Colleges Are Waking Up To Learn About Better Sleep:
I recently was reading about sleep on the College Campus, and discovered that before arriving on campus, Harvard’s incoming Class of 2022 has been asked to complete “Sleep 101,” an interactive online module designed to educate students on the importance of sleep health, reports The Harvard Gazette.
This all stemmed from one student who took one of the most popular classes on campus: “Time for Sleep: Impact of Sleep Deficiency and Circadian Disruption in our 24/7 Culture”.
For his final project, the student developed and disseminated a survey for students sleeping in the dormitories about how noise impacted their sleep quality. Next, he took these data and presented them to the Administration to see if the well-known “Bells” at Harvard could be rung later to accommodate for the students who wanted to sleep in. Unfortunately, tradition seems to have won out over science and common sense, but the student did apply for and was granted a small amount of money to help educate other administrators on campus, and Harvard has an amazing interactive website which explains how to set up a dorm room for better sleep.
I am thrilled that this student took this amazing initiative to try and help his fellow students, hopefully, one day the Administration will see the value and maybe change the bells schedule!
New Data Shows That Sleep Restriction Therapy (for Insomnia) Does Not Affect Driving The Next Day!
The other interesting study was about Sleep Restriction Therapy. You may recall that I have written about Sleep Restriction therapy before, this is where a person will look at their current sleep schedule and then restrict their time in bed, to only time when they are sleeping. This causes a mild bit of sleep deprivation which can eventually help a person fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. It is very counterintuitive but works VERY well (in many cases without medications). But there has been a long-time concern that if sleep was restricted (to 6 hours or less) that this would have a big effect on next day driving. While still a concern, this new research shows that it is not nearly as bad as was previously thought.
As reported by Sleep Review:
Sleep restriction therapy (SRT) doesn’t interfere with a patient’s ability to drive, reports Flinders University’s blog and recent publication.
While the restriction of sleep can induce excessive daytime sleepiness and slow reaction times, the trial found that the application of SRT according to recent guidelines (set down by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2017) led to an average decrease in sleep duration of 32 minutes.
Importantly, the trial showed that no significant changes in sleepiness, reaction times or driving were found while insomnia patients underwent two weeks of SRT, during this research trial.
“It was interesting to find out that participants did not have impairments to their driving or reaction times when sleep was reduced by 32 minutes per night,” says paper co-author Hannah Whittall.
The results have been published in the Sleep Medicine journal in a paper called ‘Daytime sleepiness, driving performance, reaction time and inhibitory control during sleep restriction therapy for Chronic Insomnia Disorder’, by Flinders University researchers Hannah Whittall, Meg Pillion and Professor Gradisar, director of the Child and Adolescent Sleep Clinic at Flinders University.
This research is not meant to say that you can/should be driving when you are sleep deprived, it doe shed light on people no longer needing to worry so much about that consequences of Sleep Restriction Therapy.
So what are you waiting for? Last week it was Elon Musk, now we know that Sleep Restriction can be helpful and not put you in danger, you can take my sleep courses and get better rest!
I promise you will not regret it!
Dr. Michael Breus