Category: Sleep Health

Fitbit Sleep Tracker: Track Sleeping And Monitor Snoring Easily

Technology is all around us. From the outside world to our very homes, we are surrounded by technology big and small. From the moment we wake up until we doze off for the night, our gadgets are the last thing we hold. It is no wonder why people have a hard time sleeping these days.

Our addiction to any smart gadget can’t be denied – whether it be a smartphone, tablet or iPad, smart TV, smart watch and so on. We have managed to integrate these technologies into our daily lives, which has a good and bad effect depending on the person. One of the inevitable consequences of too much technology use is losing precious sleep. But what if I tell you that you can actually make technology work for you, so you don’t compromise your health because of its use.

Fitbit wants to help you better understand your sleep patterns and quality. With its latest software update, you will be able to find out exactly how much REM, Deep and Light sleep you are getting each night.

Your kip time plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. Better sleep starts by knowing what’s happening at night.

Its fair to say, Fitbit’s sleep statistics are not its strong point right now. They will tell you how long you slept, how many times you woke up and the number of times you were restless during the night.

(Via: http://gadgetsandwearables.com/2017/03/07/fitbit-sleep-tracking/)

We understand very well how important sleep is to stay strong and healthy. And discovering how we can benefit from Fitbit to managing normal sleeping patterns and maintaining excellent sleep quality aside from just working out is good news for all.

Fitbit, whose devices encourage people to walk 10,000 steps each day, now wants to put them to sleep as well.

The company said data collected by the millions of Fitbit trackers in use show that people are averaging less than seven hours of sleep a night. And the Zs people do get aren’t necessarily the right kind of sleep.

So Fitbit will offer deeper sleep tracking on some of its devices.

Fitbits already track how much sleep people get and use sensors to measure periods of being awake or restless while in bed. Now, using a built-in heart-rate monitor, the devices will break sleep into clinically defined stages.

(Via: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/gadgets/90132149/fitbit-tracks-your-steps-now-it-wants-to-chart-your-sleep-too)

For individuals who may have some sleeping issues (not severe ones like sleep apnea) but are still hesitant to go to sleep clinics to get themselves checked, Fitbit may come in handy to let you know how you fare once the lights go out.

Finally, like all Fitbit’s trackers, the Blaze will also benefit from Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights. With this update, you will be able to find out exactly how much REM, Deep and Light sleep you are getting each night. The values are calculated by combining accelerometer data, heart rate variability (the time between beats), and Fitbit’s proprietary algorithms. You’ll also find your 30-day average and benchmarking stats.

Furthermore, the app will use all your activity and diet statistics to discover trends and then dish up personalized guidance on how to improve sleep. The more you wear your tracker to bed, the more personalized insights you may receive. You can choose to like or dislike each insight and send feedback directly to Fitbit’s team.

(Via: http://gadgetsandwearables.com/2017/03/28/fitbit-blaze-software-update/)

Fitbit is serious in helping people with fitness and sleeping issues as they continue to make helpful and relevant upgrades that take their service to the next level. Those who have no trouble sleeping may just shrug off technologies like these but they are actually helpful for those who struggle to get a good night’s sleep each day. At least, you finally have a better use for technology and not just for pure entertainment only.

Sleep Suffers With Technology Use

Sleep is a basic necessity. We’ll have a hard time going through with our day if we weren’t able to sleep soundly the night before. We lose focus. Our memory fails us. Even simple tasks become unmanageable and sleep deprivation can compromise our work or studies. You aren’t just your usual self when you don’t get your recommended eight-hour of sleep at night. But at the rate the world is going nowadays, far too many distractions keep us from falling asleep when we hit the sack. Back then, you have nothing left to do once the lights go out and you’re all tucked in bed, but today, the hours pass by when you’re using your smartphone or tablet that you don’t realize the sun has already risen and you’re still wide awake, much to your horror.

