Stop Snoring at The Keyboard

USA Today has a story that I a well acquainted with. It is about the large numbers of people who just don’t get enough sleep.

“Admit it. You’re reading this, but given the opportunity, you’d gladly snooze or slumber. For this is a nation in dire need of a nap.Never before have work and play stolen more hours from the sandman. Between a global economy that demands increased productivity and a technology-fueled entertainment machine that provides non-stop diversions, it’s a wonder people get any rest at all.

An NBC Today show/Zogby International poll indicates nearly half of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep and roughly one-quarter get fewer than six hours a night. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show a 20-year trend of Americans reporting less sleep. Whatever the roots of a sleep problem, from a harried life to a medical condition, people are desperately seeking ways to get some quality shut-eye. (Some have found solace in sleeping-pill prescriptions, 42 million of which were filled last year, up 60% since 2000, according to research company IMS Health. Others have followed offbeat routes to a rested feeling — from frazzled New Yorkers who zonk out midday in rented napping “pods” to an Internet blogger in Las Vegas who says his energy stems from his ability to sleep in 20-minute bursts every few hours, around the clock.

Having some sort of strategy to get the sleep we need is crucial in a culture that is making increasing demands on our time, says David White, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard University and editor of the journal Sleep.

“This is an interesting juncture. Stress and anxiety levels are at a fever pitch, which limits the ability to sleep well. And there’s also more science than ever showing what a detriment that (unrested) state is to performance and health,” White says. “We all have different sleep needs. Just be sensitive to that and give yourself what you need.”

But the truth is, most of us don’t really know how sleep-deprived we are. Life pins up its daily to-do lists, and we tick off the boxes.

Freelance photographer Elizabeth Coll, 29, often found herself dragging between assignments in Manhattan but was too far from her Brooklyn home to get some z’s. Now she pops into MetroNaps in the Empire State Building.

For her $65-a-month membership, Coll is entitled to one 20-minute nap daily in one of MetroNaps’ eight sleep pods, futuristic beds each with a bubble dome that pumps in soothing New Age music.

“It’s great to be able to do this in a city that barely lets you sit down, let alone nap,” she says. “I always feel full of energy afterward.”

For Coll, the sleep thief is her frantic schedule; for others it’s the body itself.”

To read the whole story click here.

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