How Much Sleep Do You REALLY Need?

How Many ZZZZZs Do You Need To Be Healthy?

Ahhhh, nothing better than a good night of sleep. I am one of those people who knows I need a least 8 hours. I’ve been that way since I was a child. My parents have always said I never needed a bedtime because I would just go to bed when I was tired.

But do you really need 8 hours like they say? I went out and did some research to find out….

Here’s what I found out: [1]

Sleep is an important function for many reasons. When you sleep, your brain signals your body to release hormones and compounds that help:

  • decrease risk for health conditions
  • manage your hunger levels
  • maintain your immune system
  • retain memory

Researchers in the United Kingdom and Italy analyzed data from 16 separate studies conducted over 25 years, covering more than 1.3 million people and more than 100,000 deaths. They published their findings in the journal Sleep. Those who generally slept for less than six hours a night were 12 percent more likely to experience a premature death. People who slept more than eight to nine hours per night had an even higher risk, at 30 percent.

Researchers also found that people who reduced their sleep time from seven hours to five hours or less had 1.7 times the risk of death from all causes.

People who are sleep-deprived:

  • have a harder time receiving information due to the brain’s overworked neurons
  • may interpret events differently
  • tend to have impaired judgment
  • lose their ability to access previous information

It’s important to get seven to eight hours of sleep so that you can experience all the sleep stages. No one stage is responsible for memory and learning. Two stages (rapid eye movement and slow wave sleep) contribute to:

  • creative thinking
  • procedural memory
  • long-term memories
  • memory processing

I know it’s hard to make sleep one of your top priorities. We all have such busy lives and we let our phones and TV’s keep us up, which then makes it tougher for us to fall asleep.

We need to keep sleep our top priority [2]:

“Sleep helps heal and repair our heart and blood vessels, and thus sleep deficiency can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to obesity. During our sleep, the body helps maintain and balance our hormones. If we don’t get enough sleep hormones like ghrelin (signals hunger) and leptin (signals satiety) become imbalanced. Ghrelin increases and leptin decreases. In addition, sleep also affects how our bodies react to insulin, the hormone that controls our blood glucose (sugar). Lack of sleep is linked to high blood sugar. Our sensitivity to insulin greatly decreases with inadequate sleep. In addition, sleep aids healthy growth and development. Human growth hormone is excreted during sleep, and research suggests that it’s during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep that the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenish immune cells, and circulate human growth hormone for strong muscles and bones.”

TIPS FOR GETTING ADEQUATE SLEEP

  1. Download filters for your phone and/or laptop (check out lux) to reduce blue light and power electronics down 1 hour before bed
  2. Try a meditation app (check out Calm, Headspace, or the Mindfulness App)
  3. Use Low Blue Lights glasses, lighting, and filters in your home
  4. Stick to a sleep schedule – try to sleep and wake at consistent times
  5. Reduce or eliminate caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before sleep
  6. Include physical activity in your daily routine (limit within 2 hours of bedtime)
  7. Increase bright light exposure during the day – natural sunlight during the day helps keep our circadian rhythm healthy
  8. Decrease the temperature of your bedroom slightly
  9. Relax and clear your mind in the evening – try reading, journaling, stretching, or prayer

Personally, I’ve started to listen to an audiobook or podcast. Something easy and relaxing will whisk me off to sleep quickly. I’m usually asleep within 15 minutes of when I lay my head down on my pillow.

Nancy Boardman
October 4, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

[1] http://www.healthline.com/health/science-sleep-why-you-need-7-8-hours-night#overview1
[2] https://www.hitenutrition.com/blog/2017/7/10/why-you-should-make-sleep-a-top-priority

 

10 Reasons To Turn Your Body Upside Down Every Day!

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Act Like a Kid and Go Upside Down – Your Body Will Love It!

Did you know that Hippocrates use inversion exercises dating all the way back to 400 B.C.? Chiropractor Dr. Robert Martin introduced inversion therapies to America by in the 1960’s. Inversion is any activity done upside down to stretch and lengthen the spine. [2] It is mainly used to providing pain relief and reduce stress from a person’s back and neck. [2] Some inversion exercises include specific yoga poses, some Pilate’s moves and inversion therapies performed with gravity-defying machines such as inversion tables and chairs.

