Author: Caitlin Reynolds

How much do you know about narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that alters sleep-wake cycles, the 24-hour biological cycles of sleep and wake that drive our urge and need for rest and activity. Narcolepsy is perhaps best known for a single symptom—a sudden, overwhelming urge to sleep that can occur at any time. These abrupt episodes of intrusive sleep are often referred to as sleep attacks. But the sleep disorder, which affects roughly 1 in 2000 people, has a cluster of debilitating and disruptive symptoms that can affect a person’s sleep and waking life. In addition to sleep attacks, narcolepsy is often characterized by: Excessive...

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Too many thoughts, too little sleep

The last time I remember experiencing symptoms of insomnia was in the week or so leading up to a move. It was a move I was excited about (to a first house with my husband) but I was also really stressed—my head full of details and loose ends to be dealt with, of anticipation for moving day and all the work to be done in the new place. I’m a pretty good sleeper generally, but I had a number of restless nights leading up to our big move. I was so wound up at night I had trouble falling...

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Will we be trading our morning coffee for gum?

The groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling that you experience in the first minutes after coming out of sleep? That sense of not knowing precisely where you are, what time it is or even what day it is? This disorienting, sluggish state actually has a name, and it’s something other than hrmphrgmh. In medical and scientific circles, it’s known as sleep inertia. Sleep inertia can happen first thing in the morning. It can also happen after waking from a nap. For as long as sleep inertia lasts—usually no more than 30 minutes or so—your brain is actually a little bit impaired. You...

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea 101

Have you heard of obstructive sleep apnea? It’s a sleep disorder that gets overlooked—a lot. As many as 80% of people with OSA may not even know they have it. That’s a shame, for a number of reasons. OSA can really wreak havoc with a sound night’s sleep. A lot of people with OSA feel very tired and fatigued during the day, and may even find themselves nodding off—especially when doing things that don’t take a lot of physical activity, such as sitting at a desk, reading, or watching television.  OSA can also contribute to other health problems such...

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Did your dinner give you a nightmare?

How do your eating habits influence your sleep? Do you find it hard to fall asleep after a heavy meal, or on an empty stomach? Do spicy foods lead you to have strange dreams? Does a sugary snack before bed help you drift off to sleep, or leave you tossing and turning? The relationship between eating and sleep is complex. Not only when and how much we eat, but also what we eat may have a real impact on the character of sleep and even dreams. Recently, researchers at Quebec’s Université de Montréal looked at how certain foods and...

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