Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This sleep business

The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it
with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make
up our bodies every morning to keep it late.

                                                                     Charles Caleb Colton

“Sleep is a selfish thing to do. No one can share your sleep”, said Neil Stanley at the British Science Festival at Guildford, the town about thirty miles outside of London.  It is an event where Europen scientists share their findings.

Neil Stanley stunned his audience when he proclaimed, “Sharing a bed with someone you care about is great for sex, but not much else.”  But then again, he has a point, and his study on the subject proved that someone who shared a bed was 50 percent more likely to be disturbed during the night than a person who slept alone.  

He mentioned the adverse effects of poor nights of sleep and their consequences – from divorce to depression to heart disease to ill temperament.  And then he suggested “separate beds” for couples.  Eventually, Neil Stanley became famous for articulating what we had always thought about: That even the loveliest person in the world can turn into an enemy taking up space on a mattress once sleep is at stake.”

Read David K. Randall’s Salon article regarding this thought-provoking issue, and then figure out if separate beds are indeed liberating and if couples who sleep apart are healthier, have happier marriages and strong sex lives.

There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest,
than in all the alcohol ever distilled.

                                                       Edward Lucas

On the business front of sleeplessness, The "sleep-assistance" industry is booming and is expected to keep growing even more in the next few years.. Its estimated revenues for 2012 are expected to surpass $32 billion, an average annual increase of 8.8% a year since 2008. That’s according to a recent report in The Fiscal Times, which offers a description of the sleep economy --   ”including everything from pills, products and medical devices to ‘sleep consultants’ who farm themselves out to hospitals, labs, and sleep centers, to luxe mattresses made with tension-relieving foams.”

A Time article claims that there is a shockingly large number of people who pay for products or services to help them get a healthy dose of sleep at night (or during the day).  The article also cites a Center for Disease Control report that shiows more than 40 million people, or roughly a third of working Americans, are getting insufficient amount of sleep, which is 7 to 9 hours for adults as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.  In addition, it is estimated that another 10 million to 30 million have trouble getting the rest they need on a regular basis. 

Sleep-deprivation has supposedly become a widespread concern that “Increase the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep” is one of the stated goals of Healthy People 2020, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program launched in 2010.

Thus, one can only expect a growing number of entrepreneurs and investors intent on developing products or services -- organic more so than drug-based, hopefully -- to provide relief to the sleep-deprived populace.

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Sharing with Project 52 and Our World Tuesday

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  1. i envy the old man and the boy--they can sleep in that position.:p i need to be comfortable to take a nap or to get a good night sleep. i've accepted the fact that i'm wired differently--di ko na pinipilit matulog ng maaga.:p

    the day bed is inviting, it's perfect for an afternoon nap. is that in your house?

    1. I wish, Luna ... lol! This bed was part of an art installation at Pinto Gallery in Antipolo City. I covered the exhibit for a US art glossy. Have you been there? From what I understand it has a wonderful cafe.

      I, too, had to be in bed to get a restful nod. One of the reasons I do not enjoy intercontinental journeys is because I find it difficult to sleep even at first class or business seats.


  2. I read about half of Randall's article and then.. lost interest. But overall, this is an interesting subject that you bring up. Sensitive for many of us, i think. The secret to a good night's sleep for me (whether alone or with my mate), is to have put in a full day (physically and mentally) and to be tired when I hit the bed. I did not read the Time article, but am aware of the growing obsession with sleep. I'm convinced much of that has to do with technology. Case in point - the hour of my writing this comment :) Certainly, as a recently retired teacher, sleep deprivation was an issue for many students AND staff.

    1. Interesting point you brought up, Carol -- sleep deprivation among students. Even teachers at grade school level lament about their pupils watching TV all night and coming to school the following day groggy and lethargic because of lack of sleep.