In our current society it is very common for individuals to sacrifice sleep for work or leisure. The varying lifestyles, demands, responsibilities and desires of individuals dictates their sleep. An interview with small business owner Joe Colubriale was conducted to discover his balance of work, leisure and sleep, the factors that influence this distribution as well as his ideas of the future of sleep. The interview took an unstructured form where a series of open-ended questions were asked. This approach was taken as Milton and Rogers state in ‘Research Methods for Product Designer’ that unstructured interviews provide the respondent with “opportunities to direct the discussion towards issues that they consider the most important”

As a computer support person, the demands on Joe’s time are great. He often receives support calls starting from 7.30 in the morning from people who are only beginning their working day, up until 6.30 at night when individuals are generally finishing work. However, he has numerous clients all in various industries, and so his work hours extend what would be considered ‘average’. For example, Joe has many clients in the food industry, such as restaurants and bars, that begin their work day at 4.00 and finish at 10.00 at night. Depending on the workload of the day Joe often must overflow work into the night time which would generally be considered leisure time. Additionally, more often than not, he has to complete computer operations and maintenance out of business hours when workers are not at their desks.

Joe described himself as being constantly sleep deprived due to the demands of his work, however, he recognises the need for sleep to maintain his intellectual ability, particularly important in his profession where problem solving is crucial. Therefore, he tries to take short naps whenever possible and find that aids in allowing him to better perform during the day. He also noted that he has developed the ability to fall asleep within a couples of minutes, most probably due to his sleep deprivation. But to a certain extent, he catches up on his sleep on Saturdays but especially Sundays when the depend for his services are not as great.

The line between work and leisure has become blurred because of telecommuting. He accesses sites remotely during his ‘leisure’ time while watching television on his lounge at home. He feels that he never truly has leisure time, his time to relax truly being when I fall asleep. With increased use of technology such as emails, social networking and texting, Joe believes that one cannot truly escape their workplace and responsibilities. Personal time is invaded by technology. Work has gone past the normal 9 to 5 as it has become more socially acceptable to relay work related messages via text or emails, ultimately impacting the time for sleep

When asked about his ideas on the future of sleep, Joe believes this trend will continue for the next decade or two. In the same way that the information revolution, that is the Internet, changed the lives of all humanity, the increased use of robotics and online services will result in an increase in unemployment or over all shorter work weeks. He believes here is a possibility that society will revert back to the original distribution of work, leisure and sleep or even as far as there being greater time spent on leisure over work due to necessity and demand.



Milton and Rogers, 2013. Research Methods for Product Designers – Interviews


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