Sleep has been something that everyday people overlook. In the past, people found little or no time for sleep; the night time became darker, colder and overall, less cozier. Romans, for example, found sleep to be a waste of time because it got in the way of accomplishing bigger and greater things.
In the 1800s, some experienced longer 12-hour periods of night time. People had two sleeps during this time and used the time in between doing activities that did not involve much illumination such as praying, smoking, having sex or talking to neighbours. Nearing the 20th century, this practice completely disappeared. Professor Roger Ekirch has said that the attributing causes to this change was the arrival and acceleration of things like street lights and the rising popularity of coffee houses. Overtime, humans have gone to great lengths to make sleep a more comfortable and safe experience for themselves, which has essentially effected how much or how little sleep they get.
According to an article written by Julie Power for the SMH, 1 in 5 people are getting less than 6 hours of sleep, therefore less people are getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Madison Park from CNN thinks that this is because people are becoming more 24/7 meaning that they can be active anytime and anywhere due to the introduction of the Internet, smartphones etc. Park writes that this increased activity is giving sleep less importance. In addition to this, there has been a study carried out by the American Psychological Association that show that more than half of us are losing sleep because of life’s stress and anxieties.
This generation of young adults are able to take advantage of where they can sleep and who they sleep with. This is made possible with technology increasing the reliance and independence in our youth making it easier to communicate with each other. Apps like Tinder is an example of how people today can choose who and where they sleep, as well as how much sleep they get. Today’s social scene influences sleep in the sense that due to the ever-growing popularity of the nightlife, people are finding less value in sleep and would rather spend more time socialising than sleeping. According to Kathrin Bain, a lecturer from Tempe, she hadn’t slept properly for 10 years and found it to be the norm when she was tired when working or socialising.
On the contrary to technology causing a loss of sleep, some people rely on technology for quality sleep. This includes playing music or white noise to help them drift to sleep, or reading a book on a tablet or kindle. For quality sleep, most people want assurance and confidence in their days ahead or it results in the snowballing of thoughts and restless sleep, and some people just need the company of human contact whether it be intimate or platonic. In agreeance with Jessica Dunn from ResMed, sleep deprivation is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout society today. There are sleep trends that incorporate technology assisting someone for better sleep include Fitbits, various sleeping Apps and ResMed’s CPAP and APAP machines; these can be identified as luxury items for sleep, as people are privileged to have access to improved sleep.
Not everyone has this level of luxury where there are people all over Sydney sleeping in their car because they can’t afford to live in the city even when they’ve got a job. City West Housing CEO Janelle Goulding has proposed the development of affordable housing in the CBD with good-sized bedrooms so people of all professions have a home to sleep in. People are also opting to adopt roomates or to ‘crash’ on friends’ couch just have some level of comfort come their sleep time.
Written by Alissa Recil
American Psychological Association, 2016, Why sleep is important and what happens when you don’t get enough, Date accessed 25.10.16, URL <http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx>
Burke, K. 9 August 2016, Affordable housing shortage in inner sydney leaves workers sleeping rough, Domain, Date accessed 29.10.16, URL <http://www.domain.com.au/news/affordablehousing-shortage-leaves-the-working-homeless-sleeping-rough-in-sydney-20160807-gqn3xh/>
Park. M, 6 March 2009, Why we’re sleeping less, Web article, Cable News Network (CNN), Date accessed 29.10.16, URL <http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/04/sleep.stress.economy/>
Power. J, 10 June 2016, Restless nights and zombie days: sleep anxiety is the new zeitgeist, Web Article, Sydney morning Herald, Date accessed 29.10.16, URL <http://www.smh.com.au/national/restless-nights-and-zombie-days-sleep-anxiety-is-the-new-zeitgeist-20160610-gpg9nb.html>