Thursday, October 18, 2007

We overestimate our sleep

Think fast! How much sleep did you get last night? Six hours? Eight hours? Ten hours? More? Less? (Why do many questions? Hm....) This post is so apropos, because I'm writing this on call, and I have no idea how much sleep I'll get tonight.

Anyway, a new study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine finds that Americans overestimate the amount of sleep they get. (abcnews) They studied about two thousand people and the subjects were over forty years old.
"As we have progressed, people are losing sleep time," explained [lead author Graciela] Silva, who is concerned that a sleep deficiency may affect daily functioning. "Physicians should take into account that people overestimate their sleep time," Silva said.

[Phyllis] Zee [director of a sleep center] agrees, and added that doctors often rely on subjective reports. "So, doctors need to be cognizant that older adults may be overestimating, and if they are actually getting less sleep, [it] may be associated with increased risk for cardiovascular, metabolic conditions that have been associated with short sleep duration."
Now, if I told you I have gotten three hours of sleep while on call this evening, what would you say? Do I need help? Do I have a problem? I thought the paradigm in medical school training is that people tend to underestimate when giving numbers -- like alcoholic drinks, cigarettes smoked, etc. Shouldn't that apply here as well :-)

1 comment:

Mimi Lenox said...

All I know is that I came home from work, stretched out for a "nap" and woke up 3 1/2 hours later. I do believe I need more sleep at night.

Ergo, I'm going to take another nap.