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The sleep advice no one tells you

This story is written by By Allie Volpe and was originally published by VOX com (see link below)

If you’ve ever had a terrible, or even middling, night’s slumber — which studies and surveys suggest is a fair number of people — you’re well aware of the effects of poor sleep. Aside from the sluggishness and lethargy, lack of sufficient shut-eye can blunt thinking and reaction time and negatively impacts judgment. Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked with higher likelihoods of depressive moods, anxiety, diabetes, and obesity.

Difficulty sleeping can be attributed to a variety of factors and isn’t a reflection on how optimized or streamlined your life is. Shift work, children’s inconsistent sleep schedules, stress, bright light in the evening (from both home lighting fixtures and tech), the pandemic, and sleep conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea can all plague a person’s ability to get adequate rest. Sleep deprivation is, ultimately, a systemic issue, and people shouldn’t feel broken for the societal issues impacting sleep.

Despite all of the modern obstacles to sleep, improvement in your quality and quantity of sleep is possible — and you don’t have to lock your phone in another room to achieve it.

Listen to you body

When it comes to sleep, most quantifiers are highly subjective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, “but the magic number is really dependent on the person,” says sleep psychologist Jade Wu, author of the forthcoming book Hello Sleep: The Science and Art of Overcoming Insomnia Without Medications.

Instead, people should pay attention to how they feel when they wake up and throughout the day, says Vanessa Hill, behavioral scientist, creator of the YouTube series BrainCraft, and researcher at Central Queensland University. Fatigue during the day is a sign your body isn’t getting enough sleep. Survey yourself as to why: Going to bed too late? Trouble falling asleep? Difficulty staying asleep?

To help evaluate how rested you feel during the day, Wu stresses the importance of knowing the difference between “sleepy” and “tired.” Sleepiness manifests in the body: droopy eyelids, an overall heaviness, the entire machine wants to shut down. Tiredness can also present physically, but it often stems from a lack of mental energy, a dip in motivation or inspiration. “If you’re sleepy during the day, that means you did not sleep last night or didn’t get good quality sleep,” Wu says. “If you’re tired during the day, that may not be because of poor sleep. It may be because you’re depressed or bored or dehydrated.”....

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Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Sleep

Don't Underestimate the Importance of Sleep

Sleep, or rather the lack of it, has become a punchline for many jokes. You may have seen skits on television, online memes or articles where someone mentions they run on caffeine or some other stimulant rather than sleep.

You might be someone who does that in your own life. Maybe not getting sleep is something that you’ve minimized as not a high priority. Sometimes you even brag that you’re able to function on just a few hours of sleep.

Going for days without getting the rest you need might even be something you feel a little bit proud of - like you’ve gained extra time over those who do sleep for eight hours every night like clockwork.

Some people turn to other substances in an effort to give themselves energy that they lose from missing out on sleep. One of these things is caffeine drinks. They’ll down a few of these and get jolted enough to be able to function for a few hours or even days.

The problem is that losing sleep isn’t a joking matter. When you lose sleep, even if you don’t feel it, the missed opportunity is causing problems. When you lose sleep, several things happen.

It begins with you struggling with your cognitive skills. You’ll have issues with your ability to make wise decisions. Having to reason through something will cause problems because the brain’s ability to find solutions is affected.....

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Why You May Not Be Getting the Great Sleep You Think You Are

Why You May Not Be Getting the Great Sleep You Think You Are

You might be someone who really tries to practice good sleep habits. You don’t watch anything stimulating right before bed. You avoid caffeine in the afternoon, so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

You work to keep your sleeping environment clean and peaceful. You have a good mattress and comfortable blankets. In other words, you’re doing everything right - including going to bed at a decent hour and staying there for a full 8 hours.

On the surface, all might look well, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve actually achieved a good rest, because good sleep isn’t defined by the number of hours you’re in bed. Instead, it all has to do with the level of sleep that you were able to achieve.

You need to know what these levels are because these can impact your weight. When you sleep, you don’t sleep in one continual cycle. Your sleep is broken up by stages. In a beneficial sleep cycle, you progress through the stages without waking up.

