I roll my eyes when I see articles about how we humans are prone to miscalculating sleep time—in particular, people with insomnia. We tend to underestimate how long we sleep, and the conclusion is often that if we knew how long we were really sleeping, we wouldn’t complain so much.
That’s not the message of the latest of these articles, written by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. Thompson looks at how the quest to prolong sleep ties in with the use of sleeping pills—but I think his analysis falls short.
When it comes to sleep, I’m convinced that quality is more important than quantity. Hands down, I’ll take 5 ½ hours of sound slumber over restless dozing that stretches out for 7 hours.
So I have mixed feelings about sleeping pills. Many meds invented to give us more sleep degrade the Zzzz’s we get and can actually worsen insomnia.
Trazodone has never been approved for the treatment of insomnia. Yet it rose to the top of the bestseller charts as a medication for sleeplessness in the 1990s and enjoys great popularity still. Here’s one explanation for its appeal.
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed often has to do with being short on sleep, and in recent years scientists have begun offering theories about why this is so.
Rosalind Cartwright’s research suggests that one function of sleep is the down-regulation of negative emotion so we can wake up in a happier frame of mind.