We enjoy all the things we do with these gadgets that we don’t realize how much time passes us by and how much damage it causes to our body. We only realize that once our health deteriorates, we become more prone to sickness because of our abuse and neglect. Sleep is fundamental to normal growth and development of any individual – big or small. And too much technology use is the main culprit we become more sleep deprived as the days go by.

Is WhatsApp keeping you up way past your bedtime? Yo u’re not the only one, say doctors at Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans).

A study has revealed that the use of internet for Facebook and WhatsApp is making people put off sleep by more than one and a half hours (100 minutes) every day .

In a 2016 study by the Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic at Nimhans, researchers found that use of internet was also making people wake up 90 minutes later.

The study , published in January in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, also fo und that while the quality of sleep was above average, most people usually checked their phones and tablets at least four times after going to bed.

The prescription: shut off devices as you near bedtime.

Sleep disorders and sleep loss, say doctors, can contribute to conditions varying from heart disease to anxiety.

(Via: http://tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/technology/apps-social-media-pushing-back-sleep-time-over-1-5-hrs/57699803)

Many people are guilty of doing this – overindulging ourselves in a little bit more social media before drifting off to sleep that we unconsciously sacrificed valuable sleep time for a juicy story you picked up on Facebook or Twitter.

Research has shown a clear link between technology use before bed and compromised sleep that affects our health and wellbeing.

While effects can vary from person to person, it may be as subtle as your thinking not being as sharp as it could be, your energy a bit sluggish, your vigilance a bit down, your mood a bit less stable.

We should will ourselves to give up this bad habit for good. It may be tempting to check your news feed for updates or find out what’s the most captivating photo on Instagram but you got to do what you got to do. Your body suffers when you lose sleep, so better get your act together and resist the urge to tinker with your smartphone especially when it’s already bedtime.

Technology use in the evenings may make it harder to drop off to sleep and can also reduce the quality of sleep and make you feel sleepier the next day.

Using a screen for 1.5 hours or more seems to be when problems start, although not everyone is affected the same way.

The impacts on sleep are related to both the stimulating effects of interacting with a device and the effects of light from the screen.

Passive activities like reading an e-book or watching a movie are thought to be less disruptive than interactive ones like playing a video game, making posts, or messaging.

(Via: http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-10-21/how-technology-use-messes-with-your-sleep/7950336)

But don’t feel bad because not all technologies are awful. Some can actually help you sleep better like this smart bed that will help you sleep better sans technology.

A bed that adjusts itself in the night to stop people from snoring. A princess and the pea-style gadget that fits under a mattress and monitors sleep. A “water-based, app-controlled mattress topper”, which will encourage deep slumber.

Sleep technology is one of the biggest trends at CES, the world’s premier electronics show, which opened to the public on Thursday.

The range of products on show reflects the growing interest in solutions to insomnia and other sleep problems – as well as the predictions that the global sleep market will be worth $80bn by 2020.

Sleep Number’s 360 Smart Bed is among the most eye-catching products. The mattress can detect a change of body position during the night and uses air chambers in the mattress to contour to the sleeper’s frame.

(Via: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/05/sleep-technology-ces-2017-las-vegas-new-products)

Just like any other thing, using things in moderation is the key to a long and healthy life. You may be hooked on social media and all but you have to understand that only you can set limits to your tech use. No matter how irresistible it is to check your social media accounts now and then, you should never compromise your sleep because of it. Your health is far more important (and can be helped by mouthpieces like this) because you can do anything you want if you have a healthy and able body.

Technology will always be there – something to keep us entertained when we have the time but should not take our time from doing the most important things in life. The world around us now is becoming more digital than ever, so it is more crucial than ever for us to learn the discipline to overcome our tech obsession if we want to live longer in this world as healthy as we can possibly be.

If You Build It: Can Our Offices Impact Our Sleep?

For those who work outside the home, you spend more time in a potentially cold, square building than you do in your comfortable home. The average person works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. That’s a lot of time to spend out of the house. We all know that the relationships we have at work can influence our home lives, but can the buildings themselves hold any power over how we sleep or how we feel after we’ve punched out for the day? The answer to that is a bit astounding:

The key to working better, sleeping better, and feeling better could be rooted in the design, maintenance, and operation of the buildings where we spend the majority of our time, a new Harvard study has found.

