Do you wake up during the night and stay awake for only five or ten minutes? If so, you could be asking for serious health problems.
New statistics from the National Sleep Foundation show that one-in-five American adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation. And, as you may know, this problem can cause serious memory, weight, and heart problems. But a recent study out of Israel shows why we may have chronic sleep deprivation even if we get seven hours of sleep per night. This study found that interrupted sleep can cause these health problems just as readily as virtually no sleep at all.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University's (TAU) School of Psychological Sciences conducted this study. What's surprising about this study is that these researchers found that five to ten minutes of waking time during the night is like getting less than four consecutive hours of sleep.
That's a serious problem. We've all heard that we need seven-to-nine hours of solid sleep every night. The key word there is "solid." Only about 30% of us get solid sleep each night. While waking up for a moment to turn over won't cause this problem, waking up for only five minutes can "disrupt your natural sleep rhythm," says TAU professor Avi Sadeh.
To make this discovery, Sadeh and his colleagues had volunteers sleep for eight hours the first night. On the second night, the researchers would call the participants four times throughout the night and ask them to complete a computer task. Usually this task would take about 15 minutes. The participants still got eight hours of sleep on these nights. But it was interrupted sleep.
The next morning, the researchers had them do more computer tasks and answer questions about their mood. They found that there was a direct link between the interrupted sleep and a shortened attention span and a bad mood.
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We really didn't need a study to tell us that getting up four times in the night for 15 minutes would put us in a bad mood. We already knew that. Anyone who has had children already knows how this works. But this study is still important because it connected sleep interruptions to chronic sleep deprivation, which can result in serious health problems.
If you have trouble sleeping through the night for any reason, it's likely you have signs of chronic sleep deprivation. And you could be at an increased risk for memory, weight, and heart problems. So make sure you do everything you can to sleep through the night. Leave computers and cell phones in another room so you're not tempted to use them in the night. Drink some chamomile tea starting about an hour before bed. That will help you go to sleep.
But staying asleep may require the help of a supplement. Melatonin works for many people. I prefer the spray bottles available online and in many health food stores. Spray a little under your tongue and let it sit for about 20 seconds. You'll be tired and ready for sleep in about 10-15 minutes on most nights. If that doesn't help you sleep through the night, then try Advanced Sleep Formula, which Advanced Bionutritionals formulated specifically for helping people experience solid restful sleep throughout the night. And you shouldn't feel groggy in the morning.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.