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Understanding Sleep

Sleep is one of our most essential biological functions but also our least understood. Most information out there is hopelessly complicated and makes it seem like it’s impossible for a regular person to understand. In this section, we break down just why it is that poor sleep is so hazardous to your health. We give you the tools you need to help you and your children get the restful sleep that you need to be healthy, happy, and high-functioning. 

We also answer common questions that you may have about your sleep environment, debunk myths about sleep, and describe processes that happen in our brain. We’ll also explain more scientific terms like melanopsin, sleep spindles, and the flip-flop switch.

Basics of Sleep

Sleep and your Lifestyle

Sleep and your Health

Sleep Nutrition

About The Circadian System

What you need to know about sleep and how it affects your health

The lack of sleep seems to be one of the main problems of the 21st century. Many willingly or unwillingly sacrifice sleep so that they can have more time, making up for the lost sleep on their days off – but is that a good idea?

Here we present basic things you need to know about sleep as well as desirable and undesirable behaviors regarding your sleep health.

What is sleep and what does it do?

Sleep is a natural process during which we rest. Many predictable things happen during sleep – for example, we go through different sleep stages every night, the most famous of which is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Here you can learn about REM, light and deep sleep, and what the characteristics of each one are.

It’s so easy to notice how powerful sleep is – after just one night of sleep deprivation, we feel tired, drowsy, and can’t focus or perform well. But these are not the only consequences. The more science makes progress and the more research is done; the more we see the importance of sleep – its immense effect on our hormones, mental and physical health. Lack of sleep has been associated with heart problems, memory and attention deficits, and even cancer.

How can I get good sleep?

We’ve got you covered on this. You should find out how much sleep you actually need and what your chronotype is. Knowing these things can help you organize your schedule. Once you’ve done that, stick to the schedule.

It’s very important to go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every night. This is how your brain learns its routine and ‘plans’ your sleep accordingly, meaning that, in the morning, you’ll wake up from a light sleep stage, all refreshed and happy.

For a good night’s sleep, you also need to pay attention to your sleep environment. The best is to sleep in a quiet, totally dark and slightly chilly room.

Sleep and Fertility

Sleeping well could increase your chances of conceiving. Although it’s not the only factor, sleep certainly plays a role in fertility; both male and female reproductive functioning gets better on sufficient sleep as hormones are balanced better and all organs work properly.  Other factors that play a large role in… Read More »Sleep and Fertility

Americans Are Still Having a Hard Time Getting Enough Sleep – But the Situation is Improving

Scientists have been updating us with information about how we sleep and what they have told us so far is that every year, Americans sleep shorter and have more sleep problems, such as the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Two 2017 studies based their findings on the National… Read More »Americans Are Still Having a Hard Time Getting Enough Sleep – But the Situation is Improving

Sleep Environment

Your sleep environment is simply the place in which you sleep. Your surroundings greatly determine the quality of your sleep. Items such as blackout curtains and earplugs can help to improve the quality of your sleep. What is a sleep environment? Your sleep environment refers to your surroundings while you… Read More »Sleep Environment

Natural Sleep Aids

Getting regular and high-quality sleep is a crucial factor in maintaining and improving one’s health. Sleeping is your body’s way of restoring lost energy. Sleeping is also a way for your body to heal itself. Losing quality sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, difficulty in concentrating, mood… Read More »Natural Sleep Aids

Sleeping Pills and Sleep

Sleeping pills are often used as a quick fix for a sleepless night but many Americans use them for much longer than advised. Pills mainly work by causing drowsiness and “knocking us out” until the morning comes. However, we won’t always wake up refreshed – especially if we take them… Read More »Sleeping Pills and Sleep

Dementia and Sleep Disorders

Dementia is not an uncommon problem among the elderly. It can occur as a symptom of a number of diseases, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and is usually progressive. People with dementia often suffer from one or more sleep disorders which further aggravate their state. Fortunately sleep problems can be addressed… Read More »Dementia and Sleep Disorders

Sleeping With Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a type of mental illness. Scientists believe it occurs after traumatic events or as a genetic problem. People with bipolar disorder have periods of mania (extremely active, indulging in pleasurable activities, sometimes not sleeping for days) followed by periods of depression (continuous sadness, hopelessness, lack of activity).… Read More »Sleeping With Bipolar Disorder

Epigenetics and Sleep

It is widely known that chronic poor sleep can lead to serious problems with your immune system as well as your mental and physical health. It also increases your risk of developing various diseases – including sleep disorders. Epigenetics, a new, sometimes called ‘revolutionary’ discipline, helps us describe how our… Read More »Epigenetics and Sleep

Why Do We Sleep?

Overview There hasn’t been a single answer to this question yet because sleep is incredibly complex with numerous functions and processes occurring during sleep. Although physically quite inactive, our mental activity is not to be ignored. Our minds prepare us for future learning, we store information from short-term into long-term… Read More »Why Do We Sleep?

Sleep and Dopamine

Overview Dopamine is frequently associated with positive emotions and a feeling of euphoria. However, researchers have discovered other interesting functions of dopamine – for example, its role in adverse events, where it carries out an important task in helping learn how to avoid negative situations. Dopamine can be used to… Read More »Sleep and Dopamine