The national study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE) and SUNY Upstate Medical, is the first to show that working in high-performing, green-certified buildings can improve employee decision-making using objective cognitive simulations.

Researchers looked at 10 high-performing buildings in five cities across the United States, including Harvard’s double LEED Platinum Blackstone Southbuilding. The team collaborated with the Office for Sustainability (OFS) and Harvard Real Estate to use Blackstone as a “living laboratory” to study the relationship between building conditions and occupants’ productivity and well-being.

The study found that occupants in high-performing, green-certified office environments scored 26 percent higher on tests of cognitive function, had 30 percent fewer symptoms of sick building syndrome, and had 6 percent higher sleep quality scores than those in high-performing but noncertified buildings.

“Our University is the perfect test bed for innovation and research related to buildings and health. Through our partnership with the Office for Sustainability, we were able to kick off our study at the Blackstone buildings at Harvard before scaling our research to four other cities across the U.S.” said Piers MacNaughton, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Chan School and project manager for the study.

Twenty-four Harvard employees agreed to participate in the weeklong health assessment, which included two cognitive function tests, daily surveys, and wearing watches that tracked sleep quality. On each testing day, environmental conditions, such as thermal conditions and lighting, were also monitored in each participants’ workspace.

In addition to the overall effect from being in a better building, several specific factors were found to have impacts on participants’ cognitive function scores. The high-performing, green-certified buildings used in the study had environments more frequently within the thermal comfort zone defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) organization, which resulted in 5.4 percent higher cognitive function scores. Brighter, blue-enriched lighting, such as daylighting, in the green-certified buildings was also associated with better sleep quality at night, which in turn led to better cognitive performance the following day. This finding supports research showing the impacts of lighting on circadian rhythm; a bigger contrast in daytime and nighttime light exposures can help regulate the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep.

Via: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/02/study-opens-the-door-to-better-sleep-work-and-health/

It seems that no matter how hard we try to keep our work lives and our home lives separate, it’s interesting to see how the buildings that we actually work in can have such an impact on more than just our productivity. If you’re feeling extra sleepy at work, maybe you need to anonymously forward this study to your boss. Small changes like light and greenery can have such a huge impact on how we work and what we can accomplish. If you’ve got that boss whose constantly riding everyone and demanding production be sped up, this may be something they need to consider. Instead of that corner office for themselves, maybe they need to look at changing those lightbulbs.

Beam Me Up: Lasers in the Baby’s Room

When you become a parent, there are so many things that are thrown at you, literally or figuratively, that it can be hard to navigate. You’ve got advice from friends, family and the internet to consider. There are books you can read and movies you can watch. Until you actually experience being a parent yourself, it’s hard to imagine how you will react to things. The first time the baby sleeps in their own room can be unnerving for parents. Many parents have been opting for video monitors these days because they can actually see their kid on the screen and know exactly what they’re doing and how they’re sleeping. An engineering team in India has taken this a step further, however:

When Ranjana Nair, Sanchi Poovaya and Aardra Kannan saw a friend’s prematurely born child two years ago, they were shocked at the amount of electronic equipment hooked up to her tiny body. But even after their friend was able to bring her baby home, the anxiety persisted. Constantly concerned, she kept going to the crib to put her hand on the child’s chest to make sure she was breathing. There are respiratory trackers for infants, but most of them require putting some kind of battery-powered sensor on the baby’s body, which is a concern for many parents. Nair, Poovaya and Kannan — all engineering graduates — thought there had to be a better way. And so the Raybaby was born.

At first glance, Raybaby looks like an ordinary baby monitor. It has a camera that detects the baby’s movements and transmits what’s going on to an app on the parent’s phone. But what’s special about the Raybaby is that it utilizes ultrawideband radar technology, which works much like ultrasound.

