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Do you hit snooze? What your waking up habits say about your life
A survey asks 1,060 people how they handle the alarm clock when it goes off in the morning, and how long it takes them to get ready for the day.
When was the last time someone told you how much they love their alarm clock? Didn’t think so. Whether your alarm sound cuts into your rest like a knife or sneaks up on you slowly, how do you respond? Do you leap out of bed excited for the day, rouse yourself slowly to face the daily inevitable, or just hit the snooze button and pull the covers over your head? And then, once you’re ambulatory, do you blaze off toward your day or gingerly step into its activities? The folks at Best Mattress Brand surveyed over a thousand people using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and found that the way we hop out of bed—or don’t—and get ready raises some interesting corollaries regarding the rest of our lives.
The average time, by the way, it took to get out of bed for Best Mattress Brands’ respondents was 11.6 minutes, give or take 13.8 minutes. Likewise, it took an average of 43 minutes to get out the door, with a standard deviation of 26.3 minutes.
Getting out of bed
We can state that in general—and across a broad number of areas—the faster you get a move on, the more positive your outlook likely is. But there are also bedroom issues that help us wake quickly or not.
Let’s start simple. The survey revealed that the environment in which your alarm goes off is one of the things that can affect the promptness of your response. The temperature of your room and the amount of light are the largest factors, as we can see.
Whether or not you’re in bed alone also affects things—more on this later.
Just how satisfied are you in life?
Feelings about how successful you are seem to affect your get-outta-bed speed—we’re not talking income here, since, as we’ll see, that doesn’t really seem to have much to do with this. It’s about how you feel about your health, family relationships, and your social life in general.
The less satisfied you feel, the longer you linger supine.
Exit velocity, by demographic
So it’s not surprising that the people who are unemployed aren’t especially compelled to get out of bed quickly, but they’re not the slowest group: It’s people in the arts, entertainment, and recreation! Kind of weird, but maybe it’s their dedication to pleasurable activities—like sleeping—or maybe it’s the late hours many of them keep. People in blue-collar careers get right down to business.
Speaking of motivation, married people rise more quickly than divorced people, who rise more quickly than singletons. Are they happier, or simply more under the gun? And people with greater job satisfaction arise more quickly than those who don’t enjoy their careers as much, though it’s not about money since there’s no consistent link between the level of income and quick exits from the sack.
They say older people sleep less, and in fact, baby boomers are the most sprightly when it comes to getting out of bed. The slowest, interestingly, are female millennials.
Getting out of the house
The best-laid plans
The first decision of the day, of course, is made the night before: How much time to allot to getting up and ready to be off. No doubt some of these decisions are made aspirationally—that is, how long you think it should take to get dressed and such—and some are made based on sorry experience, which is to say being late in the past has led to a more capacious margin of error.
Of course, it also depends on what you need to get up for, as the data shows. Hilariously, those waking up to perform chores set the alarm only 24 minutes before they need to get started, knowing full well it takes them 43 minutes to get ready. Otherwise, realism and the desire to sleep are kept pretty much in balance, with the exception of those catching a flight—they wisely pack in extra time just to be sure they make it.
How the day begins
Okay, so you’re finally out of bed. What’s the first thing you do? For a majority, 55%, it’s a trip to the bathroom. No shocker there. But 11% of respondents check their phones first, with women spending six minutes at it and men four. Why? To check on their families or the news? Nah. It’s about social networking. Facebook is the most frequently visited platform at 21%, followed—surprisingly—by Reddit, squeaking into second place ahead of Instagram. This balance changes with fashion of course, and probably with age group.
How long getting ready really takes
One’s career doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with how long it takes to get ready. Some blue-collar jobs require less prep time, but not all. Construction workers, for example, take more time: “Hardhat, check. Safety footwear, check.”
We might note, too, that those who have others’ eyes on them all day—government and public workers, teachers, and homemakers—allocate more time to making themselves presentable.
Age-wise, the speediest morning preppers are male millennials, who claim to only take 31 minutes to be out the door. Gen Xers are the slowest group overall.
