I think Michael Mosley is a great reporter. In my post on exercise non responders I talked about his decision to subject himself to the tests for non responsiveness to exercise.
Now, he’s off to see what changes a little more sleep will bring about. The average adult in the UK gets six and a half hours sleep a night not the recommended eight.
In this BBC report on sleep Mosley sets out to see what difference that extra bit of sleep makes.
“What they discovered is that when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours’ sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.So the clear message from this experiment was that if you are getting less than seven hours’ sleep a night and can alter your sleep habits, even just a little bit, it could make you healthier. “Have a lie-in, it will do you good” – that’s the kind of health message that doesn’t come along very often.”
I’m pretty good with sleep. I like it and I don’t have any difficulty falling asleep unlike it seems half of my friends. Most nights I’m in bed by ten and up at six. But at this point in the term, I’m sometimes pulled a bit at both ends. I find myself getting laundry in, washing dishes, class prepping, lunch packing late. Or socially, playing cards and then hitting the hot tub. And then thinking the missed hour won’t make much difference. I don’t tend to sleep in with a partner up and out early and kids getting going too.
This is a good reminder that the missed hour matters. Catching up on the weekends doesn’t work. It doesn’t make the health difference you might hope for. Regular sufficient sleep is my friend. Night night.