Sleep Savvy Quiz (cont.)
7. True. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a medical condition distinguished by
tingling sensations in the legs--and sometimes the arms--while sitting or lying
still, especially at bedtime. The person with RLS needs to constantly stretch or
move the legs to try to relieve these uncomfortable or painful symptoms. As a
result, he or she has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and usually
feels extremely sleepy and unable to function fully during the day. Good sleep
habits and medication can help the person with RLS.
8. False. The human body's biological clock programs each person to feel
sleepy during the nighttime hours and to be active during the daylight hours. So
people who work the night shift and try to sleep during the day are constantly
fighting their biological clocks. This puts them at risk of error and accident
at work and of disturbed sleep. The same is true for people who travel through
multiple time zones quickly; they get "jet lag" because they cannot
maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule. Sleeping during the day in a dark, quiet
bedroom and getting exposure to sufficient bright light at the right time can
help improve daytime alertness.
9. False. As we get older, we don't need less sleep, but we often get less
sleep. That's because our ability to sleep for long periods of time and to get
into the deep restful stages of sleep decreases with age. Older people have more
fragile sleep and are more easily disturbed by light, noise, and pain. They also
may have medical conditions that contribute to sleep problems. Going to bed at
the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning, getting
exposure to natural outdoor light during the day, and sleeping in a cool, dark,
quiet place at night may help.
10. True. Our bodies are programmed by our biological clock to experience two
natural periods of sleepiness during the 24-hour day, regardless of the amount
of sleep we've had in the previous 24 hours. The primary period is between about
midnight and 7:00 a.m. A second period of less intense sleepiness is in the mid-afternoon, between about 1:00 and 3:00. This means that we are more at risk
of falling asleep at the wheel at these times than in the evening--especially if
we haven't been getting enough sleep.
Portions of the above information has been provided with the kind permission of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (www.nhlbi.nih.gov).
Last Editorial Review: 10/15/2002