Within a range of five meters, it can detect the tiniest movement — less than a millimeter, even. So it’s not a problem if your baby is wrapped up in a blanket and hard to see on camera. The device is smart enough to know if the movement is related to breathing or if it’s just the baby kicking around. “Keep it on the table, bookshelf, anywhere next to the baby,” said Nair, who’s now the CEO of Ray, the company behind the Raybaby. All told, Nair claims an accuracy of 98.3 percent.

When paired with the app, Raybaby can give you valuable stats on your child’s live respiratory rate. It offers mapping of the different sleep states too. It also provides a weekly graph, which would be good information to have when you’re visiting your pediatrician. The device also alerts you if there are any sudden changes, which could point to a fever or other illness.

As a baby monitor, Raybaby doesn’t stream live video continuously to the app — which could tax your bandwidth — but instead tracks when the baby is awake or smiling or trying to stand up. It collects a collage of all of those moments into highlights of the day, which you can then share with the built-in online community that comes with the app. “They get the best of two worlds: vital monitoring and video monitoring all in one device, all of which is securely stored using Amazon Cloud Services,” said Poovaya, who is now Ray’s COO.

The device itself is an adorable little thing that’s small enough to blend into your nursery’s decor. Its components are clinically tested and FDA approved, and according to Nair, the results are so good that they’re comparable to the sleep-study equipment used in hospitals. Indeed, Johnson & Johnson Innovations, which is one of Ray’s investors, has used it in several sleep-study trials with great success.

Via: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/raybaby/

For worried parents the world over this can seem like a godsend. It helps alleviate some of that new-parent fear and even bring peace of mind to parents who have been doing this for years. Consider the fact that you have a child home sick and you can’t be in their room the entire time. We all know with sick kids anything can happen and by having this monitor in the room which will also alert you to sudden changes, all parents can rest a bit easier.

The Zombie Youth: Do Devices Cause Poor Sleep?

Teenagers have been a breed of excessive sleepers since the dawn of time. Whether they’re outside until the crack of dawn or staying up far later than they probably should, there are a lot of ideas on what can cause a poor night’s sleep. Parents and guardians around the world have been increasingly concerned about the use of electronic devices and how they impact sleep. Whether these well-meaning adults are concerned with video game usage or texting on smartphones late at night, the fact remains that they believe that this overuse of technology must be having a negative impact on the young mind.

Honestly, if little Evan could just pull his eyes away from his table for 24 hours he’d sleep better and if little Chantelle could just put the video game controller down for once, it would be better for her, right? Well, that’s not necessarily the case:

Taking away a teen’s phone or tablet at night does not make them sleep better or longer nor does it mean they will perform better in sports the following day, a new study of young ­athletes has found.

The investigation into the ­impact of electronic devices ­revealed no change at all among the Australian Institute of Sport’s junior judo champions.

The teens whose phones and tablets were taken away for a few days continued to fall asleep at exactly the same time at night and performed just as well as before in training, according to lead researcher Ian Duncan from the Centre for Sleep Science at the University of Western Australia.

“We thought they would go to sleep earlier … because that’s what middle aged and older people do in similar studies,” he said.

“However, these guys were so young — between 16 and 19 — and they did go to bed earlier but they didn’t fall asleep and we think that’s because teens have that locked-in owl-like sleep ­behaviour … it’s like asking a 30-year-old to go to sleep at 5pm. They just can’t do it.”

The researchers monitored the effects of the removal of electronic devices for 48 hours in 23 judo athletes during a six-day training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport. The athletes wore an activity monitor to ­measure sleep quality.

The researchers found that although athletes went to bed earlier when the devices were ­removed, they fell asleep at the same time as those who had ­access to electronic devices. Removal of the devices did not ­affect their sleep quality, or next-day physical performance ­compared to those who continued to use electronic devices. The ­athletes did not have televisions in their shared rooms throughout the study.