Though there are four widely recognized stages of sleep, you can have more. Your sleep cycles will vary by the number of minutes. Each cycle can have a differing duration, depending on things such as what you ate or drank before bed, whether you’re young or old and the state of your health. ....

5 Things to Avoid for A Better Night’s Sleep

5 Things to Avoid for A Better Night's Sleep

Sleep can be wonderful but also frustrating. If you can't get enough, it can harm every aspect of your life. Getting a full night's sleep is key to successful relationships, careers, or accomplishing all your goals and desires. To sleep better each night, it’s crucial to avoid these things at night.

Electronics or Lights

Lights and electronics such as smartphones stimulate your brain to stay awake and prevent the release of melatonin. The chemical is needed to make you feel sleepy. Research shows it is best to avoid lights and electronics at least thirty minutes before going to bed. This way, your body can produce the hormones needed to feel sleepy. Any time you run into a light source, you must reproduce these hormones and start over.

High-Fat and High-Protein Foods

Don’t eat big meals before bedtime, as well as high-fat and high-protein foods. Studies have shown these foods promote restless sleep as they are harder to digest and can cause elevated blood pressure and blood sugar. Foods such as oatmeal or whole-wheat toast are good options if you must eat. They quickly promote the release of serotonin, another hormone that makes you feel sleepy.


When you choose to exercise is vital to your success because exercise can improve your sleep, but it can also cause insomnia if done at the wrong time. Endorphins and other chemicals that release while exercising will keep you energized throughout the day. Therefore, it's essential to be available to exercise in the morning. Regular and proper exercise throughout the week promotes longer and deeper sleep as well.

Caffeine, Alcohol, or Other Stimulants

Research shows that over time, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and other stimulants or drugs can disrupt sleep patterns throughout the night and lead to worsening sleepwalking behavior or insomnia. Stimulants increase blood flow and inflammation, worsening sleep apnea symptoms and making it more difficult to breathe or get in a comfortable position.


Even if you are exhausted, when you are trying to fix your sleep patterns, if you experience problems falling asleep when you want to, you must stop and avoid all naps, at least for a while. Naps easily disrupt sleep patterns and sleep drive. Keeping a regular schedule during the day and sleeping only at night is the cure for this problem.

You may need to get advice from your doctor if you try these things and are still having issues getting to sleep. Insomnia or lack of sleep can be due to underlining illnesses or lead to one. Remember, proper sleep is one of the keys to living a successful life and shouldn't be ignored.

How Diet and Exercise Affect Your Sleep

How Diet and Exercise Affect Your Sleep

It’s 3 A.M. again, and that marks the third restless night. Unfortunately, if this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Approximately one-third of people struggle with sleep problems, and about twenty-five percent of the American population experience insomnia. 

The culprit? Research has many ideas, but two common factors always play some role or responsibility: diet and exercise.

Alters Metabolism

Diet and exercise and your metabolism go hand in hand. If you adopt a proper exercise routine and diet, your metabolism will stabilize, leading to a balanced weight and better sleep. However, if you don’t, you can negatively alter it leading to increased weight. Increased weight can restrict airways, cause inflammation and stress on the body, affecting the way you sleep.

Heavy on the Digestive System

Big meals right before bed that are heavy in sugar, fats, and protein will affect your sleep and lead to poor digestion. This can lead to increased blood sugar, inflammation, blood pressure, and other alignments, making it difficult to fall asleep. A well-balanced diet keeps your blood sugars and flow balances and allows oxygen to flow throughout the body easily.

 Stress and Depression

Diet can reduce or worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety that can, in turn, worsen symptoms of insomnia. Avoid foods high in sugar or fats to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the primary factor for adverse health effects.


Shifts Your Circadian Rhythm

Research shows that changing your diet can reprogram your body’s clock or circadian rhythm. Poor sleep is often linked to obesity or metabolic diseases resulting from improper diet and exercise. Sleep deprivation also increases hormones telling you that you are hungry when you are not keeping the ugly cycle going and increasing or worsening obesity. Therefore, it’s crucial to adopt a healthy diet first when adjusting your sleep schedules. Reducing obesity is the first step to proper sleep.


