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你不需要每天睡够八小时

更新时间:2020-4-9 9:26:42 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名 浏览:

Rethinking Sleep
你不需要每天睡够八小时

SOMETIME in the dark stretch of the night it happens. Perhaps it’s the chime of an incoming text message. Or your iPhone screen lights up to alert you to a new e-mail. Or you find yourself staring at the ceiling, replaying the day in your head. Next thing you know, you’re out of bed and engaged with the world, once again ignoring the often quoted fact that eight straight hours of sleep is essential.

在漫长的黑夜中,有时会发生这些事。也许是收到一条文字短信发出的手机铃声。也许是你的iPhone手机屏幕亮起,提醒你收到了一封新的电子邮件。也许是你猛地发现自己正盯着天花板,白天发生的一幕幕正在脑中重演。接下来,还没等你回过神来,你就已经下了床,与这个世界连接在一起,你又一次忘了那句老生常谈:连续八小时的睡眠对人来说必不可少。

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Thanks in part to technology and its constant pinging and chiming, roughly 41 million people in the United States — nearly a third of all working adults — get six hours or fewer of sleep a night, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And sleep deprivation is an affliction that crosses economic lines. About 42 percent of workers in the mining industry are sleep-deprived, while about 27 percent of financial or insurance industry workers share the same complaint.

这种事情听起来很熟悉?并不是只有你一个人会这样。根据美国疾病控制与预防中心(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)最近发布的报告,在美国,有大约4100万人——也就是现在成年劳动人口的近三分之一——每天睡眠时间为六小时或更少,这部分跟科技产品和它持续不断带来的铃声与震动有关。睡眠不足的问题已经成了各个行业人群共通的苦恼。在采矿业有大约42%的工人睡眠不足,而在金融或保险业里,也有约27%的职工遭受着同样的折磨。

Typically, mention of our ever increasing sleeplessness is followed by calls for earlier bedtimes and a longer night’s sleep. But this directive may be part of the problem. Rather than helping us to get more rest, the tyranny of the eight-hour block reinforces a narrow conception of sleep and how we should approach it. Some of the time we spend tossing and turning may even result from misconceptions about sleep and our bodily needs: in fact neither our bodies nor our brains are built for the roughly one-third of our lives that we spend in bed.

通常来说,当我们提到自己缺觉的情况越来越严重时,人家总会劝我们要早点上床,晚上尽量多睡。但这个解决方法也许恰恰会部分导致失眠的问题发生。一气连睡八小时的教条并没有让我们得到更好的休息,而仅仅是强化了睡眠以及如何安排合理睡眠的狭隘定义。有时我们躺在床上辗转反侧,也许问题就出在误解了睡眠和身体的需求上:其实无论是我们的身体还是大脑,都不需要用占生命约三分之一的睡眠时间来维护。

The idea that we should sleep in eight-hour chunks is relatively recent. The world’s population sleeps in various and surprising ways. Millions of Chinese workers continue to put their heads on their desks for a nap of an hour or so after lunch, for example, and daytime napping is common from India to Spain.

人应连睡八小时,这是相对较新的理念。在这个世界上,人们睡觉的方式千姿百态、令人惊讶。比如在中国,现在仍然有上百万人每天吃完午饭后,要趴在桌上打一个小时的盹。在从印度到西班牙的国家里,午睡都司空见惯。

One of the first signs that the emphasis on a straight eight-hour sleep had outlived its usefulness arose in the early 1990s, thanks to a history professor at Virginia Tech named A. Roger Ekirch, who spent hours investigating the history of the night and began to notice strange references to sleep. A character in the “Canterbury Tales,” for instance, decides to go back to bed after her “firste sleep.” A doctor in England wrote that the time between the “first sleep” and the “second sleep” was the best time for study and reflection. And one 16th-century French physician concluded that laborers were able to conceive more children because they waited until after their “first sleep” to make love. Professor Ekirch soon learned that he wasn’t the only one who was on to the historical existence of alternate sleep cycles. In a fluke of history, Thomas A. Wehr, a psychiatrist then working at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., was conducting an experiment in which subjects were deprived of artificial light. Without the illumination and distraction from light bulbs, televisions or computers, the subjects slept through the night, at least at first. But, after a while, Dr. Wehr noticed that subjects began to wake up a little after midnight, lie awake for a couple of hours, and then drift back to sleep again, in the same pattern of segmented sleep that Professor Ekirch saw referenced in historical records and early works of literature.

