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Open Line: Asleep at the Headline

If you're not too exhausted, chime in with your thoughts on being sleep-deprived or on any other topic that has your attention today.

The good news keeps coming for those of us stumbling through life at 3:30 in the morning. As my wife has tired of reminding me, medical science apparently has picked sleep deprivation as the silent killer of the 21st century.

From nodding off behind the wheel (been there, done that) to forgetting things and being irritable (check and check) to becoming obese (no comment) to plummeting into depression or dropping dead of a stroke or heart attack (so far, so good—see, optimism), the dangerous effects of lack of sleep keep piling up. Adding a rising risk of Type 2 diabetes, as reported in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is no surprise.

I don’t take the fatalistic “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” view; instead, I have an intellectual curiosity.

What if we’re each biologically programmed to have only so many waking hours in our lives? Is it better to get eight hours of sleep a night and stretch those waking hours over an extra couple of decades? Are those hours better spent in exhaustion from lack of sleep at age 42 or in exhaustion from long life at age 92?

Wake me up by posting your thoughts in the comments below, or use your well-rested brain to take today’s discussion in an entirely different direction.

Sue Alexander April 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Sounds like me!
Lindsey Davidson April 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Lack of sleep doesn't bother me at this point in my life. I may still be riding the high from my college years from being able to sleep two or three hours a night and be completely refreshed each morning. If I get six hours a night, I feel that is more than enough. For me, it's more a mind trick. If I go to bed before midnight, then I tell myself, no matter what time I get up in the morning, I am getting a full night of rest and then I will be ready to tackle the next day, whether I am getting up at 3 a.m. or 8 a.m. It's been working thus far. Or so I think? I haven't fallen asleep behind the wheel yet.
Donna Espy-Rypel April 19, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Lack of sleep DOES bother me at this point in my life (shall we just call it middle age?)....I can go with 4-5 hours of sleep for ONE night, and then I have to make it up the next night or I feel rotten all day....I think age has a lot to do with it and your body's metabolism...and, yes, I have also almost fallen asleep behind the wheel and promised myself that will NEVER happen again...too scary!

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