Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sleeping through a recession

The recession has given newspapers more angles than a suitcase full of protractors. Not just the stuff about money and finance. I mean all the features and news features and lifestyle stories, pegged on the economic downturn. How to eat cheaply, what it's doing to our sex lives, how we're all going to have to go on holiday to a windswept caravan site in North Wales.

The recession is creating its own mini-boom in recession-related news stories.

Sleep is not escaping this recessionary obsession - although oddly enough, sleep is one of nature's greatest free gifts. Millionaires and paupers both have equal claims on its restorative balm. But according to a big survey in the United States, a whopping one third of people are claiming to be losing sleep over the recession.

Now, you can imagine President Obama losing a little shut eye about the recession. And there could be a few troubled nights for those suits who accidentally let the entire banking system slip down the back of the sofa. But it seems very unfair that so many other people are losing out on the joy of sleep because of the financial chaos.

The survey suggests that this is a case of people being too worried about their jobs and their financial security to sleep properly. This might be understandable. But the figures also show that one fifth of the population are only getting six hours sleep. No wonder people are always crying on US reality shows. They must be completely cream crackered.

Six hours every night is systematic sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep means bad judgements, stress, an inability to solve problems, irritability, aggression, it means behaving recklessly...

It's beginning to sound like there might be a connection to the banking crash. Maybe the guys who were running the finance houses that fell apart were only getting six hours a night. No wonder they made bad calls. Now everyone else is losing sleep over it. Perhaps we've stumbled onto something here...

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