Healthy Sleeping

Healthy Sleeping

Healthy Sleeping
Healthy sleep isn't just about getting enough sleep; getting the right kind counts, too. While you sleep your brain stays active, and it actually takes several stages of sleep to make you feel well and refreshed. Just how much sleep we need changes as we age, from 16 to 18 hours a day for newborns to 7 to 8 hours a night for adults. If you find yourself feeling tired or fatigued during the day even after a full night in bed, you may have a sleep disorder. See your family doctor or a sleep specialist for help.

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    A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of
    Try establishing a good bedtime routine, and include calming activities in the evening to help them get in a relaxing mode -- things such as a bedtime bath. Reading or storytelling (depending on their age) is also a great way to help kids relax. Cutting the TV and other electronics off a couple hours prior to bedtime is also helpful.
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    Chronic sleep deprivation adversely affects mood and also is associated with long-term health consequences, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Therefore, getting adequate sleep can help increase life expectancy. The ideal amount varies per person, but make sure you feel well rested in the morning.
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    While the amount of sleep necessary for proper functioning varies for each individual, most people should aim for seven to eight hours a night. To make sure that you're getting this amount, avoid factors that can disrupt your snooze session, like drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, vigorously exercising, arguing with a partner or using electronics during the couple of hours before bedtime. You may also want to avoid large or spicy meals and foods containing caffeine (think chocolate) near bedtime.

    Instead, establish a soothing routine like taking a bath or doing some relaxation exercises, like meditation or gentle yoga.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    What type of pillows and bedding should I use?

    A good night's sleep is critical for your health and happiness. In this video, designer Nate Berkus tells Dr. Oz how to choose the best pillows and bedding for your sleep style. 

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    Sometimes getting eight hours of sleep per night isn’t enough. Feeling excessively tired during the day even after ample shut-eye can be an indication of sleep apnea, particularly among those who snore. As many as one-third of patients with a history of snoring have sleep apnea, and if the snoring is characterized by gasping for air, the likelihood is substantially higher.

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    A , Psychology, answered
    A new study suggests that poor sleep may contribute to a lack of appreciation between romantic partners. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley conducted a multi-part study to examine how sleep may affect people’s feelings of gratitude, and the ability to value and appreciate romantic partners. The study was presented recently at the annual conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. The study included more than 60 heterosexual couples between the ages 18-56. They participated in three separate exercises designed to measure how sleep affects individual levels of gratitude, and sense of appreciation between partners:
    • After a night of sleep, people were asked to make a list of 5 things for which they were grateful. Those with poor sleep demonstrated less of a sense of appreciation than those with better sleep quality and sleep quantity.
    • Participants were asked to keep a daily record for two weeks of both their sleep and their feelings of gratitude -- and lack thereof. Researchers identified a decline in levels of gratitude that was associated with poor sleep. People were more likely to report feelings of selfishness after a night of sleeping poorly.
    • The third section of the study looked specifically at how sleep affects the dynamic of gratitude and appreciation between couples. Their results showed that people tended to feel less appreciated by their partners if either they or their partner slept poorly.
    The last finding is particularly interesting. A lack of sleep by one person in the relationship resulted in greater likelihood of diminished feelings of appreciation by both partners. This suggests just how deeply sleep can influence the emotional dynamic of a relationship.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Set a schedule for the week. Good sleep habits don’t develop by accident. Having a set routine for sleep can help teens create strong sleep habits. A good sleep routine includes a regular bedtime, that’s based on a realistic wake time. If your teen needs to be up at 7 a.m. during the week, then a 10 p.m. bedtime will allow them the roughly 9 hours they need per night.

    Be flexible, especially on the weekends. Letting your teen sleep in on the weekends is fine, and a good way for them to relax and get some extra rest. Just don’t overdo: sleeping two hours beyond their weekday bedtime is okay, but sleeping until noon or later can wreak havoc with their body clock and actually make them feel more tired.

    Set limits on technology. We all know how easily our electronic and digital devices can infiltrate every aspect of our lives. One place that ought to remain free of digital technology? The bedroom. This goes for all of us, but especially for teens, who are less able to self-regulate their tech habits. Set an electronic curfew for your teenager, one that allows them to wind down for an hour or so before bedtime.

    Get outside and get moving. Exposure to sunlight -- especially in the morning -- will help strengthen teens’ circadian rhythms, helping them to feel less tired early in the day and more ready for bed at night. Exercise, too, will help to keep their body clocks in line with their bedtimes and wake times.

    Talk to your teenager. When you’re setting bedtime schedules and limits, talk to your teens about why these things are important. The more they understand about their bodies’ changing needs for sleep, the more they can actively participate in learning to manage their own sleep habits.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Studies have shown that during adolescence, circadian rhythms change. These include a shift in the timing of the release of the sleep-hormone melatonin, and changes in sensitivity to light at certain times of day and night. These biological adjustments to teens’ circadian clocks result in significant transformation of adolescents sleep patterns:
    • Teens become more prone to daytime sleepiness, and more alert at night
    • Teens experience a delayed onset of sleep
    These biological shifts are not confined to humans. Studies show that other mammals also experience similar changes in sleep patterns during adolescence. Research also indicates that these biological changes -- and their impact on sleep -- begin often before physical changes of puberty are apparent. As early as age 11, children’s bedtimes are delayed, and total sleep amounts are reduced.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Forgoing sleep for the sake of being “productive” -- something most of us have probably done at some point -- appears to wind up interfering with performance, not enhancing it. For example, one study showed that high-school students who stayed up late to study were more likely to have academic problems in school the following day.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Studies of pro players in the National Football League and Major League Baseball found a link between career longevity and levels of daytime sleepiness in players. In the NFL, athletes who reported lower levels of daytime tiredness were more likely to be retained by the teams that drafted them than those who reported feeling more tired during the day. Baseball players who reported higher levels of daytime tiredness were more likely to drop out of the league than their better-rested counterparts.

    A study of college basketball players found that increasing nightly sleep amounts resulted in improvements to on-court performance. The college ball players in the study -- many of whom were found to be sleep deprived at the study’s outset -- were put on an expanded sleep schedule that included a goal of 10 hours of sleep per night. (Players’ actual average nightly sleep during the study period was 8.5 hours, right in the zone of the recommended daily sleep amounts.) After 5-7 weeks on this new sleep schedule, researchers found that players had improved their running speeds, shooting accuracy, and reaction times. They also demonstrated less daytime fatigue and improved moods during practices and games.