I use to attend a breathing and meditation yoga class every week. During this class I noticed the instructor would make a point of having us do at least one inverted or upside-down position. After class one day I asked her if there was a meaning behind this. The instructor went told me about how healthy it was for your heart and mind to almost “reset” the blood that is circulating in your body. It peaked my interest so I looked into the benefits of going inverted and wanted to share them with you.

Ten Great Reasons to Invert Yourself

1.) Relieves spinal pressure by increases the space between individual vertebrae and lengthening the spine. This helps reverse the compressing effects of running, jumping, sitting, and standing

2.) Strengthens your ligaments to help prevent bones accidentally breaking. [3]

3.) Improve circulation in the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems. [1]

4.) Increased blood flow moves metabolic waste such as lactic acid out of tissue more efficiently. This helps detox the body and strengths your immune system. [Click The Link to Tweet] [2]

5.) Increase blood circulation to the brain which gives brain cells more oxygen. This increased blood flow helps improve memory, concentration, and awareness. [2] Inversion may also be helpful with recovering from traumatic brain injuries (ask your doctor before trying).

6.) Reversing gravity rushes nutrients and oxygen to your face which removes toxicity including acne. [Click the Link To Tweet] It also stimulates your facial capillaries and hair follicles.

7.) It will make you happier!  Inversion flushes your adrenal glands causing them to release neurotransmitters and endorphins which make you feel happy. [Click Link to Tweet] These happy hormones can help counteract depression, mood swings and seasonal affective disorder. [2]  Upside Down Smiley Face

8.) It also helps reduce anxiety and anxiousness by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system, which produces feelings of relaxation and calmness.

9.) Helps move along the digestion process in your colon and can help relieve forms of indigestion.

10.) Relieves muscle tension for a better night sleep. A study conducted by LJ Nose showed muscle tension declined by more than 35 percent within 10 seconds of inverting. [2]

Different Ways to Invert Yourself

  • Yoga poses that involve any movement where your legs are over your head or your head is pointing downward.
    • Downward facing dog             Yoga Pose 10
    • Supported shoulder-stand
    • Supported head stand
    • Plow pose (advanced yogis only)
  • Using an inversion table, bar, or chair
  • Doing a Handstand

*PLEASE READ: “Inversion exercises have been found to increase both blood pressure and pressure behind the eye in healthy people. Because of these findings, inversion therapy is not recommended for those with high blood pressure, glaucoma or spinal instability and patients taking anticoagulants or aspirin therapy. Inversion therapy is also not recommended for pregnant women, stroke patients, and those with detached retinas. Seek the advice of a qualified health professional before beginning any program involving inversion exercise.” 2.

I hope you found this information useful and interesting. Please share below any inverted exercises you practice and how they have helped your life.

Missty L. Klinger
March 9, 2016

www.balancingyourchemistry.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

*image https://www.flickr.com/photos/jerkhaircut/5451931890/galleries/

  1. Jennifer Arnett and Demand Media. (2014). What Is Inversion Exercise? http://woman.thenest.com/inversion-exercise-10616.html
  2. Gillian Mandich and Angela Peters (2013). Six detoxifying health benefits of inversions. http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/the-health-benefits-of-inversions/
  3. (2015). These Are Just Some Of The Many Benefits Of Inversion Therapy. http://www.energycenter.com/grav_f/benefits.html#dep

New Study Shows Link Between Over-The-Counter Medications, Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Sleep Picture Your Over-The-Counter Sleep Medications Might Be Putting You at Risk!

Are the medications you are taking to help you sleep causing more harm than good?
I wrote an article a few months ago about how to improve one’s sleep at night.  You can read that article by clicking here.  In that article, I gave you some tips about how to get a better night’s sleep naturally.  In this article I want to bring to your attention the link between many of the commonly used medications for insomnia, allergies, and depression and Alzheimer’s disease.  “There is a strong and possibly irreversible link between Alzheimer’s disease and many commonly used medications for insomnia, allergies, and depression, according to a large recent JAMA Internal Medicine Study.”[1]

What the study shows is that if you’ve spent the past three years  taking  Tylenol PM, Motrin PM, or Benadryl,  then you have a 10% increase in suffering from Alzheimer’s, or dementia as you age. [Click To Tweet]  “This risk association is significant, Malaz Boustani, M.D., M.P.H, told Drug Discovery and Development.”[2] I’m sure everyone has seen the pattern for Alzheimer’s and dementia rising over the past 10 years, whether it’s been a friend or a loved one. When I was a kid you didn’t hear about these types of problems. All you have to do is look at admissions to nursing homes to see that there has been an increase in the number of Alzheimer’s patients and that these patients are younger and younger – some late 40’s, into 50’s and early 60’s.  It might be partly due to genetics, but medication or outside chemicals also play a large role as the recent study demonstrated.

