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good nightТs sleep Ч an impossible dream?
do yourself a favor. Shut off the TV, log
off the Internet and unplug the phone. Relax,
take a bath, maybe sip some herbal tea.
Then move into the bedroom. Set your alarm
clock for a time no less than eight hours
in the future, fluff up your pillows and
lay your head down for a peaceful night
of restorative shut-eye. ThatТs what American
American sleep experts are sounding an alarm
over AmericaТs sleep deficit. They say Americans
are a somnambulant nation, stumbling groggily
through their waking hours for lack of sufficient
sleep. They are working longer days Ч and,
increasingly, nights Ч and they are playing
longer, too, as TV and the Internet expand
the range of round-the-clock entertainment
options. By some estimates, Americans are
sleeping as much as an hour and a half less
per night than they did at the turn of the
century Ч and the problem is likely to get
The health repercussions of sleep deprivation
are not well understood, but sleep researchers
point to ills ranging from heart problems
to depression. In a famous experiment conducted
at the University of Chicago in 1988, rats
kept from sleeping died after two and a
half weeks. People are not likely to drop
dead in the same way, but sleep deprivation
may cost them their lives indirectly, when
an exhausted doctor prescribes the wrong
dosage or a sleepy driver weaves into someoneТs
What irritates sleep experts most is the
fact that much sleep deprivation is voluntary.
УPeople have regarded sleep as a commodity
that they could shortchange,Ф says one of
them. УItТs been considered a mark of very
hard work and upward mobility to get very
little sleep. ItТs a macho attitudeФ.
Slumber scientists hope that attitude will
change. They say people have learned to
modify their behavior in terms of lowering
their cholesterol and increasing exercise.
Doctors also think people need to be educated
that allowing enough time for sleep and
taking strategic naps are the most reliable
ways to promote alertness behind the wheel
and on the job.
Well, naps would be nice, but at the moment,
employers tend to frown on them. And what
about the increasing numbers of people who
work at night? Not only must they work while
their bodiesТ light-activated circadian
rhythms tell them to sleep, they also find
it tough to get to sleep after work. Biologists
say night workers have a hard time not paying
attention to the 9-to-5 day because of noises
or family obligations or thatТs the only
time they can go to the dentist. There are
not too many dentists open at midnight.
As one might imagine, companies are springing
up to take advantage of sleeplessness. One
of the companies makes specially designed
shift-work lighting systems intended to
keep workers alert around the clock. Shift-workТs
theory is that bright light, delivered in
a controlled fashion, can help adjust peopleТs
biological clocks. The company president
says they are using light like a medicine.
So far, such special lighting has been the
province of NASA astronauts and nuclear
power plant workers. He thinks that in the
future, such systems may pop up in places
like hospitals and 24-hour credit-card processing
centers. Other researchers are experimenting
with everything from welderТs goggles (which
night workers wear during the day) to human
growth hormones. And, of course, there is
always what doctors refer to as Уtherapeutic
caffeine useФ, but everyone is already familiar
So, is a good nightТs sleep an impossible
dream for Americans? Maybe so.
The advice of American doctors
is all about
1) ways to reduce negative effect of modern
2) complex measures that ensure healthy
3) positive effect of herbal therapy.
4) the process of restoring from unexpected
A16.Americans are referred
to as a Уsomnambulant nationФ because they
1) need special help to fall asleep.
2) are sleepwalkers.
3) regularly wake up at night.
4) donТt get enough sleep to function effectively.
Experiments with sleep deprivation
1) it inevitably leads to death.
2) its repercussions have finally become
3) it is likely to result in cardio or nervous
4) animal and human reactions are almost
There is a tendency
to sleep less because
1) people want to look tough at any cost.
2) people think they can reduce sleeping
hours without any harm.
3) people have learned to cope with less
sleep just as they have learned
to lower cholesterol.
4) otherwise they lose career and social
Having naps during the day would
be nice, but
1) doctors do not find them effective.
2) people wonТt take them voluntarily.
3) bosses are against this.
4) it is difficult to arrange.
People who work at night can
1) fulfill traditional family obligations.
2) consult doctors when needed.
3) socialize to their liking.
4) ever sleep without ear-plugs.