Sleep

The impacts on circadian rhythm and melatonin production in visually impaired people

Light is captured through photoreceptors in the eyes which transmit this to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), or internal body clock, via a dedicated neural pathway. Each day the light-dark cycle resets the internal clock, which in turn synchronizes physiological and behavioural patterns known as our circadian rhythms. People who are visual impaired with no perception……

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Optimising sleep for night shift

In a 2018 article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2018;360:j5637 doi: 10.1136/bmj.j5637 [Published 1 March 2018]) the topic of optimsing sleep for night shift was covered with the aim to provide sleep management skills for the individual. The article presents the best evidence from trials, guidance material and expert opinion, but outlines the limited……

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Smoking and sleep

Nicotine can hamper a person’s ability to fall asleep or get good quality sleep. Studies have shown that the average smoker gets 30 minutes less sleep compared to non-smokers. Trouble getting to sleep after a cigarette is likely due to the stimulatory effect of nicotine. Nicotine withdrawal during later sleep periods may also affect sleep……

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Sleep medication

Sleeping medication may be helpful to overcome short term needs or significant life events, such as grief or high stress events. Sleeping medication can be used to improve sleep quantity and quality but should only be used for short periods to avoid dependency, as dependency will only lead to longer term sleep problems. It is……

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Top 10 sleep tips

Poor sleep habits have often been reinforced over many years. The good news is that there are some common things you can do that will improve your sleep hygiene. Different things may work for different people. The main thing is to try not to worry about not getting enough sleep. The odd poor night’s sleep……

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When should I sleep?

Our levels of alertness and attention are influenced by our circadian rhythms, as shown in the figure below. Circadian rhythms allow us to feel more alert during the day and less alert during the evening. This is the primary reason it is difficult to stay awake at night and why we may struggle to sleep……

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Napping

Effective napping is a skill, which cannot be achieved by everyone. Napping cannot replace sleep, but can assist in times of sleep debt, extreme tiredness and/or when heightened alertness is required for your safety, such as driving a car. Naps may improve subsequent performance and alertness for a period of time, ranging from 2 to……

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Sleep Disorders

It is estimated that 6% of the population suffer from sleep disorders. Sleep disorders may make some health conditions worse such as, heartburn, depression, asthma and heart disease. Sleep disorders are diagnosed by a GP or sleep specialist. If you are experiencing poor sleep and have some of the following symptoms, you may want to……

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Exercise and sleep

Regular exercise can considerably improve the quality and quantity of sleep, as well as, having other benefits to general health and wellbeing. Exercise improves sleep by improving the release and uptake of neurotransmitters in the brain. This provides a positive environment for the brain to function allowing sleep to occur more naturally.There are some considerations……

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Mood and sleep

It’s no surprise that sleep, or a lack of sleep, affects our mood. One sleepless night will cause most people to be more irritable, short-tempered and stressed. After a good night’s sleep, your mood often returns to normal. Whilst sleep does affect mood, mood also affects sleep. People suffering anxiety or stress will experience agitation,……

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An introduction to sleep

Sleep is common throughout the animal kingdom. We do know there is still a lot to be leaned about sleep, despite considerable research. All animals require sleep and no permanent non sleeping species exists. Even plants and bacteria have a regular period of rest and inactivity. Humans spend one-third of their lives sleeping. Far from……

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How sleep works

Good sleep helps us wake up feeling refreshed and alert for our daily activities. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases, which can leave us feeling drowsy, tired and fatigued. IMPORTANTExperts have warned that……

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How much sleep do you need?

The amount of sleep that people require varies between individuals depending on many factors. Age is a major determinant of the quantity of sleep. The table below provides a general guide to the number of hours sleep needed through the stages of life. Children generally require more hours of sleep each day, while for most……

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Dreaming

There are many theories about dreams including how they occur and what they may mean, if anything. Dreams may not serve any purpose at all and may be merely a by-product of two evolutionary adaptations – sleep and consciousness. The question about the function of dreaming is still unanswered. Dreams often involve the dreamer in……

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Sleep debt

Sleep debt is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. Two kinds of sleep debt have been proposed: 1) partial sleep deprivation; or 2) total sleep deprivation. Partial sleep deprivation occurs when a person gets inadequate sleep for many days or weeks. Total sleep deprivation occurs when a person is kept awake for days……

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