The sleep revolution — Summary

This book explores the relationship of sleep with our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness.

Sleeping less time is considered a badge of honor in a lot of industries. But it turns out that messing with our sleep is an expensive trade-off.

The workaholism “disease”

So what are the biggest causes of chronic sleep deprivation?

A 2014 survey revealed that 40% of the American workforce hadn’t taken a single vacation day that year.

A 2010 government report showed that 30% of all employees get less than 6 hours of sleep per night, while nearly 70% say they get insufficient sleep.

Who suffers most? The poor of course, lower-class workers often have to take several jobs to make ends meet. A 2013 survey from the University of Chicago found a linear relationship between a decrease in quality of sleep and a decrease in wealth.

Schoolchildren perform better when they follow their natural circadian rhythms.

A 1998 study by Brown University showed that children did well when school started at 8:25, but suffered when their schedules changed requiring them to be in the class by 7:20.

Getting up earlier disrupts students natural sleep-wake rhythm or circadian rhythm. Which makes them pathologically tired.

A 2011 study in Israel found that student’s attention levels improved considerably when they began class at 8:30 instead of 7:30 a.m., they ended up scoring much better in tests.

Nap rooms, daylight and work from home = more productivity

Sleeping at work isn’t a sign of laziness, to the contrary, workspaces benefit when they let their employees catch up on sleep.

Daylight is important too, a 2014 Study at the University of Illinois found that employees who work at windowless offices lose an average of 46 minutes of sleep per night, because our organism needs daylight to maintain the circadian rhythms.

Offices with flexible hours are more productive because employees get better sleep and save travel time. A Stanford study on workers in China found that employees who worked from home where up to 13% more productive than those who only worked in the office.

Electronic devices keep us up at night.

According to a 2015 consumer mobility report survey, 71% of people keep their smartphones with them while sleeping.

Being emotionally invested in Social media causes higher rates of anxiety according to Heath Cleland Woods, a sleep researcher at the University of Glasgow.

Then there is the blue light emitted from devices which also keeps us awake because it suppresses your natural production of melatonin. So try to not use your electronic devices some hours before sleep and read a book instead. Or use applications such as flux.

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Also published on Medium.