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Sleep Archive

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Summertime blues?

Published July 1, 2022

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is less common in summer, but a seasonal pattern of depressive symptoms can occur despite exposure to many hours of daylight. Many summertime SAD symptoms resemble overall depression markers, but eating and sleeping patterns can deviate. People can combat summertime SAD by sticking with antidepressants and psychotherapy, maintaining routines, exercising, and taking a break from social media.

The big sleep problems

Published July 1, 2022

The average person wakes up around four times every night. But as people age, the number of awakenings can rise as they spend more time in the earlier, lighter sleep stages and less time in the later deeper stages. This sleeping pattern makes them more sensitive to stimuli that awakens them. Older adults can avoid common stimulus by wearing earplugs and sleep masks to block noise and light, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol to avoid bathroom trips, and doing stretches before bedtime to reduce nighttime cramping.

What’s the best sleep position to combat heartburn?

Published June 1, 2022

Among people with chronic heartburn, sleeping on the left side appears to help backed-up stomach acid leave the esophagus faster than sleeping on the right side or back, according to a study in the February 2022 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

How cardiology experts fight heart disease

Published June 1, 2022

Doctors advise that the best ways to lower risk for heart disease is to exercise, eat right, and adopt healthy lifestyle habits, like stress management, social engagement, and adequate sleep. But what do cardiology doctors do to practice what they preach? Three Harvard cardiologists share their heart-healthy habits and how they’ve overcome the same challenges their patients face.

Take melatonin supplements for sleep? Check your dosage

Published May 1, 2022

The number of people taking large amounts of melatonin (more than 5 milligrams per day) is at an all-time high. However, the amount in a supplement can be significantly higher than what the label shows. This can cause people to take too much, especially since many use melatonin regularly.

Night workers might benefit from daytime eating

Published May 1, 2022

People who work the night shift might benefit from eating their meals during daytime hours. A 2021 study found a rise in blood sugar in people following night shift hours who ate some meals at night, but not in those who ate all meals during the day.

Snooze more, eat less? Sleep deprivation may hamper weight control

Published April 4, 2022

It’s now understood that many factors influence a person’s ability to lose weight —not just burning more calories than are taken in. A new study supports the idea that people using sleep hygiene tips to get sufficient sleep consume fewer calories than people who are sleep-deprived.

Supplementing your sleep

Published April 1, 2022

Sleep supplements, such as cannabidiol (CBD), melatonin, valerian, and chamomile promise a better night’s sleep. But there is little evidence showing that they are effective. In addition, supplements aren’t regulated, so it’s not always clear if a formula contains what’s listed on the label. Experts say that behavioral strategies are a better way to improve sleep. These include getting more exercise, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

The worst habits for your brain

Published April 1, 2022

Many habits can contribute to poor brain health, but four areas can have the most influence. They are the four S’s: sitting, socializing, sleep, and stress. Research has found that poor habits in these areas can affect cognitive skills like memory, learning, and problem solving, and are linked to a higher risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Adopting simple lifestyle changes may help.

Pool therapy beats physical therapy for chronic low back pain

Published April 1, 2022

A small, randomized trial published online Jan. 3, 2022, by JAMA Network Open suggests that aquatic or pool therapy is more effective at reducing chronic low back pain than physical therapy.

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