The 404 759: Where we guard you while you sleep (podcast)

Every once in awhile we need a friendly reminder about the importance of getting a good night's rest- after all, the average human spends about a third of his or her life asleep. The Sleep Doctor Michael Breus is back in the studio with tips on how to sleep easier and stay rested- extra long episode today!


The Sleep Doctor Michael Breus is in the building, and look! His advice works! Justin Yu/CNET

Every once in a while, we need a friendly reminder about the importance of getting a good night's rest--after all, the average human spends about a third of his or her life asleep, and a chronic lack of rest can lead to memory loss, depression, higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and more! The Sleep Doctor Michael Breus is back with more tips on how to maintain a healthy sleep cycle and to address the growing concerns about sleep!

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We're lucky to have Dr. Breus in the hot seat today to answer your questions about sleep. His schedule is filled with appearances on Martha Stewart Morning Living, a bi-weekly column on Huffington Post, a new Twitter account, and a line of temperature-regulated mattresses at Sleepy's Mattress Store!

On today's hour-long episode, we're spending a little extra time with the good doctor to answer your concerns about the importance of a healthy night's rest. We start with an experiment in Europe with cars that drive themselves, allowing commuters to catch up on sleep en route to work.

We're all still questioning our own abilities to fall asleep and trust that the car will get us to our destination in one piece, but the article brings up an interesting point about the dangers of sleep driving, since over 60 percent of Americans have admitted to driving drowsy. Next time you're feeling tired, pull over and take a nap-a-latte!

We also talk to Michael Breus about a study out of the University of Michigan that exposes the gender differences in the amount of time adults leave their beds to tend to sick kids, the elderly, or a pet. It turns out that women are actually 2.5 times more likely than men to interrupt their nighttime sleep to take care of others, and they even stay up longer once their awake: 44 minutes compared with 30 minutes when men wake up.

Dr. Breus even tells us that plenty of men go as far as to fake sleep to weasel their way out of checking on a crying baby! Of course, this is more about gender roles and parental responsibilities, so pull your weight and you can both suffer together for the sake of your child, parent, or pet.

Speaking of pets, Dr. Breus recommends setting up a separate bed for your pet, based on this article that found excessive pet licking while you sleep can lead to diseases and parasites. That being said, Dr. Breus still lets his two pets sleep in the bed, so just be careful--those tongues can harbor Meningitis and even the plague!

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We also have questions for the doctor about how to gauge our own individual sleep cycles and whether or not modern technologies like this WakeMate app plus hardware combo can help us track sleeping patterns and make minor adjustments to wake up more naturally.

Although Dr. Breus hasn't tested the WakeMate himself, he's hesitant to recommend accelerometer-based hardware since the hardware can't distinguish between sleep phases--that is, deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

If you're serious about tracking your sleep patterns, Dr. Breus actually helped design the Zeo, a sleep device that uses a headband to track brainwaves, as opposed to tracking simple wrist movements with an accelerometer on the WakeMate. It's significantly pricier at $199 for the base version of the Zeo, but if you're looking for the most accurate way to track sleep at home, the Zeo is your answer, according to Dr. Breus.

We're also taking plenty of questions from our live chat room throughout the show, so check out the entire episode for answers to your inquiries about prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids, how to choose the best mattress, which vitamins you can take to naturally regulate your sleep, and how a consistent night's rest can actually help to increase your short and long-term memory--students, pay attention to this one!


Episode 759

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