Saturday, December 31, 2011

Causes of Insomnia Part 3 New Year’s Resolution

Getting through the holiday season can be stressful with office parties, family dinners, dealing with crowded stores and finding those perfect gifts. Have you ever asked yourself how the holiday season is affecting your sleep? Stress is the number one nonmedical reason people suffer from insomnia. Now is the time of year many people make a New Year’s Resolution. How many of you have decided this year is the year I will drop a few pounds? STOP the stress about dieting and losing weight and make your New Year’s Resolution GET MORE SLEEP! Here are some reasons getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your mind and body.

[caption id="attachment_1716" align="alignright" width="298" caption="Well this New Year Resolution shouldn't be too hard to accomplish"][/caption]

New Year’s Eve parties or partying in general may be fun but not when it affects your sleep. Staying up late and drinking alcohol is bad for your sleep cycle. Alcohol is not a sleep aid even though it may help you to fall asleep easy once the effects of the alcohol wear off you will have the tendency to wake up during the night and have a hard time falling back to sleep. The best way to enjoy your New Year’s Eve party is to take it slow and stop drinking at least two hours before you go to bed. It might be helpful to drink some water to counterbalance the dehydrating effects of the alcohol. Let me ask you two questions... if you have consumed a lot of alcohol and food this holiday season are you worried about the weight you have gained? Is dieting your New Year’s Resolution?

There is a connection between sleep and weight gain, you have probably read about it in many diet books and magazine articles. Maybe you have read about the sleep diet that suggests you can lose weight while you sleep. Is it true when you sleep you will lose weight? Well, sort of. The author of Beauty Sleep, Michael Breus, PhD states that if you are sleep-deprived, meaning you aren’t getting the quality and quantity of sleep your body needs, you metabolism will not function properly. If you suffer from insomnia and get only five hours of sleep and start to sleep at least seven hours you will start to lose weight. HOW?

There are two hormones that are associated with how much you eat and when you are hungry. Ghrelin tells you when to eat and when you don’t get enough sleep the more ghrelin you produce. Leptin tells you when to stop eating and when you are asleep you have less leptin. So less sleep means more ghrelin plus less leptin that equates to weight gain. On top of that how many of you grab a late night snack?

I am not saying that sleep alone will help you lose those pesky 10 pounds you will still need to adhere to a healthy diet and some exercise. If you plan on changing some bad lifestyle habits it is best to keep it to yourself. Blabbing about your New Year’s Resolution no matter what it is many hurt your chances of obtaining your goal. Many people want the credit for doing something rather than for the effort of actually doing it. Some of you may find announcing your intentions as a way of motivating yourself because it would be too embarrassing to back out, while others may find the stress of achieving your goal with the world watching (as with Twitter or Facebook) too challenging which may put other priorities one the back burner; like getting enough sleep. If you absolutely must talk about it, talk in terms of progress about you have done, what you have got left to do and what you need to be held accountable for.

If the stress of making a New Year’s Resolution is too great why not make your New Year’s Resolution not to make any more New Year’s Resolutions? New Year’s Resolutions are one of life’s biggest energy zappers. Trying to prioritize one’s life to include; how we eat, when we can exercise, look for a new job and/or trying to quit smoking is especially hard when we feel there isn’t enough time in the day already. Sometimes setting realistic goals and not limiting yourself to a once a year pledge you may find that you won’t abandon your objective.

[caption id="attachment_1717" align="alignright" width="300" caption="With all these New Year Resolutions she will be so stressed out she won't get a decent night's sleep!"][/caption]

The most popular New Year’s Resolutions are; losing weight, saving money (right), better job, exercise, healthier diet, better education, drinking less alcohol, quit smoking, reduce stress, take a trip and help others. On average some people will last a week while others stick it out till February 1st, very few achieve their goal. WHY? One, they look at it as a long term process…how am I going to keep this up all year long? When they should look at it as…What can I do today? Two, most New Year’s Resolutions are negative; I’m fat, I drink too much…etc. So most goals can only be achieved if you take something away from someone. If they thought about it in a more positive way of achieving their goal it would be less stressful. For instance think of your goal as looking and feeling better rather than losing weight and maybe instead of tossing and turning at night you will get a decent night’s sleep. Remember your beauty sleep is essential along with a healthy lifestyle to stay happy and taking caring of YOU should be a priority no matter what time of year it is!

The content provided in Causes of Insomnia Part 3 New Year’s Resolution is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Causes of Insomnia Part 2 Clinophobia The Fear of Going to Bed

Clinophobia (derived from the Greek “klinein” as to bend, slope or incline during sleep and “phobos” meaning fear) is an abnormal and persistent fear of going to bed. Unlike somniphobia the fear of going to sleep that is a symptom of an anxiety disorder usually caused by an apprehension about not being able to wake up or frightened of not being aware of what goes on around them as they sleep. Even though clinophobia sufferers realize that going to bed is normal and is not a threat to their well-being, they worry about having uncontrollable nightmares, not being able to fall asleep easy or wetting the bed. If they do fall asleep, they wake often and overtime this phobia causes insomnia.

[caption id="attachment_1712" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Your mind will not rest like gears in constant motion"][/caption]

Have you noticed the more they fear going to bed because they can’t fall asleep, the more sleep eludes them? They lie in bed tossing and turning unable to relax because they are constantly rehashing the day or dreading the day ahead. Life stressors that include family, friends, work, school, finances and illness can create great mental and physical tension. General unhappiness can be a powerful trigger as stress and nervous energy can make the mere thinking about going to sleep seem impossible. Clinophobia is not a symptom of a sleep disorder or medical problem it is often caused by a deeper issue and if not resolved their insomnia will eventually affect their daily lives.

Onset insomnia is classified as having difficulty falling to sleep at the beginning of the night. Essentially something is preventing them to from falling asleep, such as problems, stress, fear, anxiety, not sleepy, uncomfortable bed and/or an un-relaxing sleeping environment. Working on the cause or in this case the deeper issues of clinophobia should eventually allow the individual to fall asleep. One characteristic of onset insomnia is sleep phase syndrome where they fall asleep later and wake up later. If you have teenagers suffering from clinophobia they tend to fall asleep at 2am and have great difficulty waking up for school and focusing on their studies during the day. Trying to adhere to a strict sleep schedule and some physical activity during the day as this should reset their internal body clock so they are sleepy when they are supposed to go to bed, like 11pm. If their fear of going to bed is due to nightmares, afraid they will wet the bed or stressed over school, friends or bullies, you need to talk to your child as these underlying conditions can make going to bed a frightening experience. Often, people who have frequent nightmares will experiences dreams of falling, dying, or being humiliated. The biggest trigger for clinophobia is often the fear of dreams/nightmares such as these.

Symptoms of clinophobia can vary from individual to individual. Some people may experience minor symptoms like nausea, sweating or distress, while major symptoms may include paralyzing anxiety or panic attacks. Other symptoms may include; dry mouth, heart palpitations, numbness, heightened senses, breathlessness, dizziness, muscle tension, hyperventilation, trembling, rapid heartbeat, feeling they are out of control, feeling trapped and/or feelings of impending disaster.

[caption id="attachment_1713" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A child may fear going to bed because he believes there is a monster under his bed"][/caption]

The vast majority of cases of clinophobia are self-diagnosed by the individual or in case of a child usually by the parent. The individual realizes that their fear of going to bed is irrational and is causing them to develop insomnia which is affecting their daily lives. A family physician if consulted should rule out any other cause whether mental or physical before a proper diagnosis of clinophobia can be determined. After a complete assessment and evaluation and depending on the severity of the condition your doctor may recommend a therapist or specialist that treats phobias, support groups with others that are coping with clinophobia and/or other types of therapy including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy. If the case is minor he may offer self-help relaxation techniques such as breathing and visualization, if severe anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed.

