Wednesday, January 12, 2005

ClockNews #4: Siesta in Spain, Research in Florida

Dealing with strange sleep schedules as people's bioligical needs, technological progress and societal inertia all clash in the Land of the Siesta:

Spaniards Dare to Question the Way the Day Is Ordered

For much of Spain's recent history, the siesta made the long
days bearable. A routine workday that begins at 9 a.m. and finishes at 8 p.m.
can seem somewhat rational if it is broken up by a good nap in the
Today, long commutes make a trip home for a nap impractical, at
least in the major cities. But if the siesta is becoming a thing of the past, it
has left a legacy of idle afternoons that is still very much a part of Spanish
life. In a way, the siesta has not so much disappeared as it has morphed into an
epic lunch, often a two- or three-hour extravaganza that can last until 5.
When the siesta was around
to keep people going, the long days may have seemed sensible. But without it,
Spain has become a nation of sleepy souls who wake early and go home late, but
no longer stop to nap in between.
Spaniards sleep on average 40 fewer minutes
per day than the typical European, according to Mr. Buqueras of the FundaciĆ³n
Independiente. The lack of sleep has serious health effects for Spanish society,
he said, including a greater incidence of physical and mental illness and higher
rates of traffic and workplace accidents.

Scripps to ramp up local research efforts

FAU associate professor Dr. John Hogenesch needs the larger
lab so he can begin his research. He moved from Scripps' La Jolla facility to
head the neurobiology department at Scripps Florida. Once the Jupiter facility
is ready, he can begin work on understanding the circadian clock - the body's
way of regulating sleep.

Nice. I am glad that the Florida Scripps will also do circadian research. The La Jolla team, led by Dr.Steve Kay, has doen some fantastic stuff in circadian biology in the past few years.


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