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
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Leading doctors and researchers don’t agree on much, but they do agree on this one thing: getting a good night of sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Despite sleep’s critical importance to your wellbeing, the specifics of it are a mystery to many. If you’re like most people, you’re wondering what’s going on in your body when the lights go out.
In this section we explore topics ranging from how psychoactive substances affect sleep to how our sleep patterns change due to pregnancy, behavior, habits, and seasons; all the way to how neurodegenerative diseases, stress, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, ADHD and other diseases are related to sleep.
If you have any questions about how to get a healthier night of sleep then we have the answers.
- Sleep and Fertility
- Excessive Sweating During Sleep
- Your Heart, Your Sleep – Sleep And Cardiovascular Health
- The Stress Hormone Cortisol And Sleep
- Racing Thoughts at Bedtime? Causes and Solutions
- Is Daylight Saving Time Responsible for Heart Attacks?
- Full Moon Insomnia: How the Moon Messes With Your Sleep
- Stroke, Mini-Stroke, And Sleep – How Are They Related?
- Sleeping Pills and Sleep
- How Sleep Protects And Heals You From Flu
- Sleep and the Risk of Cancer
- Sleep Disorders And Mental Illness: Causes And Consequences
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) And Sleep
- Dementia and Sleep Disorders
- Sleeping With Bipolar Disorder
- Is There a Genetic Mutation That Causes Less Need For Sleep?
- The Relationship Between Stress And Insomnia
- How Sleep “Reboots” Your Brain
- Sleep And The Brain: Energy Consumption And Distribution
- Microsleep – The Unintended, Potentially Dangerous Sleep
- What Sleep Inertia Is And How To Deal With It
- The Relationship Between Hormones And Sleep
- Insulin and Sleep – Do Sleep Problems Cause Insulin Resistance?
- How Estrogen Affects Our Sleep
- Body Thermoregulation and Sleep
- Testosterone And Its Role In Our Sleep
- What Is GABA And How Does It Affect Your Sleep?
- Sleep Without Feeling Rested: Non-Restorative Sleep
- Sleep and Dopamine
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Energy Use During Sleep – Do We Burn Calories While Sleeping?
- Sleep Deprivation – How Losing Sleep Can Ruin Your Health
What you should know about diseases, addictions and sleep
Do illnesses cause poor sleep or does poor sleep cause illnesses? The truth is it can be both ways. Sometimes undesirable behavior and stress cause long-lasting poor sleep which can backfire through a development of a disease or a disorder. Sometimes it’s the disease that prevents someone from having good restorative sleep.
How does substance abuse cause sleep problems?
Alcohol and many drugs are known to prevent us from reaching deep sleep which is extremely important for the body’s restoration and brain’s ‘maintenance’. Although some substances may make us sleepier that doesn’t mean they will give us quality sleep.
For example, marijuana used as a sleep aid can make you fall asleep faster but will deprive you of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It’s not only the vivid dreams that you will lose but also a good part of your memory consolidation and emotional stabilization, both of which occur during REM.
What diseases can be caused by poor sleep?
Poor sleep has been associated with numerous diseases including obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and sleep disorders.
- Diabetes. If you cut back on sleep or sleep with a light on, your insulin resistance becomes similar to that of a prediabetic person even if you are skinny. It is believed that chronic insufficient or poor sleep can lead to weight increase because our body doesn’t metabolize food well and on top of that, sleep-deprived people tend to eat a lot more than they need. These factors may result in the development of diabetes.
- Alzheimer’s. Your brain gets cleared out of certain substances every night – these substances naturally appear as a product of nerve cell activity. When you don’t have enough sleep you don’t allow your brain to clear them out from the system. Doctors call these substances ‘neurotoxins’ when they build up so much that they start hurting or killing brain cells. This dangerous state is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In order to have a fast and smart brain – make sure you have plenty of sleep.
- Heart problems. Your body relaxes and blood pressure decreases while you sleep. Insufficient sleep keeps stress levels and blood pressure high. Research shows that both men and women can suffer from heart diseases after years of inadequate sleep.