Clinophobia is an intense, irrational fear of going to bed and sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely stop a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, clinophobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal and social life as well as hinder their work/school responsibilities. Untreated, clinophobia can cause insomnia that can impact a person’s mental and physical health.

The content provided in Causes of Insomnia Part 2 Clinophobia The Fear of Going to Bed is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Causes of Insomnia Part 1 Grief Cycle

Last Monday I had to lay my father to rest. Dad was 82 and even though some consider that he lived a full life no one understands the pain of losing a parent. 12 million Americans lose a parent annually and adult children often feel abandonment and panic when caught by a sudden death which can lead to depression and insomnia. We may live many years, but we will always be a child in relation to our parents. Our lives are full with our careers, family, friends but we naturally expect our parents to be there for us. When they die our world becomes a different place. No matter what age or how their death happened, the pain for the surviving adult children can be very hard.

A grief cycle has been developed that details the phases a person goes through upon the death of a family member. The first phase is shock. If your parent is elderly you know that someday you will lose them but you are never ready when that day comes. The second phase is denial. We want to deny that death has actually taken place. We hope it isn’t true. We just want it to be a bad dream and when we wake up everything will be all right. Healing from grief cannot happen until we accept the reality that our parent has passed.

The third phase is anger. We want to blame someone else (God, doctors, other family members) or ourselves for the loss and guilt sets in. The” what if” I had done this or “what if” they could have done that are questions that will never be answered. You may also be angry with the world in general wondering how people can just go on with their normal lives when such a misfortune has happened. The fourth phase is mourning and this is usually the longest phase. Symptoms of this phase include feelings of depression, insomnia, guilt, physical illness, loneliness, panic and periods of crying for no reason. The fifth phase is recovery. Even though we never really recover from death as death changes our lives forever, we do get to a point where we move on with our lives.

This grief cycle is not as simple as real life grief as many phases can overlap because each death is unique in itself. Each person experiences grief in their own way as it is long-lasting and usually does not fit a particular pattern or cycle. Experts have found that doing things like watch a funny movie or just taking a walk helps to get your life started again. The only cure for grief is time and in the meantime you should avoid alcohol and drugs, watch your diet and get your sleep. Remember losing sleep will cause insomnia which can lead to depression. Insomnia and depression are two fold as insomnia is a symptom of depression that can also lead to other health issues. If you are worried that you are suffering from depression during your grief process seek help by way of support groups, your family physician and/or a mental health care professional.

Many people think they are having a serious mental illness because of what they are going through. Most phases of grief are considered normal unless they become overwhelming or last for an extended period of time. Depression that lasts for months with no sign of improvement is not normal and professional help should be considered. Major depression is a psychiatric disorder that lasts two weeks in a row and is accompanied by other symptoms like; loss of appetite, weight loss, low energy level, unjustified guilt, loss of interest in family, work or normal daily life, lack of concentration, thoughts of suicide and insomnia.

Delaying finalizing their parent’s belongings is normal, but trying to maintain their home “as is” forever is a sign of denial. Actually working on settling their estate can help with the grieving process. Effective coping tips for grieving can be different and numerous for each individual. Anything from working, hobbies, friends and family can help the grieving person regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. While the painful aspects of dealing with the loss of a loved one is clear, grieving sometimes leads to enhanced personal development.

The content provided in Causes of Insomnia Part1 Grief Cycle is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

Here is a picture of my parents with me in 1956. RIP Dad we love you and will miss you.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kindle for Sleep Kindle about Sleep

Kindle for Sleep

Do you like to read before going to bed at night because it helps you to relax? Reading is another popular way to relax. Pick something that you enjoy reading, something with a nice pace and nothing too scary. Curl up in a comfy spot and read away. Before you know it, you will be ready for bed and relaxed enough to go right to sleep.

Do you read from a book or one of the new electronic e-readers like iPad or Kindle? According to sleep experts, the iPad’s bright LCD display could hinder you body’s natural ability to create melatonin the hormone that controls your internal sleep/wake cycle. The Kindle and other e-ink gadgets won’t disrupt your sleep cycle. The reason for this is due to the bright light confuses your body, hampering the production of melatonin and causes sleeplessness. The Kindle has no back light because it simulates the look of an actual printed page, therefore, it doesn’t have an effect your Circadian Rhythm. Electronic gadgets that emit light should not be used prior to bedtime.

If you've watched any late-night TV, or use other light emitting devices, including cell phones they tell the brain to stay alert. Devices that are held close to your face amplify the effect verses a TV across the room or a bedside lamp. That is why Kindle is better for your sleep.

Video on Consumer Reports Kindle vs. iPad:

Kindle about Sleep

SLEEP is a magazine subscription that is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific and medical journal that features articles about sleep-related research. SLEEP is an official publication of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC (APSS) a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

SLEEP publishes 12 regular issues annually about original findings and analysis related to sleep disorders, medical dysfunctions during sleep, clinical investigations, therapeutic trials, physiologic events, anatomic structures and molecular components underlying normal and abnormal sleep, psychological and psychophysiological research, and the pharmacology of sleep.

The primary audiences are clinicians and research professionals specializing in sleep-related disorders. SLEEP specialists treat a broad spectrum of disorders, categorized into primary dysfunction of the neural mechanisms of sleep and arousal, pathologies uniquely related to sleep and disturbances of sleep associated with behavioral or psychiatric syndromes. Experts come from a variety of primary backgrounds, including pulmonology, neurology, psychiatry, psychology, otolaryngology and dentistry.

Kindle Magazines are fully downloaded onto your Kindle so you can read them even when you're not wirelessly connected. The subscription has a monthly cost of $9.99 and is only available on Kindle devices. This subscription comes with a risk-free 14-day free trial and is auto-delivered to your Kindle. The magazine does not necessarily reflect the full print content of the publication. Subscribers have access to all new and archived issued online. All articles are available to the public free of charge six months after publication.

The content provided in Kindle for Sleep Kindle about Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lark Personal Sleep Coach

Lark announced today its association with sleep experts on its new Personal Sleep Coach. Lark the same company that has the first, patent-pending silent and natural-feeling wake-up silent alarm clock and wireless sleep tracker. The Personal Sleep Coach goes beyond simple sleep monitoring; it will help you to understand your sleep patterns and sleep health while giving you ideas on how to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Over time your Personal Sleep Coach will track your improvement and urges you to improve with words of encouragement. The new Lark coaching experience is a great Christmas gadget gift for those who have trouble falling asleep easy or can’t get enough sleep during the night.

The Personal Sleep Coach is available for $99 and includes:

[caption id="attachment_1697" align="alignright" width="164" caption="Lark Personal Sleep Coach monitors your sleep patterns"][/caption]

- A 7-Day Sleep Assessment - a baseline assessment designed by leading sleep experts and a Pro sports sleep coach that helps you uncover what type of sleeper you are and reveals your sleep patterns. All you have to do is sleep and wear Lark for seven days.

- A 7-Day Sleep Report - a detailed report which gives you a personalized, actionable plan based on your sleep pattern data and

-- Identifies your Sleep Type (1 of 12 types)
-- Analyzes your sleep patterns
-- Gives you recommended next steps to improve
-- Provides tailored sleep tips based on your sleep type and patterns
-- Recommends sleep targets to reach
-- Shows how your sleep compares with both your average and the rest of the sleep population

- An in-app Personal Sleep Coach that monitors your sleep improvement on a weekly, monthly and over all basis provides:

-- Ability to tag issues and track moods to show you how external factors such as caffeine impact on your sleep and how sleep
affects your mood.
-- Motivational mobile coaching with interactive messages as you improve your sleep and reach your goals.
-- Social sharing to share your success and improvement with friends and family via Twitter and Facebook.

