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The Sleep Doctor's Sleep Suggestions from the Top Sleep stories of 2010 (Part II)

January 27, 2011

As you saw from my last blog, we learned so much in 2010 about our sleep and what we should and should not do. Here is Part II of my practical sleep suggestions — based on the latest cutting edge research on sleep from the second half of 2010.


Sleep Suggestion: Problems Sleeping? Tart Cherry Juice may be helpful.
In an article published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods, researchers from the University of Pensylvania had adults drink 8 ounces of tart cherry juice in the morning and evening for 2 weeks and results indicate that they had reduced insomnia severity, and a reduction in wake time after they fell asleep by 17 minutes.
Sleep Suggestion: During your child's first 2 years get all the sleep you can!
New parents have a huge sleep deficit. A survey in the UK showed that new parents (within the first 2 years of a child's life) lose about 6 months of sleep! Over 60% of parents with babies aged less than 24 months get on average 3.25 hours of sleep per night. 

Sleep Suggestion: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day-it's good for your cholesterol
Your Body Clock and Triglycerides. An animal study showed that disrupting the body clock or circadian rhythm can change the normal 24 hour cycle of your triglycerides and leave them high! 

Sleep Suggestion: Falling asleep in the afternoon? Don't eat lunch.
Being hungry may help you stay awake and alert. Does eating a big meal make you feel sleepy? This research suggests that being hungry will not only keep you awake but alert as well. This animal research showed that the need for food was greater than the need for sleep. 

Sleep Suggestion: Get more sleep and you will lose fat, not muscle on your diet.
Sleep away your fat. This study showed that people who are on a low calorie diet will lose the same amount of weight if they are sleeping 5.5 or 8.5 hours, but those sleeping 8.5 hours will lose more fat, while those with 5.5 hours will lose more muscle.
Sleep Suggestion: Talk with your doctor if you have sleep problems, they may not ask.
Menopause and sleep problems. In a survey of over 900 menopausal women, many of whom had sleep issues, it was revealed that most of their doctors did not ask them about their sleep. 

Sleep Suggestion: Take the phone out of your teen's bedroom, even texting affects sleep
Bedtime texting and internet use affect sleep. More than half of the teens that text or surf the internet at bedtime have problems falling asleep, and have mood, cognitive, and behavior problems the next day. And the average teen sends a total of 3400 electronic messages at bedtime every month.
Sleep Suggestion: Never drive drowsy
Drowsy driving kills. In a study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety it was determined that 1 in every 6 fatal crashes (16.5%) involves drowsy driving. 41% of drivers say that they have fallen asleep while driving at some time in their lives. And 10% of people admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past 12 months. 

Sleep Suggestion: Get your beauty Sleep, it is for real.
Want to look attractive and healthy, get your beauty sleep. There is scientific backing for the concept of beauty sleep. When people were photographed sleep deprived and non-sleep deprived they were rated less attractive and less healthy looking, with less sleep.
Sleep Suggestion: Make sure your child is not ingesting caffeine, you might be surprised!
75% of all children (age 5-12) consume caffeine daily. Caffeine consumption has been blamed for both bedwetting and sleep problems in kids, but this research showed that bedwetting was actually not due to caffeine consumption. More shockingly, kids between the ages of 8-12 were drinking the equivalent of 3 cans of soda per day.
So there you have it, 22 sleep suggestions, maybe even resolutions, based on some of the most fascinating sleep research of 2010. I know that I learned a lot last year about sleep and I hope you did as well. Looking forward to a healthy, happy and well-rested 2011.


Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep DoctorTM
Twitter: @thesleepdoctor