Sleep pattern: The rythm in which one rests and wakes. Usually this takes the form of going to sleep in the evening and waking in the morn', but international travel and noding can put a serious dent in it. Supposedly it is healthy to have a regular (that is, non-changing) sleep pattern, if you don't, your body will adjust to get the equivalent of eight hours of sleep per night. This might mean taking an hour nap in the afternoon or not sleeping one night and sleeping 10 hours for the next four.

If left to themselves (that is, given no external cues such as daylight or Saturday morning cartoons), humans will adjust to a 25 hour day, rising an hour later each morning. No-one seems to be sure why this is, but it seems to indicate that our societal sleep debt is at least partly genetic.

Most people require 9.5 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Most people don't get it. Sleep patterns have already started to deteriorate in men by age 35, and it gets worse the older you get.

Stanley Coren has written an excellent book, entitled "Sleep Theives" on this and many other subjects surrounding sleep. Including the workable but unwise scheme of sleeping fifteen minutes every hour or so, 'round the clock. (You start to get stupid, apparently.)

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.