-- For $60 extra, a subscription upgrade, LARK Pro can be purchased for a richer set of tools to help you sleep better.

-- LARK also includes a silent alarm that wakes up only the person wearing LARK in a non-jarring, gentle way, without disturbing those around you.

-- The importance of sleep can often be underestimated, but sleep is the easiest way to improve health, happiness and overall performance. LARK helps you realize how critical sleep is by showing you how much it matters and how much it impacts your health and happiness.

-- LARK is currently available for $99 and can be purchased in stores nationwide at Apple Retail Stores, Wal-mart, Radio Shack, and select Targets and online at Amazon.

Julia Hu, Founder & CEO, LARK "We are excited to help our users improve their lives. LARK's Personal Sleep Coach is truly the next generation of personalized health. We are going beyond simple data tracking and giving meaning to your data. Some of the world's top sleep experts helped create LARK's software to give you a personalized sleep coach that is on your mobile phone, 24-7."

About LARK: Designed by the world's leading sleep experts, LARK brings cutting-edge sleep science to your wrist by analyzing your sleep patterns and providing thoughtful sleep aids for the whole family. Utilizing your personal sleep data, LARK's Personal Sleep Coach empowers you to sleep better in the easiest ways possible. Founded in 2010, LARK is based in Mountain View, Calif. To wake your potential, visit . For ongoing company and product updates, follow LARK on Twitter at or connect on Facebook at .

Don’t sleep for sleep’s sake. Sleep so you can improve what matters to you most: your health, happiness and performance. Every day, use the real-time feedback and tailored sleep plan from your Personal Sleep Coach and Silent Alarm Clock to improve your life.

The content provided in Lark Personal Sleep Coach is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

How to Sleep Easy with Sciatica Pain

Sciatica is the pain associated with the sciatic nerve that runs from your spinal cord through your hip bone down your legs to your feet. Your lower back pain can be caused by a herniated disk that applies constant pressure on your sciatic nerve. This pressure produces muscles spasms, numbness in legs and feet, a sharp stinging pain, tingling and sometimes loss of movement. Simple tasks from walking, sitting, standing and even sleeping can greatly be affected by these symptoms. Treatment for sciatica depends on the severity of the pain and its symptoms. If there is no disk or nerve degeneration or difficulty moving then more conservative, natural treatments are most effective.

According to sciatica research most people with sciatic pain find that the problem will go away naturally within six to twelve weeks. During this time, over-the-counter acedeminophin or aspirin will help ease the pain. Some apply ice packs over the affected are where the pain is the deepest to reduce the inflammation. Others alternate ice packs with heat therapy to find relief while anti-inflammatory prescription medication may be necessary if the pain proves too hard to manage.

[caption id="attachment_1690" align="alignright" width="240" caption="One avocado has enough potassium to help those with sciatica"][/caption]

Donald Lepore, N.D. who wrote the book The Ultimate Healing System stated that sciatica in the right leg is caused by a potassium deficiency. Some drugs like Metformin (Type II diabetes) and Lisimipril (high blood pressure) can cause a potassium deficiency then people get sciatica pain. Molasses, avocados, peanuts, potatoes, lima beans, apricots, bananas, potatoes and pears have potassium, but out of those foods one entire avocado can give sciatica relief in one hour for some people Other natural remedies include taking potassium with a B complex, using an Icy Hot spray or stick and take baths with Epsom and lavender. Some like very hot baths followed by a cold water sitz bath, while others take cold showers. One man described his condition after taking a cold shower that he had the first peaceful night of sleep in a long time. He felt no pain in his legs at all, no numbness, no prickly tingles so he continued his cold shower regimen for an additional three days with the same results and has now vowed never to take a hot shower again! A woman that has dealt with horrible sciatica pain with muscle spasms in her back tried many doctors and a chiropractor and after many modern therapeutic treatments (stretching exercises, pain medications, acupuncture and massage therapy) her pain continued. She hated taking prescription medication and looked for an alternative natural cure. She read up on how ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and decided to give it a try. She went straight to the source and ate slices of ginger throughout the day. After two days she started to feel better and by the third day her pain was almost gone.

[caption id="attachment_1688" align="alignright" width="294" caption="Ginger for Sciatica Pain"][/caption]

Another woman wrote that after trying ice packs, heating pads, ibuprofen, etc she elected to make ginger syrup and dried ginger slices. She found that ginger enhances the anti-inflammatory benefit from the ibuprofen so she doesn’t have to take as much to control her pain. She hopes to only take ginger and eliminate ibuprofen altogether. Her recipe called “Ginger Ale and It’s Candy” by Ming Tsai consists of:

• 2 cups ginger slices, peeled (1/8 inch thick)
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups water
• 1 quart soda water
• 1 lime cut in wedges
• 4 mint sprigs

Direction:s Mix ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a slow simmer. Reduce mixture by 50 percent until a syrupy consistency is reached. Keep in mind that the syrup will thicken as it cools. Strain warm syrup.

Allow to cool. While syrup is cooling, make ginger candy. Take ginger slices that have been drained out of the syrup and completely coat in sugar. Spread on sheet pan and slowly dry out in a 225-degree oven for 3 hours. Ginger slices should be dried but still chewy.

In a tall glass of ice, add mint sprig and a ratio of 1 part ginger syrup to 7 parts soda water. Squeeze lime wedge and add to drink. Use more syrup if desired. Stir and enjoy. Can also make drink with chilled soda water and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a tasty Ginger Ale Float.

While eating foods rich in potassium or trying some ginger slices it may be important to stretch every night before you go to bed to keep your muscles from tensing up during the night. Here are a couple stretches:

1.Sit on the floor. Cross on right leg over the other with the heel lined up with the knee of the left leg and then twist towards the right. Balance with your arms. Hold for a few seconds and then do it with the other leg.

2.Sit on the floor or in a chair. Clasp your hands over the right knee (leg is bent) and push against your hands and hold. Then put your hands on top of your bent knee and push up against your hands. Repeat with the other leg.

Many times natural home remedies just aren’t enough to alleviate the pain associated with sciatica. Many times sciatica pain is caused by an injury or another medical issue and is not a condition by itself. Physical Therapy proves beneficial to some sufferers. A medical professional should prescribe therapy. A professional physical therapist will avoid exercises that irritate the nerve and bring on attacks. Therapy that strengthens the muscles holding the spine in position promote good posture. Yoga, undertaken carefully, is beneficial for sciatica sufferers. Some yoga positions, such as forward folds or twisting, may exacerbate sciatica. The benefits of yoga include mental and physical balance, and many people find Yoga exercise offers permanent healing for sciatica.

You may consider trying acupuncture, where very slim needles will be applied to your skin. Believe it or not, many don't even feel these, and do find significant relief here, from lower back sciatica. Of course, you will want to be working with an experienced and licensed practitioner. The idea behind this practice is that your energy is unblocked and your health is thereby improved.

The content provided in How to sleep easy with sciatica pain is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cheap Christmas Sleep Gifts

The Christmas season is upon us and the rat race has begun from decorating, get-togethers, family fun and shopping, who has time to sleep! We crave sleep and we just don’t have time for it. 43% of Americans between the ages of 13-64 have reported that they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep during the week. If you or someone you know has run raged this holiday season and needs a good night’s sleep…get them the gift of sleep along with some Christmas sleep gifts. Sleep gift gadgets are helpful, but their effectiveness does not replace good sleep habits like; going to bed the same time every night, limiting caffeine and giving yourself (or them) some “me” time to relax at night. So, give yourself or your sweetie a night off, take a nice bath with lavender scented oil or curl up on the couch and read a good book. Some sleep related gadgets can help you to doze off. Here are a few ideas to promote sound sleep.

