The Week in Sleep News: September 30, 2022

This week researchers learn more about how wide sleep disparities for minorities are.

Two people sitting up reading newspapers in bed.

This week in sleep news:

4-day work weeks allow more time for sleep

Is five days of working nine-to-five a detriment to your sleep? A survey by Julia Schor found that workers who shifted to 32-hour workweeks logged 7.58 hours per night of sleep, nearly a full hour more than when they were keeping 40-hour workweeks. Schor’s surveys tracked a set of six-month trials being run by a nonprofit organization called 4 Day Week Global. Schor’s preliminary data shows that workers on four-day schedules saw improvement in a variety of well-being and productivity metrics, including sleep. The percentage of people considered sleep deprived — getting less than seven hours of nightly sleep — dropped from 42.6% to 14.5% on four-day work schedules.

Minorities face sleep disparities

A new study published by The Lancet Neurology studies how minority and low-income communities face a sleep gap that can damage their health. Researchers found that people from minority ethnic or racial backgrounds slept on average 30 to 60 minutes less per night than white people, putting people in the underserved groups at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions. Lack of sleep may help drive these disparities. Scientists hope these findings increase engagement at all levels and encourages clinicians to treat sleep issues more aggressively.

Melatonin warning for children and teens

With the increase in melatonin use in the past decade, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued an advisory telling parents to consult their health care provider before giving their child melatonin. The advisory gave three recommendations for parents:

  1. Melatonin should be kept out of reach of children. 
  2. Before starting melatonin or any supplement for your child, parents should consult a pediatric health care professional.  
  3. If melatonin is used, the health care professional should recommend the melatonin dose and timing for the sleep problem. Parents should select a product with the USP Verified Mark to allow for safer use. 

An opportunity to count sheep… literally

In the countryside in Sussex, England, a bed and breakfast is offering a chance for 2 lucky guests to stay the night in a sleep dome and count the literal numbered sheep that roam the pastures around them. This decked-out camping experience was created by the tech company Emma Sleep inspired by a poll the company ran in which 44% of respondents reported struggling to get sleep this year. Other than the calming views of meadows, this experience offers guests amenities such as dinner, goat yoga, and breakfast for two.

Listen along on our newest podcast, Chasing Sleep

Today is National Podcast Day, and Mattress Firm has partnered with iHeart Radio to launch a new podcast, Chasing Sleep, hosted by Anahad O’Connor. Each episode will explore the lives and sleep habits of some of the world’s most unique sleepers, including an ultra-marathon runner who runs 50-mile races without pausing to sleep. Future episodes will include an astronaut, a television news anchor, and a wildlife photographer who camps out in the elements to snap the perfect shot. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts.

In sleep-centric social media...

The Princess and the Pea get a very relatable modern update by cartoonist Brooke Bourgeois in The New Yorker.

A princess sitting up on many mattresses. Text reads: There's a phone on vibrate somewhere in this bed.
Brooke Bourgeois