What Your Sleeping Style Says About You
Experts say how we sleep and how much we sleep affects mood and health.
Poor Sleep Also Problematic
This can occur if they are not getting enough sleep or if they are getting
poor-quality sleep, she says.
According to Krieger, "When people say 'I probably do sleep, but I don't
feel rested and I worry at night and have a lot of stress,' this may suggest
alpha [sleep wave] intrusion, which causes nonrestorative sleep disorder. With
this condition deep sleep is interrupted by bouts of waking-type brain
activity. In particular, people with the chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia tend to have a lot
of alpha intrusion during the night.
"But medications that treat alpha intrusion, such as the
anticonvulsant gabapentin, may make people
sleep better," she says.
What about too much sleep? "Most likely there is no such thing as too much
sleep," she tells WebMD. "Patients that are depressed tend to sleep more, but
we don't know what comes first. We are supposed to have more rapid eye movement
(REM) sleep later in the night, but patients who are depressed have it earlier
and for longer periods of time."
REM is the deepest stage of sleep; it is when intense dreaming occurs during
sleep. During REM there is an increase in brain activity and many body-function
changes occur, including an increase in breathing and heart rates.
"We don't know if the changes in REM are causing depression or if depression
is causing the changes in REM," she says.
However, certain antidepressants can suppress
REM sleep and help alleviate both the depression and the sleeping
What Time Is Your Internal Alarm Clock Set For?
Whether a person is up all night watching reruns of bad sitcoms and scary
movies or sound asleep by 9 p.m. is based, in part, on his own internal alarm
clock. And such clockwork may play a role in workplace success.
"A clock mechanism makes us sleepier at certain times and more alert at
others, and it can make you want to stay up all night or go to bed quite
early," Ballard says.
This can be a problem at times. "For instance, teenage boys who don't go to
sleep until 3 or 4 a.m. may sleep through their classes, and if this persists
into adulthood, they may have difficulty functioning in an early morning job,"
A study of middle school students showed that