Let there be peace and quiet! In order to fall asleep easy some people need to eliminate noise either inside the house from a snoring partner or those neighbors who are always having a loud Christmas party. What are some gadgets that mask or reduce sound? WebMD suggests the following three items:

White noise machines and apps. Whether it’s the sounds of rain, the crackle of thunder, or the pounding of horse’s hooves, white noise can help you tune out the sounds that can disrupt sleep. “White noise is ideal to help block noise,” says Shelby Freedman Harris, Speed, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Harris says she prefers machines to apps because the noise on machines is gentler.

Music. Playing music that relaxes you may promote better sleep. Studies have found that music can improve sleep in elderly adults, people with schizophrenia, and young adults. Helene Emsellem, MD, director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Bethesda, Md., and author of Snooze or Lose: 10 No-War Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits, recommends creating a playlist on your MP3 player of soothing songs, be it hard rock, the blues or jazz -- whatever relaxes you.

Ear plugs. They’re cheap and easy, and they actually work, experts say. “I have many patients who use earplugs to block the noise of snoring bed partners,” Harris says. “Silicone earplugs are often better at blocking noise than the usual foam ones.”

Personally I love to fall asleep to a self-hypnotic relaxing CD that offers soothing hypnotic dialog that not only will reduce external sounds this CD: Daydreaming by the Sea: Guided Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief and Restful Sleep will keep your mind focused on every relaxing word and not your Christmas to-do-list. It also features four pleasant, effective relaxation techniques to calm the mind and body; relaxation breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, imagery guide and meditation.

What do you know about your sleep? There are gadgets on the market today that can tell you what sleep cycle you are in at any given time, monitor your quantity of sleep and can tell when it would be best to wake you up. Your sleep cycles run every seven hours, so you can get up when you are in a deep sleep. Waking up during a deep sleep when your body is restoring itself can leave you fighting afternoon sleepiness. Sleep monitors aren’t cheap this Zeo Mobile Sleep Manager runs around $100.00.

You can control the quantity and quality of sleep by going to bed and getting up at the same time. In fact if you train yourself to do exactly that you can learn to wake up when you need to without an alarm. But in the meantime if you or someone you know has a hard time waking up why not get an alarm that will get you out of bed to turn them off? I know what you are thinking…why not just put the alarm clock you have out of reach. Sure, but if you need to buy a novelty gift for the person who has everything a Flying Digital Alarm Clock maybe just the gift. When the alarm goes off, a helicopter flies into the air, carrying the key to turn off the alarm. The only way to silence the alarm is to get out of bed and find the key! The true late sleeper has finally met their match!

But if you or your sweetie needs an alarm clock with nature sounds and a light feature that mimics the sunrise a BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model with White Noise has the ability to set different dawn and dusk cycles of 15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes, adjustable display brightness, fade to nightlight, snooze feature and more. This model has a white noise option that can mask distracting sounds and lull you to sleep faster. It can cover up the sound of street traffic or a snoring roommate. The white noise can be programmed to fade out as the sunset light goes out, or stay on all night. Only down side it is a bit pricy, so I wouldn’t consider it a cheap gift at around $135.00.

Your bedroom environment is very important when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. I mentioned above taking a bath in lavender oil will help you to relax. A 2005 study at Wesleyan University did a study that determined smelling lavender helped people get better sleep. What can you get to lavender up your bedroom? Try a lavender scented eye pillow, candles or incense. If you don’t like lavender there are other scents commonly used to induce sleep including; Rose, Sandalwood, Cypress, Marjoram, Chamomile and Petitgrain (Petitgrain comes from the name 'small grains' due to the oil originally being distilled from the small fruits of the Orange as well as the Lemon and Mandarin trees). The scents can either be diluted into water and then vaporized into the air by means of a heat source usually a candle or light bulb, or they can be added with a “carrier oil” such as sweet almond, and then applied directly to the skin or added to a hot bath.

Scented eye pillows are cheap (around $9.00) and make a great stocking stuffer as does any eye mask. To suppress light at night aides the natural production of melatonin the hormone that is essential in controlling our sleep/wake cycle. Eye masks are great in eliminating external lights like those coming from electronics including your alarm clock. They are especially helpful when you travel and do not have control over external light sources.

One important note if buying anything for the bedroom like; sheets, pillowcases, comforters etc. keep the colors on the calming side such as soft blues, greens, purples and warm neutrals. If they like bright colors (red, orange or yellow) go for the light softer shades or pastels.

The content provided in Cheap Christmas Sleep Gifts is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sleep Easy with Exercise

A new study published in the Journal Mental Health and Physical Activity reported that those who exercised at a moderate to vigorous level for 50 minutes three times a week had a 65% chance for better sleep quantity than for those that exercised less. These people also stated they felt more alert all day and had fewer leg cramps while sleeping. There now is evidence that regular physical activity may be the next step to improve sleep without prescription sleep aides. Using exercise guidelines that have been used for cardiovascular health can make you stronger, improve your heart health and benefits your sleep. The study included health data from more than 3,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85. They wore a monitor on their right hip for a week and were questioned on their quality of their sleep as well as how easy it was to fall asleep.

No mention of what physical activities were used during the study. According to the Center of Decease Control and Prevention’s website in 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve your health–aerobic and muscle-strengthening.

Adults needs at least:

Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and
muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).


1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and
muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).


An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and
muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

10 minutes at a time is fine. We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but you don't have to do it all at once. Not only is it best to spread your activity out during the week, but you can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. As long as you're doing your activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Give it a try

Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week. This will give you a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

Don’t exercise right before bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising 2 to 3 hours before bed could interfere with your sleep. Instead, exercise in the morning or afternoon.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that morning exercise increased the sleep quality of cancer-free post-menopausal women, but when the women exercised closer to bedtime, there was no improvement in sleep quality.

In the study, over 170 women (aged 50 to 75) participated in either a moderately intense exercise program for a year or a low-intensity stretching program. Women who exercised at least 225 minutes a week in the morning reported better sleep than women who exercise 180 minutes or less in the morning. The opposite effect was noted among evening exercisers: Women who exercised only 180 minutes or less in the evening reported better sleep than those who exercised more in the evening.

Researchers believe that morning exercise may help to set a person’s circadian rhythms (body clock) to be awake during the day and asleep at night. Exercising at night may create the pattern that the body is too awake in the evening.

STOP THE SLEEP PILL INSANITY! QUIT Running to the medicine cabinet or to doctors for sleeping pills, aerobic exercise might be the best prescription. Scientists at Northwestern University say sleep problems affect millions of adults, who could likely improve their quality of sleep, vitality, and mood with regular aerobic exercise.

Researchers say the participants who exercised reported that their sleep quality improved, raising their diagnosis from poor to good sleeper. They also reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality, and less afternoon sleepiness. A drug-free treatment is best for insomnia because it eliminates the potential of sleep medications interacting with other drugs a person might be taking.

By improving a person’s sleep, you can improve their physical and mental health, more sleep means less stress and a better way to manage hypertension and diabetes. Exercise also is good for your metabolism and weight management.

Exercise to help sleep takes planning, but can greatly increase the chance of getting a good night's rest. An exercise program not only helps people sleep better, it also encourages greater waking efficiency and alertness. However, before starting exercise to sleep better, visit a doctor to develop an exercise program that works for you.

Adding exercise to sleep better can improve sleep quality. However, exercise to help sleep need not be a dramatic increase in activity. Simply raising the heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes a day, a few days a week may be enough exercise to improve sleep. For those who have trouble finding the time to exercise, breaking up workout times into 10-minute periods can make it easier to squeeze in exercise throughout the day.

