Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day People, Night People

Don't Snooze, You Lose

I think it is Mark Twain who is credited with the saying, "There are only two kinds of people day people and night people. And they always marry each other." Such is the case with almost every couple I know. One is usually a lark, up before the crack of dawn and ready and raring to go, but whose eyes drop as the sun goes down. The other one is an owl who cannot function properly in the morning regardless of the amount of caffeine but who comes alive after the sun goes down and usually is active well into the wee small. When two such people marry, they make each other miserable.

Night hawks have a worse time of it, I think. The world is designed by the early bird for the early bird. I'm not only NOT an early bird, I hate worms. Those of us who do our best work at night (and I'm not talking hanky panky, although..... but that's another story) find it most difficult to rise and shine and be at work by nine. Some of us who are lucky enough can fake it by walking through the motions in a sleepy semi stupor until a reasonable hour - such as 11 a.m. - then coming alive for the rest of the work day.

I also have the additional burden of being left handed in a right handed world. Despite jokes about lefties being the only ones in their right minds, pity the poor southpaw who has to learn to drive, write, and open cans. School desks are designed for righties, as are binders, checks, signature cards, and even pens for signing are fastened in a manner to accommodate righties.

But there are those of us who are night owls and have had to adopt a sleep-deprivation modus operandi, as well as those of you who are early birds and must go out nights for social functions and lose sleep over it. Neither group is doing themselves any favors. Researchers have for years professed that a lack of sleep leads to fatigue which leads to poor performance. But thank goodness for weekends where we can catch up on our sleep, right?

Well, not exactly. New research suggests that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to the inability to make up for lost sleep. In recent studies lab rats that were regularly deprived of sleep were unable to recover their sleep and had manual dexterity, memory, and other problems associated with sleep deprivation. Sleep loss can even lead to obesity, say the researchers (so THAT'S why I'm portly!)

So get the required 7 or 8 hours per sleep each night and tell your partner that it is for your health - that rats in studies proved it to be so. Of course, as an old psychology professor of mine was fond of saying, "Be cautious of extrapolating the behavior of lab rats to human behavior. Remember, rats aren't people, even though some people may be rats." A little blogging music maestro... do you know "California Deamin'?"

Dr. Forgot

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