At the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 49th Annual Meeting, Dr. Dinges (the scientist who produced the research mentioned in my earlier post) announced some new information building on his previous research. All of the scientific mumbo-jumbo boils down to two main points.
(This is an update to my earlier post about sleep. Read it here: http://samuelsharmatmd.com/Blog/?p=11)
The first is that it takes more than one long night of sleep to make up for one decreased night of sleep. A lot of us feel like we might have known this already, but his study actually confirms it.
The second point is that if you go multiple nights with decreased sleep, you will tend to max-out in terms of how tired you get. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you won’t realize that your brain functioning will be getting worse day by day, so you might keep running up your sleep deficit thinking you’re not doing any further harm but you’re actually getting worse and worse. Like some other situations (i.e., addiction, bipolar disorder, personality disorders), this is another case of the brain not knowing what’s going on with itself. (A topic for another post….)
What’s the bottom line of all this? You really do need sleep – 8 or more hours’ worth. And with the new research about sleep and beauty (http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c6614), you might even end up more attractive. Hey, you never know.
I appreciate understanding that a person can feel “just fine” without knowing that they are suffering the effects of lack of sleep. When I read 8 hours, I think of it as an incredible luxury. What if I let myself really get that much sleep? Would I be effective enough in my waking hours? It might be very interesting to try it for a week and see.
Indeed! Let us know how your experiment goes!