In order to get the maximum benefit from sleep and exercise, aim for some type of cardiovascular exercise at least six days a week, such as:

• Jogging
• Jumping rope
• Kickboxing
• Riding a bike
• Walking.

Strength training is important for building muscle, increasing bone density and raising metabolism. Incorporate some light weight lifting into exercise programs to get the most benefit from the time spent exercising.

Another exercise to sleep better involves stretching throughout the day to relieve stiffness and tension. Yoga classes and physical therapists teach stretching techniques. Slow, gentle stretches at bedtime might also improve sleep and increase relaxation.

The content provided in Sleep Easy with Exercise is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Performance Sheets Sheex Review for Sleep Comfort Bedding

What are the best sheets on the market today? There have been many articles and advertisements lately on Sheex bedding. Sheex Inc. was founded by Susan Walvius and Michelle Marciniak, two former basketball coaches at the University of South Carolina. Susan Walvius graduated from Virginia Tech in 1986 a went on to coach Division I women’s college basketball for 21 years starting as an assistant coach at Bradley University and finished her career at the University of South Carolina in 2008. Michelle Marciniak graduated from the University of Tennessee, was an 11 year veteran of USA Basketball and was then the assistant coach for USC until 2008.

[caption id="attachment_1674" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sheex Sheet Sets"][/caption]

Susan thought of putting athletes in anything cotton, but has found the latest performance fabrics to be softer and breathable as well as moisture and temperature controlled. That’s why she found that introducing these fabrics to bedding made the perfect sense. Michelle and Susan came together to incorporate these fabrics into their luxurious bedding line. Their Sheex mission is to provide active lifestyle consumers with a superior alternative to traditional cotton bedding. Their next generation products are designed to offer the finest in sleep and comfort. Their sleep comfort bedding is infused with the finest materials and performance benefits that consumers appreciate.

As you know your body’s temperature and sleep quality are closely related. Your body experiences a slight drop in temperature right before you fall asleep. Traditional sheets trap heat that can disrupt sleep while the Sheex performance fabric breathes better allowing your body to cool off enabling and maintaining optimum conditions for sleep.

As your quality and quantity of sleep improves so does your heart rate, mood, weight loss, energy levels and athletic performance. So Sheex sheets improve your overall health and well-being so you can achieve your top performance each and every day. Sheex are made from the same high-tech material as most of the worlds advanced athletic apparel, doing for your sleep what it does for those on the court, field and track. Their website states the performance sheets are soft and silky, offer a four-way stretch for unrestricted movement, plus breathe 50% better and transfer heat two times more effectively than traditional bedding for a deeper, more restorative sleep. The fabric, 82% Microfiber Polyester, 18% Lycra Spandex, wick moisture away from your skin (wick or wicking refers to technical fabrics that move sweat away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric, where it evaporates.) to keep you dry and comfortable. Easy to care for, like athletic wear, Sheex are fading, wrinkle and shrink resistant. To wash, simply use cold water and choose a regular cycle with no bleach or fabric softener and no fabric dryer sheets. Tumble dry on low, and don't worry about ironing. They dry three times faster than traditional bedding, meaning less time in the dryer.

Due to their four-way stretch the fitted sheets stay in place on all mattress types. Twin mattress size dimensions are 39” x 75” and Twin Extra-Long 36” x 80” (most beds in college dorms are twin extra-long) sets come with one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and one standard pillow case. Full size bed measurements are 54” x 75” and dimensions of a Sheex Queen Set sheets are 60” x 80”. Full (Double) and Queen sheet sets fit mattresses up to 15” deep and include two standard pillowcases. How big is a king size bed verses a California king? King size is 76” x 80” and California king beds are 72” x 84” the set includes two king size pillowcases, 20” x 40”. The king flat: 108” x 102” and fits pillowtop and extra deep mattress up to 20 inches. Additional pillowcases are available separately. They come in Ivory, White, Pewter, Espresso, Khaki and Black. Mix and Match the colors. You can purchase Sheex direct from their website, other online retailers including Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond or in your local department store.

Can Sheex be the best sheets for you? Here are some Sheex sheet reviews from Amazon:

1) I purchased these sheets after reading many, many reviews. Most of them were positive, although few mentioned issues such as being too warm and being scratchy on your feet. I decided to invest the money and purchase them anyway...and I wish I hadn't. They are beautiful sheets and they feel very luxurious in your hands, but the issues that the few negative reviews mentioned were exactly what my problems were. The first night I used them I woke up with a huge sweat. I've never experienced that before with any sheet or comforter I've ever had. I don't really sleep cold, but I definitely have never woken up sweating. Also, the sheets were TERRIBLY scratchy on my feet. I take very good care of my skin - including exfoliating often and putting lotion on my feet every single night before bed - and these sheets made me feel like the skin on my feet was made of sandpaper. It bothered me so bad that I purchased a grinding stone and scrubbed my feet for 30 minutes - but it didn't help one single bit. I couldn't stand to move my feet at all with these sheets, and it drove me nuts.

On a more positive note, if you normally sleep very cold or are 100% positive that you have feet like a baby's bottom, you will probably really, really enjoy these sheets. I really wish I had liked them, and I really wish I

2) I have been sleeping on a set of white sheex for about three weeks. They feel a little cooler than cotton when I get into bed, but they do not build up or retain heat even after a few hours of reading. The fitted sheet has elastic all the way around the edge and the fabric stretches easily to fit my thicker than normal pillow top mattress. I have washed them four times in hot water with a high heat dryer cycle and there has been no loss in elasticity. I live in a desert climate but they do not build up static electricity, even fresh out of the dryer or when I sleep in a shirt made out of the same type of fabric. I use dryer sheets out of habit, but sheex don't retain fragrance like cotton and since the sheets are so soft to begin with, there's not much point. These sheets don't wrinkle at all and stretch to fit the mattress very snugly, making the bed look the same on wash day as when it was first made up.

The pillow cases are roomy and will stretch to fit pretty much any size pillow - this fabric is very, very elastic. If I were to spin the pillow over my head the pillow case would stretch to twice its length, but then snap back with no problems.

My only minor complaint is that, unlike cotton, the fabric sometimes snags on the sides of my feet where the skin is rough. Socks solved this. (or maybe a good pedicure) Overall, this is a good product for those who value quality sleep.

3) My husband was excited to try these sheets as he usually gets very warm at night. I too can sometimes get too warm at night so was interested to see how these would work for both of us.

-They are like soccer shirt material (if you like that).
-They seem to be made well, won't fall apart easily
-Have lots of stretch (great for tempurpedic beds)
-They seem to wick away warmth, the first night I felt cold
-I did get warm (but I did not sweat like cotton) the second night using these sheets
-My husband didn't notice enough of a difference to justify the price.

[caption id="attachment_1673" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Two Standard Sheex Pillowcases"][/caption]

-They are a strange heavy so they get caught up on you when moving
-Feel terrible on my feet, like I have sandpaper feet
-I think they smell terrible! I do have a sensitive nose so maybe not everyone will notice, but that polyester/spandex smell was gross to me.

Want to try Sheex for less before you buy a set of sheets? Purchase a set of king size pillowcases for $60.00 or a SHEEX Performance SLEEP-SAX for $80.00. Sheex Facebook page is also giving away a travel pillow for one lucky winner selected at random. You have to caption a photo of Michelle’s niece. But hurry it ends on 12/4/11. If you haven’t signed up at Bed Bath and Beyond you can receive a 20% discount on you first order that would give you $10.00 off a set of standard pillowcases.

