Sleep Archive


Try this: Progressive muscle relaxation for sleep

People with insomnia can quiet a racing mind or relax a tense body with progressive muscle relaxation, which involves gradually tensing and relaxing muscles, beginning with the toes and working up the body.

CPAP machines and masks: Which ones are right for you?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a first-line treatment for people with obstructive sleep apnea. The CPAP keeps the airway open by pushing a forceful stream of air through a tube and into a mask worn during sleep. The air comes from a small bedside pump (an air compressor). Other forms of positive airway pressure (PAP) may be helpful for people with central sleep apnea. Doctors determine which type of PAP therapy and device someone needs. Patients select the type of PAP mask to use with the system.

UK study confirms Mediterranean lifestyle benefits

A 2023 study of about 110,000 people in the United Kingdom suggested that those who most adhered to a Mediterranean lifestyle had a 28% lower risk of dying from cancer and a 29% lower risk of dying prematurely from any cause, compared with those who least adhered to the lifestyle.

Does poor sleep diminish the cognitive benefits of exercise?

In a 2023 study, among people age 50 or 60 who reported high rates of exercise, those who said they slept less than six hours per night had faster rates of cognitive decline over the next 10 years than those who said they got six to eight hours of sleep per night.

How much sleep do you actually need?

Just how many hours of sleep are enough for you? The answer varies and it might be better to track sleep quality than focus on the number of hours you log each night.

Sleep paralysis: Causes, symptoms, and treatments

Sleep paralysis  interferes with restful sleep and impacts emotional health for many people. While there is still much to learn about the condition, understanding the  causes of sleep paralysis  can help with treatment and prevention.

Hidden causes of weight gain

The reason for weight gain isn't always as obvious as inactivity or a poor diet. Weight gain can stem from many other causes. For example, it might reflect age-related physiological changes such as muscle loss, poor sleep, or changes in sex hormone levels; underlying conditions such as diabetes or sleep apnea; side effects from taking certain medications, such as antidepressants or beta blockers; or possibly the effects of eating late at night or the makeup of gut bacteria. Recent or excessive weight gain warrants a visit to a doctor to help pinpoint the issue.

Eating junk food may affect deep sleep

A new study found that eating an unhealthy diet high in processed food can affect people's deep sleep, the stage when the pituitary gland in the brain releases hormones to build and repair muscles and bones as well help boost cognitive function and memory.

Surprising causes of neck pain

Neck pain is often the result of strained neck muscles that become irritated from everyday activities. Examples include watching TV for hours at a time, sleeping without enough neck support, slouching, looking down at a smartphone for long periods, lifting heavy dumbbells, or getting stressed out. Ways to avoid such neck pain include using pillows to better support the neck on a couch or in bed, sitting up straighter, keeping electronic screens at eye level, lifting weights that aren't too heavy, and practicing stress management.

Does coffee help or harm your heart?

Drinking coffee does not appear to increase the risk of heart rhythm problems, such as atrial fibrillation, in healthy people. It may temporarily raise blood pressure and the number of non-harmful skipped beats. While it may have other minor mixed positive and negative effects on other heart-related factors and behaviors (such as increased daily step counts, but decreased sleep duration and slightly higher LDL cholesterol), moderate coffee consumption appears to have no impact on the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.