Why We Can't Sleep At Night Or Wake Up In The Morning

Why We Can't Sleep At Night Or Wake Up In The Morning

Jason Yang
Jun 13, 2011

Welcome to the first edition of a 3-part series detailing our difficulties in tackling the weekend killer that is Monday morning. This sleepy morning we take a look at our obsession with - and general lack of - sleep, how the "Snooze Button Effect" hurts us more than helps us, and how we're racking up a huge Sleep Debt that's simply not being repaid. We investigate the reasons for our lack of sleep and methods to help us sleep at night, as well as a multitude of alarms which wake us - from intelligent and alternative methods to cell phones and cool traditional alarm clocks. Let's agree that it's about time we all got a good night's sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation says adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night to fully function at your best during the day. A recent report by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) touts lack of sleep as a public health epidemic, linking it to occupational errors, car crashes, and diseases such as depression and diabetes. It's likely as you're reading this right now you're wishing you were back in bed, and we don't really need expensive studies and fancy reports to tell us we're tired.

The so-called "Snooze Button Effect" is notoriously bad for you, interrupting your natural sleep cycle and too short to actually contribute to truly gaining any additional rest. With a 6am start to our morning leading the ranks of wakeup times we're sleeping less and less during the week. The CDC report shows reasons for sleep difficulties range from financial and work related issues to concerns about your commute and even your hobbies. It also doesn't help when we perpetuate the behavior with the mindset that we can sleep in on the weekends to catch up on your sleep debt, although reportedly only a few hours at a time. WebMd cautions against the mindset that this catch-up method is the end-all to recovery, with only short-term gains:

"Many people have a false sense of reassurance that they can quickly recover from a chronic sleep debt with just one or two days of good sleep," researcher Daniel Cohen, MD, of the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, says in a news release. "However, the lingering effect of chronic sleep loss causes performance to deteriorate dramatically when these individuals stay awake for an extended period of time..."
Researchers found that one long night of sleep can temporarily hide the effects of sleep deprivation and restore performance to normal levels in the short term for about six hours after waking. However, performance may worsen the longer the person is awake, and there is an increased risk of fatigue-related errors the longer the person stays awake.
(Source: Snoozester Labs: The Wake Up Time Report)

It's a recurring discussion at Unplggd how technology can both hinder and help your sleeping habits and quality of sleep - whether it's gadgets lighting up the bedroom with a glow of lights, browsing the web in bed, technology can sometimes really interrupt our body's natural needs and tendencies. That doesn't necessarily mean we need to shut tech out of the bedroom, but possibly find constructive ways for tech to help us get better sleep, whether it's monitoring our sleep patterns or finding better or alternative natural methods for alarm clocks - let's figure out how to prevent tech from keeping us awake at night and use it in constructive ways to help us to better sleep.

[ Continue reading part 2 - How To Kick Start Your Morning & Bathroom Routines and part 3 - Get Your Day Started Right With A Good Breakfast & Coffee]

Better Sleep: Sleep commentary, aids and tech to fight insomnia

Snooze Button: Doing battle with the snooze button

Alarm Clock Roundups

Intelligent Alarms: Sleep cycle alarm clocks

Cruel Alarms: Clocks that make you interact with them to turn them off

Voice Controlled Alarm Clocks

Unique alarm clocks

Alternative Methods: light boxes and dawn simulators

Silent Alarms

Cell Phone Alarms

Clocks as Furniture

Monday Morning Blues Tech Cures

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