AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

What does it take to get a good nights sleep?

Recent studies show most people believe it is the mattress quality which determines how well they can sleep, but is this true?

Have you ever been to a hotel or slept over someone’s house and felt that the mattress wasn’t comfortable enough and thus it was the “worst sleep ever?” Well what about the nights you struggle in your own bed to fall asleep, all the tossing and turning trying to find the perfect spot on your mattress.

Well if its not the Mattress what is it? 

It is not the mattress that is affecting everyday sleep but rather various things such as sleep disorders that can disrupt a night, or nights, sleep.  These disorders include sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep terrors,  nightmares, and sleep walking. Many of these disorders they can be monitored in a sleep clinic and then dealt with accordingly. Dr. Emsellem suggests that one way to fight distractions that may disrupts your sleep is to buy a white noise machine.A white noise machine helps cancel all distractions your mind may have while asleep. Many people also turn towards sleeping pills to cure their sleep problems. Mr.Wyatt says, “For short-term insomnia, such as one to two weeks, it’s perfectly appropriate to consider sleeping pills.”The problem with pills is they cannot be used as a long-term cure. Beyond all that is said, it is neither the mattress nor the distraction one has when trying to sleep but rather, in the bigger scope of things: the want to sleep is needed in order to sleep well.


How do you know if it’s the mattress?

Is buying a $5,000 or $20,000 mattress better than getting a $500 mattress? The only way that certain mattresses are better than others is when someone has  lower back pains or other muscle pains. Many doctors recommend mattresses with softer pillow tops or instead of buying a new mattress. It is easier and cheaper to buy a pillow top for a mattress. Besides muscle pains the type of mattress you sleep on is not the problem. Buying expensive mattresses and thinking that will help for a better nights rest is considered a “placebo effect” according to Mr. Wyatt.

If its not my mattress and I don’t have a sleeping disorder, why cant i sleep?

The problem with today’s generation is not that we are incapable of sleeping but rather we find sleep at the bottom of our priorities. Whether it is staying up late to study for an AP Bio exam or watching an episode of Friends on Nick@Nite, we find so little time to sleep in between. On average an teen/adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep in order to be well rested the next morning. What do we do if our schedules don’t allow for so many hours of being unproductive? What if we can’t possibly get into bed at 10 o’clock at night to wake up at 7 AM the next morning? Where do we find our energy that we are lacking? Is it really healthy to constantly be using alternate energy sources rather than sleeping? The solution is easy; if we were to take 1 or 2 hours out of our everyday lives and sleep, then the hours we lost sleeping would be returned in the rate at which we could do things with the correct amount of energy in our system. Right?



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  1. nicleus2

    Although I could not totally relate to this article, due to the fact that I almost never have trouble sleeping, I felt some sympathy to those who can’t sleep. I then decided to do some research on the sleeping disorders you mentioned, and found with an article listing factors that make it hard to sleep and contribute to sleep disorders. Some of these factors include poor diet, like eating too many sweets, and not taking medication properly. Check it out!

  2. carlybio12

    Another interesting thing about sleep is that obesity and sleep deprivation are somewhat connected. Lack of sleep can result in changes in appetite and hormones. Professor Cappuccio from the Medical School at the University of Warwick said, “The ‘epidemic’ of obesity is paralleled by a ‘silent epidemic’ of reduced sleep duration with short sleep duration linked to increased risk of obesity both in adults and in children.These trends are detectable in adults as well as in children as young as 5 years.”

  3. biologiamaster

    Another thing i have always considered when getting a good nights sleep is turning down the lights and turning off the computer or TV and hour before bed. I had heard viewing light before bed stunted the bodies ability to produce melatonin (a hormone produced in the pineal gland) before bed. Melatonin brings on drowsiness, helping people fall asleep, thus it made sense not to view a light

    Interestingly, recent research shows that White LED light ” suppresses melatonin 5 times more than exposure to the light of high pressure sodium bulbs that give off an orange-yellow light”. This seems particularly relevant because most computer screen utilize LED lighting aswell as book-lights that people use before bed.

  4. lagis2012

    I find that being able to get a good nights sleep in a hotel is very difficult! After reading your article, I decided to do more research on why it is more difficult to sleep in hotels. It turns out that many factors are involved, including the type of pillows, lighting (even the alarm clock can affect), and of course the mattress. All of these factors contribute to how well you can sleep on vacation. For more information, I visited this website:

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