The Week in Sleep News: September 2, 2022

You might be willing to share your bed with your dog or cat but how about with an alligator? One Pennsylvania man says sharing his bed with his emotional support alligator keeps him cool during the summer.

Two people sitting up in bed reading newspapers. Text reads: Sleep News Week of September 2, 2022

Here’s the sleep news for this week:

Do you know your sleep age?

Age is just a number, but sleep age, coined by Stanford Medicine researchers, is a projection correlating to a person’s sleep health that may be a predictor of overall health and mortality risk. Sleep age is a calculation of a person’s overall sleep quality and sleep characteristics. After analyzing 12,000 studies, the researchers developed a system that assigns a person’s sleep age and, using machine learning, identifies the variations in sleep most closely linked to mortality. However, the good news is that unlike your actual age you have the power to improve your sleep age.

Tired magpies are unmotivated

New research from Melbourne shows that after having a bad night’s sleep, magpies are just as tired and unmotivated as humans are. The research specifically showed that the birds sang fewer but longer songs and struggled with cognitive tasks. During the study, researchers investigated how a full and a half night of sleep deprivation affected the birds’ communication and cognition in comparison to a full night of undisturbed sleep. The researchers noted that vocal communication are crucial tools for birds, especially when it’s time to mate, so figuring out how sleep might impact them is an important next step in better understanding how they work.

Sleep better with a little financial nudge?

When it comes to helping college students prioritize rest, show them the money. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently gave 508 students at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Oxford a small stipend ($7.50 per night) Monday through Thursday to sleep longer. The money led to longer sleep: Those who got paid were 13% more likely to get more sleep. Researchers found that the students who’d received the financial incentive continued their good habits, and were 9% more likely to sleep seven to nine hours per night, up to six weeks after the payments concluded. Going forward, scientists want to study if interventions for college-age students will boost their academic performance.

Cold-blooded bedmate

Last week was International Dog Day, but this week, a different kind of pet made headlines: Wally the alligator is not just an emotional support animal, but a bedmate for Joseph Henney of Pennsylvania. Henney, who helps rescue and re-home reptiles, rescued now 7-year-old Wallygator in 2015 and says he instantly knew the gator was different. It wasn’t long after rescuing him that he built a bond with Wallygator, trusting him to roam freely around the house and later share his bed with him. While this may seem like a thing of nightmares for some people, Henney says Wallygator keeps him cool during the hot summer months.

In sleep-centric social media…

Tiktok user @kirstensxlifestyle shares a video of her winding down for the night.

A woman sleeping in bed with her hand over her face.
@kirstensxlifestyle / TikTok