Truth Universally Acknowledged

The title of this blog is an obvious reference to my favourite author, Jane Austen. My other great inspiration is Ella Fitzgerald. I intend this site to be general musings about things which interest me, and hopefully you as well.

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

I'm a girl in her twenties living in New Zealand - of Irish and Scottish descent. I'm married to a wonderful guy and we live in a tiny house in the suburbs with a menagerie of soft toys and model aircraft. My main occupations at the moment are attempting to become and author and surviving my day job... wish me luck!


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Thursday, 12 January 2006

Why it's not a great idea to get out of bed in a hurry

That's my kind of headline. Here's the article from the Times.

GETTING up in the morning is the first, and for many people, the most perilous moment of the day. You can sprain an ankle on the stairs, scald a hand while making tea or be floored in an ungainly tussle with your underwear. But according to researchers, grogginess after waking should be treated more seriously for how it impairs thinking and memory skills — and the implications for doctors, firefighters and other staff roused straight into action upon waking.

A study by scientists at the University of Colorado suggests that the performance of people immediately after waking is as bad as, or worse, than if they were drunk.

The research showed that short-term memory, counting skills and cognitive abilities were impaired in the groggy period, known as sleep inertia.

The performance was found to be significantly worse in people who had just woken up after eight hours’ sleep than those who had been awake for more than 24 hours.

The most severe effects were seen in participants within the first three minutes of waking and generally appeared to dissipate within the first ten minutes. However, the authors said that the impairments could be detected for up to two hours.

Kenneth Wright, an assistant professor at Colorado university, said that the study had implications for medical, safety and transport workers.

He added that it also illuminated the challenges faced by anyone who was forced to make crucial decisions after an abrupt awakening. “If a person is awakened suddenly, by a fire alarm for example, motivation alone may be insufficient to overcome the effects of sleep inertia,” he said.

Dr Wright added that cognitive deficiencies after 24 hours of sleep deprivation had previously been shown to equate to the effects of alcohol intoxication. The study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to quantify the effects of sleep inertia. “The cognitive skills of subjects were worse upon awakening than after extended sleep deprivation. For a short period, at least, the effects of sleep inertia may be as bad as or worse than being legally drunk,” Dr Wright said.

A morning alarm they didn't need

ONE memorable image of 1997 was a groggy Cherie Blair in her nightie accepting flowers the morning after Labour had ended 18 years of Conservative rule.

At 6.07am on May 29, 2002, Andrew Gilligan said on the Today programme that the Government “probably” knew that its claim on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was wrong. It led to the Hutton inquiry, the downfall of the Director-General and the Chairman of the BBC and Mr Gilligan’s departure.

Francis Joyon, the French sailor, had set a record last year for fastest solo Atlantic crossing when he nodded off as he neared home. His £500,000 trimaran ploughed into rocks and was destroyed.

In 1992 Pandora Maxwell was angry at two suited men who woke her up at her London home. She threatened to call the police. They were the police and had come to arrest her husband, Kevin, Britain’s biggest bankrupt.

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