My life with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been hard at times, but I coupe with it. I use this blog to track my obsessions of each day, and I think it will eventually provide lots of interesting information about various subjects.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sleep

My today’s obsession is sleep. I had some art-work to finish and stayed up working up to 5AM, woke up at midday and felt quite tired. Incidentally, someone just send me interesting link to site all about sleep, hosted by BBC Science & Nature. The most interesting part of the site is sleep profiler, which can provide tailored advice on how to optimize sleep patterns.


I’ve always thought that I have a major sleeping problem, because my sleeping pattern is to go to sleep at 3-4AM, and wake up around 10-11AM. To my surprise, the sleep profiler simply said that you are probably sleeping better than you think. Furthermore it says: You are built to be at your best later in the day. Surprisingly, it also means your body clock is more flexible than people with standard or lark-like body clocks. Ideally, people should wake at the same time everyday, but being an owl, you can probably cope quite well when your sleep pattern is disrupted.

That’s actually true because majority of my art work I manage to finish late night when I’m being least distracted – with my ADHD it’s very difficult for me to focus on my work during the day, as everything simply distracts me. It’s also true that I can easily change my sleeping pattern without any implications, which is why I never have a jet lag when I travel.

Some interesting facts about sleep:
  • Scientists can't exactly explain yet why we sleep;
  • We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping;
  • Most people sleep 7.75 hours on average - Napoleon, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher got by on four hours a night;
  • The current world record for the longest period without sleep is 11 days (264 hours), set by Randy Gardner in 1965. Four days into the research, he began hallucinating. This was followed by a delusion where he thought he was a famous footballer. Surprisingly, Randy was actually functioning quite well at the end of his research and he could still beat the scientist at pinball.
  • Sleep is divided into two main stages: REM sleep (which stands for "rapid eye movement"), and non-REM (NREM) sleep.
  • REM sleep in adults typically occupies 20-25% of total sleep, lasting about 90-120 minutes. During a normal night of sleep, we usually experience about 4 or 5 periods of REM sleep; they are quite short at the beginning of the night and longer at the end. It is common to wake for a short time at the end of a REM phase.



  • Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep.
  • Some people try to cheat our natural sleep pattern, and propose alternative such as polyphasic sleep. However, because nearly everyone is monophasic sleeper, implementing other methods of sleeping simply doesn’t work well in long term.
  • The most advanced sleep suppressant generally prescribed to threat narcolepsy is Modafinil, also known under commercial trade names as Provigil, Vigil, Modiodal, Modavigil. I’ve also learnt that it was used to threat ADHD, but in 2006 FDA advisory committee decides not to recommend approval of a new drug for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Well, as ADHD it’s interesting to know, yet I’ve never been prescribed Modafinil so I’ll probably ask my doc about it.
  • A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year – even more interesting to know, because I’ll be a father in May next year, yup, my wife is pregnant.
  • A six-year study of a million adults showed that people who get only six to seven hours of sleep a night have a lower death rate than those who get eight hours.A six-year study of a million adults showed that people who get only six to seven hours of sleep a night have a lower death rate than those who get eight hours.
  • The most common reason for sleep distractions in developed countries is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet.

2 comments:

Mark said...

Pretty interesting. I have really bad sleeping habits.

Anonymous said...

This is terrific! Keep up the good work!