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Sleep & Your Body

Ease Heartburn at Bedtime

The fiery feeling of heartburn isn’t just uncomfortable. If you experience it regularly at night—as up to 75% of people who have frequent heartburn do—it could mess with your sleep and leave you exhausted. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that adults who have bedtime heartburn are more likely to have sleep issues such as insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and restless leg syndrome. That burning sensation that you experience with heartburn is due to stomach acid flowing back up the esophagus—the tube that brings food to the stomach from the mouth. But here’s some good news: It’s possible to manage the discomfort. Beat the burn and score better shuteye with these tips. Watch What You Eat One…

Sleep Awareness Week 2017: Sleep Better. Feel Better.

Sleep Awareness Week is here! Throughout this week, we encourage you to prioritize your sleep in order to improve your overall health and well-being. This year’s theme is “Sleep Better. Feel Better.” and our goal is for you to get enough sleep and feel well rested. Don’t know where to begin when it comes to good sleep? NSF has got your back. Here are some tips that may help you #SleepBetterFeelBetter. When you’re done, watch our Sleep Awareness Week video to learn more.Turn off all electronics an hour before bed. That includes laptops, tablets, or smartphones. If you’re reading before bed, consider paper format. Try not to eat a huge meal before bedtime. If…

How to Overcome 3 Common Sleep-Related Mistakes

Getting enough sleep at night certainly isn’t easy—but it’s not impossible, either. Fixing the following five common mistakes will help you get on the track to better zzz’s. Mistake #1 That afternoon coffee break Some 78 percent of Americans consume caffeine on the regular. And sipping coffee or tea with your breakfast can be a great way to feel more alert as you begin to tackle your to-do list. But another cup later in the afternoon—or worse yet, after dinner—can have serious, negative effects on your sleep, making it harder to drift off. In fact, having caffeine six hours before turning in could cost you an hour of sleep. In other words, having an afternoon coffee might…

What Are the Best Hours to Sleep?

Most people sleep during the hours that make the most sense for their professional, family, and social lives. Their awakening times are largely determined by these responsibilities and commitments, whereas when they go to sleep often depends on their personal preferences and evening activities. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per day—that’s a given. Figuring out how to get that amount is another story. If you need to wake up at 7:00am, you can count backwards eight hours and set a bedtime of 11:00pm. This is a good starting point, but there are individual variations when it comes to the best hours for sleep. For example, some people are larks (morning…

5 Fast Ways to Overcome an Afternoon Slump

Here’s the thing about wanting to take a nap in the early afternoon: It’s completely natural. Your energy level dips right around seven hours after you wake up, causing you to crave some shuteye. On top of that, there are things that make an afternoon slump worse, like eating a carb-heavy lunch or sitting still for too long at your desk. That said, most people can’t settle in for an afternoon nap every day. That’s when you need a quick way to boost your energy. Here are some simple strategies that do just that.Have an energizing snack. Food, after all, is energy, so it makes sense that eating something will help you feel…

Say Goodbye to Sleep Debt

Getting enough sleep is central to living your best life—from staying safe on the road to being productive on the job. Adults typically need seven to nine hours a night, but for about 40 percent of Americans, that much shuteye is an elusive goal. The average is more like 6.8 hours—12 minutes shy of the minimum recommendation. A difference of just 12 minutes a night may not seem like a lot, but over time those minutes can add up to a huge sleep debt (especially if you really need eight or nine hours). Over time those deficits can take a toll on your health, too, raising your risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and memory loss….

How to Bank Sleep and Stay Alert for All-night Duty

It’s one thing to pull an all-nighter to cram for an exam or write a paper in college. It’s another thing altogether to be on all-night duty in the military: Alertness, focus, vigilance, and quick reactions are essential in that scenario. There’s no margin for error. The following proven strategies will help you stay sharp for the night shift. When you know that all-night duty is coming your way, try to bank some extra hours of sleep in advance to deepen your reserves; this will help you feel and function better while you’re on duty. You can do this by going to sleep earlier and/or waking up later in the days leading up to your…

How Losing Sleep Affects Your Body and Mind

If you’ve been skimping on sleep to get more done during your waking hours, you may be fooling yourself if you think you’re getting away with it. The truth is, insufficient shuteye can compromise the way that you feel and function around the clock, often in sneaky ways. After all, good-quality sleep provides your mind and body with the opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation, which can help enhance your everyday performance. Here’s a head-to-toe look at the reality of what happens when you cheat on sleep. Your mind won’t function optimally. Sleep is critical for the formation and consolidation of memories—and for your ability to retrieve them while you’re awake. Plus, when you’re tired,…

Can You Really Sleep With Your Eyes Open?

Sleeping with your eyes open sounds like something from a horror film, but it’s a real condition called nocturnal lagophthalmos. It occurs when the eyelids can’t close enough to cover the eye—either partially or fully. Surprisingly, the condition is quite common. As much as 20 percent of people experience it, and it even occurs in babies. It can be hereditary, so if you sleep with your eyes open, your infant might, too (but most children grow out of it). However, if you still experience nocturnal lagophthalmos as an adult, it’s important to check in with a doctor. First, sleeping with your eyes open robs your peepers of important moisture. When your eyes are closed…

Asthma and Sleep

When you think about it, it makes sense that having asthma—a common respiratory condition—can make it tough to get high-quality sleep. Since asthma constricts the airways, it can lead to nighttime coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness, all of which make it hard to fall asleep and/or cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. People who have a condition known as “nocturnal asthma” may even find that their symptoms get even worse at night. Certain changes happen to the body at night, which are part of the natural circadian rhythm. If you’re healthy, they’re no big deal, but if you have asthma, they can make a bad problem even worse. For example,…