1706459083 When it comes to sleeping not everyone is the same

When it comes to sleeping, not everyone is the same | –

Dakota Johnson starred in the film “Fifty Shades of Grey”. She is also the daughter of famous parents – American actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. And for some time now, the actress has also been known… for her sleeping habits.

Published at 6:30 am.


In December, 34-year-old Dakota Johnson was surprisingly confidential in an interview with WSJ Magazine (published by The Wall Street Journal) after mentioning that sleep is her “top priority” in life. “I don’t function if I sleep less than 10 hours,” she said. I can easily sleep 14 hours. »

When it comes to sleeping not everyone is the same


Dakota Johnson

Yes, you read that right: 2 p.m. Enough to make it difficult for mere mortals to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If we “prioritized” our sleep like Dakota, would we sleep 10, 12, or even 14 hours?

Neurologist Alex Desautels heads the clinic at the Center for Advanced Studies in Sleep Medicine at the Sacré-Cœur-de-Montreal Hospital. At our request, he investigated the delicate matter of Dakota's sleep. “I searched the internet for “Dakota Johnson” and “sleep” and it blew my mind: there are 3 pages on Google. Everyone noticed that,” he emphasizes. On the one hand, it's good, he says, because it raises awareness of the importance of sleep. “But 2 p.m.? It seems a bit long to me. »

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Alex Desautels, a neurologist and professor at the University of Montreal, directs the clinic at the Center for Advanced Studies in Sleep Medicine at the Sacré-Cœur-de-Montreal Hospital.

We're not all the same when it comes to sleep; Some need more sleep, others less, and there is a genetic aspect to all of this. “It is a trait that is said to be complex: several genes interact to determine our need for sleep,” explains Alex Desautels. Specific genes have also been identified in families of short sleepers: They ensure that the brain wakes up more easily and can stay awake longer, says Alex Desautels, also a professor at the University of Montreal.

Needs that are different

In adults, sleep needs generally vary between 7 and 9 hours, and only a very small proportion of the population genetically requires less (within 6 hours) or more sleep (within 9-10 hours). “Sleep needs vary and we cannot rely on duration alone to determine its quality,” explains Thanh Dang-Vu, a neurologist at the Montreal University Institute of Geriatrics. Some people sleep a little less, but have deeper sleep, he explains. The environment also plays a role: an athlete at the peak of his training needs more hours of sleep than a sedentary person. But 2 p.m.? “It’s extreme and probably not normal,” says Dr. Thanh Dang-Vu, full professor at Concordia University.

“It’s very rare and it’s not normal,” says Professor Charles Morin, Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Laval University. According to a pan-Canadian study conducted last fall and whose results will be released this year, only 3% of about 4,000 respondents reported sleeping more than 9 hours a night. “On the other hand, almost 20% sleep less than 6 hours,” emphasizes Charles Morin. Many people therefore live with a permanent sleep deficit, he says.

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Dakota Johnson

But back to the other extreme: Dakota. So which bug bit her?

First hypothesis: exaggeration. Dr. Alex Desautels emphasizes that we are poor at estimating our own sleep: Just as insomniacs tend to underestimate the length of their sleep (by an hour on average), hypersomnia sufferers tend to overestimate it.

Maybe we have to look for the answer in Dakota's everyday life. In the same interview with WSJ Magazine, the actress said that she doesn't have a set wake-up time and takes a bath at any time of the day. Maybe his bedtimes are irregular too. “For example, if someone sleeps three to four hours for several days for an exam, if they let go of their sleep, they may sleep 12 hours, 14 hours or even more,” explains Dr. Thanh Dang Lakes.

Last possibility: the presence of a health problem. “Epidemiological studies show that too little sleep is bad, but so is too much sleep,” summarizes Dr. Dang Vu together. For what ? That's because hypersomnia can be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as sleep apnea, a common condition that causes breathing to stop during sleep. Neurological diseases, including Kleine-Levin syndrome, are also associated with hypersomnia.

Level of attention

How do you know if you are getting the number of hours you need? One of the best indicators, emphasizes Charles Morin, is the level of alertness during the day. If you are able to carry out your activities normally without fighting sleep or having to drink 10 coffees to stay alert, your needs are likely being met.

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Charles Morin

Many people want to believe that they can get by on five or six hours of sleep, but as soon as they have the opportunity to take a nap, they take it and fall asleep.

Charles Morin, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Laval University

Marilyn Labbé, 45, considers herself a natural sleeper. She sleeps four to five hours, with a waking period in between that she uses to draw. “I have always lived like this,” says the Estrie resident. When I was a teenager, I went to sleep with friends and it was very long and very boring waiting for everyone to get up…” She doesn't take naps or consume caffeine. No reason: she is neither tired nor irritable, she says. “It’s more the others who are worried,” emphasizes the mother.

Pascale Montcalm has long described herself as a night owl. Even though her alarm went off at 6 a.m. on weekdays, she refused to go to bed early, “as if I was afraid of missing something,” she says. Today she realizes that she didn't get enough sleep. “I was less focused, less attentive and sometimes hit nails while driving,” she remembers. It was motherhood that encouraged her to prioritize her sleep. She goes to bed at 9pm these days and sleeps 8 to 9 hours a night, sometimes 10 hours but never 14 hours. She leaves that to Dakota.

Participants wanted

The University Institute of Geriatrics of Montreal is seeking participants aged 60 and over in Quebec or Ontario who complain about their sleep and memory to test a new online platform aimed at democratizing the cognitive-behavioral approach used to treat Insomnia is recommended. For more information: 514 340-3540, ext 4790 or [email protected]