在20世纪90年代初,第一次有人指出连续八小时睡眠是个过时的概念,提出这个想法的是弗吉尼亚理工学院(Virginia Tech)的历史学教授A·罗杰·埃克奇(A. Roger Ekirch),他花了大量时间翻查关于夜晚的史料,结果发现古人在谈到睡眠时会做出一些奇怪的表述。比方说,在《坎特伯雷故事集》(Canterbury Tales)里,当中的一个人物决定在睡了“第一觉”后回到床上再躺一下。而英国的一位医生写道,在“第一觉”和“第二觉”中间的这段时间,用于学习和思考再合适不过。还有一位16世纪的医生认为,做苦力的人之所以能多生几个孩子,是因为他们要等睡过了“第一觉”后再做爱。埃克奇教授很快发现,他不是唯一一个发现交替睡眠周期由来以久的人。当时在马里兰州贝塞斯达的美国国家心理健康研究院(National Institute of Mental Health)担任精神病学专家的托马斯·A·韦尔(Thomas A. Wehr)进行了一项实验,参与者不得使用人造光源。由于没有了电灯、电视或电脑这些产品的照明与干扰,参与试验的人只能在夜里呼呼大睡——至少一开始是这样的。但过了一阵子,到了午夜过后,韦尔发现参与者纷纷醒来,他们在床上醒着躺了几个钟头,然后重新睡去,这样断断续续的睡眠周期,与埃克奇教授从史料和早期文献中发现的例证是一样的。

It seemed that, given a chance to be free of modern life, the body would naturally settle into a split sleep schedule. Subjects grew to like experiencing nighttime in a new way. Once they broke their conception of what form sleep should come in, they looked forward to the time in the middle of the night as a chance for deep thinking of all kinds, whether in the form of self-reflection, getting a jump on the next day or amorous activity. Most of us, however, do not treat middle-of-the-night awakenings as a sign of a normal, functioning brain.

看起来,如果得到一个远离现代生活的机会,我们的身体能够自然而然地适应片断式的睡眠节奏。参加实验的人渐渐喜欢上了用一种新的方式来感受夜晚。一旦他们打破了关于睡眠形式的既有观念,就会期待着能趁着午夜时分来进行沉思,不管他们是用这段时间来进行反思、为第二天做好准备、还是想感情方面的事情。不过,我们中的大部分人都觉得在子夜时分醒来,不能算是大脑运行如常的信号。

Doctors who peddle sleep aid products and call for more sleep may unintentionally reinforce the idea that there is something wrong or off-kilter about interrupted sleep cycles. Sleep anxiety is a common result: we know we should be getting a good night’s rest but imagine we are doing something wrong if we awaken in the middle of the night. Related worries turn many of us into insomniacs and incite many to reach for sleeping pills or sleep aids, which reinforces a cycle that the Harvard psychologist Daniel M. Wegner has called “the ironic processes of mental control.”

那些兜售安眠药、呼吁人们要多休息的医生,或许在不经意间强调了这种想法,那就是断断续续的睡眠周期有问题,或者不健康。这往往会导致人们在睡眠问题上产生焦虑:我们知道自己应当在晚上好好睡一觉,但又担心如果我们在半夜醒来,一定是出了什么问题。正是因为这种种顾虑令许多人真的患上了失眠症,不得不求助于安眠药或助眠药物,如此一来就形成了一个恶性循环,用哈佛大学心理学家丹尼尔·M·韦格纳(Daniel M. Wegner)的话来说,这是“精神控制的讽刺的过程。”

As we lie in our beds thinking about the sleep we’re not getting, we diminish the chances of enjoying a peaceful night’s rest.

当我们躺在床上,想着自己无法企及的睡眠时,我们已经断送了在这个宁静的夜晚尽情休息的机会。

This, despite the fact that a number of recent studies suggest that any deep sleep — whether in an eight-hour block or a 30-minute nap — primes our brains to function at a higher level, letting us come up with better ideas, find solutions to puzzles more quickly, identify patterns faster and recall information more accurately. In a NASA-financed study, for example, a team of researchers led by David F. Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found that letting subjects nap for as little as 24 minutes improved their cognitive performance.

而事实上,近来有不少研究都表明,任何深度睡眠——不论是连睡八小时,还是打半小时的盹——都能让我们的大脑以更高水平运转,让我们想出更好的主意,更迅速地解答谜题,更快认出图案,更准确地回想起各种信息。举例来说,美国航空航天局(NASA)出资进行了一项研究,宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)的大卫·F·丁格斯(David F. Dinges)教授带领一队研究者进行实验,结果发现让被试者小睡24分钟,就可以提高他们的认知表现。

In another study conducted by Simon Durrant, a professor at the University of Lincoln, in England, the amount of time a subject spent in deep sleep during a nap predicted his or her later performance at recalling a short burst of melodic tones. And researchers at the City University of New York found that short naps helped subjects identify more literal and figurative connections between objects than those who simply stayed awake.

而在另一项由英国林肯大学(University of Lincoln)的西蒙·杜兰特(Simon Durrant)教授所领导的研究发现,受试者在小睡中深度睡眠的时间长度,将可以预示他们在之后回忆一小段旋律的能力。纽约城市大学(City University of New York)的研究者也发现,小睡片刻的受试者比起一直清醒着的人,能够更准确地辨认物体间表面上和象征意义上的联系。

Robert Stickgold, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, proposes that sleep — including short naps that include deep sleep — offers our brains the chance to decide what new information to keep and what to toss. That could be one reason our dreams are laden with strange plots and characters, a result of the brain’s trying to find connections between what it’s recently learned and what is stored in our long-term memory. Rapid eye movement sleep — so named because researchers who discovered this sleep stage were astonished to see the fluttering eyelids of sleeping subjects — is the only phase of sleep during which the brain is as active as it is when we are fully conscious, and seems to offer our brains the best chance to come up with new ideas and hone recently acquired skills. When we awaken, our minds are often better able to make connections that were hidden in the jumble of information.

