Put down your screens for better sleep!

In her recent book, Reclaiming Conversation, Dr. Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argues convincingly that technology is replacing our natural ability to connect with one another through everyday face-to-face conversation. Rather than looking someone in the eyes and asking about his or her day, we turn to our phones, and in the process, we are losing out on conversation, which is, as Turkle calls it, “the most human—and humanizing—thing we do.” The arguments for putting away your smart phone and turning off your other screens to improve the quality of your interpersonal relationships are very strong.

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The Social Patterning of Sleep is a Matter of Social Justice

As described in a prior post, insufficient and disordered sleep are very common across the population, with serious consequences for health and well-being. Approximately one-third of adults are not getting sufficient sleep at 7 hours per night and up to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder (1). Yet, not all people are equally likely to have trouble with their sleep. In this post, I highlight some of the dimensions in which sleep varies across various sociodemographic subpopulations.

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Staying Well Rested Over the Holidays

The holiday season can be a challenging time. Between awkward family gatherings, after-hours office parties, last-minute visits to the mall, and traffic-ridden road trips to your in-laws’, there are a lot of reasons to be anxious, keep weird hours, or eat the wrong thing over the holidays. To make matters worse, all of these holiday distractions might interfere with your sleep. As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, you need high-quality restorative sleep to function well, feel good, and look beautiful. That’s why I’m asking you to prioritize your sleep, and kick off the New Year as your healthiest self! Here’s my guide to maintaining your sleep health over the winter festivities:

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In the last decade or so, sleep researchers have identified associations between short sleep duration and both being overweight and weight gain over time.1, 2, 3 Numerous studies from a range of diverse populations have found that individuals who regularly receive sufficient restorative sleep have healthier weights than those who do not sleep enough. What are some of the reasons underlying these associations? In this blog post, I explore a few of the mechanisms through which we achieve these findings.

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Americans Do Not Sleep Long Enough or Well Enough

Insufficient and disordered sleep is very common. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that up to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder with approximately one-third of adults not getting sufficient sleep of 7 hours per night. Some sleep disorders are more common among men (such as sleep apnea), whereas others are more common among women (such as insomnia).

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