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Sleep & Your Body

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,…

COPD and Sleep

At first, it isn’t immediately obvious how chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can have an impact on slumber. That’s because COPD isn’t a sleep disorder; it’s a category of lung disorders that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. But there are three main reasons why this link exists.COPD Symptoms May Disturb SlumberThe main symptoms of COPD are difficulty breathing, chronic coughing, and a tight chest, all of which can cause a person to suffer from sleep problems and sleepiness.COPD Drugs May Affect ZZZ’sMany medications that are used to treat COPD can cause insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and frequent urination (which can disrupt sleep).Some COPD Patients Have Obstructive Sleep ApneaThis is a…

Prevent Back Pain While You Sleep

If the first sound that you make in the morning is a groan instead of a yawn, it’s likely that you’re familiar with back pain. Back pain isn’t just an uncomfortable nuisance that you have to deal with during the day—it can also rob you of sleep. People with back pain report that the discomfort can wake them up as often as six times throughout the night. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep due to a sore back, read on for four simple tweaks that can help break the “ow!” cycle. Switch Positions. Certain sleep positions can place extra pressure on the neck, hips, lower back, and more—all of which can cause…

Chiropractic Sleep Relief

If you can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep, there’s some good news. Booking a visit with a chiropractor won’t just soothe your achy back—it may also improve the quality of your shuteye. While chiropractors generally aren’t thought of as being experts on sleep issues, one-third of people who have a chiropractic adjustment report that they experience immediate sleep improvement. Is this treatment right for you? If it’s pain that’s keeping you awake—whether it’s back pain, neck pain or headaches—then maybe. Chiropractic care helps alleviate discomfort and improve relaxation and blood flow. So if a lower backache is what’s causing you to toss and turn, then it may be worth a visit. But…