No more counting sheep: Proven behaviors to help you sleep

Millions of people have trouble sleeping, or don’t get enough quality sleep. Changes to your daytime habits and pre-bedtime behavior can consistently help you get better sleep.

Naps: Make the most of them and know when to stop them

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As babies become toddlers, when they need to nap and for how long evolves, so parents and caregivers need to know how to handle the changes, as well as how to know when naps are no longer needed.

Teens are getting less sleep, which raises heart disease risk

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Teens are getting less sleep than ever. This leaves them prone to conditions like high blood pressure and insulin resistance which increased the risk for heart disease and diabetes later on.

4 ways to help your child get enough sleep

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Because sleep is so crucial to children’s development, parents need to be firm about bedtimes. Making sure your child gets enough sleep means establishing a routine and sticking to it, and setting limits on certain behavior and activity.

Can getting quality sleep help prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Sleep gives the brain the opportunity to rid itself of proteins believed to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and now research is showing an association between poor sleep and the accumulation of those proteins.

Why coffee might ease your pain (especially if you’re a sleepy mouse)

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A new study found that caffeine may reduce sensitivity to pain, perhaps more effectively than standard pain relievers. But because the findings are based on mouse experiments we can’t say whether or not the results might apply to humans.

Home sleep studies may help identify sleep apnea

Stuart Quan, MD

Contributing Editor

A sleep study is required to correctly diagnose sleep apnea, but laboratory sleep studies can be awkward and uncomfortable. Efforts to lower costs and make study subjects more at ease have led to the advent of in-home sleep studies.

Snored to death: The symptoms and dangers of untreated sleep apnea

It’s important to get adequate sleep, but getting good quality sleep is just as important. Snoring can detract from a good night’s sleep whether you’re the snorer or the bed partner. Even more important, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Untreated, sleep apnea increases our risk for serious health conditions including stroke and heart attack.

Heart disease, sleep apnea, and the Darth Vader mask too?

Stuart Quan, MD

Contributing Editor

A study questions whether CPAP helps to slow the progression of coronary artery disease in those who already have it, but use of the device has still been shown to have quality of life and other health benefits in those with sleep apnea.

Resetting your circadian clock to minimize jet lag

Beverly Merz

Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Traveling across multiple time zones is likely to induce symptoms of jet lag, but making some adjustments before and while traveling can alleviate or minimize the discomfort. One theory suggests that a brief fast may help reset circadian rhythm.