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good nightТs sleep Ч an impossible dream?
Tonight, 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 worse.
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 with that.
So, is a good nightТs sleep an impossible dream for
Americans? Maybe so.
A15. The advice of American doctors is all about
1) ways to reduce negative effect of modern technologies.
2) complex measures that ensure healthy sleep.
3) positive effect of herbal therapy.
4) the process of restoring from unexpected psychological
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.
A17. Experiments with sleep deprivation proved
1) it inevitably leads to death.
2) its repercussions have finally become predictable.
3) it is likely to result in cardio or nervous problems.
4) animal and human reactions are almost alike.
A18. There is a tendency to sleep less
1) people want to look tough at any cost.
2) people think they can reduce sleeping hours without
3) people have learned to cope with less sleep just
as they have learned
to lower cholesterol.
4) otherwise they lose career and social opportunities.
A19. Having naps during the day would be nice,
1) doctors do not find them effective.
2) people wonТt take them voluntarily.
3) bosses are against this.
4) it is difficult to arrange.
A20. People who work at night can hardly
1) fulfill traditional family obligations.
2) consult doctors when needed.
3) socialize to their liking.
4) ever sleep without ear-plugs.