Rolling out of bed this morning felt like torture. The room was dark and I was so sleepy and toasty warm under the covers…and I knew I had a long, brisk walk in the arctic blast before breakfast.

Torture might seem like a strong word, but that’s what scientists are calling waking up and starting work before 10 a.m. A friend posted this article on Facebook so it must be true! Dr. Paul Kelley, a leading researcher at Oxford University, calls it “the most common form of modern day torture”. By waking early, we interfere with our bodies’ circadian rhythm, our genetic cycle regulating our brain activity, energy and hormone levels.

Did you know…

  • it is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep/night
  • if it takes you less than 5 minutes to fall asleep, you’re sleep-deprived
  • There are more than 70 diagnosed sleeping disorders… and the list is growing

It was the introduction of an 8 hour work day early in the 20th century that manufactured this form of torture. As a result, we are an increasingly sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled, physically and emotionally drained society, with increasingly adverse, long-term health consequences.

When we sleep, our bodies work to repair themselves. Our brains go through a neurobiological process that sorts through our memories and tucks the keepers in long-term storage compartments. We’re also more likely to have a clear head, which makes retrieving memories and making decisions easier. Our reset brains also reset our emotions so we’re less likely to fly off the handle. Without listing the full gamut of emotional, physical or mental, long or short term, and I quote directly from the February 2014 Mensa Bulletin, the American Magazine for Mensa (pp.22-27), in an article written by Lisa Van Gemert,  “not getting enough sleep makes you tired and stupid”.

Did you know…

  • men are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than women
  • new parents lose between 400-750 hours of sleep in the first year
  • humans sleep less than primates

No wonder it feels like torture to get out of bed in the morning!

My walk home this morning was less intense because the wind was at my back, and parts of my body were numb. I kept myself trudging forward with visions of stripping down to 1 layer of clothing and crawling under a thick blanket when I got home, thawing my chin over a cup of steaming tea, and taking a nap. Except…

Did you know…

  • are only good if you can take one daily; otherwise it’ll mess with your sleep pattern.

Sigh…None of this information is going to help me sleep tonight, or make my morning less like…torture? Happy Monday!