To Sleep...Perchance?

Lauren Young

As working parents with wee ones, the editors here at BusinessWeek like to compare notes in the morning about our previous night's sleep.

Last night was a bad one. I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep until 3:30 or so, and then my little guy Leo (almost 15 months) woke up at 5:10 a.m. (Let's just say that nature called in a big way.) My husband offered to get up with Leo, but after an hour of tossing and turning, I ordered him back to bed and took over Leo duty.

Everything would be okay if I could take a catnap. George Costanza might have been able to sleep under his desk while he was working for the New York Yankees, but I sit in a cubicle here at BusinessWeek. There's no place to hide.

Even so, sleeping on the job is not a bad thing, according to Boston University professor Bill Anthony. Studies that show midday power naps increase performance, focus, and mood. A survey Anthony conducted shows 70% of respondents grab quick naps in their cars, in bathroom stalls, even under their desks.

In "I Can't Sleep," an excellent cover story written by my colleague Arlene Weintraub, two years ago, I learned that more than 82 million Americans -- nearly 40% of the teen and adult population -- suffer from some form of insomnia, meaning they routinely have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

I've tried Ambien, Tylenol PM, yoga, breathing exercises, magnesium supplements--none of it helps much. A sleep expert I spoke to recommends writing in a journal before bed, but that hasn't worked, either.

I'd write more on the topic...but I'm too exhausted.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.