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
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challenges when it comes to all aspects of health — they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, thanks to outdated stereotypes, and mental health concerns often take a backseat to work and family obligations.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
Does Sleep Loss Cause Diabetes?
It’s no secret that insufficient sleep makes us cranky and wreaks havoc on our ability to focus and function. But sleep deprivation’s more insidious side effects include physical risks that are far more serious. There’s certainly no dearth of sobering study results that point to negative long-term health concerns brought on by sleep deprivation. One that’s particularly alarming? The link between insufficient sleep or poor quality sleep and one of America’s biggest public health concerns: diabetes. Continue reading
We’re halfway through the first week of Daylight Saving Time, or DST. If you’re like me and many others, you’re still having trouble getting up in the morning. And who could blame you? Not only has your sleep and wake schedule been abruptly shifted by one hour, you are now heading to work or taking the kids to school in the morning literally BEFORE the crack of dawn! It’s pretty crazy. Just a week ago, we were enjoying the morning sunshine on our way to work and school, and this week we are making the morning trek in the darkness. And for what? Every year we’re inundated with cheerful reminders to “Spring Ahead” by sacrificing an hour of sleep, and every year people feel the negative effects of DST.. Still, like hamsters on treadmills, we perform the yearly ritual of setting the clocks forward and slogging through disrupted schedules and depleted health without ever considering the reasons for getting rid of daylight saving time altogether. After all, what harm can one less hour of sleep really do?
Well actually, quite a lot.
Go walk down the bedding aisle in Target and you’ll find there are as many different types of pillows as there are people who sleep on them! Knowing which one to use can help you sleep better, but that’s only half the battle.
Obviously, I recommend The Ultimate Pillow because of its revolutionary design — it was created to enhance sleep. But even if you’re already sleeping on the best pillow, I recommend alternating between two pillows occasionally to get the better, deeper, and more restorative sleep.
Why, you ask?