Nearly seventy countries around the world follow daylight saving time, when clocks get adjusted for longer or shorter daylight hours. In the spring, clocks get moved forward one hour or more. In the fall, the opposite occurs. Environmental and economic benefits often get cited as the rationale behind the system, as more daylight means less energy consumption and improved sales for retailers.
But did you know that new research points to health benefits as well? Just an extra hour of sleep decreased the propensity to suffer from a heart attack in the days immediately following the fall time change. Of course, in the spring, the number of heart attacks increased with the loss of sleep. In fact, numerous separate studies have debunked a number of myths about sleep.
For example, seven to eight hours of sleep per night is now considered optimal for everyone. Some people may function on less sleep, but at a severe price. Too little sleep can greatly impair your judgment, work performance, the health of your heart, and your immune system. What's more, in terms of reaction time and the number of accidents, there's not much difference between driving drunk and driving on six hours or less of sleep. And for sleep deprived individuals who attempt to catch up over the weekend, this pattern causes more harm than good. The body needs consistency, and irregular sleep patterns can cause stress.
Strangely enough, too much sleep can be just as detrimental. Scientists haven't determined if too much sleep is the root or the symptom.
So what message can you take away from this article? Don't just accept the time change this fall as a one or two hour bonus, but as an opportunity to make some lasting changes to your sleep patterns.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Title: Speculate and/or discuss the contents of today's article from its title: "Myths about Sleep."
Fill in the Blank: Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- Environmental and economic benefits often get cited as the ( ) behind daylight saving time.
- Just an extra hour of sleep decreased the ( ) to suffer from a heart attack.
- Numerous separate studies have ( ) a number of myths about sleep.
- Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is now considered ( ) for everyone.
- Too little sleep can greatly ( ) your judgment and work performance.
- For sleep ( ) individuals, this pattern causes more harm than good.
- The body needs ( ).
- ( ) sleep patterns can cause stress.
- Strangely enough, too much sleep can be just as ( ).
- Scientists haven't determined if too much sleep is the ( ) or the symptom.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- How much sleep do you get every night? Is this too much or too little? Why do you think so?
- Do you think people in general get enough sleep? Why/not?
- Do you agree that too much sleep is unhealthy? Why/not?
- Some countries take time off in the afternoon to rest. Is this good or bad? Why do you think so?
- If you could sleep less but stay healthy, would you want to? Why/not?
Google Search: Type "sleep" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.