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Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School
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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Let sleep burn away brain fog, from the March 2014 Harvard Health Letter

Struggling with fuzzy thinking and a faltering memory? Try this rejuvenating and risk-free approach—sleeping more—to help burn away brain fog, reports the March 2014 Harvard Health Letter.

"Poor sleep has an adverse impact on thinking," says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. "This is true whether it's due to a lack of sleep or a sleep disorder."

Lack of sleep can interfere with attention, concentration, and reaction time. Going without sleep for 48 hours harms thinking skills as much as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%, which is above the legal limit for driving in every state.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get more sleep. "You really can make up for lost sleep and restore focus and clarity. You can lose the brain fog within a week. But start now; the longer you have bad sleep, the longer it will take to catch up," says Dr. Epstein. He suggests:

  • checking for medical conditions or other problems that might be causing trouble sleeping
  • using the bed for sleep and sex only, not watching television or working
  • exercising at least three hours before turning in
  • not eating close to bedtime

If those efforts don't work, see a sleep specialist. He or she might suggest sleep restriction, a program of reducing time in bed to ultimately create better sleep, or cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help redirect thoughts and reduce anxiety about not being able to fall asleep.

Read the full-length article: "Sharpen thinking skills with a better night's sleep"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Health Letter

  • Sharpen thinking skills with a better night's sleep
  • Ask the doctor: Should we ban trans fats?
  • Ask the doctor: Which position will keep me from snoring at night?
  • A racing heart: Cause for concern?
  • Pill-free way to reduce pain and improve balance and flexibility
  • Must-haves from the produce aisle
  • 5 tips to build muscle strength
  • Should you avoid grapefruit juice?
  • News briefs: Fruits and veggies: Quantity trumps variety, say Harvard researchers
  • News briefs: Consider this to help improve your blood pressure
  • News briefs: Heartburn medicine users: Watch vitamin B12 levels

More Harvard Health News »


About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.