Sleep is critical for children's health and performance in school. But many parents let their ideas about what's best for children shape their kid's sleep, when the science of sleep points in very different directions. Embracing light exposure, reducing sleep-related anxiety and letting kids sleep as much as they need can make a huge difference for the whole family.
How we sleep often has more to do with our social obligations than our biological cues -- school and work time determine when we sleep. By taking a week off of your alarm clock you can see when your body is cuing wakefulness and sleep, and figure out the basic building blocks of your sleep -- a technique that can help you sleep better forever.
Scientists are starting to understand that sleep is more complex than we've thought -- and that sleepwalking is key to conceptualizing what sleep is and what it isn't. Cases of sleepwalking murders help to show the many social and biological forces that make everyday sleep what it is, while also challenging many ideas about why people do what they do while they sleep.
Waking up in the middle of the night is generally referred to as sleep maintenance insomnia, but according to historical and cultural studies, many people sleep for a few hours, wake up, and then return to sleep for a few more hours. Is this kind of sleep pathological or the result of human evolution?
Every year, in the U.S. and elsewhere, people make two seasonal shifts as a result of Daylight Saving Time, gaining sleep if the fall and losing it in the spring -- is this change at odds with our natural impulses to sleep? If not, what can our adoption of these different times for school and work tell us about our needs for sleep and social uses of time more generally?
Have Americans always been sleeping the way we do now – in roughly eight hours of nightly sleep? Not really. Consolidated sleep is a pretty recent development, which has led to a number of medical conditions being thought of as new when doctors have known about them for centuries.