Category Archives: Sleep Science

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Truth About Beauty Sleep

beautiful woman sleeping

Beauty sleep is so much more than just a myth. At least that’s the case according to a recent study conducted by the Karolinska Institute of Sweden’s John Axelsson.

Sleep Lab

sleep lab cartoon

For people who have trouble sleeping, snore loudly, are overly tired, or have chronic fatigue, often the first step to a diagnosis is an overnight stay in a sleep lab. If your doctor has ordered you to have an overnight sleep study (referred to as a polysomnogram) in a sleep center, here’s what you need to know about the experience.

Sleep Hygiene

good sleep hygiene

You probably know that it’s advised to practice good hygiene to keep yourself healthy, and to help prevent the spread of diseases. But did you know that “sleep hygiene” plays an important role in getting the quality sleep that you need each and every night?

Sleep Study Part 6: Synchronized Sounds Boost Sleep

sound waves

You’ve heard about synchronized swimming, but have you heard about synchronized sounds? Well, a new sleep study reveals that simply listening to your own natural brain rhythms in a synchronized fashion can help sharpen sleep.

Headed by Jan Born out of the University of Tubingen in Germany, sleep researchers found that during our deepest sleep, our brain’s electrical patterns present a slow oscillating-type rhythm.

Sleeping with a Clear Conscience

There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience. — French proverb

A clear conscience makes a soft pillow. — American proverb

The softest pillow is a clear conscience.  — Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

praying child

There’s been a debate for centuries about whether or not sleeping with a clear conscience makes for a better night’s sleep. It’s even a recurring theme in Shakespeare’s Macbeth who felt as though when he murdered the King in his sleep that he actually murdered sleep. Although there are plenty of theories on sleeping with a clear conscience, there haven’t been any definitive studies done to lend weight to the ages old theory regarding conscience and sleep.

Non REM Sleep

non rem sleep

Sleep is composed of natural sleep cycles of brain activity, and is made up of two basic phases with individual stages within. These include rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

What is Non REM Sleep?

Non REM sleep occurs during the first four sleep phases, and before REM sleep, which is the final stage before the sleep cycle repeats itself. On average each stage lasts from five to 15 minutes. A typical night’s sleep is comprised of 75% non-REM sleep and 25% REM sleep.

REM Sleep

rapid eye movement sleep

There are 5 distinct sleep stages, with REM sleep being one of them. Most people fall into the REM sleep stage nightly, and many experience it four or five times each night.

What is REM Sleep?

REM stands for rapid eye movement, and is characterized by random, fast-darting movements of the eyes. While the amount of time you spend in REM sleep varies depending on your age, most adults spend up to 25 percent of their total sleep time in REM sleep. On the other hand, newborns spend more than 75 percent of their sleep time in REM sleep.

Sleep Study Part 4: Human Peptide Hypocretin Linked to Happiness

happiness

Happiness may not come from your family, friends, or wealth, at least according to a new study. Rather, it comes from a peptide.

Led by the University of California Los Angeles, an international team of researchers has linked levels of hypocretin (a human peptide and neurotransmitter) to happiness. They found that the levels of hypocretin soared when we are happy, and also decreased when we are sad.

Sleep Studies Part 3: Weight Gain and Sleep

scale

When people are sleep deprived, they tend to eat more, which causes them to gain weight. This was the finding of a fresh study conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder that was published online in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences journal.

“Just getting less sleep, by itself, is not going to lead to weight gain,” lead study author Kenneth Wright, director of CU-Boulder’s Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory said. “But when people get insufficient sleep, it leads them to eat more than they actually need,” Wright noted.

Sleep Studies Part 2: Diet and Sleep

diet

Sleep Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine studied the dietary divergences among individuals with diverse sleep patterns. What they found in a diet and sleep study, as published in the journal Appetite, was striking.