IMPROVING SLEEP

Solution

Conquer the common enemies of sleep, avoid costly "sleep debt," and get the rest your body and mind need for good health and improve memory.

A good night's sleep is essential for your health and well-being. Getting too little sleep can cause numerous problems. Lack of sleep not only affects alertness and energy, but it weakens your body's defenses against infection, increases anxiety, and boosts your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. It's also a safety issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 1 in 24 adults say they have recently fallen asleep while driving.

Sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages. Remember when you could fall asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow and not wake up until the alarm went off?

As we get older, it becomes a little harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. But although our sleep patterns change, our need for sleep doesn’t. Just like diet and exercise, a good night’s sleep is essential for your good health, for keeping you alert and energetic, and for building your body’s defenses against infection, chronic illness, and even heart disease.

Do you or your spouse snore? There are hundreds of devices marketed as aids to stop snoring. But do any work? Could your snoring be sleep apnea?

Ever wondered why we remember so little of our dreams? Why "night owls" are the way they are? Or what's the best time for a nap — and how long should it be? Do you know the connection between Ambien and sleep walking (and sleep eating!), which over-the-counter sleeping aids are safest, five ways to avoid jet lag, and more.

www.health.harvard.edu