All Entries For sleep
Be amazed by what's happening during your snooze sessions
Sleep—such a peaceful word, isn't? It evokes images of closed eyes, slow breathing, dreams and relaxation. But while you're dozing, your body's systems are doing lots of crazy things that will blow your mind. Don't worry: They're all normal. Still, you may never think of hitting the hay the same way after reading this. Read More ›
Be honest: How many hours did you sleep last night? If you’re like 35% of Americans, then you probably got fewer than seven hours—in other words, not enough! You already know that a lack of rest can lead to exhaustion, and you may have heard it can raise your risk for serious health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, because it’s associated with insulin resistance, inflammation and the thickening of blood vessels. But there are even more unexpected, negative consequences. Here, what to watch out for, and how to hit the hay earlier. Read More ›
I'm a married woman, but there's a guy I've been chasing after for months: the Sandman. I want him desperately some nights -- and then other evenings I push him away. It's completely my fault that he's turned his back on me in bed. Our always-too-short encounters are rarely satisfying because I'm constantly thinking about an errand I forgot to run or a form I need to fill out for my son's school. (Even Overstock.com and Candy Crush Saga come between us.) Yes, in terms of sleep time, I could -- and should -- do better.
And I'm not alone. More than 91 million women don't get the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye each night. Those missed zzz's can pack on pounds, steal your good looks, and make you just plain grouchy. That's why Family Circle went to its Facebook page in search of readers so heavy-eyed that they agreed to let sleep experts take a peek into their bedrooms to see what's really robbing them of 40 winks. Here they share what all moms should (and shouldn't) be doing for sounder sleep. Read More ›
From relationship troubles to overwhelming workloads, lots of things can stress you out. Thankfully, there are a slew of strategies that promise to help you feel better fast. But do all of them really work? We challenged real women to try out 10 of the most recommended stress busters.
Peel an Orange and Eat It
Why It’s Supposed to Work: Peeling releases a satisfying scent and triggers you to anticipate the refreshment of the fruit, says Coral Arvon, PhD, Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Aventura, FL. Once you eat it, your blood vessels relax and blood pressure lowers, adds Nieca Goldberg, MD, Medical Director of the Joan H. Tisch NYU Langone Center for Women’s Health in New York City. Read More ›
Discover ways to revamp your sleep routine so you can feel great in the morning.
Get Sleep Savvy
As you sleep, your body builds up its supply of a hormone called cortisol, which is then released throughout the day to help give you energy. Cortisol levels should be highest in the morning and depleted by nighttime, so you'll get the zzz's you need. Click through to learn how to get the most of your slumber, so you can be ready to move in the morning. Read More ›
Sleep apnea, which causes severe snoring and stoppage of breathing for at least 10 seconds, may not only lower his sex drive but also increase his risk of high blood pressure and stroke. "When you don't breathe, oxygen levels in your blood drop and stress hormones rise," explains David Volpi, M.D., founder of the Eos Sleep centers in New York, Pennsylvania and California.
Too many extra pounds make your guy vulnerable to diabetes and heart disease in addition to decreasing his desire. But you might hesitate to mention his pants size if yours has gone up too. Read More ›
In an attempt to do more laundry or squeeze in another episode of The Good Wife, almost all of us skimp on sleep. And that includes the Lehmans and Avaglianos. So we used data from their Fitbit Ultra activity and sleep trackers as well as their interviews with Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri, to create personalized goals that would get them the rest they need. "Just like going to work and the gym, you have to make a commitment to quality rest," says Dr. Oexman. "Once you stop cheating the clock, you’ll look, feel and function better." Here’s how our families put zzz’s at the top of their list—and how you can snooze better too.
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Just about everywhere you look someone is using technology. I find it's actually difficult to go out and not see people texting or playing games on their cell phones. It seems that using our phones and other mobile devices (iPads, tablets, laptops, etc.) is such a common thing now. According to this article, the National Sleep Foundation found that "more than 90 percent of Americans regularly use a computer or electronic device of some kind in the hour before bed." With the use of electronic devices like that, researchers are finding that the "exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle." This can cause disturbances in our sleep, along with increasing our risk of obesity and diabetes.
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Get ready for a shocker. You may have heard that anything you eat after 8 p.m. immediately turns into extra pounds. But it’s not true. When you eat isn’t the key. How much you eat is.
Too many calories, whether they’re consumed in the morning, afternoon or night will equal weight gain. However, it is best to spread your calories throughout the day. That’s because food is meant to be used for energy—energy you need more during the day while shuttling your kids to practice as opposed to the night when you’re sleeping. Still nervous about eating so close to lights out? Follow these tips to calm your head and curb your hunger. Read More ›
Editor's Note: Today we're sharing an excerpt of Get Well & Stay Well, a book by two of the foremost experts in integrative medicine, Dr. Steve Amoils and Dr. Sandi Amoils. The Amoils are co-medical directors of The Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine (AIIM) in Cincinnati. AIIM is one of the Bravewell Collaborative's leading clinical centers of Integrative Medicine in the U.S. Both Steve and Sandi are adjunct assistant professors in the Department of Medical Education at the University of Cincinnati. Beyond that, Drs. Amoils have the "SparkGuy" stamp of approval. Chris "SparkGuy" Downie has been working with them to manage his own severe allergies, with great success. They'll be sharing more info on integrative medicine in the coming months here on dailySpark.