Everyone thinks if they sleep better they will be better. Under normal conditions, this is correct, but if you are taking one of these sleeping pills, you could be making your mind worse.

This is an interesting finding… “The study group showed for the first time a dose response; that is, That Alzheimer’s risk may grow with higher use. For instance, it found people taking a minimum of 25 mg of an anticholinergic called diphenhydramine (or one Advil PM, Tylenol PM, Motrin PM, or Benadryl pill) a day for three to 12 months increased their relative risk for dementia by 19 percent; one to three years, 23 percent; three to seven years, 54 percent compared to no use (if the statistically significant increase occurred among the latter group).”[3] “Furthermore, this was the first study to find that dementias associated with anticholinergics may not be reversible, even years after drug use stops.”[4]

So what is an anticholinergic drug.  “An anticholinergic agent is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system.  Anticholinergics inhibit parasympathetic nerve impulses by selectively blocking the binding of the neurotransmitter acetycholine to its receptor in nerve cells.”[5] What does this mean to you? Your thought processes are not as sharp and can diminish over time.

So what can a person do? First, read my earlier article.  Second, better sleep comes naturally when your body’s chemistry is in balance and working as intended. Adrenal gland function is often overlooked.  Your adrenal glands are responsible for your circadian rhythm, or your “sleep wake cycle”.  [Click to Tweet This is our stress gland and can easily burn out. Why does it burn out?  Stress in everyday lives is at a higher level today than the “good old days.”   When testing the adrenal gland, it is important to do it in the correct way.  In our office, we use a saliva test and collect specimens at very specific times to check the cortisol levels throughout the day (just testing it once during the day is insufficient).  Healthy cortisol levels are high in the morning and low at night when you’re ready to go to bed. Many people have abnormal cortisol cycles that can be balanced naturally.  Click here for a great article on adrenal health and the circadian rhythm.  

You can sleep better, but don’t rely on a drug, even if it is over-the-counter.  There are natural solutions to your sleep problem that will not expose you to substances that can cause more serious problems.

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

Dr. David Starkey D.C.

www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
To schedule an appointment, click here.

[1] http://www.dddmag.com/print/articles/2015/04/stong-link-found-between-dementia-com
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticholinergic

Are Your Symptoms Due to a Hormone Imbalance?

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5 Signs That You Could Be Hormonally Imbalanced

We all have heard jokes about someone having a hormone imbalance or have heard someone say that their hormones are “raging.”  But hormonal imbalances are not a joking matter.  Hormone imbalances are often overlooked or sometimes mismanaged, which can lead to unnecessary distress in our bodies.  [Click to Tweet]  I have been a Chiropractor for five years and, in my functional medicine practice, I have directly seen the implications of hormonal imbalances and how these imbalances can affect people’s lives.
So that you can understand the term “hormonal imbalance,” let’s start with a basic definition.  “A hormone (from Greek ὁρμή, “impetus”) is any member of a class of signaling molecules produced by glands in multicellular organisms that are transported by the circulatory system to target distant organs to regulate physiology and behavior. Hormones have diverse chemical structures including eicosanoids, steroids, amino acid derivatives, peptides, and proteins. The glands that secrete hormones comprise the endocrine signaling system.”[1] Most people associate hormones with the male and female hormones estrogen and testosterone.  In reality, a hormonal imbalance is much more complex.
In my opinion, hormone levels and interaction with the rest of the body’s chemistry and systems is often glossed over and not evaluated to the depth that can actually create a positive physiological effect in resolving a true hormone imbalance.  Conventional practitioners that evaluate hormones often only look at such a small percentage of total hormones that they miss some connections.  In my early days of practice, if some one would have come to me and asked how to manage sleep I may have simply suggested natural sleep support supplements, like Melatonin or 5-HTP.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t still recommend such supplements in challenging cases, but I now consider the role hormones play in the sleep cycle.  Whether falling asleep or staying asleep is the issue, I begin to question many other hormonal connections associated with sleep, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone ratios.  I also must consider cortisol and other eicosanoids, which could play a role.  The list goes on and on.  Sleep disturbance is just one example of hormonal imbalance worth mentioning.  From my clinical experience, below are five of the most tell-tale signs that you may have a hormonal imbalance:
  1. Sleep Disturbance
  2. Digestive issues
  3. Lack of Stamina/Energy
  4. Decreased Libido
  5. Intolerance to hot and cold conditions
The days of going to the doctor for an Ambien prescription to sleep better are slowly fading.  The collective thought process is shifting and we all want answers to the question – why do I have associated symptoms that take away from optimized living potential?  [Click to Tweet]  If you feel you are suffering in any way in your life from negative symptoms, take the next step and speak to a qualified functional medicine practitioner who is competent in total body health.
Dr. Andrew Kender, D.C.
August 2, 2015
www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
To make an appointment, click here.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone

