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Many aspects of sleep are individual. We differ in the amount of sleep we need and in what can either help us drift off or keep us awake in the late-night hours.

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Learning a little more about sleep might help you set up your own tests to see what works and what doesn't. Here we explore some of the most common myths about sleep in the hope that the answers might lead you to a good night's rest. Eight hours has long been touted as the gold standard of sleep time, but this number is an average: Most people need seven to nine hours. Some can get by on four hours a night, but others need as many as While there's a general idea of how much sleep a person needs, the specifics are less clear, and the advice given to determine the adequate amount of sleep can be misleading.

Here's a common suggestion for determining how many hours of sleep you need: How long do you sleep when on vacation, when an alarm clock is not waking you up because of work or other obligations? But, Basner explained, the number one would get from that is likely to be too high, because we deprive ourselves of sleep beforehand. The majority of people who claim to need next to no sleep seem to have a lack of self-awareness rather than a superior ability to function. He noted that when many people who claim not to sleep during the night are observed in a sleep lab, parts of their brain shut down, so although they are no longer fully conscious, they might believe they are.

Basner has made similar observations about people who claim they need or get almost no sleep.

Some people can function on very little sleep, but it is unclear whether they'd function better if they allowed themselves to get more. Instead, the tendency for people who sleep that little is to experience problems down the line. Short sleep is associated with an increase in obesity, hypertension, diabetes and stroke. There remains some controversy over whether people need less sleep as they get older. What is clear is that they tend to get less sleep with age.

It's not that people need less sleep as they age, but they have difficulty sustaining sleep for as long as they did when they were younger. The number of hours of sleep may "decline some in old age only because sleep fragments with more awakenings at night and begins to intrude into catnaps during the day," said Cartwright.

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While older people may need as much sleep as those who are younger, there is some defined difference when it comes to comparing people at the beginning of life. But assuming older people need less sleep because they don't sleep as much as they once did presents problems. While there's no substitute for a good night's sleep, naps may provide a short-term solution to daytime sleepiness if doled out properly. Avidan explained that power naps of 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon 1 to 3 p.

Napping too late in the day can lead to insomnia, as it may shift your body's rhythms. The weekends can be and typically are used to help catch up on sleep lost during the week, but catching up needs to be done in a specific way to avoid disrupting sleep patterns. Using the weekends to sleep in an extra hour or two might be a good way to catch up on lost sleep, assuming one isn't too far behind on sleep to begin with. The problem, however, is that typically people stay up later on the weekends and then sleep in, which throws off the entire rhythm of the sleep cycle.

One problem, Cartwright said, "is the Sunday night insomnia from oversleeping Sunday morning, so you are trying to fall asleep at too early an hour at night. Exercise right before bed may keep most people from sleeping, but for others, it might be the answer to their insomnia.

While exercising right before bed might hinder sleep, it is often recommended for earlier in the day, particularly when it exposes one to sunlight in the early morning hours. Gehrman explained that for many, exercise can hinder sleep because it elevates body temperature, which remains higher for several hours.

But, he said, he has one patient with insomnia who uses 11 p. Does having sex before bed allow people to destress and fall asleep easier, or does it simply make them more alert and less able to sleep? Researchers had a number of explanations for how sex might affect sleep. Sex may help some sleep by calming them down before bedtime. Alternately, it may keep them awake, particularly if it is not enjoyable. As with exercise, "I guess people have to experiment on their own. But, Basner said, that doesn't mean a large meal at bedtime won't hinder sleep, as it fills up stomach, meaning blood has to work to help digest the food rather than flow to other organs.

The primary effect, he and other researchers said, was likely to be reflux and discomfort at bedtime.

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But researchers doubted whether specific foods could bring on bad dreams. Warm milk, and turkey, have gained plenty of myth mileage because they contain the amino acid tryptophan. While tryptophan may be used as a sleep aid pharmaceutically, its power in food can be severely reduced. Even in pill form, tryptophan is not as strong as sleep aids such as Benadryl.

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Avidan noted that the strongest links between foods and sleep come better-known substances, with smoking, alcohol and caffeine all having disruptive effects on sleep patterns. As you may have suspected, the scientific literature on sleep does not show any evidence that Freddy Krueger can kill you by invading your dreams. All the interests of my reason, speculative as well as practical, combine in the three following questions: 1. What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? Immanuel Kant. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thomas Edison. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.

If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope. If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream. You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. Oprah Winfrey Click to tweet.

Hope is such a beautiful word, but it often seems very fragile. Life is still being needlessly hurt and destroyed.

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Michael Jackson. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Albert Einstein.

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston S. One liners, thoughts and captions for your bio, social status, self-talk, motto, mantra, signs, posters, wallpapers, backgrounds, tattoos, SMS, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

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What we do now echoes in eternity. Marcus Aurelius. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light. Albert Pike Click to tweet. More short quotes You may also like: inspirational quotes motivational quotes happiness quotes love quotes life quotes.