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How to Sleep

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How to Sleep

Should you drink more coffee? Should you take melatonin? Can you train yourself to need less sleep? A physician’s guide to sleep in a stressful age.

The Atlantic,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Lack of sleep is not just an inconvenience, but a condition with potentially serious consequences.

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Editorial Rating



  • Scientific
  • Applicable
  • Engaging


Not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences, but people’s lifestyles often show a worrying disregard for the human body’s natural wake/sleep patterns. In this informative and entertaining article, health media guru and senior editor at The Atlantic James Hamblin, MD, looks at people’s paradoxical relationship to sleep and explains the physical and mental effects of their attempts to meddle with their body’s natural rhythms. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone looking to understand what happens to the brain and body when sleep proves elusive.


People with sleep deprivation show similar symptoms to someone who is drunk.

If a person does not get enough sleep for a prolonged period of time, they run the risk of serious health problems. Not sleeping enough also has similar effects to drinking too much alcohol: it causes a significant drop in cognitive skills as well as a loss of self-awareness. This means that people who are overtired still think that they are able to perform at their usual level. 

The average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep in a 24-hour cycle to function at their optimum ability.

Studies have found that most adults need between seven to nine hours ...

About the Author

James Hamblin, MD, is a writer and senior editor at The Atlantic and hosts a video series entitled If Our Bodies Could Talk. He is considered one of the most influential people in health media.

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