A common yet easily overlooked culprit to lack of sleep is dehydration. An Improper diet full of sugar and salts can rid your body of needed hydration that leads to symptoms of dehydration such as irritability, fatigue, or insomnia. It dries out your mouth and nasal passages, making it difficult to get to sleep or be comfortable throughout the night. Dehydration can also lead to cramps, inflammation, and lack of oxygen.

Ask your nutritionist and doctor what exercise routine and diet plan are best for you if you suffer from sleep problems. Diet and exercise or lack thereof are likely to blame.

Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Toxins From the Brain

Laura Lewis and her team of researchers have been putting in late nights in their Boston University lab. Lewis ran tests until around 3:00 in the morning, then ended up sleeping in the next day. It was like she had jet lag, she says, without changing time zones. It’s not that Lewis doesn’t appreciate the merits of a good night’s sleep. She does. But when you’re trying to map what’s happening in a slumbering human’s brain, you end up making some sacrifices. “It’s this great irony of sleep research,” she says. “You’re constrained by when people sleep.”

Her results, published today in the journal Science, show how our bodies clear toxins out of our brains while we sleep and could open new avenues for treating and preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

When we sleep our brains travel through several phases, from a light slumber to a deep sleep that feels like we’ve fallen unconscious, to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when we’re more likely to have dreams. Lewis’ work looks at non-REM sleep, that deep phase which generally happens earlier in the night and which has already been associated with memory retention. One important 2013 study on mice showed that while the rodents slept, toxins like beta amyloid, which can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, got swept away.

Lewis was curious how those toxins were cleared out and why that process only happened during sleep. She suspected that cerebrospinal fluid, a clear, water-like liquid that flows around the brain, might be involved. But she wasn’t sure what was unique about sleep. So her lab designed a study that measured several different variables at the same time.

Study participants had to lie down and fall asleep inside an MRI machine. To get realistic sleep cycles, the researchers had to run the tests at midnight, and they even asked subjects to stay up late the night before so people would be primed to drift off once the test began...;

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Put an Emphasis on a Good Night’s Sleep to Perform Better at Work and Enjoy Life More

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Put an Emphasis on a Good Night’s Sleep to Perform Better at Work and Enjoy Life More

A good night’s sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy mind and body. Not getting enough sleep will not only damage your physical health, but it’ll also damage your mental health.

When you lack a decent amount of rest, it takes a toll on your body. Not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune system, put you in danger while driving to work, cause you to have high blood pressure, put you at risk for getting diabetes, cause unhealthy weight gain, give you higher chances of having a stroke, and can even increase your chance of getting some kinds of cancer.

Your mental health also suffers when you’re always drowsy. Lacking proper rest will wreck your ability to think straight, making your work life so much harder than it needs to be.

It also makes you more likely to not be able to remember crucial details that you might need in order to write a paper or give a good presentation during a meeting. Without sleep, your mood also decreases and can make you anxious, depressed, and more likely to get annoyed easier.

If you constantly aren’t getting enough sleep, you can develop long-term anxiety, depression, and even paranoia. Not getting enough sleep affects your work life by making you unable to concentrate.

This means you’ll forget everything you heard in any meetings you went to, which will stunt your ability to get your work done in a way that meets your boss or clients’ expectations.

Sometimes it’s difficult to naturally get yourself back on a good schedule, especially if you have to stay up late for work or your family. However, there are some things that you can do during the day to help ensure that when your head hits the pillow, you won’t be restless and you’ll be able to get a full, good night’s sleep.

Try to not drink or eat anything with caffeine in it past noon, stick to your same work schedule on weekends and holidays to make sure you don’t get off track, don’t go on your phone or computer before bed, and try to spend about an hour or so before bed doing relaxing activities like reading, taking a nice bath, or even doing some meditation.

Getting a good night’s sleep will not only benefit your ability to be a stronger worker, but it will also keep you healthy both mentally and physically. Try different methods to see what works for you in order to be able to go to bed at a normal hour depending on when you need to wake up for work.

How Sleep Deprivation Wreaks Havoc on Your Body and Mind

How Sleep Deprivation Wreaks Havoc on Your Body and Mind

Getting enough sleep is essential to both your body and your mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you might not notice the effects - if you only miss one night of getting the right amount.

