Tessa's Tête-à-Tête
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Tuesday, 26 July 2005
Getting Enough Sleep?
Topic: Health Issues
My daughter sent me a link the other day to this BBC Interactive Game, Sheep Dash, part of the BBC's section on Sleep. The game is designed to test your reaction time and see how alert you are. Five sheep will leave the flock and dash for freedom and you have to hit them with a tranquilliser dart! You are then rated as a Sluggish Snail, an Ambling Armadillo, a Bobbing Bobcat, a Rocketing Rabbit or a Turbo-charged Cheetah! If you make a mistake, you get a 3-second penalty. Well, I've had several goes at different times of the day. Mostly, I score as an "Ambling Armadillo" although a couple of times, I did reach "Bobbing Bobcat" - and a couple of times I was a "Sluggish Snail" because I got a penalty! So my reactions are slow and I am probably tired. Is it possible for anyone to score as a "Turbo-charged Cheetah"? To me it seems impossible but then I was never any good at Space Invaders either! Do let me know if you get there.

I did a little better on the Face Memory test which assesses your ability to remember how long ago something happened - your 'temporal' memory. If you're tired you won't be as good at remembering when you saw or did something. The test is in three parts so you need about 20 minutes to complete it, as you have to take a break of five minutes between each part. In each of the first two parts, you are shown photographs of twelve faces. Then in the third part you are shown 48 photographs and asked to decide which you have seen before and whether in part one or part two. My 'Recognition' score was 100% - I recognised all 24 photos. However, I only matched 18 photos to the correct part - a 'Temporal' memory score of 75%. The average recognition score is 92% and the average temporal score is 68% so, considering my age, I didn't disgrace myself.

Apparently, recognition memory for faces is unaffected by sleep loss. However, the area of the brain that controls temporal memory can be affected by prolonged sleep loss and/or ageing. The BBC tells me; a healthy 65-year-old who sleeps normally would be able to perform this test similarly to a 20-year-old who has gone without sleep for 36 hours!

I probably average around 6½ hours sleep. Obviously not enough so, I off to bed right now. Goodnight!

Posted by Noviomagus at 00:35 BST Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Thursday, 28 July 2005 - 15:04 BST

Name: David

Gave it a try and got 79% on recognition and 78% on temporal! I wounder what that shows about my sleep state! Perhaps in know where I saw it but can't remember what I saw!


Friday, 29 July 2005 - 00:26 BST

Name: Mum

Well, you definitely burn the candle at both ends! How did you do with the sheep?

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