Sleep

Shorter dream-stage sleep may be related to earlier death

Alice Cai, MD

Contributor

It’s well known that getting enough sleep is critical to daily functioning and long-term health. Now, new research suggests that a lack of enough REM sleep may be related to earlier death in people at middle age or older.

How to help your child get the sleep they need

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Back-to-school plans are still a question mark for many school districts, and it’s probably tempting to let a more relaxed summer sleep schedule stay in place. But consistency and routine are important for children and teens to ensure they get enough high-quality sleep. Here’s how to create that structure.

Worried about sleep apnea? Home-based testing is now the norm

Sleep apnea robs people of high-quality sleep, increases the risk of heart problems, and puts people at higher risk of accidents. While an overnight stay in a sleep lab used to be required to diagnose sleep apnea, now this testing often can be done at home.

Lifestyle changes are important for managing atrial fibrillation

Many lifestyle factors can influence the development of atrial fibrillation, and doctors now better understand the importance of these factors in treating afib. Those who are at risk of developing afib can take action to improve their health, and in some cases they may be able to reduce their symptoms.

I can’t tolerate CPAP, what can I do?

Many people with sleep apnea find that a CPAP machine helps them, but others struggle and have difficulty using a CPAP machine. There are many reasons this could be happening, and it’s important for people to work with their doctor to troubleshoot and try adjustments that can make using the machine easier and more effective.

Treating mild sleep apnea: Should you consider a CPAP device?

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 20% of the population, and if untreated it has negative effects on cardiac and metabolic health as well as quality of life. If the condition is moderate or severe, a CPAP machine is the first-line treatment, but there is less consensus about treatment of mild OSA.

Why your sleep and wake cycles affect your mood

The body’s circadian rhythm controls our sleep-wake cycle, so an irregular rhythm can negatively affect sleep and proper functioning, which can lead to health problems including mood disorders. The tendency to rise early or stay up late is genetically determined, but you may be able to adjust your life to better match your circadian rhythm.

Will a good night’s sleep help my heart?

Millions of Americans have trouble sleeping, a factor that is key to cardiovascular health. Two recent studies examined the relationship between sleep and heart health, and between sleep and dietary choices.

Strategies to promote better sleep in these uncertain times

In these challenging times it’s normal to experience sleep problems. Because proper sleep is so important to well-being, here are some tips for improving sleep — actions you can take both during the day and at night.

Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Could sleeping too much be bad for you? Possibly. A study found that people who slept more than nine hours a night and took long daytime naps, or who reported poor-quality sleep, were much more likely to have a stroke than those who slept eight hours or less a night.