Do you ever wonder where you go when you sleep, or why we even need to sleep? Sleep is not only essential for physical rejuvenation; it also provides an opportunity for the memory to integrate information, as if file clerks were coming in on the night shift to file away the experiences of the day.
Sleep also appears to offer the body an opportunity for internal housekeeping. Research from the National Institutes of Health has found that immune chemicals rise as we drift off to sleep, recruiting immune cells to cruise the body and lowering bacteria levels throughout the system. Clearly, if we don’t get enough sleep, we are much more prone to illness and accidents. In addition, lack of sleep raises the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
When you sleep, you move back and forth through various stages several times. As you fall asleep, you go into a light sleep, known as Stage 1 sleep, where you drift in and out of sleep. You then go through Stages 2 and 3, finally reaching Stage 4. Stages 3 and 4 are referred to as deep sleep, because this is where your body hardly moves. During deep sleep, you ordinarily generate the neurotransmitter serotonin. If you don’t get enough deep sleep, you are thus more prone to depression, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, migraines, and a host of other problems.
The next stage of sleep is a very important one called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, where you dream. During this phase, your breathing speeds up, becoming irregular and shallow. Your eyelids jerk rapidly (hence the name “rapid eye movement”), and your limb muscles are temporarily paralyzed. Brain waves during this stage increase to levels experienced when you are awake. The heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, males develop erections, and the body loses some ability to regulate its temperature.
REM sleep and dreaming appear to help us sort out our daily stressors. This is the time when the mind appears to process emotions, sort through memories, and help us cope with stress. A person deprived of REM sleep can suffer from mood and memory problems.
Over-the-counter sleep aids that contain diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) induce Stage 2 and 3, but not Stage 4 sleep, reducing your ability to regenerate serotonin. Utilizing these aids on a regular basis can therefore result in depression. There are other options for improving sleep. Herbs such as valerian root and supplements such as taurine, 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid and 5-Hydroxytryptophan are often extremely helpful. Drugs such as zolpidem and trazodone maintain what is called normal sleep architecture, allowing a person to pass through all the different stages of sleep. However, these drugs are associated with side effects such as memory loss and dependency. Long-term use should be discussed with your physician.
Keep reading for a giveaway--and 11 tips to help you sleep better.
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If your teens are like mine, they love to stay up late, are difficult to get up in the morning, and would sleep until noon if you let them. That is what teens do, especially when they are growing. Teens often make difficult choices and trade-offs when trying to allocate time among school, work, extra-curricular activities, friends and family. Many times those choices are at the expense of sleep.
Studies suggest teens need at least nine hours of sleep each night; however, many are only getting around seven hours a night on average. When sleep is limited on school nights, students can go to school too sleepy to learn. Having trouble staying awake increases the chances of missing important information being taught while also risking the loss of a teacher's respect.
A recent study published online in the journal Child Development reports that teens who stay up late to cram for tests tend to do poorly on the test they studied for because of sleep-related academic problems. Researchers also found that the problem compounds over time as academic rigor increases. Now that teens are back to school, will late-night studying to stay on top of their tough academic schedule sabotage their success? Here are some keys to help your student make the most of their study time and their sleep.
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We all know how important quality sleep is to our health, but most of us tend to get less of it as we grow older. Stress, lifestyle issues and the hormonal fluxes of menopause can all disrupt our sleep quality and quantity, and the effects may be more far reaching than just leaving us feeling tired.
New research has explored the relationship between sleep and weight, and there's compelling evidence that people who don't consistently get seven to eight hours of sleep a night may be at a higher risk for weight gain. A review of the literature that focused on sleep and weight studies found a relationship between short sleep duration and increased weight over time. The relationship was strongest for children, an interesting finding in light of the childhood obesity problem in the US. The Nurses Health Study found that women who slept less than five hours a night gained more weight over a 16-year period than women who slept seven hours, and these findings weren't affected by adjustments for physical activity or dietary consumption. Although the increase was considered modest (1.14 kilogram), it's still a significant finding.
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Every parent learns early to dread Daylight Saving Time and the longer days of summer.
That spring forward – or the fall back, for that matter – can wreak havoc in the sleep patterns of even the most settled baby. And things get even more complicated when the baby grows into a child who can talk and argue.
When we set our clocks ahead an hour each spring for Daylight Saving Time, the days seem to lengthen. We might get up in the dark, but the light lingers longer in the evening--and it only gets worse as the summer progresses. Bedtime comes and the sun still is up. Even your preschooler can see that. The question is inevitable.
If it's not dark, why do I have to go to bed?
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If you're having a difficult time getting seven to eight hours a sleep a night, it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider about options for improving your quantity and quality of sleep. Some women find that making changes in their sleep hygiene--a fancy phrase for good sleep habits--can make a big difference in getting a good night's sleep. Here are several tips for better shut-eye:
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One of the specific memories I have of my grandmother was her sleep habits. At certain times of the year, it was difficult for her to stay awake until it got dark outside. In the morning, she’d be up before dawn, peeking out the window to wait for her newspaper to be delivered. My mom and I used to chuckle about the fact that my grandma would be up and ready to start the day by 4 a.m. Now, I’m the one chuckling because my mom is becoming just like her.
“I was up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep,” she’ll tell me. Or she’ll comment that she can’t go to evening movies anymore because she can’t stay awake. She attributes it to aging, but some new research shows that age may not be to blame if your quality of shut-eye isn’t what it used to be. And it could be time to discuss the problem with your doctor. Read More ›