The content provided in Performance Sheets Sheex Review for Sleep Comfort Bedding is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Best Sleep Gadget Gifts

Black Friday has come and gone and many of us are now feeling a little sleep deprived. Most of us will catch up on our lost sleep by the time the weekend is over, but some live with sleep deprivation daily. If you know someone that can’t sleep or shows symptoms of insomnia like lack of focus, irritability and/or slow motor function you can help them by giving the gift of sleep this Christmas. Here are some of the 2011 best sleep gadget gifts offered this year.

[caption id="attachment_1665" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Jawbone Armband Monitors Sleep and Exercise - Great Gift"][/caption]

UP by Jawbone is one of the hottest items selling this month. This product fits snugly over your wrist with a band of tiny sensors that monitors and records data on sleep and exercise. The information can be downloaded on iPhones and other compatible devices. The company states that their product can measure phases of sleep by using algorithms to generate a personal graph on how much deep, restorative sleep the user is getting. This toy for adults will keep track of every step, eating pattern and REM cycle for those that like to be aware of what’s going on with their bodies. The company says you can set an alarm that wakes you with a gentle vibration in a phase of sleep when you are likely to feel most refreshed, within 30 minutes before the time you set. The UP uses movement to measure exercise and sleep patterns, while allowing users to track eating habits with a photo journal. It's available here: Jawbone UP Band and at retailers including Best Buy, Apple and Target.

SleepTracker Pro Sleep Monitoring Watch is a similar high-tech sleep tracking device worn on the wrist that monitors sleep cycles. You can also program your desired wake-up time at the end of a sleep cycle when you will feel refreshed and rested opposed to waking during the middle of a cycle causing you to wake up groggy and fight afternoon sleepiness.

The Chillow Pillow is for those that suffer from night sweats or for those that need to cool down to fall asleep easy, like people living in warmer climates. Studies have shown that a cool brain sleeps better. This sleep gadget slips into your pillowcase for easy use. See Chillow Pillow for more information on this product.

BioBrite Sunrise Clock has a dawn lamp that helps you to fall asleep and wake you up. This SunRise Clock at Amazon is derived from medical research on light and human behavior. In the early morning, the biological clock is sensitive to low intensity light. So, waking to a slowly increasing light can result in a smoother, more natural transition to wakefulness. It features an audible back-up alarm, the ability to set dawn and dusk cycles of 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes, fade to nightlight, adjustable display brightness and more. If you know someone that travels over time zones or works the late night shift and needs something to regulate their internal sleep/wake cycle this light product may help. BioBrite Pearl with White Noise models can mask distracting sounds and lull you to sleep faster. It can cover up the sound of street traffic or a snoring roommate. The white noise can be programmed to fade out as the sunset light goes out, or stay on all night.

[caption id="attachment_1664" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Clocky Run and Hide Alarm Clock - Great Christmas Sleep Gift for kids and young adults. Especially heavy sleepers."][/caption]

Sleep software like Pzizz is a set of sleep inducing soundtracks to help the individual to fall asleep. The POWRNAPS Sleep System works to help you feel rested, relaxed and rejuvenated while easing tension and reducing stress and worry. The POWRCombo provides both the NAP26 and Easy2Sleep to help you achieve balance in your week. People who are in sleep debt, work irregular shifts or travel in different time zones will benefit from the POWRNAPS Sleep System Combo Pack.

Nanda White Clocky Run & Hide Alarm Clock w/ Wheels actually leaps off the night stand and rolls around on the floor while sounding an alarm or playing music. Clocky would be a great gift for waking heavy sleepers and for youths, teens and college kids. If rolling alarm clocks aren't your thing, there are always flying ones. When your alarm goes off, Flying Alarm Clock goes flying into the air. To turn off the alarm, you must physically retrieve the propeller piece, which can fly as high as nine feet in the air.

Sleepsonic Regular Size Speaker Pillow can be used with any portable MP3 player. It delivers clear sound straight to your ears and won't disturb your significant other. Also compatible with CD players and TVs, Sleepsonic users report benefits in the areas of tinnitus, insomnia and hypertension.

The Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask blocks out light and comes with a set of earplugs. See Amazon reviews here:Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask with Earplugs and Carry Pouch, Black

Got kids? Then take a look at this. The Cloud b Sleep Sheep Four Soothing Sounds From Nature will help your baby go to sleep and will make your travels a lot easier.

Jukusui-Kun Robotic Bear Pillow wants to help with snoring folks. Snoring may seem harmless, but it’s a serious health threat: Snoring and sleep apnea put your at risk for a slew of health ills ranging from metabolic syndrome to stroke. At 19th International Robot Show, Tokyo’s Waseda University recently unveiled a brand-new sleep gadget: a robotic teddy bear that touches you when you snore. The bear monitors decibel levels “raises a paw to tickle the face” when snoring gets too loud. Its name: Jukusui-kun, translated as “Deep sleep”. Besides that, the fingers of the person sleeping on the pillow will be connected to a saturation meter. Using the snoring volume and the saturation level as input, the pillow bear will correct your sleeping behavior by tickling your face. The aim is, of course, to get the person to move the position of the head as is demonstrated in the video below:

At this time, this is just a prototype and is not commercially available.

[caption id="attachment_1666" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Say "I Love You" pillowcases Great Gift for Long Distance Relationships"][/caption]

Not looking for a sleep gadget but a cute sleep gift for your loved one? Let your pillow talk be your pillow talk with these:BoldLoft "Say I Love You" Body Pillowcase-Christmas Gift Ideas for Couples,Romantic Christmas Gifts for Him or for Her,Cute Christmas Gifts. Whether you are together or a distance apart, they are perfect for reminding you both to say I love you each and every night and each and every day. They come in different sizes; standard or body pillow and with different sayings.  Check them out!

The content provided in 2011 Best Sleep Gadget Gifts is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Dont Worry Sleep Easy

Here is a little poem I have learned
About the folks that toss and turn
Don’t worry, sleep easy
In every life we have some trouble
Not sleeping will make it double
Don’t worry, sleep easy

[caption id="attachment_1660" align="alignright" width="271" caption="Life can't be all that gloomy, think of the things you are grateful for..well it tis the season."][/caption]

If you can’t get things out of your head
When you lie down and go to bed
Don’t worry, sleep easy
Think of things that bring you joy
Not of thoughts that can annoy
Don’t worry, sleep easy

Be like those that are so happy
And not like those that feel crappy
Don’t worry, sleep easy
Play some music ease your mind
Leave all your troubles far behind
Don’t worry, sleep easy

Running short of money
Hate fighting with your honey
Don’t worry, sleep easy
Cause when you worry
Your sleep will suffer
Daily life will be much tougher
So, don’t worry, sleep easy

This is a little poem I have learned
About the folks that toss and turn
Don’t worry, sleep easy
Listen to what I have to say
And keep your troubles far away
Cause when you worry
You will sleep a lot less
Life can be hard, I must confess
So don’t worry, sleep easy

[caption id="attachment_1659" align="alignright" width="294" caption="Don't Worry Sleep Easy - Feeling a little sleep deprived after Black Friday"][/caption]

Don’t worry it will soon past
Troubles never seem to really last
Don’t you worry, sleep easy
Whatever it is I know it can keep
Cause my dear, you need some sleep
So don’t worry, sleep easy

A Sleep Easy hopes that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and a successful Black Friday. Some of us are feeling a little sleep deprived from all their shopping, but luckily we have a long weekend to catch up on our sleep. The content provided in Don't Worry, Sleep Easy is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sleep Facts

The world record of no sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory lapses.

People can take cat naps with their eyes open (I have personally witnessed this and it is creepy), so without medical supervision it is really impossible to tell if someone is really awake or not.

[caption id="attachment_1654" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleep Facts - Do you feel tired? You could be even if you don't feel you are."][/caption]

If it takes you more than five minutes to fall asleep easy it means you are sleep deprived. Ideally it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep, you are tired enough to sleep deeply, yet don’t experience afternoon sleepiness.

