Sleep and Our Economic System


Image result for Our Economic SystemI am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training. I have an interest in sleep because I am an expert in mattresses.
The facts show that Americans live a shorter life than most of the other industrialized nations. I would like to propose a theory. I believe that our ultra capitalistic system is to blame. The USA allows Industry to influence government decisions. We do this to maintain our standing in the world. Even today our output per person is well above average. For a long time in our history this allowed us to be paid a higher wage than our counterparts in other countries while our industry thrived. As we became more affluent and the middle class grew and was able to spend money on leisure time, we began to play more. We not only played but we played harder and longer. Playing became an industry in itself and our options became larger and we indulged. Hard work and hard play not only took more time but we also were not getting enough sleep.
Dr. Eve Van Cauter is a sleep science trail blazer whose research team at the University of Chicago published the first study to specifically examine the physical health impact of ordinary sleep deprivation.
Healthy young men were only given four hours sleep for six days. At the end of the test many of these strong young men had lost their ability to process sugar by thirty percent giving them blood tests nearly matching diabetics. In addition they had elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which can lead to hyper tension and memory impairment. Van Cauter says That sleeping six hour would give the same results it would just take longer. Experts are now speculating that sleep might be the missing link to America’s obesity epidemic.
In 1910, most Americans slept nine hours per night. Though millions of Americans routinely get fewer than six hours, the vast majority needs at least eight. hours per night. Our average is now seven and a half hours.
Sheldon Cohen, PhD; William J. Doyle, PhD; Cuneyt M. Alper, MD; Denise Janicki-Deverts, PhD;and Ronald B. Turner, MD conducted a study with one hundred and fifty three people ages ranging from twenty one to fifty five. Their results said: “There was a graded association with average sleep duration: participants with less than 7 hours of sleep were 2.94 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-7.30) more likely to develop a cold than those with 8 hours or more of sleep.” and as the people slept less the percentage went higher. After the test their conclusion was poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhino virus were associated with lower resistance to illness.
Javaheri S, Storfer-Isser A, Rosen CL, Redline S. Case Western Reserve University concluded after their study that inadequate sleep quality is associated with elevated blood pressure.
The list of tests like these is numerous. The facts keep building. We can then look at the other side of this argument. In businesses ever growing lust for cost savings and higher profits it is obvious that the human factor is taken less and less into consideration. More and more pressure is placed on workers creating stress. Hours for many have been extended. (Even more in times of high unemployment Rather than hire more workers they push for unrealistic output from a smaller work force.) Retail companies ask for 10 or even eleven hour works, especially if those employees are on commission. Workers with higher wages and benefits are let go in favor of those that will cost them less. Union workers are continually asked to reduce their benefits, hourly pay and are asked to have required overtime.
While our capitalistic system is the best in the world it does need some tweaking. Many other countries have addressed these problems. Some require a months vacation. Others require longer work breaks.These may not be the right solutions for our country.
Health care costs are increased by the system. Government has been looking at fatigue in airline pilots and has recently expanded this to those that maintain the planes, air control specialists and others in the industry. I believe we could actually increase our productivity if we investigated the need to increase our nations sleep habits and put regulation in place to allow everyone to get the proper sleep.
In conclusion I offer this question, Would our pursuit of growing profits actually be benefited by possible tax reductions stemming from savings created by lower health care costs, less traffic accidents, more alert workers, the ability to be more inventive from a higher level of consciousness.
A list of other sleep problems