Science of Sleep
There are many common myths about sleep. As National Sleep Awareness Week approaches, the National Sleep Foundation takes a look at six common myths and the facts that dispel them.
The National Sleep Foundation’s 16th annual National Sleep Awareness Week campaign begins March 3 and ends March l0, when Daylight Saving Time returns, clocks move forward one hour and too many people choose to lose an hour of sleep!
Legend has it that Napoleon never needed more than four hours of sleep at a stretch. Others only feel fully rested after 10 hours between the sheets. Clearly, individuals vary with respect to how much sleep they need. Indeed, sleep duration is influenced by many factors. Apart from seasonal and other variables, age and sex play a role, as does one’s sleep-wake cycle or chronotype, i.e. whether one is a lark (early to bed, early to rise) or the converse, an owl.
Washington State University researchers have discovered the mechanism by which the brain switches from a wakeful to a sleeping state. The finding could clear the way for other discoveries that could improve sleep aids and treatment for strokes and other brain injuries.
Researchers from Boston's Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital may have found that 'sleep spindles' are the secret ingredient to an uninterrupted night's sleep. Their research has been published in today's issue of Current Biology.
Getting extra sleep to overcome sleep deprivation may seem like the right thing to do, but a recent Harvard Medical School study found that it's not that easy.
The study highlights the effects of chronic sleep loss on performance and demonstrates that it is nearly impossible to "catch up on sleep" to improve performance.
An ambulatory blood pressure monitoring test that is used to measure changes in blood pressure from daytime to nighttime might actually interfere with sleep, affecting the test's findings, according to a study in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Researchers followed 103 patients with kidney disease who were undergoing the test and discovered they had increased activity levels at night because the blood pressure monitor interfered with sleep.
New research conducted at Northwestern University has found that sounds heard during deep sleep can influence the consolidation of memories. According to a story in the university's news center, researchers presented 25 sounds — from a teakettle whistle to a cat's meow — to study participants as they slept and then conducted memory tests on the participants to see if they could match the sounds to a correct object.