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Myths & Facts about Sleep

“Top Off” with Milk or Formula to Help Your Baby Sleep?

A MythBusters-style investigation into the idea that a large meal before bed helps baby sleep better. As every parent knows, waking at night to feed a baby—whether by breast or bottle—can be incredibly hard. High on the list of tricks to eek out more precious minutes of sleep is the advice to feed the baby extra milk, to “top off” or “fill the tank” before bed. A bigger meal, or even the addition of formula or rice cereal, will make her sleep longer. So the reasoning goes. This turns out to be a widespread myth. Newborn babies eat frequently and sleep in short stretches because their nervous and digestive…

Six Great Sleep Books for Adults

These top reads will help you get the rest that you crave. It’s no wonder that the sleep section of bookstores can be overwhelming: There are thousands upon thousands of books available on the subject! And while some are winners, others may keep you up at night wondering, “Why did I buy this?” To help you narrow down the selection, check out these top picks below. Whether you’re hoping to end insomnia, fall asleep faster, or simply get your baby to nap longer, one of these reads will be right for you. For Sounder Sleep: If you’re looking to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, check out Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips…

Understanding Sleep Cycles: What Happens While You Sleep

Learn what is really going on in your body while you’re getting your zzz’s. Before the 1950’s, scientists used to believe that as people drifted off to sleep, their brains and bodies would go into “shutdown” mode, entering a passive state that allowed them to recover from the previous day. What researchers have since learned: Sleep is a whole lot more complicated, and it’s a much more active state than you might think. In fact, while you’re getting your zzz’s, your brain goes through various patterns of activity. It’s a predictable cycle that includes two distinct parts – NREM, or Non-REM sleep, plus a REM or “Rapid Eye Movement” cycle. Check out what happens in…

Myths About Sleep

Some things that you may think are facts are actually pure nonsense! When it comes to sleep, understanding the truth about how much you need, how to overcome sleep deprivation, and more is integral to staying happy and healthy—but that can be hard to do when so many myths abound on the topic. Rest easy: This article debunks five of the most common myths about slumber. Myth #1: It’s okay to get by on only a few hours of sleep. The Truth: Getting an adequate amount of sleep improves both your physical and mental health. For instance, it repairs muscles, boosts your immunity, and improves your brain’s decision-making skills. While the amount of sleep that each person…

How Sleep Works

While you’re off in dreamland, your brain and other body parts keep busy. When you watch people sleep, they look peaceful. Their eyes are closed. Their breathing is slow. They make no sounds or movements. But you may be surprised to learn that underneath that calm exterior, the brain and other body parts are hard at work. How You Fall Asleep The simple act of falling asleep starts on the molecular level with something called a neurotransmitter—a chemical that acts on neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to tell your body whether it should be asleep or awake. The neurons, in turn, switch off the signals that help keep you awake. Stages of…

Fun Facts About Sleep

Eight crazy things that might happen to you while you’re in dreamland Sexomnia? Sleeping your way skinnier? Jolting yourself awake? Check out these weird-but-true facts to discover some of the crazy things that might be happening to you while you’re fast asleep. Sexsomnia Is Real About eight percent of people have ‘sleep sex,’ where they get it on while they’re not fully conscious. It’s not yet clear why some people are more prone to sexsomnia—it might be more likely to happen when you go to bed feeling frisky but fall asleep before making love, or when you are dreaming about sex and your body starts to act it out while your mind is still asleep. You Can Jolt…

Does Everyone Observe Daylight Saving Time?

Who’s turning the clocks back (or springing forward) with you? “Spring forward” and “fall back” are seasonal markers for most parts of the country—but not all. Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii or Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), and it’s also skipped in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. When it comes to the rest of the world, it’s a mix. In fact, only about 70 percent of countries follow Daylight Savings Time. Here’s a rundown of the countries that choose not to mess with their clocks. Much of the Tropics: Many countries along and below the equator don’t participate in Daylight Savings Time. Due to their location, the daylight…

Reasons You Wake Up with a Headache

Waking up with a throbbing head? Find out what may be the root cause. Waking up to a dull, pulsating pain in your temple is hardly the way that you want to start your day. Yet it’s not at all uncommon: 50 percent of migraines (headaches so intense that they’re debilitating) strike between 4:00am and 9:00am. It’s no wonder, then, that 80 percent of regular migraine sufferers wake up still feeling tired. But before you blame your headaches for disrupting your sleep, it’s worth considering how your sleep habits could be causing them. It’s logical that sleep and headaches go hand in hand since the same regions of the brain control both.Headaches are two to eight…