哈佛大学医学院的精神病学教授罗伯特·斯蒂克戈尔德(Robert Stickgold)认为,睡眠——包括产生了深度睡眠的小睡——会让我们的大脑得到一个机会去决定新的信息孰去孰留。正因为此,我们的梦才充斥着奇怪的情节与人物,这是因为我们的大脑此时正在试图寻找最近学到的新东西与存储在长期记忆中的知识之间存在的关联。快速眼动睡眠——之所以叫这个名字,是因为发现了这个睡眠阶段的研究者很惊异地看到睡觉的人眼皮在急速颤动——是整个睡眠中唯一一个大脑跟完全清醒时同样保持活动的阶段,而且这种睡眠阶段看来能为大脑提供一个孕育新想法,磨炼近期学会的技能的良机。等到醒来时,我们往往更有能力在错综复杂的信息中发现隐秘的联系。

Gradual acceptance of the notion that sequential sleep hours are not essential for high-level job performance has led to increased workplace tolerance for napping and other alternate daily schedules.

连睡几个小时并不是高水平工作表现的必要条件,在渐渐接受了这个概念后,企业也越来越能包容员工在工作场所打盹,或采取其他类似的间断工作节奏。

Employees at Google, for instance, are offered the chance to nap at work because the company believes it may increase productivity. Thomas Balkin, the head of the department of behavioral biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, imagines a near future in which military commanders can know how much total sleep an individual soldier has had over a 24-hour time frame thanks to wristwatch-size sleep monitors. After consulting computer models that predict how decision-making abilities decline with fatigue, a soldier could then be ordered to take a nap to prepare for an approaching mission. The cognitive benefit of a nap could last anywhere from one to three hours, depending on what stage of sleep a person reaches before awakening.

比方说,谷歌的员工现在就可以在工间小睡,因为这家公司相信这可能会提高员工的生产力。沃尔特·里德陆军研究院(Walter Reed Army Institute of Research)的行为生物学系主任托马斯·巴尔金(Thomas Balkin)设想,在不远的将来,军事指挥官可以通过手表大小的睡眠监控仪,掌握每个士兵在过去24小时里睡眠的总时长。在对比电脑模型,预知士兵的个人决策力是否已经因为疲劳而有明显下降后,指挥官可以下令士兵就地小睡,好为即将到来的任务养精蓄锐。睡一小觉,认知能力能因此在一到三小时内得到提升,具体时间长度取决于这个人在醒来之前处在什么样的睡眠阶段。

Most of us are not fortunate enough to work in office environments that permit, much less smile upon, on-the-job napping. But there are increasing suggestions that greater tolerance for altered sleep schedules might be in our collective interest. Researchers have observed, for example, that long-haul pilots who sleep during flights perform better when maneuvering aircraft through the critical stages of descent and landing.

大部分人不会有这么好的运气,能在允许甚至鼓励上班时打瞌睡的地方工作。不过有越来越多人开始相信,允许间断睡眠对大家都有益。举例来说,研究者发现飞长途航班的飞行员如果能在途中睡一觉,在驾驶飞机起降的关键时刻可以表现得更出色。

Several Major League Baseball teams have adapted to the demands of a long season by changing their sleep patterns. Fernando Montes, the former strength and conditioning coach for the Texas Rangers, counseled his players to fall asleep with the curtains in their hotel rooms open so that they would naturally wake up at sunrise no matter what time zone they were in — even if it meant cutting into an eight-hour sleeping block. Once they arrived at the ballpark, Montes would set up a quiet area where they could sleep before the game. Players said that, thanks to this schedule, they felt great both physically and mentally over the long haul.

有几支棒球大联盟的球队已经开始改变队员的睡眠节奏,来适应一个漫长赛季的需求。德州游骑兵(Texas Rangers)的前任力量和体能教育费尔南多·蒙特斯(Fernando Montes)建议球员们在酒店睡觉时,把窗帘拉开,这样他们不管身处哪个时区都能伴着日出自然醒来——哪怕这意味着八小时的连续睡眠被打破。在球员来到场上时,蒙特斯会腾出一块安静的角落,让球员们在赛前小憩一下。球员们说,幸好有了这种睡眠节奏,他们在整整一个赛季,觉得自己的体能和精力都非常充沛。

Strategic napping in the Rangers style could benefit us all. No one argues that sleep is not essential. But freeing ourselves from needlessly rigid and quite possibly outdated ideas about what constitutes a good night’s sleep might help put many of us to rest, in a healthy and productive, if not eight-hour long, block.

游骑兵队战略性的小睡方式,也许对我们大家都有用。没人说睡眠这件事并不重要。但如果我们能从严苛得毫无必要、而且很有可能是完全落伍的睡眠观念中解放出来,或许有很多人就此可以睡得更健康、更有效率,哪怕他们不是连睡八个小时。

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