With our busy lives, it can be tempting to shrug off -- or ignore altogether -- difficulties with sleep. Trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep throughout the night, waking feeling tired and unrefreshed: These are commonly experienced disruptions to sleep for millions of adults.
A new study suggests yet another reason that alcohol can be a roadblock to good sleep: The stimulating effects of alcohol are felt more strongly in the early evening hours. That evening drink you think is sending you toward slumber? It's likely doing just the opposite.
2012 was bursting with great sleep stories that revealed the power of sleep to enhance our health and well-being. Here are my picks for the sleep stories of 2012 -- along with suggestions for ways you can bring the benefits of the latest in sleep science to your everyday life.
The study by Krystal and Edinger overcame the shortcomings of previous studies by examining a large number of people (128), a large variety of different firmness of mattresses (seven), and a large number of nights on each mattress (four weeks).
We know the principles of good sleep hygiene, like not drinking too much caffeine during the day, not exercising late at night and not reading or watching TV in bed if you have trouble sleeping. But that alone may not solve your problem.
In an editorial about sleep violence, a man chronicles what it's like to commit violent acts in his sleep (granted, his didn't go much further than punching the headboard or acting like a defensive lineman).
I still get amused by people who think sleep is a state of nothingness. Sleep is a break from busy wakefulness for the body's, but there's a lot going on in the brain making sleep far from a state of inactivity.
Just one of the startling things I've learned over the last two weeks of the Sleep Challenge is that apparently, when it comes to good health, what you do in the hour right before you go to bed really matters.