10 Ways to Improve Your Memory

 

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Remember when you used to remember

everything?  You can get your memory back.

How do I improve memory? That’s a big question for many people today as more and more people have trouble recovering information from their brain. Technology is a great thing. We get information at the speed of our fingertips. This includes getting directions, calling a person on their phone, or finding an address. Technology has made all this much simpler, but it has had an effect on how we “work-out” our brains. I am showing my age, but when I was growing up, I had phone numbers memorized.  I was able to look at a map, yes, a paper map, and could remember the routes.  I remembered addresses or was able to get out the big old phone book out and look up addresses. Today, kids keep their memories sharpened by playing Mortal Combat on the X-box and remembering the codes to, “rip the spine out of your opponent.”
They say you can’t treat an old-dog new tricks. This is wrong. The brain can adapt to new information, no matter what your age. This is due to Neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can create new neural pathways, or wake up neurons along pathways that have become dormant. At any age, neuroplasticity is a possible and wonderful system the brain harnesses. [Click to Tweet].
So let’s look at some ways that anyone can improve their memory:
  1. You can work on those crossword puzzles that are in your daily newspaper, or in those small books you can get at most stores.
  1. Word searches are another exercise you can use to help keep your mind sharp.
  2. The fun game of Concentration is something fun and simple you can do to improve brain power.
  3. Getting the proper amount of sleep, “The truth is that over 95% of adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night to avoid sleep deprivation. Even skimping on a few hours makes a difference. Memory, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are all compromised.” [1]
  1. Try to keep your stress in check. Over time, stress releases cortisol which can destroy brain cells and affect our hippocampus. This is the area of the brain where new memories are formed and retrieval of old memory occurs. In our clinic, we are able to tell the people who may have memory issues by their cortisol load and circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is your sleep wake cycle.
  1. Have a diet that helps your brain. “Get your omega-3’s. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring.”[2] Another way to boost omega-3’s is to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Learn something new. Remember when I used the old phrase, “you can’t teach an old dogs new tricks?” That is absolutely false.   Older people are taking it upon themselves to learn new things all the time.  More older people are going back to college. When I was in Chiropractic school, we had a gentleman who was an ambassador, taking classes who was in his sixties. Alfred was an amazing guy. He got his degree in Chiropractic in his mid-sixties.
  1. Exercise, even if it’s a little. “Exercise encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by stimulating nerve cell to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.”[3]
  1. If you’re a computer person, then try the site Luminosity on your desktop or Ipad. It has lots of fun games to help you improve your memory.
  1. Make sure you have a healthy gut. “Your gut is your “second brain,” and your gut bacteria transmits information to your brain via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem into your enteric nervous system (the nervous system of your gastrointestinal tract).[4] There is a close relationship between normal gut flora and brain heath. [Click to Tweet] “Quite simply, your gut health can impact your brain function, psyche, and behavior, as they are interconnected and interdependent in a number of different ways.”[5] Probiotics are also beneficial for your brain health.
So, I hope this helps many of you increase your brain power no matter what your age is. The brain is a remarkable thing, keep using it. Like the old saying goes – use it or lose it!
Dr. David Starkey D.C.
July 27, 2015
www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
To make an appointment, click here.

