WHAT: A three-part Science of Sleep Series will launch Tuesday afternoons in August through Facebook Live. Researchers will discuss how children and adults can put the latest sleep science into practice to support optimal health outcomes throughout the lifespan. Other topics to be discussed include emerging research and public health opportunities, such as the increase in sleep deprivation among teens; sex-based distinctions in sleep research, which has helped show that sleep apnea has been underrecognized and misdiagnosed in women; sleep-related health disparities; and lifelong sleep habits that can support healthy aging.
WHO: Marishka K. Brown, Ph.D., director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, which is located within the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), will cohost the three-session series with researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
WHERE/WHEN: The Science of Sleep Series will take place Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. EST through each institute’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Tuesday, Aug. 24: Science of Sleep and Older Adults
Watch through host NIA’s Facebook feed
Follow #ScienceofSleep for live updates and to participate in each chat.
HOW: No preregistration is necessary, but participants can RSVP on Facebook to receive reminders about the series. A Facebook or Twitter account isn’t necessary to join.
WHY: As teens and adults prepare to return to physical school and work environments or create hybrid schedules between home, work, and school, they may benefit from thinking about how to use the latest science to create healthy sleep patterns. The researchers will share the important role sleep has across the lifespan and general tips about how to get a good night’s rest, such as:
1. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. This may include reading or doing yoga. Use a traditional alarm clock and keep digital devices, such as a television, cell phone, or computer, out of a sleep area at least one hour before bedtime.
2. Commit to getting enough sleep. Sleep varies based on your life stage. Most adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Older adults need 7-9 hours, children ages 6-10 need 9-11 hours, and tweens and teens, ages 11-17, need 8-10 hours. Sufficient sleep supports a range of functions, including cognition and well-being, as well as cardiovascular health in children and adults.
3. Establish a sound sleep-wake cycle. Going to bed and waking up at around the same time each day can help your body sync to a new schedule. Recent research published in the journals Scientific Reports and SLEEP found that short-term interruptions, such as daylight saving time or starting an early-morning shift, can have variable impacts for some adults. Knowing your natural preference to go to bed early or late and keeping a schedule can help support your body’s biological rhythms.
4. Spend time outside each day if possible. Natural daylight reminds your body what time it is and helps align your internal biological clock with a new season, shift, or schedule.
5. If you have problems sleeping, keep a sleep diary and connect with a health professional. A sleep diary can identify persistent problems – such as snoring, difficulty falling asleep, or an inability to sleep throughout the night. Adjustments may help, such as changing a medication or avoiding caffeine, naps, and big meals later in the day. In other cases, a physician may find that sleep challenges indicate another condition, like sleep apnea or insomnia. About 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough uninterrupted sleep each night and 50-70 million Americans have sleep disorders. However, early intervention strategies and treatment may help prevent irregular heart rhythms and could mitigate long-term risks for cardiovascular disease in children and adults.