I really hate it when mainstream media covers lame science.
This study recently done at the University of Pennsylvania is interesting but not really helpful.
For starters. It was VERY small…. dozens of subjects:
In what was the longest sleep-restriction study of its kind, Dinges and his lead author, Hans Van Dongen, assigned dozens of subjects to three different groups for their 2003 study: some slept four hours, others six hours and others, for the lucky control group, eight hours — for two weeks in the lab.
This is the longest study of its kind? For two weeks? I’m confused.
Then there is this infographic:
What was the source of this data? Self reported? I don’t even know where to being with the flaws with self reported assessment.
Not surprisingly, those who had eight hours of sleep hardly had any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the 14 days of the study. What was interesting was that those in the four- and six-hour groups had P.V.T. results that declined steadily with almost each passing day.
So subjects that needed 8 hours of sleep performed poorly when constrained to less hours of sleep? And we’re surprised by these findings?
And of course the NY Times doesn’t link to the actual study nor does it appear that the study is online from a Google search.
Part of the problem is that research community still doesn’t publish online.
However, when the NY Times publishes articles with such poor quality I’m not exactly encouraged to pay for articles of such low quality.
Also, why are they writing a story about a study done in 2003? That’s 8 years ago!
The biggest problem I have with this article is that the core idea of sleep optimization is to get the same quality of life with but with less sleep.
Telling people to just cold turkey start sleeping less isn’t going to have reasonable results.
You might as well tell random people to start running a marathon and then act surprised when they hurt themselves.