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 , Psychology, answered
    We all know that men and women have different sleep tendencies -- think of all those early bird/night owl partnerships out there -- but we’re now beginning to understand more about why gender matters when it comes to sleep. I was particularly interested in a recent study that shows evidence of some fundamental biological differences between men’s and women’s sleep.

    In this study, researchers observed the circadian cycles of 157 men and women between the ages of 18 to 74, measuring melatonin levels and body temperature in order to track the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Over the course of a monthlong inpatient sleep period, researchers found significant differences between men and women in both the timing of their circadian clocks -- which help govern sleep times and wake times -- and the duration of the circadian clock itself. Among those differences:
    • Women’s circadian clocks are set to an earlier hour than men’s, making them more inclined to fall asleep earlier and also to wake earlier. Women showed a stronger inclination for activity earlier in the day than men.
    • Circadian cycles were actually shorter for women than for men, by six minutes. Even a slight difference can have significant impact on nightly sleep and on energy levels during the day. Think about a clock that runs a handful of minutes behind every day. Over time, those minutes really add up!
    • Not only did women’s circadian clocks generally run earlier and shorter than men’s, but also many more women had internal clocks that ran a full cycle in under 24 hours.
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    A , Integrative Medicine, answered
    Studies show that most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night for the body to properly rejuvenate. So, to keep sickness at bay, be sure to get some good shut eye. You can also keep your body calm with periods of rest and relaxation. When we live with prolonged stress without allowing the body to calm down, we reduce the immune system’s ability to help fight infection.

  • 6 Answers
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    Noises such as dripping faucets and stereos can keep us awake. However, the absence or presence of a familiar noise, such as the sound of the air conditioner, clock, or traffic, can also affect your sleep. Try to block out unwanted sounds using an earplug or keep your clock or fan near you when you sleep.

    For most people, temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit will disrupt sleep, but the ideal temperature and climate differ for each person. Bedding clothes and material can also affect how easily you fall asleep. In general, a slightly cool room induces good sleep because it mimics what occurs inside the body as body temperature drops during the night to its lowest level. Turning down the thermostat during the winter not only makes it easier to fall asleep but can also help you save money on fuel bills. On the contrary, hot temperatures can disrupt sleep and lead to frequent awakenings and lighter sleep. This can be solved by using an air conditioner or humidifier if you suffer from a sore throat or dryness in the nose.

    Strong lights also hinder sleep as light is a strong regulator of our biological clock and helps to keep us awake during the day. To solve this, expose yourself to sufficient bright light during the day and keep the bedroom dark for sleep. Light-blocking curtains or an eye mask may help. If you frequently wake up too early, exposure to bright light in the evening may delay sleep onset but can help you sleep longer in the morning. Lastly, avoid bright lights if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, or use a dim night light.

    Give yourself enough space to sleep, and choose supple mattresses over firm ones that might cause stiffness and back pain. Choose a pillow that will be comfortable throughout the night and replace old mattresses when needed. The pillow should support your head and neck and be changed regularly. If you have allergies or asthma, there are special hypo-allergenic covers available that can protect you from allergic triggers such as dust mites.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    A sleep environment should be dark, cool and quiet. It is best to try and remove any distractions from the bedroom that might make a child or teenager not want to sleep. Try removing all electronic devices (TV, video or hand held games, phones, etc).  To make sure that the room is dark, consider installing blackout shades, or  use an eye mask. Make sure that your child’s mattress and pillow are giving good support to their growing bodies. Finally, if noise can be an issue consider a sound machine or ear plugs.
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    A , Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered
    How can sleep affect hormones?

    Getting enough sleep is one of the most effective ways to keep your weight in check. In this video, naturopathic doctor Dr. Natasha Turner talks about the surprising ways to burn fat while you sleep. 


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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Fatigue is part of why we yawn. But the technical reason is that people yawn because your body senses a dip in oxygen in the blood, so your body wants to yawn to take in more oxygen and get it back into the bloodstream. We still don't understand why yawning is contagious, however.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Far too often, moms find themselves doing last-minute chores and tasks long after the day should have been declared over. Once the kids go to bed, don't give yourself permission to use the rest of the night to catch up on everything else at the expense of a full night's sleep.

    So if you want just one thing to do differently, see if you can -- for one week, hopefully, longer -- allocate one hour before your bedtime during which you don't engage in any stimulating activities such as e-mail, internet surfing, or even watching television. Instead, opt for a hot soak in your bathtub, reading, or spending time with your spouse. If one hour is unrealistic, then try it for a few days and then cut it back to 30 minutes. But no less! This is You Time, and you'll notice a difference in the quality of your sleep.
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  • 7 Answers
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    Studies show that warm milk, decaffeinated teas and tart juice can induce sleep. Avoid heavy meals or caffeinated foods before bedtime.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Sleep is a key to staying slim. It’s a critical time of rest, repair and renewal for your body. Skimping on it is a surefire way to undermine your energy for the entire day. Lack of sleep has also been linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes. And most importantly, I find that many people engage in late night couch eating -- a double whammy for both energy levels and health. Set up a nighttime ritual that ensures you carve out space for rest. It will powerfully reward you with benefits ten times over, and is a cornerstone of health and healing.
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    A answered
    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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