Deep Sleep: Sleep and Your Health

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Each Thursday in March, Alice Park, Time Magazine staff writer who covers health and medicine, talks about sleep. Today: how sleep can impact your overall health.

Comments [24]

dizzy5 from upstate Manhattan

anybody says somethin' bad about Bert Convy 'sgonna get a sock in the beezer, heah?

Apr. 03 2012 08:45 PM
Mickey Donohue from Harlem

I used to take a sleeping pill every night to get to sleep. Then that stopped working. I then one night in desperation turned to a sleep CD I had gotten while staying at a Crowne Plaza Hotel in Akron Ohio. They had this nice little basket of things to help you sleep; eye mask, ear plugs and the CD. I thought it was funny cause I live in NYC and here I was in Akron with no noise!
Anyway, this night I popped in the CD and in minutes, I was fast asleep. I use it every night now and I don't think I have ever heard the end of it! It's a CD of Dr Michael Breus. Thanks Crowne Plaza!

Mar. 29 2012 11:51 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I was with a national health insurance company when the cost of providing medical benefits crossed the $1/hr barrier back in the 80's. It is almost humorous that the country is turning itself into such knots to provide a system of national healthcare that EVERY OTHER DEVELOPED NATION HAS IN PLACE. The time to do this was BEFORE the top quintile twisted the tax system to rake in more of the national income for their own greedy ends.

Simple solution - Drop the MediCare eligibility age by 2 years every 5 years. Increase FICA where necessary to cover it. The problem goes away in 60 years. OR (and this is vastly more socialist) Create a six branch of the service - Medical Service Corps - schools, teaching hospitals, other medical and rehabilitative facilities, techniques, that are complete OUTSIDE of the tainted system of privately insured healthcare.

Mar. 29 2012 11:12 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

I've worked swing shifts for 35 years, here are some obervations:

* It takes me 3-4 days to adjust to normal after a week, or two weeks, on nights or evenings.
* I don't eat during my shift except for a light lunch halfway through; but have a breakfast meal when I quit, no matter what time. OJ is great.
* Eating at the end of an eve. or night shift can disturb family life, so I usually go to a diner.
* A couple of hours sleep outdoors equals 4-6 hours in a bed, I don't know why.
* Going from nights to evenings to days is much worse than days > evenings > nights.
* If I can't sleep, I imagine the sound of waves breaking, and I drift right off.
* A great song about working nights is BLUE COLLAR by BTO; (the only one I like by them.)

Mar. 29 2012 11:06 AM
Christopher from Brooklyn

Is there any evidence that rising earlier in the day (given the same amount of sleep) is any better for you than rising later in the day? Say, 11am?

Mar. 29 2012 11:06 AM
Brian Gallagher from brooklyn

she says "trust your body" but this goes both ways. The people who "can" sleep less do it- even though it affects them; just like the people who can drink to excess, do it. And those of us who get hangovers from one beer, aren't often alcoholics. This brings us the genetic conversation too. Just because your body lets you sleep less doesn't mean you aren't functionally disabled.

Mar. 29 2012 11:05 AM
Diana from Chelsea

As I hear people make comments, I think of how at one point in my life, I worked a lot of overtime and considered myself quite adequate in work quality, BUT when that job was over I saw that my abilities had weakened. I don't think -- when you are in the midst of the sleep deprevation -- that you are cognizant of the damage. I've worked with such people as well, who could not see they were impaired. I really believe this accounts for your callers saying they genetically can go without much sleep.

Also, some people are heavily prone to be influenced by the taboo in our culture for saying you need rest.

Mar. 29 2012 10:58 AM
Darrell Perry from New York, New York

I swaddle. Particularly if I need a nap during the daytime to feel better. I put the radio on to the news or a Q&A type show. I turn it down so it is hard to follow. I cover my self with bed covers, lie down on a pillow and cover my head with another pillow. Darken the room. Asleep in less then ten minutes.

Mar. 29 2012 10:58 AM
Nina Goldman from New York City

To fall asleep I also do the alphabet categories. Never make it all the way through. I pick different categories. Last night was two word movie titles that begin with the letter. If I can't think of a word I don't obsess but move on. Eventually I think of something, except with the letter Q..Usually stumps me for most categories.