Via: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/digital-devices-have-no-impact-on-teenagers-sleep/news-story/d3636b8bbefddb7328c3bc5779612b82

So take that, concerned adults! Even if your kid is up until the wee hours of the morning that doesn’t mean they’re getting a poor sleep based on device usage alone. Chalk this up as another sleep myth. It seems to be just a part of their biological structure to stay up late. You can’t go fighting your biology and at this age, a youths body is going to tell them when they should be sleeping. So should you probably lay off? Well, keep in mind this article has everything to do with lack of sleep and nothing to do with lack of attention span, which of course seems to be generated by these devices.

So be hard on your kids more because their brains are being damaged by too much device time. Not because it is stopping them from sleeping, but because, come on! There’s no need to be looking at a screen 24 hours per day. A good parent understands that this simply does not make any sense.

Battle For The Future: Snore Mouthpieces Vs. The Smart Bed

No matter how you look at it, technology has changed our lives immeasurably over the past 20 years. Just think of it: now, we carry 6-10 ounce devices that have about 50-100 times the computer power that a laptop in 1995 did. I mean, that’s simply amazing (and please, don’t take my “computing power” estimates as fact: I ain’t no computer scientist! 😉 ).

So what does technology do? It solves problems. Or at least it disrupts and creates new problems that can be solved (I hate to go back to cell phones again, but yep, for many people they’ve BECOME a problem).  And what is one of the biggest problems for many people in Western societies? Snoring. Yes, I said it. And yes, it is a little “First World”, but the fact is, snoring STILL affects such a large percentage of the population that it’s almost crazy. I mean, come on! Shouldn’t we have done a little more about this by now?

And did we? Yes. First, we created the mandibular advancing snoring mouthpiece, which remains an extremely effective device, especially with solid entries recently such as the Zquiet, VitalSleep and SnoreRX. Then we adapted and made it better by creating the Tongue Stabilizing Device Mouthpiece, or TSD, an example well represented by the Good Morning Snore Solution.

But people are always looking for a better, more comfortable way. It simply makes sense, and apparently technology is looking to provide this. So you have a smart phone, right? What about a Smart Bed? Sleep Number thinks it’s got one:

the invention of a bed that automatically moves to adjusts a sleeper’s position when it detects a snoring fit, saving their partner from decamping to the sofa in an attempt to get a good night’s sleep.

The 360 Smart Bed, which can adjust its mattress to fit different body positions, track its owner’s sleeping habits and wake them at the optimum time, can detect the sound of snoring and in response raises the sleeper’s head by a few degrees to clear the airwaves.

Developed by mattress company Sleep Number and due to be put on sale this year, it can also warm up owners’ feet and send data about their sleeping patterns to an app.

It’s an interesting move, for sure. And we applaud Sleep Number for giving it a shot. As we have noted just recently in our post about the Snore Circle, tech companies seem to be going whole hog looking to sell products to help people sleep.

They also have what I would call “creative” ideas about how snoring can be stopped. Now don’t get me wrong: these folks don’t invest millions of dollars in a product that they think is not going to work (or sell, for that matter).

So, let’s jump ahead and propose hypothetically that the Sleep Number 360 does stop your snoring. Great! Fantastic even. The real question, though, is how many people can actually afford the Sleep Number 360. When you look at the snoring mouthpiece market and see that it is rare for a mouthpiece to cost more than $100, and compare it to Sleep Number, which currently runs models anywhere from $1000-3000USD, you can see that this is probably going to be ridiculously unaffordable for all but the richest folks out there.

The key question here for many people will be: Which is more affordable, snoring surgery or the Sleep Number 360? It sounds crazy, but when you consider it is very likely that the costs are similar, maybe it ain’t so bad sticking to a tried and true device that costs less than $125?

Wake Yourself Into Snore-Free Sleep?

So why is snoring a big problem for people? Well, there are certainly a number of reasons, a major one being the fact that snoring frequently coincides with lack of breathing during sleep. Also, if you sleep with a partner, it can be annoying to the extreme and keep your partner up all night, whether he or she has a snoring problem or not! This is bad for you, of course, but definitely worse for your relationship.

