Good Sleep For Good Health

All About Sleep

Sleep makes you strong, makes you feel good. It is an important element of human flourishing and well-being, both subjectively and objectively. Sleep is necessary for a healthy and balanced life. Your body and your brain are active when you sleep. We need to sleep long enough (quantity) and well enough (quality) to function well during waking hours. Nearly all physiological and behavioral functions in humans occur on a rhythmic basis, which in turn leads to diurnal rhythms in human performance capabilities. Sleepdex is dedicated to raising awareness of sleep issues and encouraging people to take sleep seriously.

About Insomnia - types, causes, solutions

Sleep Disorders - apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepy, and many more

How healthy sleep helps you

Drowsy driving

Social and Economic Costs of Insomnia

Tools for sleeping - bedding, medicines, etc.

Fun stuff - naps, deep sleep, mythology of sleep

Sleep and physical and mental health

Most adults need around seven or eight hours of sleep every night to function well. Although many people claim they require less, doctors who study sleep find only 10% require significantly more or less sleep. A chronic lack of sleep and untreated sleep disorders may be factors in the development of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.

"Sleep rock thy brain" – Shakespeare, Hamlet

Sleep is an active behavior. Your body and your brain are active when you sleep. Biochemical and neurobiological functions take place all night long. Contrary to popular belief, the brain does not "shut down" during sleep.

Featured: The Undiscovered Country

Much to figure out

sleeping satyr

In 1993 Congress created the National Center on Sleep Disorder Research (NCSRC) with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of NIH). Congress also mandated development of a National Sleep Disorders Research Plan. The U.S. federal government spends over $100 million per year on sleep and sleep disorder research. The first plan came out in 1996 with revisions in 2003 and 2011.

Mysteries of sleep.

Scientists still have an inadequate understanding of the psychology of sleep and physiology of sleep disorders. Further, although neurodegenerative diseases are associated with abnormality of sleep, nobody knows if there is a cause-and-effect, and if so, which way it runs.

Featured: Roadmap for Excessive Sleepiness

sleeping bear

The first approach is to look at the situation through the lens of the two-process model. The two processes are (1) the homeostatic process (have you been awake too long) and (2) the circadian process (time of day and body clock). Overwork, a night on the town, too much stimulation - these will cover sleepiness but they can all be attributed to one of the two processes.

Ways to combat sleepiness:

  • lay off the caffeine
  • lay off the alcohol
  • employ good sleep habits

Sleep disorders can be a hidden cause of sleepiness. A person may have apnea and experience fitful sleep without being aware of it. Many are surprised when they are much more alert and awake after starting the CPAP machine.

Narcolepsy is a chronic condition and not so much a sleep disorder as a waking disorder. It is pretty rare. There is no cure, but the sleepiness, called clinically "excessive daytime sleepiness" , can be treated with stimulants.

In general, doctors prefer to not explicitly give drugs for sleepiness unless the patient has narcolepsy. (Prescription stimulants have often been abused.) Self-medication in the form of caffeinated beverages and other energy drinks or even over-the-counter caffeine pills - is quite common.

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