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May is Better Sleep Month & a Great Excuse to Catch Up on Your Beauty Rest. FASHIONTRIBES BEAUTY BLOG

Beauty  Shhh...(photo:

According to a Better Sleep Month survey, 45% of participants who slept six hours or less a night were less likely to report their general mood as excellent than the almost 60% of the group sleeping seven hours or more a night. Overall, a scant 25 percent of respondents rated the quality and quantity of their sleep as excellent, meaning a full three-quarters need to take action to improve their sleep.

When experiencing sleep problems, about half of us will try and change our sleep schedule; however, this might not necessarily the solution. “The survey results show that people overlook some of the most obvious components of quality sleep,” explains Nancy Shark, executive director of the Better Sleep Council. “Take for example the reluctance, even if needed, to replace an old mattress (66% say they are not likely). The mattress is literally the foundation of our sleep. Comfort and support aside, we spend an average of four entire months every year entirely on our bed. Given that kind of usage, your sleep surface cannot be an afterthought.” And since half of us tend to keep our mattresses much longer than experts recommend, it's not surprising so many of us are cranky and sleep-deprived. “As a rule of thumb, after five-to seven years of use, it’s a good time to evaluate your sleep set,” adds Shark. “You can get used to a bed long after it stops providing you with the optimal comfort and support you need.”

For more info on the Better Sleep Council and Better Sleep Month, visit

Beauty_2 To get the inside scoop on higher quality zzzzz's, sleep researcher Dr. Amy Wolfson, Professor of Psychology at the College of Holy Cross and author of The Woman's Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide (available at offers up these tips & tricks to a better night's sleep:

Q: Is it a myth that we can “catch up” on sleep? Does “sleep debt” really exist?

A: We can’t really catch up on sleep as we continue to accumulate a sleep debt over our lifetime.  However, just as the effects of sleeping longer for several nights can improve alertness, the negative effects of getting too little sleep accumulate over time. Getting an inadequate amount of sleep each night for a week can make you vulnerable to a number of problems: excessive sleepiness, irritability, reduced motivation, impaired performance, limited ability to think creatively, and so forth.

Q: What happens when your body doesn’t get the amount of sleep it needs? What are the implications?

A: The timing and quantity of sleep and the onset of illness may be associated. New research suggests that if you are coming down with some sort of bug, sleep will probably have a preventive effect. Lack of sleep can impair an individual's physical health and emotional well-being. Inadequate and irregular sleep/wake schedules influence the body's defenses by weakening the immune system, straining the organs, and, therefore, making people more susceptible to illness.

Q: Do women need more sleep than men, and if so, why?

A:  No, both adult men and women need about 7.5 to 8.5 hours/sleep each night.

Q: Are women more like to be affected emotionally from sleep deprivation than men?

A: Women certainly are more likely to report that they feel depressed when they are unable to obtain an adequate or quality night of sleep.  It is unclear; however, if this is a reporting bias or that a woman’s mood is more affected by insufficient sleep.  Overall, about 2 times more women report depression than men.

Q: What times in life are most important for a good night’s sleep?

A:  A good, sufficient night of sleep is always important.  Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise.  It is most important to pay attention to getting a sufficient night of sleep, however, when one is responsible for driving, operating machinery and/or responsible for taking care children.

Q: Is it true that sleep can have an effect on our emotional “performance” during the day? Is it just psychosomatic because you know you didn’t get enough sleep or is there really a neurological impact and explanation?

A:  Sleep definitely has an effect on our emotional well-being.  It is not merely psychosomatic; sleep results from changes in the balance of major neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, melatonin and others. Many of these neurotransmitter systems are also responsible for multiple brain functions, including those related to mood and other cognitive/emotional behaviors. It is not surprising that significant interactions occur between sleep and depression and/or depressed mood.

Q:  If sleep deprivation is impacting your mood one day, can you fix it immediately by just getting a good night’s sleep or are there residual or more long-term effects?

A: One will find that as they begin to obtain a consistent sleep schedule and get an adequate amount of sleep, close to 8 hours per night, they will experience a better daily mood.  However, individuals diagnosed with clinical depression may require other interventions in addition to getting an adequate amount of sleep. 

Q: Does your sleep surface really make a difference in how well you sleep?

A: Absolutely.  It is important to evaluate your sleep surface on a regular basis.  If you walk every day or every other day for exercise, you probably check to make sure that your walking shoes are in good shape and are not worn out.  Similarly, if you are having difficulty getting a quality night of sleep, it is important to evaluate your bed and sleep environment.

Q: When considering sleep disorders and depression, are sleep problems a result of depression, or is the depression a result of the sleep problems?

A: Sleep problems and depression are associated with each other.  It can be difficult to tease the two apart.  Individuals who regularly get an insufficient amount of sleep for a variety of reasons may be more susceptible to feeling depressed.  On the other hand, individuals who are diagnosed with depression may have coexisting sleeping problems such as insomnia and/or chronic sleepiness.  Undoubtedly, if you are depressed and/or concerned about a sleeping problem, it is important that you seek attention from a health care provider who has expertise in both depression and sleep disorders.


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May 22, 2007 in Beauty, Weblogs | Permalink


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