Sleep doesn’t matter. No wait, it does. | A Linking Mess

Each week, “A Linking Mess” offers a handful of articles that have recently caught the attention of our Sr. Copywriter.

Bed Frame - Green 360x220This week, I’m linking to three articles about sleep. The topic of sleep seems to get ever more attention, and not just from people like Leggett & Platt employees who have a vested interest in the subject. If you read these articles, prepare to see the requisite stock images of people sleeping (or trying to sleep). I should reach out to the stock-image people and sell them the many photos my wife has taken of me sleeping and spooning one of our dogs.

Anyway, one of these articles says that the majority of research in the field of sleep has been done in the last 25 years. But reading all three of these pieces will show you that there isn’t exactly a consensus of what “good sleep” looks like. The first article says that a three- to four-year stretch of poor-quality sleep increases the risk of “impaired mental faculties” in a person by up to 50%, which is supposedly equivalent to a five-year increase in age. It also cites another study that revealed that going without sleep for just one night causes changes in the brain similar to those that occur after a blow to the head! These two facts made me think of two types of people: those who work graveyard shifts (is that term politically incorrect yet?) and college students who pull all-nighters. From what I’ve heard, working graveyard really disturbs your sleep and limits your effectiveness. But I don’t think many people consider whether it is actually doing them permanent harm. Same goes with pulling an all-nighter during finals.

Poor quality slumber causes loss of memory and concentration

Paul M. Johnson (left) and Mo increasing their productivity.

Paul M. Johnson (left) and Mo the Dog improve their concentration.

The second article attempts to get past certain sleep “myths,” such as the oft-repeated “fact” that an average person needs eight hours a night. (It says that sleeping 8.5 hours might be worse than sleep 5.) There are some interesting tidbits in this piece, particularly about napping. Personally, I support the short, midday nap, and manage 2-3 a week when I go home for lunch. It’s heavenly. I go for 15-25 minutes, not long enough to bring on any grogginess.

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need to Work Productively?

Now, wait. The third article says that if you think you’ve had a good night’s sleep – whether it’s true or not – you perform better than people who think they got bad sleep. They call it “placebo sleep.” So that kind of screws up everything, doesn’t it?

How just THINKING you’ve had a good night’s sleep can help you function better

About the Author

Senior Copywriter Paul M. Johnson

Senior Copywriter Paul M. Johnson

I’m Senior Copywriter at Leggett & Platt, so I write a bunch of B2B copy, mainly about wire and wire-related products. Pretty sexy, I agree. A long time ago, I wrote magazine articles about pro athletes such as Derek Jeter and Allen Iverson, and surprisingly that’s more interesting to most people. What are my credentials for writing this blog? Eh, I like reading. And learning stuff.

To fill in some details you’re not asking for, as an older person I prefer reading “offline” – as in, actual hard-copy newspapers and magazines. I read at the gym in between weightlifting sets. I read on the treadmill. I read while I’m waiting in line. I “read” audio versions of articles while I drive, but before I was able to do that, I used to read while I drove, but usually only on traffic-free, curve-less interstate highways. That was ill-advised, so I don’t do it anymore. My two main sources are The Economist and The Wall Street Journal, and if I can predict a criticism of this blog, it’ll be that I rely on those two too much. I plead guilty.