Parents with new born babies will lose 400-750 hours of lost sleep in the first year. In fact, parents who lose sleep by children have a tendency to develop insomnia later in life. The best way to avoid this condition is to establish healthy sleep habits with their children when they are young.

REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and totals about two hours a night. The discovery of REM (rapid-eye-movement) wasn’t recorded until 1953, because scientists were concerned about wasting paper.

Dreams occur not only during REM sleep, but also in non-REM sleep. REM dreams are considered to be out of the ordinary often strange and a bit unusual to the dreamer, while non-REM dreams are more repetitive and a taken from daily events. If you are concerned with your work or family you may dream about it in your non-REM sleep phase. During an REM dream your eyes move, suggesting that the dream process is similar to watching a movie. Some scientists believe that our dreams are from long-term memory or that we dream about times in our lives that are worth remembering, while others think that we dream of things worth forgetting to eliminate interrelated memories that would otherwise clutter our mind. REM is crucial for cementing new information into long and short-term memory. Research suggests that it is during REM sleep that we file away everything we learn. While some dream specialist see the importance of dreams through dream interpretation, others feel dreams do not serve any purpose at all bur a by-product of sleep and consciousness.

REM sleep may help developing brains mature as premature babies are thought to have 75% REM sleep which is 10% more than full-term babies.

Moms don’t get enough sleep to stay mentally and physically energetic as your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night so your mind and body can repair and replenish themselves. Women who suffer from a sleep deficit not only feel sluggish but often suffer from depression.

In a 1998 study scientist found that by shining a bright light on the backs of human knees can reset the brains sleep/wake cycle. To this day, they have found no explanation why it works. The British Ministry of Defense researchers can reset soldier’s body clocks so they can go without sleep for up to 36 hours. Tiny optical fibers embedded in special glasses project a ring of bright while light around the soldier’s eyes, misleading them into believing they just woke up. When you are exposed to bright light, your serotonin increases, which helps keep you awake.

Visible light wavelengths affect our sleep. Blue light has a wavelength of 455-492 which means it has a higher frequency. So, blue light is continuously bombarding the eye, causing you to stay awake. Red light has a wavelength of 622-780 which has the opposite effect and helps you sleep. If your digital alarm clock emits blue or white it can disrupt your sleep cycle even if you aren’t fully awake. This light can turn off the production of melatonin which is a key sleep chemical.

If you stay up for seventeen hours it will lead to a decrease in performance equal to a blood alcohol level of .05%. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident have all be suspect of human error caused by sleep deprivation. Fatigue has been reported in one of six fatal road accidents.

If you are planning on a night on the town, get plenty of rest first. Five nights of sleeping less than 7 hours can cause sleep deprivation that lessens your tolerance for alcohol. Three drinks will have the same effect as six would if you had gotten enough rest. Alcohol is not a sleep aid. It might help you to get to sleep easy, but you will lose restful deep sleep and you won’t dream much.

Not only exposure to light during the night, but exposure to noise can also be a great sleep stealer. Unfamiliar and familiar noise heard during the first two hours and the last two hours of sleep have an effect on your sleep cycle even if you do not wake up.

Your natural alarm clock that wakes you up when you need to is caused by a stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. What’s even more interesting is that we have conscious control over this hormone. When adrenocorticotropin was studied in humans, participants who were told they would be woken at an early time had higher levels of this hormone in comparison to those who had no anticipation of waking. Therefore, simply telling yourself you need to wake up early might just be enough to prime your internal alarm.

Sleeping pills not only suppress REM sleep but if you suffer from insomnia caused by losing a loved one, can disrupt the grieving process.

Another sleep stealer is room temperature, your body’s temperature and the brain’s sleep/wake cycle are closely linked. Hot summer nights cause restless sleep because in order to fall asleep we must cool off. Best sleep temperature ranges between 65 and 69 degrees and possibly cooler if suffering from night sweats caused by menopause or cancer treatments.

[caption id="attachment_1656" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Snoring causing daytime sleepiness? Might be sleep apnea."][/caption]

Do you snore? 10% of snorers have sleep apnea a disorder that causes the individual to stop breathing for a short period of time up to 300 times a night. Sleep apnea is associated with heart attacks and stroke. If not related to sleep apnea, snoring occurs only during non-REM sleep. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. So how do you tell the difference between regular snoring and a more serious case of sleep apnea? The biggest telltale sign is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and afternoon sleepiness during the day. It is very important to contact your doctor if you or your sleep partner constantly snores, has pauses in breathing or gasps for breath while sleeping.

Teenagers need as much sleep as small children, about 10 hours, while those over 65 need at least 6 hours (with a good afternoon nap, I’d say :) ) An average adult 25-55 7-8 hours should be enough. 18-24 year olds who don’t get enough sleep (8-10 hrs) suffer from impaired performance more than older adults. Women need up to an hour of extra sleep compared to men and according to some studies are more prone to depression, if they don’t get it.

Feeling tired? Did you know after a few days of sleep deprivation you aren’t aware of feeling tired in spite of lower levels of alertness, moodiness or decreased physical performance. Experts believe that one of the most alluring sleep stealers is the internet. So, turn off your computer, put down that video game controller and go get a good night’s sleep.

The content provided in Sleep Facts is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Milwaukee Ad States Dangers of CoSleeping

In a recent ad campaign in Milwaukee that shows two individual posters of babies (one white, one black) lying bed next to a large knife stating that “YOUR BABY SLEEPING NEXT TO YOU CAN BE JUST AS DANGEROUS. The second leading cause of infant mortality in Milwaukee is SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) which is often the result of unsafe sleep. The Department of Health’s website reports that unsafe sleep includes co-sleeping or sharing the bed with their parents.

[caption id="attachment_1647" align="aligncenter" width="402" caption="Milwaukee's Dangers of Co-Sleeping Ad"][/caption]

The Journal Sentinel said Milwaukee has an infant mortality crisis and that 30 developed and under developed countries have better infant death rates. In 2009, Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate was 10.4 deaths for every 1000 live births and the racial breakdown, was 5.4 for whites and 14.1 for blacks, according to the city’s health department. The city has set a goal to reduce the infant mortality rate for blacks by 15% and the overall rate by 10% by the year of 2017.

Comments from pro co-sleeping parents have had negative response to the ads stating that sleeping with children if done safely can be harmless, even beneficial according to Ask Dr., a parenting website. Milwaukee ran a similar ad a year and a half ago and received a positive result as parents called the Health Department to receive a free Pack ‘N Play. The Mayor, Tom Barrett said he will take the heat for the ads because some zip codes in Milwaukee have infant mortality rates higher than Third World countries and that’s unacceptable. He continued to state that if the ads make people uncomfortable, it will be a lot less uncomfortable than having a baby die next to them from co-sleeping, a cause of death that is so preventable.

[caption id="attachment_1649" align="alignright" width="277" caption="Co-Sleeping Good or Bad for Children?"][/caption]

What do you think? Dr. Sears has written two books on the subject, The Baby Sleep Book and SIDS: A Parent's Guide to Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He and his wife have co-slept with every one of their eight babies and he has advocated the practice throughout his 35 years of being a pediatrician. He’s come to the conclusion that co-sleeping, if practiced wisely and safely, can actually lower the risk of SIDS, and here's why:

Co-sleeping helps your baby rouse himself: New research has shown that in most cases, SIDS is caused by a baby's inability to arouse himself from sleep. Normally, when something occurs that threatens your baby's wellbeing, such as difficulty breathing, he will automatically wake up. For reasons that are still unknown, in some babies, this protective mechanism does not go off, and so these babies are more at risk for SIDS.

