Sleep

Want to improve your memory? Get a good night’s sleep!

Sleep is important for your memory, as the brain uses the time you are sleeping to process new information and consolidate it for later recall. If you are tired from a lack of sleep, it’s more difficult to pay attention, and attention is necessary to good memory function.

Could what we eat improve our sleep?

Diet, exercise, and sleep work together, and all three can have an effect on our daily well-being and longevity. Sleep impacts our eating patterns, and our eating patterns affect our sleep: lack of quality sleep may make people eat more, and make less healthy food choices, but certain foods contain substances that may enhance sleep.

How does sleep affect your heart rate?

During waking hours you may feel your heart rate fluctuating, and activity or intense emotions can cause it to spike. But what happens to your heart rate when you sleep? It varies then too, depending on the phase of sleep you are in.

Early birds may be more active, but night owls can catch up

Researchers measuring activity levels found that people who tend to go to bed later and sleep later also tend to get less physical activity, compared to early risers. However, these results don’t mean that being a night owl is the cause of getting less activity, or that such behavior can’t be changed.

Shorter dream-stage sleep may be related to earlier death

Alice Cai, MD

Contributor

It’s well known that getting enough sleep is critical to daily functioning and long-term health. Now, new research suggests that a lack of enough REM sleep may be related to earlier death in people at middle age or older.

How to help your child get the sleep they need

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Back-to-school plans are still a question mark for many school districts, and it’s probably tempting to let a more relaxed summer sleep schedule stay in place. But consistency and routine are important for children and teens to ensure they get enough high-quality sleep. Here’s how to create that structure.

Worried about sleep apnea? Home-based testing is now the norm

Sleep apnea robs people of high-quality sleep, increases the risk of heart problems, and puts people at higher risk of accidents. While an overnight stay in a sleep lab used to be required to diagnose sleep apnea, now this testing often can be done at home.

Lifestyle changes are important for managing atrial fibrillation

Many lifestyle factors can influence the development of atrial fibrillation, and doctors now better understand the importance of these factors in treating afib. Those who are at risk of developing afib can take action to improve their health, and in some cases they may be able to reduce their symptoms.

I can’t tolerate CPAP, what can I do?

Many people with sleep apnea find that a CPAP machine helps them, but others struggle and have difficulty using a CPAP machine. There are many reasons this could be happening, and it’s important for people to work with their doctor to troubleshoot and try adjustments that can make using the machine easier and more effective.

Treating mild sleep apnea: Should you consider a CPAP device?

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 20% of the population, and if untreated it has negative effects on cardiac and metabolic health as well as quality of life. If the condition is moderate or severe, a CPAP machine is the first-line treatment, but there is less consensus about treatment of mild OSA.