“Americans, like other people around the world, used to sleep in an unconsolidated fashion, that is, in two or more periods throughout the day.” They went to bed not long after the sun went down. Four or five hours later, they woke from their “first sleep” and rattled around—praying, chatting, smoking, or making love. (Benjamin Franklin reportedly liked to spend this time reading naked in a chair.) Eventually, they went back to bed for their “second sleep.”
A Q&A about the sleeplessness that comes with parenting.
Chronic insomnia has been linked to a range of medical problems, from loss of concentration to high blood pressure…But can getting up throughout the night to tend to new baby cause long-term health problems as well?
PsychCentral: Cumulative Sleep Deprivation Harms Brain and Body.
“Instead of going to bed when they are tired, like they should, people watch TV and want to have an active social life,” she says. “People count on catching up on their sleep on the weekends, but it may not be enough.”
An NYT review of Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia, by Patricia Morrisroe.
Morrisroe interviews an anthropologist who says that in many traditional, non-Western cultures people sleep on light mats, not beds, sometimes in groups around a fire. Instead of what the anthropologist calls our “lie down and die” model, people drift in and out of slumber. Sometimes, they get up to sing or dance for a while…
Self-help books offering CBT-I are also available. Two that I really like are“The Insomnia Answer,” by Paul Glovinsky and Art Spielman, and “Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep,” by Colleen E. Carney and Rachel Manber.
“Brain’s energy restored during sleep–not exactly a news flash. But a study looks at what actually goes on in your head while you’re slumbering:
In the initial stages of sleep, energy levels increase dramatically in brain regions found to be active during waking hours [suggesting] a surge of cellular energy may replenish brain processes needed to function normally while awake.
Another set of three articles–ultrasounds, waistbands, and parenting–related by being a little more interesting than the others coming up in Google Reader right now:
Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep — napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes — is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions. Getting rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.