Thomas Edison: Inadequate or Short Sleeper?

Updated: Apr 22

by Cloe Gray, Ph.D., Senior Medical Writer at BioSerenity | Nov 11, 2021 | Sleep

Thomas Edison Sleeping

Thomas Edison was an inventor who developed the phonograph and the light bulb. Due to his creativity and work ethic, he saw sleep as a “waste of time” and slept 3-4 hours at night. However, he was known to take naps to make up for this shortfall of sleep, and even slept during picnics with friends!

Inadequate or short sleep?

Inadequate sleep (sleeping less than 6 hours in a day) is a condition affecting approximately 1/3 of Americans ( Though individuals may state they are able to function normally on less than 6 hours of sleep, studies of reaction time1, mood2, and impulse control3 have all demonstrated that insufficient sleep has a damaging effect on these variables. Those with inadequate sleep often experience daytime sleepiness, as well as the effects on wellbeing mentioned above. However, in today’s fast-paced world, sleeping less is often seen as a badge of honor and men who sleep less are perceived as more masculine4 (Does sleep deprivation make you more manly? – Sleep Education). Given the prevalence of inadequate sleep among the population and the downstream effects of this condition on quality of life, it is important to determine the cause of and treatment for inadequate or disordered sleep. In some cases, people may only need a few hours of sleep a day. Short sleep is a condition wherein a person consistently sleeps less than six hours a night but is perfectly functional on that amount of sleep. Though some people may claim that they are one of the lucky few that are termed short sleepers, only a rare 1% of the population are blessed with this situation. Short sleep is thought to be caused, at least in part, by mutations in the genes DEC2 and ADRB1. The DEC2 gene influences orexin and the ADRB1 gene regulates noradrenaline release in the brain, which both increase wakefulness.

How can BioSerenity help with the diagnosis of inadequate sleep?

Insufficient sleep can be due to a number of factors, including sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Insufficient or disordered sleep may be diagnosed by keeping a sleep diary or undergoing a sleep study (also called polysomnography). BioSerenity can assist with the diagnosis of disordered sleep (which can cause insufficient sleep) by performing a sleep study. Polysomnography consists of a monitored overnight sleep recording; sleep studies are performed by licensed sleep technologists and the results are reviewed by board certified sleep specialists.

1 Jung, C.M.; Ronda, J.M. et al. 2011. Comparison of sustained attention assessed by auditory and visual psychomotor vigilance tasks (PCT) prior to and during sleep deprivation. J Sleep Res 20(2): 348-355.

2 Finan, P.H.; Quartana, P.J. and M.T. Smith. 2015. The effects of sleep continuity disruption on positive mood and sleep architecture in healthy adults. Sleep 38 (11): 1735-42.

3 Killgore, W.D.S.; Kamimori G.H. and T.J. Balkin. 2011. Caffeine protects against increased risk-taking propensity during severe sleep deprivation. Journal of Sleep Research, 20: 395-403.

4 Warren N.B. and T.H. Campbell. 2021. The sleep-deprived masculinity stereotype. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 6(2).

About BioSerenity

Headquartered in Paris, France and Atlanta, GA, USA, BioSerenity is an innovative med tech company and leader in Tech based Healthcare as a Service. We focus on Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and producing real-world evidence in Neurology, Sleep Medicine, and Cardiology. BioSerenity offers diagnostic solutions to healthcare providers and patients in the USA, Europe and Caribbean. BioSerenity is also the preferred provider for several Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and prominent university medical facilities across the US, France, and other parts of the world.

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