Category Archives: Sleep Science

Sleep Learning

sleep learning

You may have heard about the idea of sleep learning from books, magazines, the internet, or television, but may have raised your eyebrows with the thought that it actually worked. While the concept of sleep learning is far from new, a new study has found that it might actually work.

How to Sleep When You Are Sick

sick in bed

When you’re sick, the one thing your body needs more than anything else is often the one thing that feels the most elusive – sleep.  You want it. You need it. But the symptoms of your cold or flu seem to make it impossible.

According to WebMD sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, “It’s true that many cold and flu symptoms seem to get worse at night, and they can interfere with sleep just at the critical time when your body needs rest the most.” But, why is this the case and what can you do to increase your ability to sleep when you’re sick?

Sleepy After Eating

sleepy after meal

Why is it that when you get back to work after lunch, you could put your head down on your desk and fall fast asleep? And that same feeling hits us double-time after Thanksgiving dinner? Aren’t calories supposed to provide energy? So, why do they make us sleepy? Here’s some science behind this counter-intuitive sleepy after eating phenomenon.

The Science Behind the Siesta

While many think that it’s the tryptophan in the turkey bird, our healthy living friends at HuffPost tell us that there are other foods like eggs and cheese that promote the same sleepiness effect.

How to Sleep During Pregnancy

pregnant woman sleeping

It’s comes as no surprise that the physical discomfort and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can wreak havoc on a woman’s quality of sleep. And if you are experiencing disturbed sleep during pregnancy you’re not alone; 78 percent of women indicated problems sleeping during pregnancy in a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll. Moreover, while your body is growing your bundle of joy, you’re likely to have sleep changes during all three trimesters of your pregnancy, according to the NSF.

Sleep and Aging

elderly woman sleeping

Just as our hair will likely turn grey and wrinkles will probably adorn our faces, as we age many of us can expect to encounter sleep changes.

These sleep and aging changes can result in waking up throughout the night, becoming sleepy earlier, and awakening earlier than we used to.

Sleep and Aging Statistics

As many as 50 percent of seniors experience some sort of sleep disturbance as they embark on their golden years.  And according to the National Institute of Aging, a good number of seniors are not getting enough sleep. One of the reasons that many seniors are sleep deprived is in their trouble in falling asleep. More than a third of women and 13 percent of men reported taking more than an half an hour (30 minutes) to fall asleep (sleep latency), according to a study the institute cited.

Premonition Dreams

premonitions

While many people around the world scoff at the idea of premonition dreams, many people are thought to have had them—even the skeptics. The thing to keep in mind about premonition dreams is that they aren’t always the foretelling of bad things to happen in your life. Sometimes, they bring good news. Unfortunately, those dreams are rarely credited for the premonitions of good fortune they really are.

The science behind dreams is complex, and certainly not clear-cut. While there are the believers that think our dreams — including premonition dreams — mean something, there are other naysayers who don’t.

What is a Premonition Dream?

How do you know a dream you’re having is a premonition dream? What makes it different from other dreams you have? Sometimes a dream is just a dream, right? Premonition dreams are certainly different from lucid dreams, which is the name of the type of dream coined by Frederick van Eeden, and describes the act of dreaming while knowing you are dreaming. However, when dreams foretell a future event, warn of a major health crisis or death (like they did in the Sandra Bullock 2007 film “Premonition“), seem abnormally vivid, recurs over several nights, is shared by others, or occurs in combination with physical symptoms, the chances are that it’s a premonition dream.

Taking a Nap

napping on couch

Are you a napper? If so, you’re in good company. Some famous historical figures, including John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Napoleon, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison were nappers, according to the Huffington Post. There has also been reports that Albert Einstein, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush were known to catch some short shut eye.

So, if you have an extra 10 minutes to spare, you might want to spend it taking a nap. A study conducted by researchers at Flinders University in Australia analyzed the benefits of taking a nap, including the ideal length of a nap for the most betterment. The findings, which are published in the research journal Sleep, revealed that a 10-minute nap rendered the most benefit in terms of cognitive performance and reduced sleepiness.

Sleeping with a Concussion

concussion MRI

Suppose your sports-minded child just came home from a game of soccer with a concussion, and tells you that he or she is tired and wants to go to bed to sleep. But you’re not sure if it’s okay to be sleeping with a concussion. So, should you let your son or daughter go to sleep shortly after receiving a concussion?

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), getting plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day is an important treatment for recovering from a concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion can result from a jarring (big movement) of the brain in any direction that causes its victim to lose consciousness and alertness. The severity of the concussion, which is a minor traumatic brain injury, may depend on how long the concussion sufferer remains unconscious. While concussions are most often heard about in relation to contact sport activities, they can also occur as a result of a car accident or a slip and fall. A concussion can result from a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head or upper body.

How Light Affects Sleep

light on in bedroom

You’ve probably heard people who work late night shifts in hospitals, fire stations, restaurants, or on the road protecting our streets talk about how light during the day has a negative impact on their ability to get a decent amount of restful sleep. But, did you know there is a real reason behind it? It’s not merely a preference for darkness that’s robbing them of the recuperative sleep they need in order to wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. But why does light have such a profound impact on sleep and what can people who work these necessary late shifts do to get the kind of sleep they need?

Why Does Light Negatively Impact Sleep?

“In the presence of light, your brain will not produce melatonin,” says Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, Sleep Specialist: On the surface that doesn’t seem like such a profoundly negative thing. However, melatonin is one of the vital hormones that plays a significant role in helping people not only fall asleep but also to remain asleep throughout the night. If a room has too much light, that makes things much more difficult for anyone looking to get a proper amount of sleep.

Dreams that Feel Real

dream life

Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon that has been well documented over the past centuries. It’s a term that is used to describe the act of dreaming while being aware that you’re dreaming. In other words, dreams that feel real. In some instances the dreamer can even control the dream to some degree in order to determine its outcome or influence what takes place within the dream.

According to Edward Bixler of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, who is a professor of psychology specializing in electrophysiology of sleep and sleep disorders, lucid dreams are what happens “when a person recognizes he or she is dreaming while in a dreaming state and often manipulates the events within the dream.” This is far from remembering those oh-so-elusive details of dreams after you’ve awakened in the morning.