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Sleep Science

  • Understanding Your Sleep Cycle Stages

    People don’t simply fall asleep and wake up. In fact, there’s 5 sleep stages we pass through (or should be passing through) as we slumber. It’s important to understand what each of these stages are so we can ensure we’re getting into a deep enough sleep. Failure to hit certain stages of sleep means bodily functions that correspond to that stage aren’t happening. Continue reading

  • Sleepwalking is No Laughing Matter

    Remember when you were a kid and you’d watch cartoons featuring characters walking in their sleep, arms outstretched in front of them and eyes closed as they would raid the refrigerator or narrowly avert falling off of cliffs? They all seemed pretty funny. They also did a serious disservice to our general understanding of what sleepwalking, or somnambulism, is.  According to Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a pediatric neurologist and sleep specialist at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, the person who suffers from somnambulism is not actually asleep – instead they are in a dissociated arousal state. Dr. Pelayo says that it’s estimated that one out of ten people in the United States has sleepwalked at some point in their life, with most of the experiences coming during the pre-teen and teenaged years. Continue reading

  • Prioritizing Sleep Is A Top Stress Buster

    Stress is a normal part of life, and describes any kind of change that the body undergoes in reaction to outside events. The truth is that some stress can be good, keeping us alert and out of danger, but for the most part the term has come to have a negative connotation, and to be used as a description of a physical, mental or emotional reaction that causes harm. Stress can result in the creation of physical conditions such as headache, stomachache and cardiovascular problems, and when people turn to substances such as alcohol or tobacco in response to stress, these conditions can be exacerbated. Continue reading

  • Studying Primates Reveals the Value of Comfortable Beds

    If you ever find yourself wondering about just how big a difference a comfortable bed can make in your life, you might want to give consideration to a study that was recently conducted by anthropologist David Samson of Duke University and Robert Shumaker of Indiana University in Bloomington. The two colleagues set out to investigate exactly why some of our primate relatives sleep soundly through the night, while others sleep fitfully and restlessly. Continue reading

  • Athletes Should Pursue Extra Sleep For Optimal Performance

    Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a dedicated athlete who regularly devotes hours of time on practice, there’s no doubt that you’d like to improve your performance. Yet despite this universal wish, there is one thing that we can all do to give ourselves a boost, yet we generally fail to do – that magic bullet is getting enough sleep. Everybody is supposed to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night, yet somehow we all tend to choose sleep as the one thing that we’re willing to sacrifice in exchange for more time working, socializing, and yes, even working out. But it turns out that we may be doing ourselves more harm then good choosing stretching and strengthening over snoozing. Continue reading

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