This is where the positive aspects of co-sleeping come in. Dr. James McKenna, director of the Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, has conducted numerous studies of mothers and babies who were co-sleeping and night nursing. His group of researchers found that mom and baby share similar patterns of sleep arousals, what we call "nighttime harmony." They drifted in and out of sleep stages in a similar, but not always identical, pattern. Some SIDS researchers believe that this is a factor in baby's protective arousal mechanism. This harmony may also be related to a psychological synchronicity between co-sleeping mothers and their babies: The co-sleeping mom is more likely to subconsciously sense if her baby's health is in danger and wake up.

Researchers also believe that the carbon dioxide you exhale when you sleep close to your baby may help stimulate her breathing. Plus, co-sleeping infants tend to automatically sleep on their back, in order to have easier access to nighttime feedings. Back sleeping has proved to be one of the top risk-reducers for SIDS. Meanwhile, babies who sleep separately from their moms have been shown to experience a decrease in the amount of REM sleep, the state of sleep in which protective arousal is the most likely to occur.

Co-sleeping is a common practice worldwide: The rate of SIDS is lowest in cultures that traditionally share sleep, such as Asian. While there could be many other factors contributing to the lower incidence of SIDS in these cultures, all the population studies I've seen have come to the same conclusion: Safe co-sleeping lowers the SIDS risk.

Co-sleeping warnings are based on imprecise science: I began my pediatric career in academic medicine and teaching in university hospitals. At that time, I learned an important lesson about scientific research: When the conclusions of a scientific study and common sense don't match, suspect faulty science. Both Dr. McKenna's writings and my two books mentioned above contain information that proves the original studies that triggered the "alarm" about co-sleeping were flawed.

In addition, scientists have yet to come to a universal agreement on the definition of co-sleeping. I've always considered co-sleeping to mean bed-sharing or sleeping within arm's reach of mother; however, it can also be defined as simply being close to mom or sleeping in the parents' bedroom. No matter your interpretation, you will find general agreement among all SIDS researchers, pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics that sleeping in the same room with parents lowers the risk of SIDS.

Co-sleeping is as safe as the conditions you practice: For obvious reasons, parents under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications that interfere with normal sleep patterns should never have their baby in their bed. Other safeguards to employ:

• Sleep in a king-size bed if possible, to give everybody enough room.

• Be sure there are no wide crevices between the mattress and the guardrail or headboard that your baby's head could sink into.

• Never allow infants to sleep in the same bed with siblings or caregivers - they may not have the same awareness of a baby's presence that parents do.

• Don't fall asleep with your baby on a surface that isn't firm, such as a couch or a beanbag chair; she could suffocate by getting wedged between the cushions.

Many parents have resolved co-sleeping worries by using a bedside co-sleeper: a crib-like bed that attaches securely to the side of your mattress. This allows you to have your own sleeping space on your bed, while your baby sleeps within arm's reach for easy nursing and comforting.

References: and

The content provided in Milwaukee Ad State Danger of Co-Sleeping is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Facts about What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome RLS

Here are some basic facts about what causes restless legs syndrome. What is restless legs syndrome? Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic disorder characterized by throbbing, creeping and painful sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. The sensations are typically worse during periods of inactivity and usually strongest at night. The symptoms are improved with activity. For this reason, people with RLS generally have insomnia, which may be severe. There are no known cures for restless leg syndrome, but some individuals have experienced a temporary remission.

[caption id="attachment_1640" align="alignright" width="205" caption="What causes restless legs syndrome?"][/caption]

About 3% of adults in the United States are thought to have moderate to severe form of RLS, while an additional 5% have a milder case. The one million children who suffer from RLS have been misdiagnosed with having growing pains. In adults RLS has been misdiagnosed as stress or nervousness, but this syndrome isn’t a psychiatric condition. One cause of restless leg syndrome is that it is a side effect from taking allergy, anti-psychotic or anti-nausea medicine. Other causes of restless leg syndrome could be the result of an iron deficiency or just by being pregnant. New research has associated restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is related to increased estrogen levels. This link may better help researchers find better treatments for RLS in years to come. Many people with RLS have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) that is related to a motor disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive, jerking movements that interrupt sleep.

People with restless legs syndrome symptoms find it difficult to fall asleep easy at night, causing insomnia. Symptoms are known to worsen as the day goes on especially if they are lying down or sitting for a period of time. Because of the irresistible urge to move their legs sufferers find temporary relief by getting up and moving about.

Some restless leg syndrome remedies include; reducing or eliminating caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, include moderate exercise program in your daily routine, leg messages and a warm bath. For extreme cases some drugs are available for temporary relief of RLS symptoms, but experts agree that long-term prescription drug use can aggravate symptoms, interact with other medications or health issues and cause a dependency in the long run.

What are the risk factors that increase your chance of getting RLS…RLS has been linked genetically and usually runs in families, some women experience restless leg syndrome in pregnancy (but symptoms usually disappear after they give birth), low levels of iron, Northern European descendant, diabetes, chronic kidney failure, chronic varicose veins, radiculopathy, anemia, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain medications, and drug withdrawal.

Symptoms may include: Feelings of tingling, creeping, pulling, prickling, "pins and needles," or pain in the legs at rest, a strong urge to move, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and hypersomnia. Symptoms can begin at any age but are more common for those that are older than 60. For those over the age of 60 an underlying condition is usually associated with their RLS such as heart disease, impotency in men and damage to the nervous system. Their doctor will ask them about their symptoms and medical history as well as perform a neurologic and physical exam. There is no specific test that will diagnosis RLS but many tests check for conditions that trigger RLS including blood work for low levels of iron, electromyography (EMG) to study leg muscles and a sleep study to monitor leg activity during sleep. There is no cure for restless leg syndrome the doctors treat the symptoms according to severity of the condition.

Treatment for mild cases of RLS may include: leg massage, heating pads or ice packs, hot bath, supplements of vitamins B, C, E, foliate or magnesium, keeping a sleep routine and avoiding medications that trigger RLS. Sometime treatment of the underlying condition will ease or reduce RLS symptoms; like an iron supplement for an iron deficiency, caused by anemia or not.

RLS treatment for severe cases include benzodiazepines, gabapentin and dopaminergic agents. READ more about benzodiazepines and gabapentin here: MYGABA Gabapentin or Benzodiazepine or GABA Supplement. Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation is sometimes used as a treatment of restless leg syndrome that is applied right before bedtime to reduce leg jerking.

[caption id="attachment_1641" align="alignright" width="186" caption="Restless leg syndrome symptom: Legs nerves on Pins and Needles"][/caption]

Natural remedies for restless legs syndrome include; reducing or eliminating foods, beverages and supplements that stimulate the body such as cola beverages, chocolate, wine, St. John’s wort, sexually stimulating herbs and especially over-the-counter cold medications.

Exercise or walk daily for at least an hour. Try valerian or a magnesium supplement to improve the quality of sleep. Massage therapy or acupuncture could benefit as well as weight loss.

Some people claim that vitamin B may reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of night time leg cramps, but more research is needed to determine whether B vitamins really work. B vitamin supplements are best taken in the early part of the day in a low dose. High doses of B vitamins could cause insomnia. Consult with your doctor before taking any vitamins, minerals or supplements as they may interfere with other medication or medical conditions. We at A Sleep easy don’t have all the answers about RLS, because healthcare professionals don’t have all the answers either. I just hope this article has been informative and maybe will at least offer some ideas or questions you can bring up with your physician in determining the best treatment for your RLS.

The content provided in Facts about What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome RLS is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

When purchasing a supplement on line it is recommended that you do not solely rely on the information presented. The information and statements regarding their products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Therefore, they (the online distributor) and assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements made about the products.

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