33. Reading Skills Comprehension: A NEWBORN

By | August 26, 2023
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Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:

1.A newborn baby appears to be sleeping almost all the time. But as it grows up, its pattern of sleep changes. It sleeps less and less and stays awake longer, playing or crying or babbling. By adulthood, the pattern is well established, people sleep eight or nine hours a day. Well, not quite that long, for our sleep habits have changed over the last century or so and we do not get as much sleep as we ought

2.In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people went to bed early, soon after it was dark. They had nothing to do in the evenings, and their sleep habits were fixed by the alternation of day and night, light and darkness. They woke up by daybreak, and thus they could get nine hours of sleep on an average.

3.Today, the situation has changed. People, especially in industrialized countries, get less than eight hours of sleep per day; many of them believe that six or six-and-a-half hours of sleep is enough for them. According to biologists and specialises in sleep disorders, a large number of people are not sleeping enough and thus sleep deficit affects their health and their performance.

4. How did this change in our sleep habits come about? One cause was the introduction of the light bulb. When the electric bulb came into common use, people could work till late in the evening or even till midnight. As the life of a civilized community became more complex, people began to deprive themselves of sleep in order to squeeze their busy schedule into the late evening hours. Many factories introduced the shift system, by which people work in 8-hour cycles by rotation. A worker who has been working 8 am to 4 pm during one month is asked to work from midnight till 8 am during the next month. The human brain cannot adapt easily to such a different sleep time, and as a result, the worker loses his sleep till the new pattern is established.

5. Millions of people today travel by air across time zones and suffer jet lag in the process. The world has become one big market, and businessmen have to be constantly travelling; this robs them of their sleep. Even at other times, businessmen have to stay awake keeping track of market developments in the business capitals of the world, like New Your, London and Tokyo. If they fail to monitor the movements of price in the foreign markets, they will be the losers. Radio and television must bear their share of responsibility for depriving people of sleep. Even after local TV transmissions have closed by midnight, satellite transmission brings programmes from other transmitting stations across the world through the night. Many people get addicted to television and consider themselves compensated for the loss of sleep by being able to watch interesting programmes of entertainment, or live telecasts of sports or political events from foreign countries.

6. Experiments, where people have stayed awake for days at a time show that they soon become tired, confused, irritable and eventually ill, with headaches and increased risk of infections and accidents. Many people who suffer from sleeplessness (insomnia) are worried or anxious or depressed. They may get stuck in a vicious spiral where they cannot sleep, so they worry about that as well, and so sleep even less. Treating insomnia may help; doctors can prescribe various types of sleeping pills to aid sleep. However, it is usually better to get to the root of the problem to find out what is causing the worry or depression, and to deal with that.

7. Research has shown that the performance of people suffers if they are deprived of sleep. They cannot concentrate, they cannot absorb what they are reading, they cannot make calculations, they make mistakes. Some traffic accidents can be traced to drivers falling asleep while at the wheel. Sleep-deprived people cannot be alert, and this can lead to accidents in factories when such people lose their concentration while monitoring machines.

8. What, then, is to be done to set things right? Obviously, people should learn to sleep more. One way is to take a siesta in the afternoon, as people often do in tropical countries. Extra sleep during weekends can help, but where there has been severe deprivation, it may take a long time to make up for lost sleep. The most sensible thing to do would be to go back to our old time habit and sleep an hour longer every night. Sleep therapists advise us to take extra sleep at bedtime in the evening rather than in the morning.

On the basis of your understanding of the above passage answer each of the questions given below with the help of options that follow:                                                                             

(a) The number of hours one slept in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was

(i) five              (ii) four

(iii) nine           (iv) ten

(b) The main health problem suffered by modern man is caused by

 (i) sleeping late                      (ii) sleeping early

(iii) not sleeping enough         (iv) not sleeping enough over a long period of time

(c) modern man has been compromising his sleep to

 (i) squeeze in more hours of work                 (ii) enjoy himself at night

(iii) work in factories                                      (iv) increase profits

 (d) air travel has added to the woes of those who are sleep deprived because

(i) people travel across different time zones in a day

 (ii) people who travel by air can’t sleep peacefully

(iii) people have to adjust to different weather conditions

(iv) none of the above

Answer the following questions briefly in your own words:

(e) How did the invention of the bulb affect man?

 (f) What is insomnia?

(g) What is the major cause of insomnia?

(h) What are the results of not having enough sleep?

(i) How can we improve our sleep patterns?

(j) What is the meaning of jet lag?

 (k) Find words from the passage which mean the same as each of the following:

(i) shortfall/shortage (para 3)

 (ii) deficiency (para 8)


 (a) (iii);                       (b) (iv);

(c) (i);                          (d) (i)

 (e) The invention of the light bulb allowed people to work much longer hours than before. Instead of stopping work as soon as it got dark, they now had the option of working late into the night.

(f) Insomnia is a condition where people are not able to fall asleep.

(g) The major cause of insomnia is worry or depression. which prevents people from sleeping.

 (h) Some outcomes of the lack of sleep include fatigue, lack of concentration, lower work performance, accidents while driving or in factories.

 (i) We can improve our sleep patterns by taking a nap or siesta in the afternoon, trying to get extra sleep over the weekends, and making sure to add an extra hour of sleep to our daily routine by going to bed a little earlier in the evening.

(j) Jet lag is the confusion our bodies suffer from when we travel across time zones.

 (k) (i) deficit               (ii) deprivation

Download the above Passage in PDF Worksheet (Printable)

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