However, one of the main issues that people find tough with snoring and sleep apnea is a lack of sleep. A lack of sustained, restful, full-blown, relaxed sleep. The kind where the dreams are strong and restful. The real reason for good sleep, after all.

The consequences of missing out on this kind of quality sleep can be killer for a lot of people, and result in lost productivity, moodiness and not to mention total lack of energy during the day. It’s enough that people frequently look to snoring mouthpieces like this one to calm their snoring and ensure a solid bunch of winks.

A Chinese company called VVFly, meanwhile, has a different way of tackling snoring: instead of attacking the issue at the core like a mouthpiece, they have a device called the Snore Circle that actually “transmits beeps and vibrations into a snorer’s ear to stop snoring when it detects it.” It’s an interesting approach, for sure:

The CEO, Johnson Luo, who is also a snorer, said that the device doesn’t wake the snorer up, but just irritates the snorer enough to change position and stop snoring. The beeps and vibrations sent by the device vary in 54 forms according to the seriousness of the snoring.

According to the article on Forbes.com, the massively different customer experiences may be par for the course with this device:

Professor Li Taoping, director of the Respiratory and Sleep Research Center at Guangzhou Southern Medical University, said that snoring results from various causes, such as having narrower air passages, being overweight or out of shape, use of certain medicines, excessive drinking or smoking, and sleeping in poor positions. As a result, different methods and tools have varying influence on different people. That is why the users of Snore Circle have such different experiences from the device.

Now, this is certainly a device that we wouldn’t recommend (especially because it never really addresses the initial or main cause of snoring), but that’s OK, as it’s only available in Mainland China at this point. But, there does seem to be one very interesting and frankly, useful reason to consider the Snore Circle:

What is also special about the Snore Circle is that it has Bluetooth that can send data to its mobile app, also of the same name, which can track and record one’s sleeping quality and snoring reduction.

So the power of a sleep lab in a Bluetooth device? Why yes, friends. Very, very cool. Cool enough, apparently, that the company as of this writing has already raised over $250,000 on funding site IndieGoGo to potentially get the product to more people.

So is the Snore Circle a stunning snore-killer like we’ve never seen before? Er, probably not. And the idea of “slightly bothering” the snorer perhaps up to a hundred times per night doesn’t exactly sound like an experience most of us would like to be a part of.

But, in our eyes, what makes the Snore Circle so interesting is the fact that it uses your smart phone to track exactly how your snoring patterns work. Like a sleep lab in an earpiece’s clothing, if it actually works as stated.

And that may be well worth the money for many folks.

Dispelling Some Sleep Myths With Professional Help!

There are a lot of myths about virtually everything – let’s face it, when you live in a world where “fake news” is not only more popular, but more believed than real news, you’re going to get some fake-outs. But in the world of sleep, there are always ways to second guess. Am I getting enough sleep? Is my health destroying my sleep? And it goes on from there.

sleep-mythsThere are some simple truths, however, and a key one is that we all need a good amount of sleep to survive. For most people, that means anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep per night. This is the same kind of sleep that can be easily interrupted by snoring, which is why many people may be overestimating the sheer amount of sleep they’re actually receiving.

But, leave it up to this Fortune Article to go all Myth-Busters on sleep:

If you can’t recall your dreams, you’re not sleeping deeply. Not true. It’s normal not to remember your dreams, but most likely you are still having dream sleep otherwise known as REM (“rapid eye movement”) sleep every night. In fact, most people remember their dreams only because they may be waking up frequently in the middle of the night (from disorders such as sleep apnea) or because they were in the last stage of sleep when the alarm went off.

