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How to Sleep

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/01/how-to-sleep/508781/

theatlantic.com

How to Sleep
Should you drink more coffee? Should you take melatonin? Can you train yourself to need less sleep? A physician's guide to sleep in a stressful age. During residency, Iworked hospital shifts that could last 36 hours, without sleep, often without breaks of more than a few minutes.

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The necessary amount of sleep

The necessary amount of sleep

Most adults function best after 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

When we get less than 7 hours, we’re impaired (to degrees that vary from person to person).  When sleep persistently falls below 6 hours per 24, we are at an increased risk of health problems

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Polyphasic sleeping

Polyphasic sleeping

It's based on the idea that by partitioning your sleep into segments, you can get away with less of it.

Though it is possible to train oneself to sleep in spurts instead of a single nightly block, it does not seem possible to train oneself to need less sleep per 24-hour cycle.

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Replacing sleep with caffeine

Replacing sleep with caffeine

Caffeine works primarily by blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine, which slows down our neural activity, allowing us to relax, rest, and sleep.

By interfering with it, caffeine cuts the brake lines of the brain’s alertness system. Eventually, if we don’t allow our body to relax, the buzz turns to anxiety.

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Minimize screen time

Minimize screen time

Especially before bed. Phones and tablets emit light that’s skewed heavily toward the blue end of the visible spectrum and these frequencies are especially influential in human sleep cycles.

Using a “night mode,” available on some phones, is supposed to minimize that effect.

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Melatonin and sleep

Melatonin and sleep

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.

Melatonin supplements have been shown to make some people fall asleep more quickly, but they aren’t proven to increase the total time or quality of sleep. 

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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Creating a sleep-inducing environment

  • Turn the temperature between 60 and 72 degrees.
  • Turn off the lights. Artificial light suppresses your body’s production of the sleep hormone melat...

Avoiding caffeine

Don't drink caffeine after dark. If you have your last coffee in the early afternoon, most of the caffeine will have been flushed out of your body by 11pm.

Although avoiding coffe...

Sleeping diary

Keeping a sleep diary of your activity before bed, which helps to ensure you avoid the worst triggers. 

You should avoid doing anything strenuous or stressful within a few hours of sleep time

Reading devices

Many e-readers are backlit with blue frequencies of light, which can fool the brain into thinking that it’s still daytime.

Reading on these devices for a few hours before bed seems to suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone) and therefore makes it harder to doze off, compared to a traditional paperback. The same goes for tablets, MP3 players and smartphones.