Too many of us can’t get a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea, night waking and insomnia are just a few of the reasons we toss and turn and wake up tired. About a third of the population has a prolonged period of wakefulness in the middle of the night, during which we might stare at the ceiling (or worse, our phone) and worry over all the things morning will bring. That, in turn, does not make it any easier to fall back asleep. So don’t even try. Instead, scientists say, we should get up and enjoy a little intermission — like our ancestors did.
Not that long ago, the human sleep cycle included a “first sleep,” a brief period of wakefulness, and then a “second sleep.” In the days before electricity, bedtime might fall just a couple hours after darkness. This early-to-bed lifestyle fostered a period of refreshed wakefulness, an hour or so which people used to read, complete tasks, or pursue amorous pursuits. Then, after going back to sleep for the rest of the night, the person would begin the day refreshed.
Is sugar really as addictive as cocaine and other drugs? Just how addictive is sugar? These questions have been buzzing for years.
In the 1960s, the idea of healthy food consumption was still novel. The understanding that fats affect our risk of heart disease was also new; public consciousness was not yet centered on the effects of fats and sugars on our bodies and overall health. Since the 1960s, however, numerous independent and peer-reviewed studies have concluded that sugar consumption is a substantial component when it comes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The sugar industry denies all such claims.
Have you ever consciously changed the course of a dream? If so, then you are one of the 55 percent of people who have experienced a lucid dream. Lucid dreaming is rare. Only about 23 percent of individuals have a lucid dream once a month or more. Some of the benefits of lucid dreaming include a significant decrease in sleep deprivation. But they may also be beneficial for healing trauma, controlling unhealthy behavior and dealing with nightmares.
For the first time, techniques by Dr. Denholm Aspy, a visiting professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide in Australia, have been independently verified to induce lucid dreaming. During his week-long study on 169 participants, a record-breaking 53 percent of participants had lucid dreams, with 17 percent successful each night.
Not getting enough sleep is almost a point of pride in our society. When you’re busy with your career/family/novel/Netflix binge watch, who has time to get those pesky eight hours? According to Matthew Walker, founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, we need to make the time.
Walker says that we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic,” with wide-ranging effects. Operating on short sleep—which is defined as anything less than seven hours—impairs brain and bodily functioning, and increases your risk for heart attack, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, weight gain, and stroke, compromises your immune system, and makes you emotionally irrational, less charismatic and more prone to lying. Not getting enough sleep may even mimic symptoms of ADHD. With just one night of only four or five hours of sleep, the cells that attack cancer cells drop by 70 percent. The World Health Organization has classed any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen. More than 20 large-scale epidemiological studies agree: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life.