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sleep

Have humans always slept through the night?

But the notion that we need all of our sleep in one unbroken block, is not necessarily driven by our biology. And there's a good deal of evidence to show we haven't always had this approach to sleep.

In Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century text, The Squire's Tale, the king's daughter, Canacee, is described as having a "fyrste sleep," arising in the early morning ahead of her companions, who sleep fully through the night.

Why you wake up feeling confused and disoriented

Sleep expert Emeritus Professor Leon Lack, from Flinders University, explains what causes the strange sensations we experience when waking up.

Why do I wake up confused and disorientated?

Professor Lack said while there hadn't been much research around the phenomenon, the body's "rollercoaster" sleep cycle was probably to blame for feelings of confusion and disorientation.

"Our sleep is like a rollercoaster going through 90 minutes of sleep cycles, starting in deep sleep and then light sleep … going across the night," he said.

How much sleep is enough

Do you get 7-9 hours sleep most nights?

Do you get under 6 hours sleep most nights?

If you’re 18-60 years old, experts say you need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Getting enough sleep boosts your immune system so you’re less likely to get sick and will bounce back faster if you do.

Chronic lack of sleep depresses your immune system, and ups your risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and depression.

In a 16 year study of female nurses, women who got 5 hours of sleep or less were 15% more likely to become obese.

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Can poor sleep lead to Alzheimer's?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls that a "public health problem," because disrupted sleep is associated with a higher risk of conditions including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

It may not be long before we can add Alzheimer's and other types of dementia to that list.

It's well known that people with Alzheimer's suffer sleep issues. Insomnia, nighttime wandering and daytime sleepiness are common for them, as well as other cognitive disorders such as Lewy body dementia and frontal lobe dementia.

Study links college students' grades to sleep schedules

The study, published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports, says college students who did not go to bed or wake up at consistent times every day were more likely to have lower grades.

For the study, 61 students from Harvard College kept online diaries of their sleep schedules for 30 days. Researchers identified two groups: regular sleepers, or those who went to bed and woke up about the same time every day, and irregular sleepers, who had different sleep patterns every day.

The healthiest way to improve your sleep: exercise

"There has been more and more research in the last decade showing exercise can reduce insomnia," Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron said.

Diary of an exhausted man

I can have the requisite eight hours, no screens, fresh air and dim light and still wake up feeling knackered.

So, when a stranger sees me gazing at breathing apparatus in the local chemist and introduces herself as a 'CPAP disciple', I'm happy to listen.

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and it is basically a mask you wear on your face that is powered by a machine which pushes air into your throat to stop your airway closing while you're asleep.

Busy brain not letting you sleep? 8 experts offer tips

You're mentally reviewing the day you just completed while also previewing the day ahead; sometimes, your mind may even reach way back into the archives and pull up something embarrassing you did back in high school. So fun!

Racing thoughts can be a sign of a serious mental health condition like anxiety. But these nights also happen to everyone from time to time -- and once we're too old for bedtime stories, it's not always clear what to do.

Controlled crying not the only way to teach babies to sleep, study finds

A new study, titled No Need To Make Babies Cry, challenges the view that controlled crying is the most effective approach.

Lead researcher Helen Stevens said the study followed 34 babies aged four to 11 months attending a publicly run residential family care centre in Melbourne

Families attending the centre were doing so because their babies were having trouble settling, she told ABC Radio Melbourne's Rafael Epstein.

"This is the hard end of town."

Responsive vs controlled

Beauty sleep is a real thing, research shows

A couple of bad nights is enough to make a person look "significantly" more ugly, their sleep experiments suggest.

Dark-circled "panda" eyes and puffy lids can even put others off socialising with you, they say.

People were rated by strangers as less healthy and approachable when they had tired faces.

The experiment

The researchers asked 25 university students, some male and some female, to be the guinea pigs in their sleep experiment.