Cutting yourself some slack
In addition to deciding on the time for the alarm to go off, people are apt to do things the night before to help their future selves the next day. Women are more on the case here, selecting the next day’s clothes, taking a shower the night before, and getting the day’s meals ready. In fact, for every one of the survey’s 11 preparatory activities, men trail women. Hm. 31 minutes, millennial guys?
No cause for alarm
It’s an odd, thus-far unexplained, phenomenon that those whose schedule seldom changes find themselves waking up a minute or so before their alarm goes off. Whether one feels cheated of those last few moments of sleep or pleased with the ability to keep track of time while unconscious is probably a matter of disposition. It’s also amusing—really, a little perverse—that nothing makes it easier to fall asleep than knowing it’s time to get up.
So much for rest in peace.
- Australian scientists found that bodies kept moving for 17 months after being pronounced dead.
- Researchers used photography capture technology in 30-minute intervals every day to capture the movement.
- This study could help better identify time of death.
We're learning more new things about death everyday. Much has been said and theorized about the great divide between life and the Great Beyond. While everyone and every culture has their own philosophies and unique ideas on the subject, we're beginning to learn a lot of new scientific facts about the deceased corporeal form.
An Australian scientist has found that human bodies move for more than a year after being pronounced dead. These findings could have implications for fields as diverse as pathology to criminology.
Dead bodies keep moving
Researcher Alyson Wilson studied and photographed the movements of corpses over a 17 month timeframe. She recently told Agence France Presse about the shocking details of her discovery.
Reportedly, she and her team focused a camera for 17 months at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), taking images of a corpse every 30 minutes during the day. For the entire 17 month duration, the corpse continually moved.
"What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body," Wilson said.
The researchers mostly expected some kind of movement during the very early stages of decomposition, but Wilson further explained that their continual movement completely surprised the team:
"We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out."
During one of the studies, arms that had been next to the body eventually ended up akimbo on their side.
The team's subject was one of the bodies stored at the "body farm," which sits on the outskirts of Sydney. (Wilson took a flight every month to check in on the cadaver.)Her findings were recently published in the journal, Forensic Science International: Synergy.
Implications of the study
The researchers believe that understanding these after death movements and decomposition rate could help better estimate the time of death. Police for example could benefit from this as they'd be able to give a timeframe to missing persons and link that up with an unidentified corpse. According to the team:
"Understanding decomposition rates for a human donor in the Australian environment is important for police, forensic anthropologists, and pathologists for the estimation of PMI to assist with the identification of unknown victims, as well as the investigation of criminal activity."
While scientists haven't found any evidence of necromancy. . . the discovery remains a curious new understanding about what happens with the body after we die.
Metal-like materials have been discovered in a very strange place.
- Bristle worms are odd-looking, spiky, segmented worms with super-strong jaws.
- Researchers have discovered that the jaws contain metal.
- It appears that biological processes could one day be used to manufacture metals.
The bristle worm, also known as polychaetes, has been around for an estimated 500 million years. Scientists believe that the super-resilient species has survived five mass extinctions, and there are some 10,000 species of them.
Be glad if you haven't encountered a bristle worm. Getting stung by one is an extremely itchy affair, as people who own saltwater aquariums can tell you after they've accidentally touched a bristle worm that hitchhiked into a tank aboard a live rock.
Bristle worms are typically one to six inches long when found in a tank, but capable of growing up to 24 inches long. All polychaetes have a segmented body, with each segment possessing a pair of legs, or parapodia, with tiny bristles. ("Polychaeate" is Greek for "much hair.") The parapodia and its bristles can shoot outward to snag prey, which is then transferred to a bristle worm's eversible mouth.
The jaws of one bristle worm — Platynereis dumerilii — are super-tough, virtually unbreakable. It turns out, according to a new study from researchers at the Technical University of Vienna, this strength is due to metal atoms.
Metals, not minerals
Fireworm, a type of bristle wormCredit: prilfish / Flickr
This is pretty unusual. The study's senior author Christian Hellmich explains: "The materials that vertebrates are made of are well researched. Bones, for example, are very hierarchically structured: There are organic and mineral parts, tiny structures are combined to form larger structures, which in turn form even larger structures."
The bristle worm jaw, by contrast, replaces the minerals from which other creatures' bones are built with atoms of magnesium and zinc arranged in a super-strong structure. It's this structure that is key. "On its own," he says, "the fact that there are metal atoms in the bristle worm jaw does not explain its excellent material properties."
