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How Sleep Deprivation Endangers Health

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

Sleep experts Professor Franco Cappuccio and Dr. Michelle Miller from the University of Warwick’s Warwick Medical School in the United Kingdom, have written a new book about sleep deprivation and how it can damage people’s health if they get less than six hours of sleep per night.

Now that the festive season is upon us, they have turned their attention to St. Nicholas, the red-coated, fur-trimmed, overweight gentleman who stays up all night once a year to bring children all over the world their Christmas presents. Could he be putting his health at risk by indulging in such selfless altruism?

University of Warwick experts say there are short-term risks to his ‘all nighter’.

“Considering that he only stays up once a year, it may not be too bad for his long-term health. However, in the short term, there are risks. Lack of sleep will make him drowsy, his vigilance will fade and his ability to think and remember will diminish. There is risk for himself and others: He could fall asleep at the reins and crash his sleigh, he could even end up delivering the wrong present to the wrong person. So let’s hope he will listen to what we have to say," the authors say.

But what if Santa slept longer in the run up to Christmas? If he crashed out for a long time beforehand, he’d have more energy to stay up all night. The experts are skeptical. Who would have time to sleep when they have to make all those presents, wrap them all and plan the logistics of delivering presents to every single child in the world?

“I doubt Santa would have the time to sleep in preparation for Christmas. I know he and his team are busy going through the lists coming from all over the world, sorting presents and loading his sleigh. I expect they have a few sleepless nights ahead of Christmas Eve too but it would be good for him to be as well rested as possible," the book states. "Whilst a little nap on a rooftop here and there (no more than 20 minutes) might help in the short-term, it is no substitute for a good eight hours a night sleep. Santa also has a responsibility towards his most valuable staff, elves and reindeers.

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EmpowHER Guest

Anyway, Santa must be a time traveller, how would he otherwise manage all the work. He must be doing one hour's worth of work, then send his time machine back an hour, do another hour's work, etc. But that means that he is at it for at least a week non stop. Mind, if he is a time traveller, he can certainly afford a nap now and again and then go back to where he left off. So we don't need to worry about his lack of sleep too much. He could even afford to have the odd glass of port or wine. And, besides, in order to carry all those presents, he would really need a tardis - is that the answer to the age-old question about Santa's identity?

December 20, 2010 - 5:58pm
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