Human biology is tuned to a 24-hour light-dark cycle but modern lifestyles are disrupting it with unhealthy consequences, says Linda Geddes
From a The Architectural Review online article (April 9, 2020):
The sleep industry caters to a working consumer’s wish to sleep less, yet sleep more productively, and accommodates transnational industry which has joined the state as a custodian of biopolitics. Jonathan Crary’s 24/7 spells out in detail how the state and a capitalist economy are encroaching stupendously on the private sphere, in which sleep was one of the last vestiges of unfettered time.
About 15 years ago, someone calculated the financial loss US companies incurred through workers’ illicit practice of sleeping on the job. Indeed, the trope of the lazy sleeper is an old one, resignified at present in our more than callous attitude towards the homeless, whose sleeping bodies punctuate many a journey to and from work.
Even in this most passive stance – someone simply disregarding normative codes and regulations by giving in to a physical need – sleep seems suspiciously subversive. Less an act than a way of being, the sleeper, by sleeping when and where it is not condoned, challenges everyone else, who is doing/working/functioning/functionalised. Contrary to the tree falling in the forest, the sleeper in the workplace or in public space affects and thus ever so slightly transforms those around them.
From a MedPageToday.com online article (March 2, 2020):
“Dysfunctional sleep likely is by far the most prevalent comorbidity in CVD. This makes it essential to explore the nature of sleep, but this is reliant on the enthusiasm of clinician scientists,” according to the editorialists.
“In modern society, both the quantity and quality of sleep are negatively influenced by factors such as longer hours of work, more shift work, artificial light and cell phones, all leading to self-reported daytime symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, and sleepiness,”
A larger range in individual sleep duration and sleep timing across 7 days of wrist actigraphy was associated with significantly more CVD events over a median 4.9 years of follow-up (P=0.002 for both trends).
From a Philips “2020 Sleep Survey” online release (Mar 2, 2020):
“The decrease in people taking action to improve sleep is alarming, especially when it is clear people around the world deeply value sleep. Sleep deficit impacts people both mentally and physically, so we need to educate people on available sleep resources and empower them with the confidence that their efforts will pay off,” said Mark Aloia, PhD, Global Lead for Behavior Change, Sleep & Respiratory Care at Philips.
From a Sleep Medicine online release (January 2020):
Our findings suggest that LAN (low-level light at night) exposure increases the incidence of diabetes in a general elderly population. Further research involving a large cohort with new-onset diabetes is warranted to elucidate these findings.
- Humans are commonly exposed to light at night.
- Higher light exposure at night was significantly associated with higher incidence rate of diabetes.
- The association was consistent in the analysis using the cut-off values of LAN as 3 and 5 lux.
- Strengths include large samples adjusting a number of confounders.
The circadian timing system, located within the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, controls fundamental energy homeostasis. Clock gene mutations induce obesity in mice, and the disruption of internal circadian rhythms decreases daily energy expenditures and leptin levels in humans. Light information received by the brain influences human circadian timing and metabolism; low-level light at night (LAN) significantly increased body mass and led to prediabetes in mice. In humans, bedroom LAN affected obesity parameters; however, the association between LAN and the incidence of diabetes in humans has not been studied.
From a Psychology Today online article:
For those with insomnia, however, the stressor appears to be the lack of sleep, and the desire for sleep becomes a stressor in itself. In other words, the fixation on getting sleep leads to feelings of stress over not falling asleep, which begins a vicious loop. According to a model first proposed by Kales et al. in 1976, patients can develop a conditioned fear of not being able to sleep, which puts them in a state of hyperarousal when they attempt to fall asleep. This makes their inability to sleep a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Insomnia is the most common sleep condition in the world, with half of adults globally reporting occasional episodes. Chronic insomnia, though far less prevalent, affects as many as 10 to 15 percent of the adult population.
Though these sleep problems are extremely common, the neurobiological mechanisms behind insomnia are not entirely understood. Research suggests that emotional stressors do play an outsized role in contributing to sleep problems, and it is well documented that mood and anxiety disorders are common comorbidities with insomnia. This seems like common sense. Emotional arousal, whether due to a state of anxiety or because of intrusive thoughts, makes it difficult to relax, thereby inhibiting one’s ability to either initiate sleep or get back to sleep after waking.