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

Circadian rhythms - the cycles of the day and night

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: It's had to get going in the morning

sleeping cupid Why do we feel stiff in the morning? Many assume it’s because out bodies have been stuck in the same position for an extended period of time. We get stiff after sitting watching television without moving, so the same thing must be happening when we sleep, right? It’s not that simple, though. Inflammation in body tissue diminishes during sleep – this is part of the break our body gets while sleeping. In anticipation of waking, the cytokine levels rise very late in the sleep cycle. We also go through REM periods often late in the sleep cycle. During REM the large muscles are not moving. When we enter this last period of REM, inflammation may be low, but during the REM period cytokine levels rise in anticipation of waking. With more inflammation the muscles become stiff. After waking, this stiffness persists. The inflammation persists but moving around can help reduce stiffness.

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Hyperarousal as a cause of insomnia

Many people complain about insomnia but do not show signs – informal or on formal tests – of excessive daytime sleepiness. These people do not fit the formal definition of insomnia because EDS is a symptom in the formal diagnostic criteria. However, we must take the people who complain about sleeplessness at their word. These folks have difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep at night. So why aren’t they sleepy during the day?

Hyperarousal may be the answer. Physiologic, cognitive, and cortical arousal

Scientists are increasingly seeing insomnia as a consequence of hyperarousal during the day. That is, the problem isn’t that people aren’t getting sleepy enough to fall asleep; it’s that they are too stimulated all the time. In the war between sleepiness and arousal, the arousal wins too often in the insomniac’s brain. (This is one reason there are hopes for arousal-killing orexin antagonist drugs.)

The hyperarousal idea isn’t just speculation. Modern imaging techniques can show how much energy the brain is using (more precisely, how much glucose is in the blood in different areas of the brain). Many (not all) insomniacs have higher energy consumption in the brain during waking and NREM sleep compared to good sleepers. Further insomniacs tend to have smaller reductions in energy use from waking to non-REM sleep in areas of the brain rich in wake-promoting neurons.

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