Frankly, I’d never heard of this one before. But there you go… the folks behind the fake news sites must be cooking away in their fake sleep lab with this one. Not as bad as this one:

You can’t have sleep apnea if you’re not fat. Not true. Sleep apnea may be related to being obese, but it can also be found in children and thin adults. Facial bone structure related to a small upper airway also contributes to sleep apnea. Physicians who diagnose and treat sleep disorders look for signs such as a small jaw, a recessed chin, teeth crowding, small nasal passages or a deviated septum (which means the thin wall between the nasal passages is displaced to one side).

Yep, that one is a bit of a shocker. It’s important to remember that snoring usually comes from your jaw and epiglottis region, and has nothing to do with obesity at all. That’s why mouthpieces like the Good Morning Snore Solution are in such popular demand by our readers. While obesity does mean the likelihood that you snore is much higher because it’s also likely you have more movable fat cells in your neck and throat region, it certainly isn’t a guarantee, either. No matter your body shape, you’re at risk of obstructive sleep apnea – whether you like it or not.

You can make up for lost weeknight sleep on the weekend. Not true. While you may be able to work off some sleep debt by sleeping more on the weekends, such sleep deprivation during the work week and binge sleeping on the weekends can contribute to insomnia. It disrupts circadian rhythms and makes it hard to fall and stay asleep. It’s best to set the same wake time seven days a week and get into bed when you’re feeling sleepy.

This one is interesting as well. My wife is a big proponent of this one, and I frankly can’t wait to show it to her. Sleep daily, folks, and you’ll be much better off than if you think that you can somehow “catch up”.

Alcohol helps you sleep better. Not true. A nightcap before bed may calm you down and make it easier to fall asleep, but it tends to disrupt the quality of sleep. The depressant effects of alcohol may wear off in the middle of the night, increasing nighttime awakenings. Alcohol also reduces REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and increases sleep-disordered breathing, which may lead to even more nighttime awakenings. And for some people, it can induce gastroesophageal reflux, which can cause discomfort and awakening.

About this one, all I can say is I find it all a bit hilarious. Apparently the myth-meister that started shilling this one has never come by my bedside after a couple of good whiskies!
See the rest of these myths at http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2016/11/30/a-bakers-dozen-important-facts-about-sleep-and-sleep-disorders/, and learn a little something.

Remember that checking a couple of sources, especially when it comes to health decisions, is ALWAYS a great idea. There is never a need to diagnose yourself with a dire fatal illness when a second source might dispel that kind of madness.

And remember also: worrying causes a ton of stress. Stress can make sleeping difficult. So don’t believe everything you read, OK?

Back To School Sleep: What You Need to Know

studentIt’s almost that time of year again. Soon campuses across the country will be abuzz with new students and old students alike. For many, this is their first time on their own without parents to tell them what to do and when to do it. Many students relish the ability to throw a schedule out the window and taste that freedom that comes with being in charge of all your choices. While there is still some structure to their lives like when classes are held or when the meal hall is open, there are a lot of things that were once monitored that no longer seem important. Doing laundry, showering, and sleeping are three major tasks that fall to the wayside.

This can be a major problem.  Not just because there will be thousands of smelly kids trying to figure out how to write that final paper just like the professor wants but because a lack of proper sleep can be devastating to the mind and body:

This month, millions of teenagers across the country will make the transition from high school to college. And between living in a new environment and the new-found freedom to attend parties and other late-night activities, getting enough sleep can be a challenge, and even a health risk, experts say.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not getting enough sleep can even contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and depression.

‘Regular sleep is essential for your physical and mental health,’ wrote Dr. Carmen Burrell, medical director of the West Virginia University Student Health Service, in an email to the Gazette-Mail. ‘The current recommendation is seven to nine hours of sleep a night, which is not achieved by a large percentage of the population.’

According to a 2009 study, 43.7 percent of people aged 18 to 25 surveyed reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once during the previous month. About 5 percent of people the same age reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving.

Dr. Imran Khawaja, a professor of internal medicine at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, said a lack of sleep can cause people to have a lack of attention, poor motivation and memory that can negatively affect a student’s grades.

To get enough sleep, Khawaja recommends that students make a fixed sleep schedule for themselves and stick to it. They should set a fixed time to go to sleep and to wake up in the morning, he said.

