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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.
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think, live at 1pm EDT tomorrow.
Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.
Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.
But science loves a good challenge<p>The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~audoly/" target="_blank">Basile Audoly</a> and <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~neukirch/" target="_blank">Sebastien Neukirch </a>won an <a href="https://www.improbable.com/ig/" target="_blank">Ig Nobel Prize</a>, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/audoly_neukirch_fragmentation.pdf" target="_blank">Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read</a>, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously. </p><p>They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a "snapback effect" is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.</p><p>While this settled the issue of <em>why </em>spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn't establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.</p>
Physicists, being themselves, immediately wanted to try and break pasta into two pieces using this info<p><a href="https://roheiss.wordpress.com/fun/" target="_blank">Ronald Heisser</a> and <a href="https://math.mit.edu/directory/profile.php?pid=1787" target="_blank">Vishal Patil</a>, two graduate students currently at Cornell and MIT respectively, read about Feynman's night of noodle snapping in class and were inspired to try and find what could be done to make sure the pasta always broke in two.</p><p><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-mathematicians-solve-age-old-spaghetti-mystery-0813" target="_blank">By placing the noodles in a special machine</a> built for the task and recording the bending with a high-powered camera, the young scientists were able to observe in extreme detail exactly what each change in their snapping method did to the pasta. After breaking more than 500 noodles, they found the solution.</p>
The apparatus the MIT researchers built specifically for the task of snapping hundreds of spaghetti sticks.
(Courtesy of the researchers)
What possible application could this have?<p>The snapback effect is not limited to uncooked pasta noodles and can be applied to rods of all sorts. The discovery of how to cleanly break them in two could be applied to future engineering projects.</p><p>Likewise, knowing how things fragment and fail is always handy to know when you're trying to build things. Carbon Nanotubes, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/carbon-nanotube-space-elevator" target="_self">super strong cylinders often hailed as the building material of the future</a>, are also rods which can be better understood thanks to this odd experiment.</p><p>Sometimes big discoveries can be inspired by silly questions. If it hadn't been for Richard Feynman bending noodles seventy years ago, we wouldn't know what we know now about how energy is dispersed through rods and how to control their fracturing. While not all silly questions will lead to such a significant discovery, they can all help us learn.</p>
A study looks at the performance benefits delivered by asthma drugs when they're taken by athletes who don't have asthma.
- One on hand, the most common health condition among Olympic athletes is asthma. On the other, asthmatic athletes regularly outperform their non-asthmatic counterparts.
- A new study assesses the performance-enhancement effects of asthma medication for non-asthmatics.
- The analysis looks at the effects of both allowed and banned asthma medications.
WADA uncertainty<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU0OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDc4NjUwN30.fFTvRR0yJDLtFhaYiixh5Fa7NK1t1T4CzUM0Yh6KYiA/img.jpg?width=980" id="01b1b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2fd91a47d91e4d5083449b258a2fd63f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="urine sample for drug test" />
Image source: joel bubble ben/Shutterstock<p>When inhaled β-agonists first came out just before the 1972 Olympics, they were immediately banned altogether by the WADA as possible doping substances. Over the years, the WADA has reexamined their use and refined the organization's stance, evidence of the thorniness of finding an equitable position regarding their use. As of January 2020, only three β-agonists are allowed — salbutamol, formoterol, and salmeterol —and only in inhaled form. Oral consumption appears to have a greater effect on performance.</p>
The study<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTIzMDQyMX0.Gk4v-7PCA7NohvJjw12L15p7SumPCY0tLdsSlMrLlGs/img.jpg?width=980" id="d3141" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebe7b30a315aeffcb4fe739095cf0767" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="runner at starting position on track" />
Image source: MinDof/Shutterstock<p>Of primary interest to the authors of the study is confirming and measuring the performance improvement to be gained from β-agonists when they're ingested by athletes who don't have asthma.</p><p>The researchers performed a meta-analysis of 34 existing studies documenting 44 randomized trials reporting on 472 participants. The pool of individuals included was broad, encompassing both untrained and elite athletes. In addition, lab tests, as opposed to actual competitions, tracked performance. The authors of the study therefore recommend taking its conclusions with just a grain of salt.</p><p>The effects of both WADA-banned and approved β-agonists were assessed.</p>
Approved β-agonists and non-asthmatic athletes<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU1MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzkxODk0M30.3RssFwk_tWkHRkEl_tIee02rdq2tLuAePifnngqcIr8/img.jpg?width=980" id="39a99" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b1fe4a580c6d4f8a0fd021d7d6570e2a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="vaulter clearing pole" />
Image source: Andrey Yurlov/Shutterstock<p>What the meta-analysis showed is that the currently approved β-agonists didn't significantly improve athletic performance among those without asthma — what very slight benefit they <em>may</em> produce is just enough to prompt the study's authors to write that "it is still uncertain whether approved doses improve anaerobic performance." They note that the tiny effect did increase slightly over multiple weeks of β-agonist intake.</p>
Banned β-agonist and non-asthmatic athletes<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU1Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjI3ODU5Mn0.vyoxSE5EYjPGc2ZEbBN8d5F79nSEIiC6TUzTt0ycVqc/img.jpg?width=980" id="de095" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="02fdd42dfda8e3665a7b547bb88007ef" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="swimmer mid stroke" />
Image source: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock<p>The study found that for athletes without asthma, however, the use of currently banned β-agonists did indeed result in enhanced performance. The authors write, "Our meta-analysis shows that β2-agonists improve anaerobic performance by 5%, an improvement that would change the outcome of most athletic competitions."</p><p>That 5 percent is an average: 70-meter sprint performance was improved by 3 percent, while strength performance, MVC (maximal voluntary contraction), was improved by 6 percent.</p><p>The analysis also revealed that different results were produced by different methods of ingestion. The percentages cited above were seen when a β-agonist was ingested orally. The effect was less pronounced when the banned substances were inhaled.</p><p>Given the difference between the results for allowed and banned β-agonists, the study's conclusions suggest that the WADA has it about right, at least in terms of selection of allowable β-agonists, as well as the allowable dosage method.</p>
Takeaway<p>The study, say its authors, "should be of interest to WADA and anyone who is interested in equal opportunities in competitive sports." Its results clearly support vigilance, with the report concluding: "The use of β2-agonists in athletes should be regulated and limited to those with an asthma diagnosis documented with objective tests."</p>
Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.
- A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
- The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
- Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.