Sleep

Can getting quality sleep help prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

Matthew Solan
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
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

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
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

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

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
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
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.

Pace to breathe — New treatments for sleep apnea

Stuart Quan, MD
Stuart Quan, MD, Contributing Editor

Sleep apnea is a common condition that currently affects 26% of all Americans. When a person suffers from sleep apnea, their breathing becomes shallow or even disrupted during their sleep. This results in poor sleep and daytime sleepiness. However, a recent study showed that the use of a pacemaker on the hypoglossal nerve in the neck effectively treated people with moderate to severe sleep apnea. Although there isn’t widespread use of pacemakers to treat this sleeping disorder just yet, it may be an effective solution for people with sleep apnea.

New study says that it’s okay to let babies cry at night

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Just about every new parent has wrestled with the idea of whether to comfort a baby who cries during the night or whether to let him or her “cry it out.” A recent study adds more evidence to what researchers (and our own parents and grandparents) have long known: It’s okay to let your baby cry it out. It won’t harm them — and you’ll get a much better night’s sleep, too!

Could lack of sleep trigger a food “addiction”?

Stuart Quan, MD
Stuart Quan, MD, Contributing Editor

Many people cite a lack of “motivation” or “willpower” as the reason that overweight people can’t control their eating habits. But a wealth of evidence has come to light that obesity is linked to insufficient sleep. Most recently, an experimental study has found that restricted sleep can increase the levels of brain chemicals that make eating pleasurable. Could it be that insufficient sleep makes the brain addicted to the act of eating?

News flash: Teens need adequate sleep!

Dennis Rosen, M.D.
Dennis Rosen, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

The amount of sleep that’s “enough” to let you wake up feeling rested and refreshed varies dramatically from person to person. But the effects of chronically not getting enough sleep are incredibly detrimental—and especially so in children and teens. Here, we’ve explored some of the effects of sleep deprivation in teens, as well as shared our favorite tips for helping your child get a great night’s sleep.