Lesson 1 of 7 - free your true Self to guide you

Two Research Summaries on
American Sleep Deprivation

An indicator of widespread
self and parental neglect

  The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/gwc/news/ltl_sleep.htm

Updated  03-07-2015

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        These two recent research summaries support two premises in this nonprofit Website. The fist is that unhealthy self-neglect is widespread in America, which stems from ignorance, reality distortion ("I'm not at risk of health problems"), and shame {"I'm not worth taking care of").

      The second premise is that a high percentage of personal and social problems in U.S. kids and adults come from early-childhood parental neglect, abandonment, and abuse ("trauma"). See my comments after these summaries. The links and hilights in this article are mine - Peter Gerlach, MSW

Americans Skip Sleep for Work, Leisure

By Kathleen Fackelmann,

USA Today - 08-30-07,  via AOL Health News

(Aug. 30, 2007) - Americans who log long hours on the job find the time for leisure and other activities by cutting down on sleep, a study reports today.

"We only have 24 hours in a day," says Mathias Basner, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

His study of 47,731 Americans found that people who worked more simply got up earlier or went to bed later -- a practice that puts them at risk of sleep deprivation. Time spent at work is the single biggest determinant of how much sleep Americans got on a typical day, according to the study in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal Sleep. But travel time, including time sitting in traffic on the way to work, comes in second place, Basner says.

"You could argue there's a hidden cost to living in suburbia," says Gregory Belenky, director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University in Spokane. People who live in sprawling urban areas often make a long workday even longer when they try to run errands on clogged roads, he says.

Basner says sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of serious health problems, including obesity.

People who are chronically sleep-deprived also can experience attention lapses, memory loss and other difficulties that can impair performance on the job, says James Walsh, executive director of the sleep medicine and research center at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis.

And fatigue can add an element of danger to an already stressful commute. "If you're only sleeping five hours a night, you're at risk of falling asleep at the wheel," Walsh says.

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 100,000 automobile crashes a year and more than 1,500 deaths.

Basner's team analyzed the results of a federal survey conducted in 2003 through 2005. People were asked to account for their time over a 24-hour period. The survey suggests that people who cut back on sleep on weekdays often try to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. But people who cut back on sleep night after night might never catch up, Walsh says.

Surveys suggest Americans get about 6 hours of sleep a night -- about an hour less than the average in the 1950s, he says. Today, many adults extend their workdays by using cellphones to check e-mail messages.

A second study in Sleep suggests that teens who use cellphones after lights out can have daytime sleepiness. The teens in this study lived in Europe, but teens in the USA also use cellphones to text-message and chat with friends at all hours, says Amy Wolfson of the National Sleep Foundation.

"We're living in a 24/7 culture, and teens are mimicking adults," she says.

Says Walsh: "People feel that sleep is negotiable." Yet studies suggest that most adults need from seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and teens need nine hours or more in order to do their best during the day, he says.

Copyright 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. All Rights Reserved.

+ + +

Too Little Childhood Sleep Tied to Later Problems

By Will Dunham, Reuters News - 4-07-2008

Getting too little sleep doubles a young child's risk of being overweight and raises the chances of later anxiety and depression, researchers said on Monday.

Several studies published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine add heft to the notion that getting enough sleep has wide-ranging health benefits.

Previous studies have shown that older children and adults who get too little sleep are more likely to weigh too much. Researchers led by Dr. Elsie Taveras of Harvard Medical School demonstrated that this is also the case in very young kids.

In a study involving 915 children in Massachusetts, they found that those who slept less than 12 hours a day in the first two years of life were twice as likely to be overweight at age 3 than children who slept longer.

Very young children need more sleep and those in this study slept an average of 12.3 hours per day.

"There are consequences to children not sleeping well, even at this age," Taveras said in a telephone interview. "It's going to be important to help parents learn how to improve the quality of their children's sleep."

Television tended to make matters worse, with children who watched two or more hours daily by age 2 more likely to be overweight at age 3, the researchers said. Taveras said getting enough sleep is becoming harder with televisions, computers and video games in kids' bedrooms.

The researchers said previous studies in adults and older children have shown that restricting sleep changes certain hormone levels, possibly stimulating hunger and weight gain.


Another team of researchers led by Alice Gregory of the University of London examined the long-term emotional fallout from too little sleep in childhood. They gathered sleep data on 2,076 Dutch children ages 4 to 16, and then questioned them as adults years later about various emotional and behavioral symptoms.

The children who slept less than others reported more anxiety, depression and aggressive behavior as adults, the researchers said.

Researchers led by Valerie Sung of Royal Children's Hospital in Parkville, Australia found that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder  commonly had sleep problems. Among 239 Australian children ages 5 to 18 years with ADHD in the study, 73 percent had sleep problems. Their most common problems were difficulty falling asleep, resisting going to bed and tiredness upon waking, Sung said.

Compared to other children with ADHD but no sleep problems, these children were more likely to have poorer quality of life and daily functioning, as well as poorer school attendance.

Sung offered advice to families of children with ADHD. "If you are worried about your child's sleep, ask your doctor for help, and if help is not forthcoming, keep asking and seek help from a specialist sleep clinic at your closest children's hospital," Sung said by e-mail.

(Editing by Maggie Fox)

Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.


      The first report above suggests that some (or many?) American adults aren't getting enough sleep - largely because of work and commuting hours, and liesure acrivities. The report quotes several authorities saying that chronic sleep deprivation poses significant health risks and social dangers (e.g. dozing off while driving).

        The second report proposes that young kids who get too little sleep are prone to obesity and depression in later years. An apparent link between AD/HD and sleep deprivation is mentioned. One authority recommended that parents whose kids have sleep problems should persistently seek medical advice. I propose such parents would profit more by hiring a competent therapist to assess their family system. If it's functional enough, then seek medical counsel.

       Neither report speculates on why American adults would sacrifice their sleep and health for work and leisure, or why some young kids are sleep-deprived. Opinion - they're symptoms of widespread adult self-neglect, and parental unawareness and neglect. It's likely that stress in low-nurturance ("dysfunctional") homes would hinder healthy sleep of all family members.

      Both of these stressors are symptoms of the invisible [wounds + unawareness) cycle that's inexorably weakening our culture. This online ad-free self-study course offers a practical way to break this lethal cycle and protect future generations.   

 Peter Gerlach, MSW

       For more perspective, see these related research summaries..

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