- Sleep disorders. Not sleeping well due to work, stress, or simply out of (bad) habit is likely to cause other sleep problems – sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, or even narcolepsy (when a person randomly falls asleep). Well-rested, stress-free people rarely have any of these. Poor sleep can also cause insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) – which means that if you’ve deprived yourself of sleep for a long time you might find yourself unable to sleep when you want to. This could be due to high levels of stress hormones and a complete confusion of your internal biological clock.
Excessive sweating typically happens because your body temperature is high, so figuring out what makes you hot is half of the battle. Some of the most common reasons include sleeping in a hot room, being at a certain age like puberty or menopause, or having anxiety. Sometimes hot flashes and… Read More »Excessive Sweating During Sleep
If you were to enumerate three things that are bad for your heart and are likely to cause a heart attack, what would they be? Do you feel that poor sleep is as big of a factor as a lack of physical exercise or smoking? As it turns out, sleep… Read More »Your Heart, Your Sleep – Sleep And Cardiovascular Health
Cortisol has an impact on how you sleep, wake up, and even learn. It has many important roles in the body, but it seems that many of us with our hectic lives and not-so-good sleep schedules may have more cortisol than we should. Too much cortisol is linked with anxiety… Read More »The Stress Hormone Cortisol And Sleep
Many people with insomnia complain about “racing thoughts” that they can’t control. It’s like an intense movie marathon that just goes on and keeps them awake for a long time – sometimes until sunrise. These thoughts could be linked to a particularly stressful period someone is going through or they… Read More »Racing Thoughts at Bedtime? Causes and Solutions
About 25 countries observe Daylight Saving Time (DST) – moving the clock one hour forward in summer and one hour back in the fall so that we make use of the daylight in summer months. As much as you may be happy for the extra hour in fall, you’ll be… Read More »Is Daylight Saving Time Responsible for Heart Attacks?
People have long noticed that it’s harder to fall asleep and stay asleep during a full moon. Even people who don’t notice any lunar effects on their sleep still occasionally report feeling sluggish and “hungover”, a sensation that isn’t noticeable on normal days. Is this a real phenomenon or are… Read More »Full Moon Insomnia: How the Moon Messes With Your Sleep
If you or your loved one has suffered a stroke or a small (ischemic) stroke, you may be familiar with sleep problems that follow it – insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and sleep-wake cycle disorders are among the most common. Those who sleep well after a stroke usually recover faster and… Read More »Stroke, Mini-Stroke, And Sleep – How Are They Related?
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
A good night’s sleep may be more powerful than you thought. We are sleepier when we are sick because our body is more efficient in fighting off viruses and bacteria when we sleep; this is common knowledge. Did you know your immune system is stronger when you sleep enough? People… Read More »How Sleep Protects And Heals You From Flu
It’s very easy to see the effects of short sleep, shift change or restless non-restorative sleep. We feel daytime sleepiness and a lack of energy. Sadly, we don’t see the more adverse effects like changes in our genetic expression and hormonal imbalances. Those two problems are likely to cause cancer… Read More »Sleep and the Risk of Cancer
Sleep and mental health are closely related. If one is disrupted, the other deteriorates as well. It is not uncommon for mental illness to cause sleep problems, but sometimes sleep problems occur first and a mental illness occurs within a few months or years. If a person treats mental illness… Read More »Sleep Disorders And Mental Illness: Causes And Consequences
ADHD is a disorder which has debilitating effects on one’s daily life; causing poor performance at school or work, mood swings, inability to stay still, focus, and sleep well. Its symptoms may appear as early as at two years of age, but many adults live with undiagnosed ADHD or misdiagnosed… Read More »Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) And Sleep
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
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
In a world where sleep deprivation is one the biggest sleep problems, a small number of people manage thrive on short sleep. A genetic mutation seems to be responsible for the fact that they can live perfectly fine on about 6 hours of sleep. For the majority of people this… Read More »Is There a Genetic Mutation That Causes Less Need For Sleep?
