Restorative rest is not just about the quantity of sleep we get – the quality is important, too. Our lifestyles are not helping common disorders such as snoring and apnoea
Sleep deprivation can be torture, quite literally. After a week of being kept awake, a 19th-century Chinese merchant who had been sentenced to death by sleep deprivation was begging for “the blessed opportunity of being strangled, guillotined, burned to death, drowned, garrotted, shot, quartered, blown up with gunpowder, or put to death in any conceivable way their humanity or ferocity could invent”.
If you want to know what it’s like to suffer the horrors of sleep deprivation, try reducing the number of hours you sleep. But there is another way, much harder to detect and more common than we realise: sleep deprivation is not just about quantity, it is about quality, too.