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Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • Got a Test? Get Some Sleep!

    If you’re the parent of a teenager (or a teenager yourself), you’ve probably been paying attention to the story that appeared recently about the American Association of Pediatrics, and their recommendation that middle and high schools effect later start times in order to allow adolescents to get the sleep that they need on the schedule that their biology dictates. Anybody who has ever lived with a teenager knows that the recommendation makes sense – teens simply do not fall asleep at the same time that the rest of the world does, and they sleep longer, so 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. start times are simply a form of torture, and aren’t doing them any good in the learning department. Continue reading

  • Growing Concerns Over Sleep

    With all of the recent news reports and headlines that are focusing on our national epidemic of sleep deprivation, you might think that it is a brand new issue that is specifically linked to our hustle and bustle life, or the ubiquitous nature of electronic technology that is invading our bedrooms. Though there is no doubt that those issues factor into the way that sleep is prioritized in our modern world, there is also no question that sleeplessness and its challenges have been with us for centuries. All one needs to do is to do a quick search for famous quotes about sleep and you’ll quickly discover that Shakespeare and Chaucer were well aware of the impact of sleeplessness, and even Winnie the Pooh spent hours counting Heffalumps in an effort to get some ZZZsss. Continue reading

  • The Impact of Energy Drinks on Athletes’ Sleep and Performance

    A recent study conducted by researchers at the Camilo Jose Cela University took a close look at the impact that energy drinks have on the athletes that drink them. These drinks have become increasingly popular over the past several years, with more than fifty percent of athletes reporting taking them during practice, training and competing. The scientists analyzed the effect that the drinks had on soccer players, climbers, swimmers, rugby players, volleyball players, basketball, tennis and hockey players after they had drunk the equivalent of three cans of the drink or a placebo immediately prior to competing in their sport. Continue reading

  • How to Sleep Your Way to Smooth Skin

    The cosmetic industry has spent years and millions of dollars in advertising and research to promote the idea that creams and lotions used at night are all that we need to provide us with the dewy skin of our youths, but scientists are saying that the best way to keep your skin looking its best is simply by sleeping. And if you want to keep your wrinkles at even more of a minimum, make sure that you’re doing your sleeping lying flat on your back. Continue reading

  • NFL Teams Looking to Naps for Competitive Edge

    As the football season swings into high gear, some of the National Football League’s teams are paying close attention to research about the power of sleep and the benefits of an afternoon nap. The Detroit Lions is one of the teams that is taking naptime most seriously, and there are very specific times when you can catch players taking a snooze in some of the most unusual places. An article in the Detroit News recently profiled the team’s nap routine, and revealed that the Lions running back George Winn naps every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon when the team is available to the media for interviews. Where does he nap? On the floor, directly in front of his locker. He simply takes a towel from the shower, wraps it around his laundry bag to make a pillow and lays right down until 12:38, when his alarm goes off. The media is expected to leave him alone so that he can get his rest. Continue reading

  • Are We Doing Sleep All Wrong?

    While health advocates are constantly singing the praises of getting eight hours of sleep per night, and we invest in sleep monitors and white noise machines designed to help us to fall asleep easily and then stay asleep throughout the course of the night, one historian has dedicated the last fifteen years of his life to research showing that we’re doing it all wrong. According to Roger Ekirch of Virginia tech, humans are not supposed to be sleeping in one long bout of sleep. Instead we are supposed to sleep in two separate periods, both of which take place during the course of the night.

    Back I n2005, Ekirch first wrote and published his book, “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past.” The book meticulously points out hundreds of historical references to sleep that was broken into segments rather than continuous. Included among these references were sources as varied as Homer’s Odyssey and medical books to documentation of the habits of modern day tribes in Africa. What the references point to was that rather than sleeping several hours in a row, many originally got his sleep in two distinct periods. First we would sleep for three or four hours, then awaken for a few hours, then go back to sleep again until sunrise. All of the sleep occurred within a twelve-hour period of time. . In writing about his work, the BBC said this: “Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society. By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.” Continue reading

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