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Sleeping Better Really is Important!
One of my favorite scientific article titles is “Dubious bargain: trading sleep for Leno and Letterman.” (Basner M, Dinges DF.Sleep. 2009 Jun;32(6):747-52.) The premise of the commentary is that people don’t value sleep – they’d rather watch late night TV. The problem lies in when the alarm is set. That part of your day doesn’t have any flexibility. Your job or family responsibilities start on schedule during the week whether you went to bed at 10:00 or at midnight. Those two hours of lost sleep have a real impact on your life.
So the question remains, are Jay Leno and David Letterman worth it? If you ask me, a sleep specialist, the answer would be a resounding NO. Adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep to be healthy. In this country we value effort and results to the exclusion of self. It is one of the enduring reasons why the US is the strongest and largest economy in the history of the world. We use the Edison approach; working harder and longer brings reward. And it does. But if you are not rested and ready for those longer hours your productivity suffers.
So is late night TV worth it? I think not. Not if you are trying to conquer the world. Think about your health and success then next time you are flipping on the TV instead of flipping off your brain to go to sleep. Most of the time the late night chuckles don’t profit you as much as a few more hours of shuteye.
Mark T. Brown, MD
Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.