Looking to catch up on the latest discussions and research in the world of shuteye? I've got you covered. Here's this week's Nightcap:
The kids are going to be up all night
Another week, another call for later school start times and increased acknowledgement that teens are wired to be creatures of the night. If we force the not-quite-adult set to keep early hours, explains Perri Klass, a professor of journalism and pediatrics at NYU, then we're subjecting them to chronic tiredness and all sorts of related safety hazards and health problems. Raise your hand if you want to cruise down the interstate next to a sleep-deprived teenager who's prone to risky behavior and emotional volatility. That's what I thought. [NYT]
There's something about Sunday
...that ruins sleep. In a recent YouGov poll of 4,279 Americans and Brits, people were most likely to say they have trouble sleeping on Sunday, compared to other days of the week. Monday was the second-most sleepless, while respondents were least likely report tossing and turning on Thursday night. [Entrepreneur]
Of course males pull all-nighters to hit on females
Fine, this isn't so much about humans as fruit flies, aka drosophila, which apparently act like exaggerated stereotypes of swinging singles. If male flies are around females, according to a recent study, they'll stay up all night to "court" the fly ladies. The fly ladies, however, do not give up sleep for the possibility of sex. Researchers were also able to pinpoint a group of newly discovered neurons that enable male flies to stay awake so they can flirt the night away. [Van Winkle's]
But when exactly is shower-o'clock?
The AM-vs.-PM shower debate is a tale as old as time. (This is probably not true.) But, according to both a doctor and a self-appointed Sleep Ambassador, there actually is a right time of day to lather up and rinse off: At night. Why? Because it's good to go to bed clean. Also, a pre-bed shower = me time. "Call it an opportunity to shower yourself with mindfulness!," said the Sleep Ambassador. Care to offer a rebuttal, morning showerers? [Glamour]
Something to consider on career day
When you stand up for a living, you don't get a lot of time to lie down. At least, that's what a survey conducted by a German newspaper found. The survey looked at sleep habits across 100 different professions and found that security guards log the least amount of sleep. The best-rested worker bees were shop assistants, followed by journalists and actors. [The Guardian]
Yup, that's a crazy dream. Now, let's talk about anything else
You think your dream is hilarious. Or miraculously strange — almost David Lynch-esque, right? As for me? I think I probably don't care about your dream, and it seems like Jim Davies, a cognitive science professor at Carleton University, is on the same page. In an anti-dream-sharing piece, Davies floats an explanation for why we're fascinated by our own dreams and other people aren't. For one thing, Davies suggests, dreams tend to be highly emotional. And, while our own emotional experiences feel significant to us, they will not resonate with our nearest and dearest in the same way. (If you do want to share your dreams, might I suggest following these guidelines.) [Scientific American]
Baby boxes, ftw?
You remember the baby box, the (free) parenting starter kit that doubles as a newborn's first bed. In Finland, new parents receive complimentary baby boxes (provided they obtain prenatal care). It's a wonderfully sweet, 75-year-old tradition that's emblematic of Scandinavian health care. And, over the past two years, baby boxes have started to gain traction in the US.
But not everyone's on the same page when it comes to the benefits of the box. On one hand, there's new research showing that distributing baby boxes to new moms, coupled with face-to-face education about safe sleeping practices, has lead to reduced bed-sharing, a behavior that's been linked to infant mortality. [NPR]
On the other hand, some experts caution against embracing baby boxes without sufficient evidence of their safety. So far, they argue, baby-box excitement is mainly based on their popularity in Finland. And, while the Finnish infant mortality rate is considerably lower than that of the US, there's no research that says baby boxes are the reason. Not to mention, we don't know much about the products we're using: US baby boxes aren't regulated by the same rigorous and objectively determined safety standards as other infant sleep products. It may turn out that baby boxes deserve the hype they're getting. But, at this point, experts say, it's too early to jump on the baby-box bandwagon. [NYT]