We talk an awful lot about why it’s important to get enough quality sleep each night, for reasons that range to pleasantly beneficial to physiologically necessary. And most people don’t really need to be sold on the idea; most of us know we don’t get enough sleep and wish we could get more. If only it were that easy, right? We’re fully aware that you might want to sleep more in theory, but that in practice, there are such things as crying babies, college exams, restless brains, and any number of other reasons that make getting enough sleep a real challenge. Fortunately, we are in the age of the App. Nifty little tools to help us track, monitor, manage, and modify pretty much anything, and that includes our sleep habits. Continue reading
There’s no escaping it: summer is here, and it is in full swing. Here in Texas, we’re hitting triple digits and we’re likely to stay there for a while. While you’re probably already keeping an eye on things like UV levels and your water consumption, you may have a little more trouble getting to sleep than you do the rest of the year, especially if all of the A/C in the world can’t keep you cool and comfy between the sheets. It’s not in your head: longer days and hotter nights can mean you spend more time tossing and turning and less time getting the sleep that you need, which is vital in the summer months when we’re asking our bodies to work harder. Continue reading
When Carrie Fisher passed away last year, her death left a lot of people shocked and more than a little devastated; she was well loved for her role as the fierce and capable Princess Leia — and later, General Leia — in the Star Wars franchise and, as an outspoken and honest advocate for mental health and addiction recovery. Two weeks ago, her fans and family finally got some answers as to what could have claimed her life at such a young age. Among the contributing factors was sleep apnea, a term most people may never have even heard prior to the release of her autopsy report on June 16. Continue reading
You probably don’t need a sleep doctor to tell you that not getting enough sleep is terrible for you. Chances are, you’ve already felt the effects of a sleepless night the next day, or noticed that a week of tossing and turning leaves you feeling foggy, achy, and just kind of awful overall. But for many of us, a night or two — or even a month or so of less than high quality sleep doesn’t feel like a huge deal. Sooner or later the stress ends, you get a good long sleep-in, and you consider the problem solved. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way all the time. The term “sleep debt” refers to the amount of sleep you’re not getting, and can refer both to straightforward sleep loss and the harder to recognize effects of poor quality sleep.
The concept of “debt” makes a pretty tidy metaphor: you’re supposed to get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night, depending on your personal needs. When you fall below your particular sleep threshold, your brain incurs the “debt” and will look to make it up later. It’s part of why you may sleep deep and hard after an unusually restless night and why most of us sleep in on a Saturday morning. That’s fine if you usually get your ideal amount of sleep and just need a few hours to recoup the loss on the odd weekend, but what happens if you’re like most Americans and regularly fall short of your threshold? It isn’t “no harm, no foul”. Years of no sleep or low-quality sleep means could find yourself paying interest on your sleep debt in some pretty alarming ways. Continue reading
What’s The Ultimate Pillow? It’s a uniquely shaped pillow made of quality, ventilated memory foam that makes it a whole lot easier to sleep at night, especially if you use a CPAP machine and face mask. If you do, we probably don’t need to tell you how annoying mask leaks are. Continue reading
June is all about the guys: with Father’s Day just around the corner, and Men’s Health Week underway, this month is a great time to take a moment and reflect on the lives and health of men. Men face specific challenges when it comes to all aspects of health — they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, thanks to outdated stereotypes, and mental health concerns often take a backseat to work and family obligations. There’s a fair amount of pressure on men to tough out any health concerns they may have, which means that if they do end up on the exam table, they’re likely to play down what’s really going on.
Convincing men to take physical and mental health ‘red flags’ seriously means leaping over a few hurdles thrown up by societal gender perceptions, and that goes double for sleep. As a whole, we’re all more likely to write sleep off as something that’s nice to have, not something we need. Of course, the opposite is true. And guys? If you don’t get enough sleep often enough, it can mess with your body and head in some really serious ways. Continue reading
When we talk about sleep, it’s easy to focus on the fact that people simply aren’t getting enough of it. When so many people skimp on a full night’s rest that our collective lack of slumber is considered a public health crisis, it’s tempting for sleep professionals and physicians to remind people to at least aim for the recommended 7-9 hours. But there’s so much more to the science of sleep besides how long we spend in bed. Quantity without quality won’t do much to rectify the health and accident risks of sleeping too little — we’ve got to make those hours count. It begs the question: What is good quality sleep? Continue reading
Believe it or not, spring is almost over. It seems just yesterday we were all navigating the zombie-like fog of everyone’s least favorite springtime tradition: Daylight Saving Time. For a lot of people, another springtime ritual gives even DST a run for it’s money: we’re talking about spring cleaning. Love it, hate it, or ignore it – spring cleaning is a great opportunity to start anew. And while we could care less what your baseboards look like or when you last scrubbed the oven out, there’s one aspect of spring cleaning no one should ever overlook, though chances are good you already have. Your sleep. Revamping and cleaning up your sleep space, routine, and habits can jump start great, restorative sleep. And it involves a little more than washing the sheets and fluffing the pillows. Let’s get started: Continue reading
Earlier this year, a “groundbreaking” study enjoyed a good bit of popularity on social media and other corners of the internet, in part because it confirmed what so many of us already knew: moms are more sleep deprived than dads.
It was tempting to poke fun at the findings, which noted that while the presence of children in the home did nothing to alter the sleep patterns of men, over half of the women in the pool of 5,805 total participants reported getting insufficient sleep. Insufficient sleep, in this case, is generally considered to be less than the optimal 6-9 hours of sleep a night. But when you consider that as a whole, America is already sleep-deprived and suffering the detrimental health impacts of that, the way that moms — particularly new moms — are disproportionately affected is really no laughing matter. The study, authored by Georgia Southern University’s Dr. Kelly Sullivan — and other studies like it — paint a less than peaceful nightly picture for moms: Continue reading
The summer season is almost here! And that means that travel season is in full swing, ready or not. If you’re treating your sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, or soon will be, you may have some questions. Fortunately, we’ve got answers. As a bonus, we’ve assembled a FREE printable CPAP travel checklist, available for download.
Wherever you’re headed – whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile – you can be sure you’ll get a great night’s sleep once you get there. Continue reading