Discuss the Aspect of The Daily Life That Contributes to Sleep Debt/Does Not Accommodate Chronotypes
The podcast interview with Matthew Walker discussed how not getting enough sleep severely affects people’s health and well-being. The doctor noted that in many cases, the time a person wakes up and goes to sleep is affected by their genes (Gross, 2018-present). In society, a desire to sleep longer in the morning is usually frowned upon, with many attributing such behavior to laziness or a lack of a schedule. This creates an unfair bias against people that are biologically wired to adhere to another sleep pattern. Dr. Walker uses teenagers and the school system as an example, but work can be a display of such discrimination as well. In most workplaces, it is accepted that employees need to start their workday early, regardless of the type of work they perform or their sleep patterns. The corporate rules put Owls at an unfair disadvantage, worsening their quality of sleep and decreasing productivity. Owls are often unable to fall asleep early enough for them to be productive at 7, 8, or 9 in the morning. The need to adhere to a constricting schedule in fear of losing one’s employment is harmful to an individual’s mental and physical health.
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My Sleep Habits Throughout the Week and Chronotype
In regards to myself, I probably have an irregular sleep schedule and do not get enough sleep. Analyzing the sleep patterns throughout the week, I have often gone to bed at 2 or 3 in the night, and slept for 5 hours or less. I usually do not have problems with being asleep, however, I have woken up in the middle of the night once, feeling anxious. After waking up I often do not feel fully rested and have to prevent myself from falling asleep during the day. My sleeping habits are bad for my health and performance during the day. I think I would classify myself as more of an owl, than a lark, although I do sometimes sleep and wake up early. My daily schedule does not allow me to fully rest even when I want to sleep more, so I have no way of knowing whether that would improve my well-being. In regards to insomnia, I have no noticeable troubles with going to bed and do not suffer from insomnia. Having low blood pressure, I avoid drinking coffee as it makes me feel nauseous. Most of the caffeine I consume daily comes from tea, which I enjoy drinking much more. I do not consume alcohol, never used it as a solution for sleep problems.
My Experience with Dreams
The podcast talks at length about the people’s experiences with dreams. Matthew Walker notes that all people have them, many just cannot remember (Gross, 2018-present). People typically dream during the phase called Rapid Eye Movement, or REM sleep (Gross, 2018-present). In this period, the person’s eyes quickly move from one direction to another while being closed. If woken up, people in this stage of sleep report seeing dreams. I think that dreaming can be considered a brain’s attempt at making sense of the information acquired during the day. While sleeping, people have the ability to process the gathered data and sort out everything unimportant. Dreams, in my opinion, allow people to unwind and get better rest. I would say that I rarely remember my dreams, or often forget them right after waking up. Some dreams are recurring and create a sense of familiarity, even when I cannot remember having them before. They are usually vague, and I have no control over my experience. Quite often I see nightmares, although almost all of them have stopped being scary. In some exceptions, I wake up with an accelerated heart rate and a sudden rush of anxiety.
Which Advice Can Help Me Fall Asleep Quicker
Among all of the suggestions offered by Dr. Walker, a few can be effective in improving my quality of rest. I think that regularity of sleep would greatly improve my well-being, decrease stress, and provide a solution to my critical lack of sleep. Establishing a daily routine develops brain patterns that come to associate a particular timeframe with a desire to sleep, making the task of falling asleep much easier (Gross, 2018-present). A regular sleep schedule would also guarantee that I can get at least 8 hours of sleep. I would implement this advice by setting alarms at particular times and finishing up all of my daily activities by that time, then going to rest. Another advice I could use in my day-to-day life is staying away from my phone when preparing to go to bed. I, like many others, find it hard to separate myself from my gadgets, which is detrimental to my ability to get healthy amounts of sleep. I feel that if I make an effort of finding a more calming activity to occupy myself with, instead of using the phone or the laptop, I would probably have a much higher overall quality of sleep. Finding and writing down a list of activities that do not involve technology could help me in this endeavor.
Responding to “I am Sleepy”
- Aspect A – I can fully agree with defining work as a source of sleep debt, and would cite as a source of dissatisfaction for many people, not just owls. In many places, decreased productivity in the morning is considered to be a flaw of one’s character, not an organizational issue. This leads to many people feeling inadequate in life, without ever realizing that they may not be at fault. While improving one’s work schedule might help in boosting performance, I think it is unfair to demand that people should warp their own nature to be able to procure a stable life.
- Aspect B – I would say your assessment of yourself is informative, and I can relate to your Owl experiences a lot. Having trouble falling asleep is unfortunate, and I sincerely hope that some of the tactics relayed in the podcast may help you with this issue. I think that the use of meditation might be effective in your case, as it would help to relax and put the mind in the right state.
- Aspect C – In your assessment, you focused on another aspect of dreaming that I somewhat overlooked. The fact the human brain can produce a series of imaginary events of its own accord is very intriguing and fascinating. The function of dreaming as a part of sleep is not entirely certain, but it is nevertheless interesting to know what visions the brain can conjure up without one’s intent.
- Aspect D – While describing the effects of a behavioral therapist, you said that it is “as effective as sleeping pills”, which is a sharp contradiction to Dr. Walker’s assessment of the latter. He puts emphasis on the fact that the current sleep medication cannot induce real sleep, instead of making the person lose consciousness more easily. Behavioral therapy, on the contrary, helps the individual to sleep healthily throughout the night. The other steps you decided to take are valid and effective in improving one’s sleep schedule.
Gross, T. (Host). (2018-present). Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life ‘In An Underslept State’ [Audio podcast]. NPR. Web.