When a person is overly stressed they are likely to have poor sleep and even develop insomnia. It can be the other way round as well. An individual with no signs of stress could be sleep-depriving himself or herself which leads to an increase in stress hormones. This may or… Read More »The Relationship Between Stress And Insomnia
We all feel great – happy, energetic and optimistic after a good night’s sleep. Having enough deep and REM sleep surely improves mood and attention. But how does sleep make us feel and perform better? Recent studies have found the key process for understanding how the brain clears out from… Read More »How Sleep “Reboots” Your Brain
The brain is one of the vital organs of the body. Human brain consumes about a fifth of total energy, although not large in size. Brain activity and energy expenditure fluctuate throughout wakefulness and sleep. The brain’s energy consumption during sleep is smaller, although not equal through sleep stages –… Read More »Sleep And The Brain: Energy Consumption And Distribution
Overview If you’ve ever been extremely tired, trying hard to focus on what the professor is saying when your head suddenly falls down and you quickly jerk to an upright position, having no idea what just happened – you’ve experienced microsleep. Falling asleep for a short time, usually from exhaustion,… Read More »Microsleep – The Unintended, Potentially Dangerous Sleep
Overview Sometimes we wake up feeling like our brain and body are still sleeping, and we are unable to think clearly or act right. We feel tired and groggy as soon as we open our eyes. This is called sleep inertia, and it happens when we wake up. Sleep inertia… Read More »What Sleep Inertia Is And How To Deal With It
Overview Some hormones are known to make us feel tired, help us relax and fall asleep; whereas the others depend on the quality and length of our sleep. Hormone levels rise and drop throughout the day and this fluctuation is usually directly or indirectly related to our circadian rhythm (biological… Read More »The Relationship Between Hormones And Sleep
Insulin regulates blood glucose throughout the day and night. Between 4 and 8 am, there is a surge in glucose – however, if insulin is able to do its job properly, it takes care of this situation. Our body consumes the least glucose during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and… Read More »Insulin and Sleep – Do Sleep Problems Cause Insulin Resistance?
Overview Estrogen (sometimes spelled oestrogen) is an important reproductive hormone which effects the sleep – both in men and women. Women produce more estrogen than men, which is natural because estrogen plays major roles in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, as well as in the later stages of a woman’s… Read More »How Estrogen Affects Our Sleep
Overview You may have noticed that during hot, summer days it seems impossible to fall asleep without the AC. And maybe sometimes when it is late at night and past your bedtime, apart from feeling tired, you also feel cold. How are these things connected to your sleep? Throughout the… Read More »Body Thermoregulation and Sleep
Overview Although an important hormone for male health, testosterone is also present in women. With good and quality sleep, our bodies are able to replenish this important hormone. Testosterone can play its role successfully when balanced properly – excessive or deficient amounts of it are linked to numerous problems in… Read More »Testosterone And Its Role In Our Sleep
Overview Unlike other neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) doesn’t seem to enjoy the popularity it deserves. GABA is one of the most highly employed inhibitors in our central nervous system. What this means is that GABA prevents certain neurotransmitters from being effective, or at least, from being… Read More »What Is GABA And How Does It Affect Your Sleep?
Overview Restorative sleep is defined as sleep which lasts a recommended amount of time, in which a person has gone through all stages of sleep, followed by a feeling of refreshment, clear-mind, and physical restfulness upon waking up. Opposite to restorative sleep is non-restorative sleep, which doesn’t provide us with… Read More »Sleep Without Feeling Rested: Non-Restorative Sleep
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
Overview If you have trouble waking up, feel tired throughout the entire day (not only after lunch), have trouble concentrating and performing your daily tasks, and struggle to stay awake, you are likely to be experiencing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. This is not a sleep disorder, but rather a symptom. EDS… Read More »Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Overview In short – yes, we do. Our bodies need the energy to support the activity of our vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, which keep working while we sleep. During deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, our body cells are restored as the human growth hormone is released.… Read More »Energy Use During Sleep – Do We Burn Calories While Sleeping?
Overview Chronic sleep deprivation is not a disease, but a cause. People get deprived of sleep often due to personal lifestyle choices, night shift jobs, and other habits. Sleep deficiency often occurs when humans intentionally shorten night rest, thus compromising on its duration. Excessive daytime sleepiness and headaches are common… Read More »Sleep Deprivation – How Losing Sleep Can Ruin Your Health