person and it's not pretty. I often wonder how the medical industry manages to function as a team when they endorse pushing long hours on their interns. Methinks coffee just won't cut it there. I would love to be able to find a long-term solution for my husband, and others like him, who suffer from serious sleep issues, (shift work included.) Living la vida fearless, Jan


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