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Sleep Science

  • Want to Avoid a Spring Cold? Get Your ZZZZs on!

    You know all those old wives’ tales and remedies that center around the common cold? Things like ‘If you don’t dress warmly, you’ll catch a cold,’ or ‘If you don’t wear socks you’ll catch a cold,’ or my personal favorite from my grandmother — ‘If you don’t get enough sleep you’re going to get run down and catch a cold.’ As it turns out, that last one is absolutely true. Sorry for making fun of you, Grandma. Continue reading

  • The Constantly Buzzing Brain

    There was once a time that people thought that when we sleep, our brains also shut down for the night, so that sleep was a sort of coma. Since that time, scientific study has proven otherwise, but that doesn’t mean that we still fully understand exactly what is going on when we fall asleep. To that point, a new study conducted by neurologist Dr. Josef Parvizi of Stanford University has shown that not only is the brain active during the time that we’re sleeping, but that the activity that is going on is specific and targeted. The finding is providing valuable information about the enormous amount of energy that the brain uses each night while we are sleeping.
    Dr. Parvizi says, “There is something that’s going on in a very structured manner during rest and during sleep, and that will, of course, require energy consumption.” 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

  • Harvard Scientist Pinpoints Area of Brain Responsible for Sleep

    After years of research trying to determine exactly what the mechanisms are that cause us to fall asleep, a 39-year old neurologist from Harvard Medical School and his team of researchers believe that they have come up with the solution. In a study that was recently published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Patrick Fuller outlines his discovery, which identifies a tiny, recently-discovered section of the brain that not only appears to control whether we sleep, but also the most basic operation of our lungs, heart, and other bodily functions. He and his group have named this area the parafacial zone. Continue reading

  • The Benefits of a Chilly Bedroom

    Most people associate a good night’s sleep with being warm and cozy, but studies are beginning to point in the exact opposite direction, suggesting that though our bodies may like the comfort of warm temperatures, our brain seems to lean towards the cold when it’s time to sleep. Some insomniacs have reported getting relief by wearing cooling hats, and a recent sleep study has discovered that the reason that we yawn is to help cool down the brain and get rid of excess heat in preparation for going to sleep. Continue reading

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