As part of the weeklong “Snooze or Lose” series, TODAY anchors pulled back the covers to give us a peek at their sleep habits. They talked snoring and drooling, those middle-of-the-night wake-ups, and their earlier-than-early wake-up times.
“Every morning for the last 20-plus years, my alarm has gone off at 4:10,” said Lauer, who likes to be in bed by 9 p.m. “There’s no way to describe it other than early.”
Morales’ alarm goes off even earlier. “I wake up at 4:05 because 4 o’clock is too early, 4:05 is just right,” said Morales, who tries to be asleep by 9:30 p.m.
The real early birds, though, are Guthrie and Roker.
“I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Guthrie said. “I’m not going to lie. The alarm hurts.”
Roker doesn’t get to bed much before 10 p.m. though he’s a very early riser. “During the week I wake up at 3:05,” he said, “because 3 a.m. seems too early.”
TODAY’s “Snooze or Lose” Sleep Survey found that 72 percent of adults believe sleep is one of life’s great pleasures, though 46 percent say they don’t get enough of it.
As the anchors shared details about their sleep styles, Lauer turned to the experts on TODAY Monday for guidance on that all-important commodity: Sleep.
Though it may feel like a great pleasure, sleep is important for health. How does not getting enough affect our bodies?
“It can cause a number of chronic diseases, anything from dementia, depression, diabetes, heart disease,” said Dr. Nina Radcliff. “We all have our sleepless nights from time to time but over a long period of time, we can have illness as well.”
The TODAY survey found that 66 percent of people reported waking up in the middle of the night, and the anchors were no exception. What can people do to help themselves get back to dreamland?
“If you can’t fall back to sleep within 30 minutes, it’s time to shift gears,” Radcliff said. “What we need to do is get out of bed, keep our lights dim, do some reading. If you have a problem that’s bothering you, write it down, put it in a drawer and close it, deal with it in morning time.”
What if your regular sleep cycle is disrupted? Can you reset your normal sleep clock?
“Sure, but it takes time,” said Dr. Carl Bazil, director of the division of Epilepsy and Sleep at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, likening the process to getting over jet lag.
“We’re all familiar with the thing we call social jet lag,” he said. “Many people stay up two hours later on the weekend, but guess what happens Sunday night? You can’t get to sleep.”
The TODAY survey found that 22 percent of people said their sleep was disturbed by a partner’s snoring. Are the anchors guilty?
Roker allowed that he had a real snoring problem when he was heavier and suffered from sleep apnea. Guthrie and Morales both emphatically denied snoring. But Lauer, well, maybe sometimes.
“There are vicious rumors going around in my household that I snore,” he said. “And on occasion, I will admit that I have kind of awakened myself with a kind of a little snore.”
As for the drooler, Guthrie fessed up. “I really drool,” she said.
As a new mother whose baby, Vale, wakes up about every three hours, Guthrie knows the feeling of a good night of shuteye.
“A good night sleep is better than ... name it?” she said. “It’s great.”
Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.