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Sleep Experts Caution Santa Claus

Santa Claus prepares all year long for Christmas. If he is anything like the rest of humanity, there’s a good chance he might have procrastinated on the toy-making and is now working day and night to make his gift-delivery deadline. And then he and his reindeer must fly around the world in a single night…a night filled with chimneys, cookies, and candy canes.

What effect does Santa’s job and schedule have on his health? Well, the ScienceDaily research team spoke with sleep experts Professor Franco Cappuccio and Dr. Michelle Miller of Warwick Medical School about the potential effects of Santa’s all-nighter. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Considering that he does it only once a year, it may not be too bad for his long-term health. However, in the short term there are risks. Lack of sleep will make him drowsy, his vigilance will fade and his ability to think and remember will diminish. There is risk for himself and others: he could fall asleep at the reins and crash his sleigh, he could even end up delivering the wrong present to the wrong person.
  • Whilst a little nap on a rooftop here and there (no more than 20 minutes) might help in the short-term, it is no substitute for a good 8h night sleep. Santa also has a responsibility towards his most valuable staff, elves and reindeers. My advice would be to recruit more of them so that he could organise a rota with each elf on no more than a 10h shift, with rest and sleep in between.
  • Every single living creature sleeps, and for a reason. However, both the duration and the patterns vary considerably from species to species. In general, wakefulness in animals is a survival function needed to feed and to keep predators away. Deer normally nap during the day and are quite active at night. For Rudolph and his mates, as long as they are well rested beforehand, they should be ready for the long trip night-time around the world.
  • Surely Santa will feel jet-lagged at the end of his trip! To deliver presents at exactly mid-night all around the world he will have to spend 24h in trans-meridian travel with rapid changes in time zones and little time for his body clock to adapt. He will travel in darkness all the time, so he will be more likely to fall asleep. Catch-up sleep helps to recover from the short-term tiredness and fatigue, but will not help avoid the long-term consequences of sleep deprivation.

To read the full article, click here: Sleep Experts Warn Santa Claus

Sleep well…and to all a “Good Night”!

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