A Glossary of Sleep Terms

Sleep disorders can be difficult to understand because of complex medical terminology. This glossary can help.

Many people think getting a good night’s sleep is as easy as putting your head on your pillow and closing your eyes. Those with sleep disorders, however, realize there is much more to it than that, starting with medical terminology that sometimes barely sounds like English. Use this glossary of important sleep-related terms to better understand your condition.

Advanced sleep phase disorder

People with this sleep ...

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What’s Your Sleep History?

When your sleep is disrupted enough that it becomes a problem, you need to see a medical professional. Be prepared to answer detailed questions about your sleep history and overall health.

Getting enough sleep is an absolute imperative for good health. If simple changes to your lifestyle and environment haven’t alleviated a sleep problem, it may be time to see a health care provider to evaluate your sleep history. A good primary care physician may be able to diagnose and treat ...

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Healthy Sleep Habits

Healthy sleep habits do more than just keep you alert — they can also keep you healthier. Getting more shut-eye might even make you a better employee or student.

Healthy sleep habits have a pervasive effect and are crucial to health and well-being at any age. These healthy sleep habits generally allow you to wake up feeling refreshed; think quickly; successfully perform potentially dangerous tasks, like driving, which require complete attention; and do your very best at work or school.

“The ...

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Unraveling the Meaning of Dreams

Have you ever wondered what an especially weird dream meant? The meaning of dreams is debatable, but the science behind dreams is more clearly defined.

William Shakespeare’s Prospero knew that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on,” but scientists are still figuring out the meaning of dreams themselves. People have inferred the meaning of dreams since ancient times. In more recent years, Sigmund Freud believed that a dream provided a window to our unconscious thoughts, while Alfred Adler ...

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10 Health Conditions That Disrupt Sleep

Depression and menopause are just two medical conditions that can rob you of sleep. Discover other culprits that can cause insomnia.

Having problems going to sleep or staying asleep? A health condition could be to blame. Research suggests that sleep disturbances such as insomnia are rooted in certain medical conditions.

“We’re finding that both the quantity and quality of sleep a person gets can be linked to a number of health issues and diseases,” says James Wellman, MD, medical director of ...

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Be Smart About Sleep

Small changes to your habits and lifestyle can have a big effect on sleep.

You might have heard some women talk about their biological clocks in regards to fertility; all living creatures have another type of internal clock, called the circadian rhythm. It refers to the 24-hour cycle of activity and sleep affected by the change from light to dark. A part of the brain called the hypothalamus manages the circadian rhythm, or pattern, by processing information (like when your eyes ...

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The Chemistry of Caffeine, Nicotine, and Sleep

Caffeine and nicotine side effects can include insomnia. Cutting back on coffee and smoking will ultimately help, but be prepared for withdrawal symptoms that may temporarily affect sleep.

As we pack more and more into our busy schedules, something’s gotta give. More often than not, that something is sleep.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50 to 70 million Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. The reasons are just what you would expect — too many responsibilities at work, ...

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Resetting Your Internal Clock for Better Sleep

Most of us are born tending to be larks or night owls. However, adhering to a strict sleep schedule and seeking professional help when necessary can help adjust your sleeping times if work or other factors dictate a change.

We’d like to think we control our bodies, choosing when to go to sleep and when to wake up. However, research shows we’ve got it wrong.

For example, it’s more than personal preference if you’re a night owl who’s awake in the ...

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New Animal Study Might Explain Jet Lag Differences

Traveling west to east? Blame your brain for the added disruption.

The way the human circadian clock sets itself may explain why jet lag tends to affect people more severely when they’re flying west to east compared to the other direction, a new animal study indicates.

The circadian clock, which regulates many body processes, has to make regular adjustments to stay synchronized with the light-dark cycle of where a person is and does this by delaying or advancing its time in response ...

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Weekend Not Long Enough to Recover from Sleep Loss

Men and women who get just six hours of sleep each night during the workweek will need more than the weekend to recover from the cumulative effects of this mild sleep deprivation, a new study revealed.

Researchers also found that women are better able to cope with and recover from this kind of sleep loss than men.

“The usual practice of extending sleep during the weekend after a busy workweek associated with mild sleep loss is not adequate in reversing the cumulative ...

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