When he invented the
light bulb, Thomas
Edison started a revolution in the way people sleep. Before electric
light, people's lives followed the natural rhythms of the day and
seasons. After the invention of electricity, hours of work changed
dramatically. No longer
was there a need to stop working and go to bed just because it was dark.
Edison himself believed that sleep was an unnecessary
He was proud
that he only needed four hours sleep every night.
Most adults need about eight hours sleep every night to feel
and able to
work well during the next day. Some people
with only six hours, others need ten. Winston Churchill, Margaret
Thatcher, and Leonardo da Vinci, like Edison, needed much less than six
hours of sleep each night. But, reassuringly, Einstein had to have ten
hours of sleep or he felt terrible!
Scientists suggest that today, most adults get up to two hours less
sleep than they need. As a result
less productive and grumpy.
A lot of the blame
for that must
lie with Mr Edison and his electric light bulb.
What is sleep?
Sleep is the time when our bodies and minds are rested and
are two types of sleep. We need both types to be healthy:
• Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is when we
are active, and our eyes make fast short movements, as if watching
something. This type of sleep helps restore our mind.
• Non-REM (NREM) sleep is when our brain and body
Our heart rate slows and our breathing is regular. This type of sleep
helps restore our body. We have
twice as much
NREM sleep as REM sleep each night.
get a better sleep
• Have a regular time for sleeping and a routine before you go to bed.
This will give your body the signal that it is time to sleep.
• Make sure the bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. If your bed
is too hard
or too soft,
if you are too cold or too hot, you will not sleep well.
• For two hours before going to bed do not drink coffee or alcohol, and
do not smoke or exercise. All these things stimulate your body and make