Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sleepless in Jacksonville? Blame Your Alarm Clock, among Other Things, for the Fact That This City Doesn't Get Enough Snooze Time

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sleepless in Jacksonville? Blame Your Alarm Clock, among Other Things, for the Fact That This City Doesn't Get Enough Snooze Time

Article excerpt

Byline: THOMAS LAKE

The August issue of Men's Health magazine calls Jacksonville one of the most sleep-deprived cities in America -- even more red-eyed than Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

This struck us as strange, because we always assumed most of the city's 777,000 residents go to bed early: Downtown on a weeknight is about as jumpin' as a narcoleptic tortoise.

The rankings are based on market research from 101 cities comparing residents in such categories as insomnia, sleeping-pill usage and nights with fewer than seven hours of sleep. The number of sleep-disorder centers also figured in.

So we called Joseph Kaplan, co-director of the Sleep Disorders Unit at the Mayo Clinic, and asked for a second opinion. He dismissed the survey, but he did say many of us are deep in sleep debt. Two big thieves? Alcohol and alarm clocks.

Q: This report concludes that Jacksonville is the 14th-most sleep-deprived city in the United States.

I have a little trouble putting much stock in this. It's not at all scientific.

Q: How much sleep do you recommend?

Most people need between 7 1/2 and eight hours of sleep. But everyone is different. The fully rested individual -- and there are very few of these people anymore in our society -- does not need an alarm clock to get up and does not sleep extra hours on the weekend. There are people who fit those criteria and only require four hours of sleep. But recently, one of my colleagues in Minnesota found a group of people who required 11 hours of sleep to be fully alert and functional the next day. And I also have colleagues who basically sleep about four hours a night, and they function fine.

Q: A lot of times I'll fall asleep at 2 and set my alarm for 8 and then hit the snooze button about nine times before rolling out of bed. Why is this bad for me?

If you were ready to get up, you wouldn't need to hit the snooze alarm. If every night you're cutting your sleep requirements short by a half an hour or an hour, then you never catch up. And so you're in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. Excessive sleepiness is the second-leading cause of car accidents and a major cause of truck accidents in the U. …

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