Just deformable enough
Credit: by-studio / Adobe Stock
What makes conventional metal so strong is not just its atoms but the interactions between the atoms and the ways in which they slide against each other. The sliding allows for a small amount of elastoplastic deformation when pressure is applied, endowing metals with just enough malleability not to break, crack, or shatter.
Co-author Florian Raible of Max Perutz Labs surmises, "The construction principle that has made bristle worm jaws so successful apparently originated about 500 million years ago."
Raible explains, "The metal ions are incorporated directly into the protein chains and then ensure that different protein chains are held together." This leads to the creation of three-dimensional shapes the bristle worm can pack together into a structure that's just malleable enough to withstand a significant amount of force.
"It is precisely this combination," says the study's lead author Luis Zelaya-Lainez, "of high strength and deformability that is normally characteristic of metals.
So the bristle worm jaw is both metal-like and yet not. As Zelaya-Lainez puts it, "Here we are dealing with a completely different material, but interestingly, the metal atoms still provide strength and deformability there, just like in a piece of metal."
Observing the creation of a metal-like material from biological processes is a bit of a surprise and may suggest new approaches to materials development. "Biology could serve as inspiration here," says Hellmich, "for completely new kinds of materials. Perhaps it is even possible to produce high-performance materials in a biological way — much more efficiently and environmentally friendly than we manage today."
Dealing with rudeness can nudge you toward cognitive errors.
- Anchoring is a common bias that makes people fixate on one piece of data.
- A study showed that those who experienced rudeness were more likely to anchor themselves to bad data.
- In some simulations with medical students, this effect led to higher mortality rates.
Cognitive biases are funny little things. Everyone has them, nobody likes to admit it, and they can range from minor to severe depending on the situation. Biases can be influenced by factors as subtle as our mood or various personality traits.
A new study soon to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that experiencing rudeness can be added to the list. More disturbingly, the study's findings suggest that it is a strong enough effect to impact how medical professionals diagnose patients.
Life hack: don't be rude to your doctor
The team of researchers behind the project tested to see if participants could be influenced by the common anchoring bias, defined by the researchers as "the tendency to rely too heavily or fixate on one piece of information when making judgments and decisions." Most people have experienced it. One of its more common forms involves being given a particular value, say in negotiations on price, which then becomes the center of reasoning even when reason would suggest that number should be ignored.
It can also pop up in medicine. As co-author Dr. Trevor Foulk explains, "If you go into the doctor and say 'I think I'm having a heart attack,' that can become an anchor and the doctor may get fixated on that diagnosis, even if you're just having indigestion. If doctors don't move off anchors enough, they'll start treating the wrong thing."
Lots of things can make somebody more or less likely to anchor themselves to an idea. The authors of the study, who have several papers on the effects of rudeness, decided to see if that could also cause people to stumble into cognitive errors. Past research suggested that exposure to rudeness can limit people's perspective — perhaps anchoring them.
In the first version of the study, medical students were given a hypothetical patient to treat and access to information on their condition alongside an (incorrect) suggestion on what the condition was. This served as the anchor. In some versions of the tests, the students overheard two doctors arguing rudely before diagnosing the patient. Later variations switched the diagnosis test for business negotiations or workplace tasks while maintaining the exposure to rudeness.
Across all iterations of the test, those exposed to rudeness were more likely to anchor themselves to the initial, incorrect suggestion despite the availability of evidence against it. This was less significant for study participants who scored higher on a test of how wide of a perspective they tended to have. The disposition of these participants, who answered in the affirmative to questions like, "Before criticizing somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in his/her place," was able to effectively negate the narrowing effects of rudeness.
What this means for you and your healthcare
The effects of anchoring when a medical diagnosis is on the line can be substantial. Dr. Foulk explains that, in some simulations, exposure to rudeness can raise the mortality rate as doctors fixate on the wrong problems.
The authors of the study suggest that managers take a keener interest in ensuring civility in workplaces and giving employees the tools they need to avoid judgment errors after dealing with rudeness. These steps could help prevent anchoring.
Also, you might consider being nicer to people.