Last week, a 20-something on my staff said 6 hours of sleep a night was enough. I was skeptical. I used to sleep 9 or 10 hours a night in my 20s and 30s.

Those nights are gone. In the last few years, my sleep has been disrupted by breathing problems related to apnea. Sleeping with a CPAP breathing mask has helped, but I am still lucky to get 7 hours of uninterrupted rest. Lately, I have been using a blue light lamp, which seems to increase my alertness and improve my mood in the winter darkness. I also monitor my sleep with an app.

I am not alone in this obsession. In recent days, many articles about sleep have caught my eye on Twitter. There was the one about how when the brain ages, you get less, sleep, and that impairs your memory.  It's particularly hard to get sleep in the short days of winter. Your exposure to light plays an important role (link via @noahWG). Top performers attribute their success (violinists, notably) to getting more than 8 hours of sleep every night, plus afternoon naps (link via @moorehn). So it's a little disturbing that 43 percent of Americans between 14 and 64 report getting a poor night's sleep on weeknights (via @nytjim).

When you consider how much we rely on other people to transport us, make things for us and feed us, it is alarming to think that so many of them are sleep-deprived.

Go to bed!

AuthorPatrick LaForge