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Better Sleep Challenge

Background: 

Is all that late night Facebooking and TV watching cutting into our valuable rest? Try this experiment and find out!

RESULTS: During our sleep challenge period half of the participants got more sleep on their "electronic diet."  Congratulations!  Remeber this challenge can be tried at any time.

Sleep is important for making memories. It is used as a time for consolidation of memories, which you can learn more about in the museum's Life Lab.

 Do you get enough sleep?  How can you improve your sleep quality?  These are some of the questions that high school students participating in the Koshland Science Museum’s Issues Research Lab explored as part of their community research project last fall. 

One team of young researchers examined the effects of the use of electronics on sleep. Is all that late night Facebooking and TV watching cutting into our valuable rest? Try this experiment and find out!
 

Charge: 

See if turning off your electronics before bedtime helps you get more sleep!

Instructions: 
  1. Write down the amount of sleep you get each night for 7 consecutive nights.
  2. For the next 7 days, turn off all electronics 1 hour before your intended bedtime. Write down the amount of sleep you get each night.
  3. Compare your results: Did you sleep less, the same amount, or more when you were on the sleep diet?
  4. Share your results in the poll below. You can also add your comments to the museum’s Deputy Director, Erika, as she blogs about her sleep challenges in the comments section.

Submission Deadline: 
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 11:00pm

Comments

Submitted by ErikaS on

Hi folks,
I am going to start taking this sleep challenge this Friday and would love for you to try it with me.  For the next week I am going to be doing what I normally do (which includes using my computer until the moment I turn out the light).  I will also keep a record of how much sleep I get.  Given my tea drinking habit, I probably don't get enought sleep!
Starting on the 26th I will be turning off my electronics early to see if that helps me get more sleep.
I hope that you will join me!
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

I started recording my sleep on Friday and I can already see that I am coming short of 8 hours a night. I slept about 7 hours on Friday night and about 6.5 hours each night on Saturday and Sunday. I did use my computer pretty close to bedtime on both Friday and Sunday. I hope that with the return of the work week I can get a little more shut eye.
How about you? Do you get more sleep Monday through Friday or on weekends? Chime in here.
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

I didn't get much sleep last night becuase I stayed up watching the Presidential Debate.  If I lived on the west coast it would have ended earlier than it did on the east coast.  It made me wonder if I would get more sleep if I lived in Washington State instead of Washington, DC. 
 
Sweet Dreams!
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

I got about 6.5 - 7 hours of sleep last night, which seems par for the course this week.  Last night I was on the computer at 9:30 PM learning about the Articles of the Confederation and Thomas Jefferson while helping my daughter with U.S. History homework.  What is going to happen when I have to stop using electronics at about 9 PM?  This experiment may not just effect me...
Catch you in the morning!
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

I have averaged close to 7 hours of sleep the past two nights, which is not too shabby,  Tonight I start the experiment of turning my electronics off 1 hour before bedtime.  Since I normally get up a little before 6 am, I need to get to sleep at 10 pm.  This means that I will be turning off the computer at 9 pm.  Oh my!
If you have been following the weather here on the east coast of the U.S. you will know that we are about to be hit by Hurricane Sandy.  This may make my job easier since we often loose power due to storms!
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

My first few days of turning off my electronics an hour before bedtime haven't gone quite as I planned.  First I had to take my husband to the airport at 5 am to catch a flight that had been rescheduled.  Next I was woken repeatedly by one of my children who has an ear ache.  Last night I couldn't sleep while listening to Sandy roar outside.  The sleep count for the last few days has been:
Friday - 7 hours
Saturday - 6 hours (probably generous)
Sunday -  6 hours in two hour blocks
Monday - 6.5 hours
Thankfully my family is safe after the superstorm.  I hope you are safe as well.
Cheers,
Erika
 

Submitted by ErikaS on

I turned off my computer at 9 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It is helping me get to sleep earlier.  I am drifitng off to sleep at 10 PM.  Unfotunately, my body still seems to be set for 6.5 - 7 hours of sleep so I am waking up at 4:30 AM, but I feel the potential for sleeping more.
If you are trying the challenge let me know whether you are having any luck getting more sleep!
 
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

It is quite a challenge to turn off my electronics at 9 pm.  I still have so much I want to do!  The upside it that I am getting more reading done.  Last night I got about 7 hours of sleep because I was drifting off at about 10 and didn't wake up until 5!
What is your favorite thing to do before you go to sleep?
Sweet dreams,
Erika

Submitted by ErikaS on

I am now done with my sleep challenge.  It wasn't the perfect experiment since there were a number of  factors, which negatively affected my sleep.  I did find that turning off my electronics an hour before I planned to sleep helped me to fall asleep earlier.   On average I got about the same amount of sleep.
I hope that you will try this challenge too.  Leave a comment to let us know about your experience.
Sweet Dreams!
Erika