Mar. 29 2012 10:58 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Sometimes when I can't sleep I work on Will Shortz's Sunday Puzzle. Of course, that only works until I solve it!

Mar. 29 2012 10:57 AM
John A.

What Brian just said.
Never mind the hormonal science (which I believe is true, but anyway)
What I Felt when an overworker was tired, this is obvious, but the so-called
"empty calorie" foods (Soda, candy-bars) are the very ones who can make you think you can blast your way out of tiredness. This I believe to this day summarizes the failed thought process. Those foods Can Not offset lost sleep.

Mar. 29 2012 10:54 AM
Blanche from North Jersey

I don't hear enough discussion about the timing of sleep in relation to sleep quallity, mood disturbance, weight gain, etc. You've mentioned shift work, but people can do shift work for years on end and not create intrinsic shifts in their circadian rhythms--they merely force extrinsic changes, and typically suffer poor quality sleep at odd times of day, and health problems that go with it. The field of sleep medicine has been slow to acknowledge the prevalance of circadian disorders and to fully utilize effective treatments. This is from someone who has worked in sleep medicine and research and also suffered from Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome for decades, only finding effective treatment two years ago.

Mar. 29 2012 10:53 AM
Halley from Boston, MA

What contributes to night sweats? Is it a health concern or could it simply mean too many blankets?

Mar. 29 2012 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I find that when I sleep off my normal schedule, whether that means getting less sleep, more sleep, or sleep at an unusual time, I have no appetite for a couple of hours after I get up. I've been told this is common, so I wonder if it might counteract the metabolic effect of too little sleep that Ms. Park is talking about to any degree.

Mar. 29 2012 10:51 AM
sandra from nyc

There's a simple non-scientific reason why more sleep helps you weigh less--you simply have less time to EAT!
Most emotional eaters eat LATE at night. I recently joined The Weight Watchers and the leader suggested to go to sleep EARLIER to avoid late night emotional eating. It DOES work!!!

Mar. 29 2012 10:50 AM

How additive is sleep? If you are sleep deprived for a week, does one night of good sleep reset your body, or is a week of good sleep needed to reset?

Mar. 29 2012 10:48 AM
J. Ryan Fuller from New York City

Do we have any idea of the impact of sleep medications, e.g., Lunesta on cortisol and therefore weight, heart disease, etc.?

J. Ryan Fuller, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist

Mar. 29 2012 10:48 AM
Lisa from Forest Hills

Is there a biological reason to store fat due to less sleep? For instance, is it because when we were hunter gathers we needed to.

Also, I am not sure I buy the sleep results in stored fat. I am suspicious sleeplessness leads to late night eating and/or late night eating interupts sleep. I am 45 and only get 6 hours of sleep a night. I get up early to exercise. I don't have any trouble with fat gain.

Mar. 29 2012 10:48 AM
Psych101 from New York, NY

Typical depression is associated with much less sleep. Depression with more sleep is known as atypical.

Mar. 29 2012 10:47 AM
susan Buckler from nyc Village

What about the single Mom who finds that only when the children are finally sleeping, the chores are done, etc. can she enjoy an hour or two to herself.. how does one get out of that routine. I find myself going to bed at 12 and waking a 6:30.. I want to be able to sleep more, but just can't seem to make the shift.

Mar. 29 2012 10:47 AM
Chris Garvey

Vitamin B6 helps me sleep when my brain is racing or I've had caffeine.
It also suppresses nausea.
Avoid more than 300 mg. per day of B6.

Mar. 29 2012 10:47 AM

the one size fits all 8 hours is absurd. i sleep five hours a night; and, i'm not tired, and i wake up ready to go. one can work towards sleeping less,but exercise, nutrition,and being happy, are vital.

Mar. 29 2012 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I definitely do believe that most older people in particular should get a full 8 hours of comfortable restful sleep to help the body repair itself every night. I do believe the older you get, the more sleep you should absolutely try to get.

Mar. 29 2012 10:44 AM
Helen from manhattan

Is it true that if you go a long period on very little sleep (my college years in my case) that this can negatively affect your overall health years later? Is there anyway to 'make up' this sleep?

Mar. 29 2012 09:21 AM

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