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Sleep and Time Management

20 August, 2010

An interesting article by Jim Horne in the New Scientist magazine, Time to wake up to the facts about sleep , discusses the amount of sleep that humans need.  It’s a common myth that we’re getting less sleep than previously – stemming from a 1913 test on 8-17 year olds, who slept an average of 9 hours per night (just as they do today) and supported by tests that measure the speed at which people fall asleep in a supportive environment and claim that this is indication of a need for sleep.  Horne argues that this is faulty, and damaging to society in general, provoking a rise in anxiety and increased demand for sleeping pills.  According to the article, several studies have shown that healthy adults average around 7 to 7½ hours of sleep each night.

This gives us a crucial piece of information.  We have 24 hours in each day, of which we should freely allocate 7½hrs to sleep.  That gives us just over 16 hours each day that we need to use to be productive – whether directly used to achieve greatness, used to continue living (the mundane activities such as shopping) or used to prepare ourselves for other activities.

The worst thing we can do with each of these hours is throw them away doing something useless.  The most prominent example in many homes (at least, in the Western world) is watching television.  Excessive watching of television has been linked with poor academic performance in schools by teenagers – even those who claim a lack of conclusive link between the two should concede that TV wouldn’t be helping academic struggles.  It is generally used in ways that do not foster social interaction, and does not engender people to the kind of active participation in learning that is required to upbuild society.

Those who are able to contribute and benefit others, it is postulated here, have an obligation to do so.

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