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If you're happy and you know it, tweet

india Updated: Oct 01, 2011 23:31 IST
Sanchita Sharma

People the world over wake up happy but get grumpier as the workday progresses, reported researchers from Cornell University on Friday after trailing Twitter for two years to track the attitudes of 2.4 million people in 84 countries.

Using Twitter along with language-monitoring software, they showed that work, sleep and the amount of daylight - as opposed to sitting indoors hunched over a laptop, tablet or smartphone -- played a role in shaping your enthusiasm, alertness, distress, fear and anger, irrespective of your cultural identity and geographic location. The study appeared in the journal Science on Friday.

Tweets showed two peaks in mood, the first relatively early in the morning and the next near midnight. There were more happy tweets on Saturdays and Sundays, with the morning peaks occurring about two hours later in the day, largely because people start their day later on weekends. Weekend highs were consistent with the difference in time and work schedule, with happier, late-morning peaks showing on Fridays and Saturdays in the UAE, where the traditional workweek is Sunday through Thursday.

It's thoroughly modern to die on your feet, HR honchos have not quite managed to include 'worked to death and loving it' into slavish contracts. The Japanese even have a name for it: karoshi, which means death by overwork. In India, more than overwork, addiction to the cellphones, social media and the internet is being labelled the newest lifestyle threat for the young and restless. Researchers now blame almost everything that goes wrong with your life on internet use, from mood swings to nervous ticks, insomnia, aggression, grumpy partner, headaches, and the emerging pot belly, to name just a few.

This week, an Australian study reported that early birds are leaner and fitter than night owls, except, of course, the few exceptions who run at 2 am before going to bed. This was largely because those who were up late spent their nights online. Teens who went to bed late and got up late were one and a half times more obese than early risers, even though the amount of time spent sleeping was the same. Late-nighters were almost twice as much physically inactive and 2.9 times more likely to sit in front of the computer or play videogames for longer hours than recommend.

While recent studies have shown that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight and obese, this study suggests that the timing of sleep is even more important. Each one of us needs different amounts of sleep, with some managing on just a few hours while others barely functioning without eight to nine hours. Most guidelines, however, say that getting less than five hours and more than eight hours of sleep a day increases stress, which ups risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In the short term, it makes the brain work harder to counteract deficit, lowering memory, concentration and problem-solving capabilities.

Sleeplessness aside, what matters is how you use the apps on tap. New studies indicate that internet addiction - classified as spending more than 38 hours online every week - needs to be redefined as how the time was spent online. Loners tend to use the net for online gaming, gambling and porn, while more positive people use it for information and social networking, reported the Journal of Adolescence on Friday. Which means that if you use the internet as a tool for information, it works. If it's for entertainment, it's time you stepped out and got a life.