Sleep scientists talk to The Washington Post about the wide-reaching impact of poor sleep hygiene.
“It used to be popular for people to say, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’ The ironic thing is, not sleeping enough may get you there sooner,” said Daniel Buysse, a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
The research is changing policy in some areas, with school officials, for example, considering whether to push back school start times to better match teenagers’ sleep cycles. The National Sleep Foundation will hold its first consumer expo in March with a wide range of offerings, including mattresses and sleep trackers — a visible sign of the burgeoning sleep industry. Meanwhile, a growing number of scientists, not normally known for being advocates, are bringing evangelical zeal to the message that lack of sleep is an escalating public health crisis that deserves as much attention as the obesity epidemic.
“We’re competing against moneyed interests, with technology and gaming and all that. It’s so addictive and so hard to compete with,” said Orfeu Buxton, a sleep researcher at Pennsylvania State University. “We’ve had this natural experiment with the Internet that swamped everything else.”