But go more than one night of not getting enough sleep and your body and your mind start to pay a price for it. Of course, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re feeling tired and sleepy.

Sleep acts as a restoration period for the body and mind. It restores and replenishes the body, heals aching muscles and can soothe aches and pains. Without the right amount of sleep, we run our energy level into a deficit.

Sleep deprivation then beings to show up in three ways: mentally, emotionally and physically. Mentally, the brain becomes affected with a lack of sleep and this shows up in trouble remembering even simple tasks.

It causes you to begin to forget important data. You might have trouble following what you’re supposed to do at work or what’s going on with your family. As the sleep deprivation continues, you’ll lose more cognitive ability.

When you’re driving, you’ll react slower to traffic signals, the moves of other vehicles and you’ll be at increased risk of causing or being unable to avoid an accident. You won’t be able to concentrate or pay attention. 

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You’ll become disoriented and if the sleep deprivation isn’t stopped. You may begin to experience hallucinations. You’ll make more mistakes, and if others are depending on you at work or home, those mistakes could have serious repercussions. You may start to experience short-term memory loss. 

Sleep deprivation shows up emotionally, too. You may become irritable even for no reason. You may be angry and take that out on others. You can experience anxiety and depression. 

Studies have shown that getting enough sleep is closely tied with emotional well-being. Sleep deprivation can cause you to engage in behavior you wouldn’t normally do, like taking foolish risks with your safety or engaging in heated fights with others.

Another way that sleep deprivation wreaks havoc is in the body. You will become clumsy and less coordinated. You may start to drop things without warning. You’ll experience muscle aches, pains and spasms. 

A lack of sleep that’s caused by a sleep disorder can cause painful charley horses to occur. With a loss of sleep, your blood pressure begins to climb and your stress level mounts. Your organs can become affected. 

You’ll put on weight - and sleep deprivation elevates your chance of having a stroke, heart attack or developing diabetes. Because sleep deprivation weakens your immune system, you can lose the ability to fight off even a simple virus. 

Not getting enough sleep can cause muscle weakness, eye problems, slurred speech and an inability to communicate. If you’re experiencing sleep deprivation, don’t wait until you begin experiencing severe symptoms to seek a solution. 

The Bad Habit That’s Messing with Your Sleep

​And how you can get on track for a more restful night

The relationship between sleep and diet is a complicated one. Recent news that fiber, sugar, and fat intake can cause sleep problems adds to a growing body of research connecting the two.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found that diets lower in fiber and higher in saturated fats and sugar are linked to less restful, more fragmented sleep with more frequent awakenings throughout the night. These diets also were associated with less time in slow-wave sleep, a highly restorative phase of sleep.

A vicious circle of sleep-affecting-diet, diet-affecting sleep occurs: Insufficient sleep spurs appetite, in part by altering hormones that regulate feelings of hunger and fullness. Short on sleep, our levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin spike, while levels of leptin—a hormone that promotes feelings of fullness—drop.

As a result, when you're sleep deprived, you tend to consume more calories than your body needs. In addition to spiking overall appetite, insufficient sleep specifically increases your desire for fatty and sugary foods and also reduces your ability to withstand these food cravings (there's a strong scientific connection between insufficient and poor quality sleep and obesity)...

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The Simplest Way to Drastically Improve Your Life: More Sleep

Sleep deprivation is the invisible ceiling to how good life can be

Imagine this: Someone walks up to you and pitches you on a brand-new, magical pill.

This pill can measurably improve your memory, overall cognitive performance, ability to learn new information, receptivity to facial cues, mood, ability to handle problems, metabolism, risk for heart disease and immune system.

Would you buy it?

Yeah, yeah, you saw this coming: That pill exists, but not in pill form. You can have all of those benefits cost-free, and all it takes is going to bed a little bit earlier. That’s it.

Yeah, yeah, you saw this coming: That pill exists, but not in pill form. You can have all of those benefits cost-free, and all it takes is going to bed a little bit earlier. That’s it.

And yet! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called sleep deprivation a public health crisis, saying that one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep. Some 80 percent of people report sleep problems at least once per week, and according to a 2016 study, sleep deprivation “causes more than $400 billion in economic losses annually in the United States and results in 1.23 million lost days of work each year.”

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