Science of Sleep

Findings Reveal Brain Mechanisms at Work During Sleep

New findings report the important role sleep plays and the brain mechanisms at work as sleep shapes memory, learning, and behavior.

One in five American adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation, making the condition a widespread public health problem. Sleeplessness is related to health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular problems, and memory problems.

You can't "catch up on sleep"

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.

Stress and Your Immune System's Response

Everyone has experienced stress at one time or another, and it's not hard to imagine that too much stress can make you more susceptible to sickness. But why? According to a recent study in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers believe they've found a mechanism that alters the body's immune response when under stress. The researchers examined two groups — one composed of caregivers of family members with cancer and the other composed of individuals without that type of stress.

How Was Your Sleep Last Night?

Did you have trouble falling asleep last night? Did you experience difficulty staying asleep or did you wake up too early? If your answers were "yes," "yes" and "all the time," you have something in common with your fellow Americans. A survey of 1,466 adults conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 44 percent of the respondents reported those problems — for many, repeatedly.

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