Tag: sleep issues

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.

How Smart Is Your Bed?

Snoring is one of those issues that plagues more people than you probably realize. In fact, you may snore yourself and just not know it! If you sleep alone you probably are in the dark on any potential snoring issues. When there’s no one there to stab you in the side because you’re keeping them awake, it’s hard to see you have an issue. There are several causes, and treatments, for snoring. Some of the major causes are being overweight, smoking or drinking heavily before bed, stress and plain old muscle relaxation. You can exercise, scale back on bad habits and do yoga to reduce your stress but it’s a bit hard to combat muscles relaxing. Unless you have super control of your muscles. Then that’s a different story.

When your muscles relax too much your tongue will fall to the back of your throat and the muscles will loosen. This vibration on loose flesh is what causes the sound we’re all to familiar with. Various mouthpieces designed to either push your jaw forward to increase airflow (like: https://snoringmouthpiecereview.org/zquiet) or hold your tongue in place ((like: https://snoringmouthpiecereview.org/good-morning-snore-solution)can assist with this issue.

But what else can you do?

As our houses get smarter and smarter technology is slowly creeping into the bedroom:

After a full day of meetings at CES 2017, I noticed a few trends that could bubble up beyond some of the bigger ones that get a lot of the media’s attention. Roaming around a large hotel ballroom (The Mirage Events Center, actually) during the Pepcom Digital Experience event, I noticed a LOT of individual products, but some of them have coalesced into themes to watch during the year.

Technology hits the bedroom

Humans spend about 1/3 of their life sleeping or trying to sleep, so it’s been interesting to see that products are finally addressing our needs for a better night’s sleep. Companies and products like Smart Nora, the Zeeq Smart Pillow and Sleepace all have different approaches towards alleviating the annoyance of someone snoring (alleviating for the partner, since it probably doesn’t bother you if you’re the snorer). Different approaches are used by some of the products – the Nora device, for example, uses a small device that raises the pillow slightly to get you to move when snoring is detected through its sound sensor. The Zeeq includes speakers (which let you play music to help you get to sleep) that can activate when it detects snoring.

The big company in this space is Sleep Number Bed, which was at the event showing off its new Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed. The entire mattress system includes the anti-snoring approach (the bed adjusts the position when snoring is detected), but also includes a warming feature, biometric sensors and other health data abilities to help customers get their 40 winks in an easier manner.

Via: http://www.networkworld.com/article/3155005/consumer-electronics/ces-2017-early-trends-and-thoughts.html

A bevvy of cold-footed humans are very excited about the warming feature but for snorers, to have a bed that will automatically tilt you to help stop snoring is a great idea. If your bed does it for you there’s no need to stab  your partner in the ribs or be concerned that your snoring is shaking the windows and you don’t know it.

While some people might be hesitant to have technology in their beds, others will see it as progressive. There’s no denying that these are all fantastic ideas, but they are going to cost you a pretty penny. Before you get too wrapped up in the idea of buying a smart bed, maybe you should start saving your nickels and dimes. While it might take you a while to save for it, it’ll be that much sweeter when you can afford it.

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?

When It Comes To Snoring Devices, Be Careful!

What can I say? We live in a world where you have to watch out for scams. There are con-men (and ladies) out there that are trying to get every last dollar with their snake oils and wild claims. Heck, there is a president of the USA that has played one of the largest con games in the history of US politics who plans to sleep his way through his presidency, hire Nazis for his cabinet, and give the entire economy away to corporate interests (not so sure that Hillary wouldn’t, but that’s another matter).

nsf-mypillowSo we’re probably all about sick of con games at this point. It’s enough so that many are probably having difficulties sleeping at night! And on the latter point, it looks like another scam has come about: this one from a product that has become popular, despite some claims that even the FTC is balking about:

Lindell claims that the pillow is a cure-all for almost any sleep problem. Whether it’s snoring, sleep apnea, tossing and turning, waking up in pain— they can be solved with MyPillow.

Commercials explain that “MyPillow helps you get and stay in deep restorative REM sleep all night long” because it “keeps your neck supported and aligned to your exact individual need.”

How does Lindell know? He explains in one commercial, “I had all these problems too.”

One customer testimonial on the company’s website even called MyPillow “a God-send.”

Via: http://ijr.com/2016/11/736624-mypillow-commercials-promise-to-cure-all-sorts-of-sleep-problems-theres-just-1-major-problem/

All right, so this is all good. I don’t know of many pillow manufacturers that don’t claim that they’re the bomb, do you? I mean, you’re running a pillow company, and people use pillows to get a good night sleep. Why wouldn’t you want to big up your pillows (particularly if they’re premium, like the MyPillow)? Er, here’s why:

Court documents produced by TruthInAdvertising.org list the problems MyPillow claims to cure without sufficient proof, which includes but is not limited to, TMJ, insomnia, snoring, fibromyalgia, and Restless Leg Syndrome. They also assert that MyPillow does not clearly state that their National Sleep Foundation endorsement is not completely based on the merit of the pillow, but appears to be paid for.

Ha! Not a shock, friends. The National Sleep Foundation may be accepting bribes in order to put their stamp on things? We’re shocked! This coming from a “foundation” that boasts one of the worst snoring mouthpiece pages in the history of the Internet? Yes. Of course. I’m not entirely sure why people would be surprised. It’s not as if the NSF is an organization known for it’s honesty, after all.

The hilarious point about “MyPillow” is that there literally could be absolutely zero ways that it could help with TMJ. I mean, how is this even possible? According to WebMD:

Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.

Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.

So how is a pillow going to help with a jaw problem? That’s just clinically insane. Now, only the most gullible of all pillow purchasers will assume that a pillow can cure something to do with their jaw structures, but this is truly hilarious.

The fact that another of the claims on the manufacturer’s website is that the MyPillow actually stops snoring is absolutely ridiculous as well. Now, I will admit that not all people want to use a mandibular advancing mouth guard like the ZQuiet, as an example, but there actually is an alternative to these mouthpieces.

I am speaking of the Good Morning Snore Solution (link), of course, which does not have the same rigid construction nor discomfort issues that a MAD mouthpiece can have. TMJ sufferers that use the GMSS have also offered solid testimonials in its favor – basically because it is the only mouthpiece of its kind, and really does not affect the positioning of one’s jaw.

Snoring Scams Are Out There – Watch Out!

Now, it’s unlikely you’ve been a victim of a snoring scam, but it is important to be very, very diligent when researching these types of advice. I can give some real credit for the State Of California for going after the MyPillow scamsters, because it really doesn’t happen as much as it should. So stay aware, people. And if you have a snoring issue, just use a mouthpiece!