Olympia, WA – For most of us, getting a good eight hours of sleep is an important part of our daily routine for maintaining mental and physical health. We as a species love our sleep. In fact, we dread the morning alarm and the chore of dragging our crusty-eyed, pasty-mouthed selves out of bed day after day. Researchers may now know why.
Health professionals around the world are being awakened to a sober and shocking health crisis. Researchers have found that 100% of people that wake up at least once a day will die at some point in their lives and there’s currently very little the health community can do about it. “We’ve been sleeping on the job on this one.” said doctor Blakely Skinnard of the World Health Organization. “We should have found this correlation a lot sooner.” Doctors are calling the problem Sleep Arousal Death Syndrome or SADS.
The research is showing that waking up at least once a day is correlated with universal mortality and that persons who wake up more frequently are more prone to heart problems, mental disorders, cancers and other maladies that lead to death than those who don’t. There is very little data to suggest that not waking up will actually improve your chances of immortality but the evidence for the opposite conclusion is clear.
Politicians have already gotten in bed with the research and are promoting what some see as drastic legislation in hopes of averting the crisis. Congressman Paul Paulson of Poulsbo Washington is leading the charge. “The research is clear and the time to act is now. The Sandman Cometh.” Paulson said. Paulson believes that education along with legislation is the key to arousing the American public to the danger of SADS.
In Washington, which has by far the most aggressive laws against sleep arousal, legislation is already on the books to prevent vagrants from napping 20 yards from the entrance to any business. “I’m glad for the law.” said Amy Tipper, who works in downtown Seattle. “If bums want to wake up 5-10 times a day, that’s their prerogative but they don’t have to do it where the rest of us have to be exposed to it.” Paulson is also calling for an increase on taxes associated with alarm clocks in hopes of curbing their use. Residents in Washington State have already seen a 12% spike in alarm clock taxes with most of the money going towards educating elementary school children on the dangers of SADS.
New legislation is being brought before the state congress that will affect what goes inside businesses as well. “Nap rooms need to go.” Paulson said. “A healthy workplace environment does not include rooms where people can wake up 2-3 times a day. It’s just not reasonable given what we now know.” Paulson also is working on legislation that will make it illegal for employers to reprimand or otherwise punish employees for being late to work or for not showing up at all due to oversleeping. This is a part of the Evergreen state’s “Nap . . .Not!” program which encourages businesses like coffee shops, lounges, and bookstores to disallow napping as the practice has been linked to subsequent sleep arousal. Napping also has been shown to be contagious. Laboratory experiments have shown that mice cohabitating with other mice that are napping will soon fall into a deep slumber themselves. The program is currently voluntary but activists hope to get a proposition on the ballot soon that will bring huge fines for anyone caught napping in a public place.
Harmon Lemongello, who recently was fired for extreme and frequent tardiness from MicroSource Computers is overjoyed. “All those SOBs care about is making money. They couldn’t care less that forcing me to be to work on time is slowly killing me. I hope this law puts them in their place.” When asked if he was planning a lawsuit, Lemongello, who now boasts 14-16 hour sleep marathons affirmed given his new-found time, “If this law passes, you bet I’ll sue.”
The Evergreen state is also first in handing out fines for yawning in public. A recent study has shown that yawning is highly contagious and may encourage individuals who were not considering a siesta to drift off into frequent bouts of sleep which eventually leads to waking. “Yawning in public will result in immediate fines. Citizens that yawn more than three times in a row, particularly around children, could get hefty tickets. Yawn and it will hurt.” Paulson said.
Strong Evidence for Secondary Effects
New research is also showing that homes which include family members that are early or frequent risers can negatively effect the sound sleepers. It could take as little as a slamming door or a creaking floor for an early riser to wake up everyone in a small house or apartment. “It’s clearly a problem when the choices of one person put the health of an entire family or housing community at risk.” Paulson said. Additionally Paulson is encouraging insurance companies to include treatment for victims of snoring as a part of the illnesses they’ll cover.
California, which is ahead of Washington on this problem, recently passed a law allowing persons in high-density housing to sue neighbors who accidentally or intentionally wake them. This weekend the governor, who pushed the legislation through, remarked proudly, “Other states have laws that prevent inordinate noise during set hours of the evening. Our law is much more aggressive in that any cause for sleep arousal at any time of the day, can be grounds for reparations. I never dreamed we could get so far so soon on this issue.”
Not Everyone is Buying It
Not everyone is convinced however. “Kraka” Dawn Wilson of Portland, Oregon calls the story a “snoozer” and finds the evidence bogus. “I’ve been waking up for years and feel the best now that I’ve ever felt.” she said. “B-freakin-S!” was the response of Daniel Swooton. “My mother woke up frequently [which Dan attributed to her craving for pepperoncini ] when she was pregnant with me and my two brothers and we’re all fine. Someone is getting paid off big time for this research. Follow the money.”
There is a growing scientific community that is also questioning the research. Dr. Sarah Lollard of the Bugord Commission on Sleep and Death and sponsor of the “Live Every Day Awake” program questioned the findings. “Correlation is not causation. Simply because people that have woken up have also died, does not entail that the sleep arousal is causing people to die.” Skinnard disagrees. “Regardless of the incontrovertible nature of the evidence, there’s always some naysayer trying to make a name for himself. The evidence speaks for itself.”
Lollard believes that problems like SIDS which seems to link sleeping to death, is an important counter-example to SADS. The American Dental Association too has gotten behind the resistance citing the increase in teeth-grinding related dental problems in states where the legislation is the most aggressive. “There’s a lot of work yet to do.” Skinnard said in response.
Copyright © Philosophy News Service