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/24/memory-improvement-tricks.aspx
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.

Can You Really Sleep Like a Baby?

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8 Ways to Make Every Horizontal Hour Count!

We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping.  In other words, if you live for ninety years, you will sleep for 30 years of your life!  Given this, figuring out how to get the most from your sleep is pretty important!
There is a lot of controversy over how much sleep we need.   If you were to research this question, you would probably conclude that the right amount of sleep depends on the person. Some people need eight to nine hours, while others do just fine on five to six hours. Personally, five to six hours of sleep is perfect for me!  I feel tired the next day if I sleep more than that. My wife, however, needs more sleep than I do.  She is also one of those people who is asleep 5 minutes after her head hits the pillow.  I admit; I’m jealous.  For me, it takes a little longer.  What are the benefits of a restful sleep and how do we sleep better?
The Benefits of A Good Quality Sleep:
  • Sleep helps to repairs one’s body. When you go to sleep you should reach stage 4 of sleep or “REM sleep.” This stands for Rapid Eye Movement. It is in this phase of sleep that your muscles totally relax. “Your body produces extra protein molecules while you’re sleeping that help strengthen your ability to fight infection and stay healthy.” (1)
  • Sleep helps to keep your heart healthy by reducing stress and inflammation.
  • Sleep helps to improve memory. When people wake up not rested in the morning, some may experience a type of “brain fog.”  [Click to Tweet] This affects memory. Look at this as a type of inflammation in the brain.
  • Sleep helps to control body weight. “Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. Studies have shown that when your body is deprived of sleep, the normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases.” (1)
  • Good quality sleep decreases your chance of diabetes.
  • Good quality sleep decreases mood disorders. Lack of sleep can lead to depression and or anxiety.

8 Ways to Fall Asleep Quicker and Make Every Minute Count!

1.  Make sure you have a mattress that’s right for you. There is no set rule on whether firm or soft is better.  You really need to try a mattress out.  Just laying on it in the store for a minute or two really does not give you the information you need.  To solve this problem, make sure the store has a 30-day return policy. After sleeping on whatever mattress you pick, you will know if it is “right” for you and if it’s not – you can return it!  If the store does not have a return policy, find another store. Don’t sway on this! A quality mattress is an investment into your health and well-being.
2.  Have a pillow that is good for you.   Sleeping with two or three pillows under your head is wrong. You want a comfortable pillow that keeps your neck in the anatomically-correct c-shape.  [Click to Tweet]  Too many pillows under your head can keep your neck in an odd shape and can affect how you breathe when you sleep.
3.  Keep the temperature in your room between 65 to 60 degrees. A cooler room will help you sleep better and deeper.
 4.  Keep the room darker. A glowing cell phone, clock radio, or TV will affect the quality of your sleep.
5.  Establish and follow a normal sleep routine. This means going to bed around the same time each night and waking up around the same time each morning.
 6.  Don’t stare at a clock in your room. Too many people get frustrated watching a clock.  “Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep.” (2)
 7.  Run a fan in your room. White noise is soothing, helping one to get to sleep and stay sleep throughout the night. My wife and I have a fan running constantly. We even take a small fan with us when we are staying at a hotel.
 8.  Try this breathing technique:  breathe in through your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 7 and breathe out through your mouth to the count of 8.  Doing this 4 o 5 times helps many people fall asleep faster. [Click to Tweet]
Don’t freak out on some nights you can’t get to sleep. Everyone has those evenings that they can’t sleep.  While having these nights too often is not good for your health, everyone has them now and then.  Instead of getting frustrated about not being able to sleep, get out of bed and do something else.
If you have constant trouble getting to sleep, or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, consult a doctor. Proper testing can determine the reason for this.  Remember though that sleep aids are not the answer.  Find a doctor that will help you solve the problem instead of simply inducing sleep chemically.  Look for a future post about the connection between drugs, sleeping aids and Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep?  Do you have any tips you would like to share?
Sleep well my friends,
Dr. David Starkey D.C.
June 17, 2015
www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
To Schedule a Complimentary Consultation, Click Here.
Sources:
  1. better-sleep-better-life.com/benefits-of-sleep.html
  2. healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips