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Sleep

Quote of the week: James B. Comey

Leszek J. Sibilski's picture

"Judgment is protected and nurtured by stepping away from the work. Sleeping is not a moral failure. You arise refreshed in a way that allows you to see your work in a new light.”

-James B. Comey Jr., director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States Government, speaking with Daniel Attridge, dean of the law school at The Catholic University of America, on April 12 for the Brendan F. Brown Lecture Series. 

Prior to serving as FBI director, Comey served on the Board of Directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013 and as a Senior Research Scholar and a Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School in New York City. He also worked in the Department of Justice as United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005, serving in President George W. Bush's administration.

 

The things we do: The connection between sleep and poverty

Roxanne Bauer's picture

It’s well-established that a lack of sleep can impair cognitive function and lead to adverse physical outcomes. But is it possible that a lack of sleep can also explain social issues, like poverty? 

YA woman naps on a hand cart, used for hauling goods around the crowded streets of Mumbaiou’ve probably heard the saying, “Work, play, sleep: pick two.” 
 
Unfortunately, as human beings, we cannot do everything.  Turns out, in this constant negotiation, many more people should be picking sleep over work or play. 

Researchers have demonstrated that, for most people, sleeping less than six hours a night results in cognitive impairment and a host of other health problems, including increased risk for Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These diseases are also more common among the poor, which leads to some obvious questions: Does poor sleep lead to health problems and lower earnings?  Or is it the other way around- that poor health and lower earnings result in poor sleep?  Can a lack of sleep explain the income gap?

Freakonomics recently published a two-part podcast on the topic of sleep and how it may affect not just health outcomes, but also the financial outcomes for people.  It begins by discussing the puzzle over whether poverty leads to poor sleep (environmental factors, the stress of poverty, or the need to work more than one job may interfere with regular sleep) or whether poor sleep leads to poverty (the impaired cognition that results from insufficient sleep keeps us from earning our full potential).