Take Our Sleep Test

In contrast to just feeling tired, how likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? (Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you.) Use the following sleep test scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = Would never doze
1 = Slight chance of dozing
2 = Moderate chance of dozing
3 = High chance of dozing

Your Situation:

Sitting and Reading

Watching Television

Sitting inactive in a public place

As a car passenger for 1 hour, no break

Lying down to rest in the afternoon

Sitting and talking to someone

Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol

In a car stopped in traffic


Sleep Apnea in the News

Snoring and Sleep Apnea in the News
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One More Debt You Don’t Want

By Megan Johnson

As a new mom with a demanding career, Kristen Perullo was up every couple hours during the night with her baby. Her schedule of sleeping only for short periods, parenting and putting in full days at the office was taking its toll. But when she was struck by what she calls the “worst headache of her life” at work one day, she knew something was terribly wrong.

At the ER, she found out her immune system had been so severely weakened by sleep deprivation that she had contracted viral meningitis.

Perullo is just one of the 70 million Americans who suffers from sleeping disorders. This deprivation, known as sleep debt, can cause damage that’s much more severe than needing a couple extra shots of espresso in your latte.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared Americans’ lack of sleep an epidemic: it’s so damaging that it can cause health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes. And while many people say that a power nap recharges them, a new study shows catching just a few Z’s may not help in the long run.



The Case against Naps

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that lack of sleep kills brain cells. Lead author Dr. Sigrid Veasey says catching a few hours of extra sleep may feel beneficial, but it’s still not enough: “Our work suggests that in the long run, regular use of weekend catch-up sleep may not lead to a full recovery for the brain. These are changes that are either irreversible or take longer than a nap to remedy.



The Case for Naps

The secret weapon of Northwestern University’s football team isn’t extra practice or strategy sessions. Last year, the Chicago Tribune reported that players wore sensors that monitored the amount of sleep they got, as well as its quality level. By enacting mandatory nap time for his players, the coach saw improvements in performance.

Justin Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in a joint Harvard-MIT program, is a frequent napper working to eliminate the groggy feeling you get when you’re awakened form a deep sleep, known as sleep inertia.

He invented Napwell, a sleep inertia mask that mimics a sunrise, waking you up gradually. “Naps can boost your productivity throughout the day”, says Lee.


Lights Out

The CDC offers the following tips for better sleep:

  • Try to maintain a schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day - even on the weekends!
  • Your bedroom should be a quiet, dark and relaxing environment kept at a moderate temperature.
  • Avoid reading, watching TV or listening to music in your bedroom, and keep out any gadgets.
  • Don’t eat large meals before going to bed.