Burrell agreed.

‘Good sleep hygiene can start with a simple nighttime routine to wind down,’ she wrote.

People should keep their cell phones, laptops and other electronics away from their bed when they’re trying to sleep. Looking at bright screens can keep people awake much the same way that bright light keeps a person awake in the day time, Khawaja said.

Via: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-health/20160808/sleep-essential-for-college-students-physical-mental-health#sthash.LPpEiWjF.dpuf

In order to keep performing at peak mental and physical health sleep cannot be ignored. The problem comes when you have millions of teenagers that have to learn how to manage their own schedules for the first time in their lives. It’s not an easy process and some schools will have workshops and clinics on time management. It’s very important that new students take advantage of this. When school is done and they’re out in the working world their poor sleep habits may be harder to change. If they can nip it in the bud now, they should be doing everything they can to manage this very real, almost grown up, problem.

Suicidal Thoughts and Sleep Problems: A Deadly Combination

depressionHave you ever wondered what happens while you sleep? It’s simple really: your brain cells replenish, your body grows and your mental state resets for the day ahead. There are recommended hours of sleep for specific age groups for a reason. The younger you are the more your body needs to develop and therefore the more sleep you need. Ignoring your sleep, like most teenagers and young adults do, can impact your health in ways you probably haven’t thought about before.

There are various disorders that can affect your sleep like insomnia, sleep apnea and snoring but did you know sleeplessness can severely impact those suffering from depression? Depression on it’s own can be a debilitating illness. Couple that with sleeplessness and you’re facing a huge wall:

The link between sleep problems and suicidal thoughts and behaviors is made starkly clear in new research from The University of Manchester, published in the BMJ Open.

In this study, conducted by researchers from the University’s School of Health Sciences alongside the University of Oxford, 18 participants were interviewed about the role sleep problems have on suicidal tendencies.

Three inter-related pathways to suicidal thoughts were identified arising from sleep problems. The first was that being awake at night heightened the risks of suicidal thoughts and attempts, which in part was seen as a consequence of the lack of help or resources available at night.

Secondly, the research found that a prolonged failure to achieve a good night’s sleep made life harder for respondents, adding to depression, as well as increasing negative thinking, attention difficulties and inactivity.

Finally, respondents said sleep acted as an alternative to suicide, providing an escape from their problems. However, the desire to use sleep as an avoidance tactic led to increased day time sleeping which in turn caused disturbed sleeping patterns – reinforcing the first two pathways.

Via: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160824/Night-time-sleep-problems-increase-risk-of-suicidal-thoughts-and-attempts.aspx

If you or someone you know suffers from depression you are most likely painfully aware of how difficult it can be to lead a normal life. There are plenty of treatments available, with or without medication, that can make depression manageable. But it’s difficult to completely get rid of it. When your enemy is your own mind it’s very difficult to win the war.

When you can’t sleep, you can’t quiet your mind. The dark thoughts tend to plague you in the night when you’re defenseless. Human beings are not meant to be nocturnal. We’re meant to sleep in the night and be productive in the day. Failure to adhere to this causes disruptions in our sleep patterns and makes it difficult to function as a member of society.

That is not to say that those who work strictly at night aren’t productive. Those who work during the night tend to sleep during the day for the recommended number of hours they are supposed to be getting. That’s completely different than someone who sporadically sleeps during the day in order to recover from the loss of sleep during the night.

Those who suffer from depression need to make sure they are sleeping properly. It may help to keep a sleep journal and log the amount of time, and when, they are actually sleeping and take it to their health care provider. If their sleep is too fragmented their health care provider can suggest other ways to obtain a consistent amount of sleep. What is the underlying sleep problem? Does the patient suffer from sleep apnea or snoring? There are simple ways to manage those disorders. The more information you can bring in with you to a medical appointment the better your health care provider can help you.

Let’s all try to get the best sleep we can to keep the dark thoughts at bay.