Monday, March 09, 2009

Studies conflict on whether or not we're sleeping less

The National Sleep Foundation announced this week that mean hours of sleep have slipped from 7 hours in 2001 to 6.7 this year. (CNN) But the Bureau of Labor Statistics and US Census Bureau, which also track sleep, report we're getting 8.6 hours of sleep. And we've been getting 8.6 hours of sleep since 1965.

What's going on here? The Sleep Foundation's poll is based on telephone interviews. The government report is based on diary entries (time use surveys). So which one is right? According to one expert, "the time use surveys may overestimate sleep, because sleeplessness such as insomnia, tossing and turning and lying awake are categorized as sleep."

Pound360 is inclined to believe the Sleep Foundation's report. But that's just because we're chronically sleep-deprived, and we don't know anyone who claims to be getting enough sleep. But are we or the people we hang out with representative of the country as a whole? Pound360 is a bunch of pretty weird people, and the company we keep is even stranger.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.