Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder RBD

Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder RBD is a parasomnia that causes abnormal behavior during the rapid eye movement sleep phase (REM). Wikipedia defined a parasomnia that is categorized as a sleep disorder involving abnormal and unnatural movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions and dreams that occur while falling asleep easy, sleeping, between sleep stages (NREM or REM), or during arousal from sleep.

[caption id="attachment_924" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder RBD - Dream Enacting"][/caption]

RBD trait is the loss of muscle atonia during REM the sleep stage when a person dreams. Atonia is described as the lack of normal tone or strength of the muscles. This loss of motor function can lead to anywhere from limbs twitching to violent movements in which the person seems to be acting out their dream. Dream enacting can include talking, yelling, punching, kicking, sitting, getting out of bed, arm flailing and grabbing. The cause of RBD is unknown, although the disorder may be associated with degenerative neurological conditions such as; Parkinson disease, multisystem atrophy, diffuse Lewy body dementia and Shy-Drager syndrome. 45% of the cases of RBD symptoms are triggered from alcohol/drug withdrawals or adverse reactions to side effects.

Lewy body dementia, the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease, causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. A person with Lewy body dementia may show signs of significant fluctuations in alertness and attention, which may include daytime drowsiness or periods of staring into space. And, like Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia can result in rigid muscles, slowed movement and tremors. Multi-Symptom Atrophy or Shy-Drager syndrome is a rare condition that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. However, these patients have more widespread damage to the part of the nervous system that controls important functions such as heart rate, blood pressure sweating and when autonomic failure predominates.

RBD can be treated with various medications with depend on the symptoms involved. Clonazepam has a 90% success rate that works to suppress muscle activity. Melatonin supplements have be known be recommended by doctors as a natural alternative. For those suffering from Parkinsons and RBD the drug Levodopa has been prescribed. Also Pramipexole is another popular drug for treatment.

Often RBD episodes include falling or getting out of bed, so it is very important to protect them from injury and providing a safe sleep environment. Remove all potentially dangerous object from their bedroom, put bed rails up or place a mattress or cushion on the floor next to the bed, if possible, have the person sleep on the ground floor and place locks on all doors and sleep partner should sleep elsewhere until symptoms are under control.

In conclusion, your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study as other sleep disorders can pose as RBD symptoms. These symptoms called pseudo-RBD which caused by obstructive sleep apena OSA, as a person with OSA can act out their dreams. Thus a monitored sleep study will determine if it is actually RBD or the pseudo-RBD OSA. The test will also eliminate the chance the patient is having nocturnal seizures. Note: Not everyone with RBD gets Parkinson’s disease or another degenerative neurological condition and RBD is treatable, so if you or someone you know is suffering from RBD, see a physician or a sleep specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The content provided in Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder RBD 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.

[caption id="attachment_923" align="alignright" width="300" caption="RBD - Growing Pains (Favorite Picture of Caitlyn, 1 year)"][/caption]

PS. My granddaughter, Caitlyn (6 years), often yells and thrashes her arms and legs during the night. RBD is known to happen at any age but mostly affects men over the age of 50. Children on the other hand can have similar symptoms of RBD like confusional arousals, sleepwalking, night terrors and even growing pains. Confusional arousals cause the affected person to cry out or thrash around in bed. Sometimes this condition is referred to as sleep drunkenness because the affected person reacts very slowly to stimulation or has a hard time understanding what is happening around them. Attempts to calm the person can go unnoticed because it is very hard to wake a person in one of these states. These events can last up to half an hour. After the arousal is over, the affected person wakes very briefly, calms and returns to sleep. Most people who have one of these events have no memory of it the next day. Although Caitlyn never remembers her nighttime episode she contributes her symptoms to growing pains. Growing pains typically occur between the ages of 3-12 and affect boys more than girls. These muscle aches that children experience in their legs commonly occur during growth spurts and cease when they are in their late teens. The pain usually happens late in the day and during the night.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Narcolepsy is a Daytime Sleep Disorder

What is narcolepsy? According to WebMD, narcolepsy is a daytime sleep disorder which neurologically affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. In other words, people experience uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep easy during the day, anytime of day. Typically when we fall asleep it takes about ninety minutes for rapid eye movement sleep (REM), narcoleptics REM sleep occurs right away. Researchers have discovered irregularities in various parts of the brain involved in regulating REM sleep patterns. These irregularities apparently contribute to the occurrence of narcoleptic symptoms. Experts believe there are many factors causing narcolepsy that act together causing neurological dysfunction and REM sleep disturbances.

[caption id="attachment_917" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Narcolepsy a Daytime Sleep Disorder - Fall asleep easy anytime"][/caption]

The cause of narcolepsy is not known; however, scientists have made progress toward identifying genes strongly associated with the disorder that control the production of chemicals in the brain that may control our sleep/wake cycles. Some experts think narcolepsy may be due to a deficiency in the production of a chemical called hypocretin by the brain. Hypocretin neurons strongly stimulate various brain nuclei with important roles in wakefulness including the dopamine, norepinephrine, histamine and acetylcholine systems and appear to play an important role in stabilizing sleep/wake cycles. Narcoleptics also exhibit a specific genetic mutation in the T-cell receptor alpha locus. In conjunction, these genetic irregularities cause the autoimmune system to attack and kill the critical hypocretin neurons. Therefore, the absence of hypocretin-producing neurons in narcoleptics may be the result of an autoimmune disorder. They don’t know what triggers this cell destruction but it is hypothesized that it may be a viral infection.

Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can become happen at any age. In many cases, narcolepsy is undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. What are narcolepsy symptoms? Excessive daytime sleepiness or what is known as EDS can interfere with normal daily activities causing lack of energy, mental focus and exhaustion. Cataplexy a narcoleptic symptom defined as a sudden loss of muscle tone which leads to feelings of weakness or a loss of voluntary muscle control. Symptoms range from slurred speech to total body collapse depending on the muscles involved and usually triggered by an emotional response such as; anger, laughter or surprise. Hypnagogic hallucinations are brought on when the person is falling asleep and hypnopompic hallucinations occur when they are waking up. These hallucinations are delusional experiences that are quite vivid and often very frightening. Mostly visual, but sometimes other senses may be involved. Sleep paralysis is the temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. These episodes can last few seconds to several minutes.

If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms they should seek medical care. Your doctor will give you/them a physical exam and medical history to determine a proper diagnosis of narcolepsy. However, none of the major symptoms is exclusive to narcolepsy as they may be signs of other sleep disorders. Several specialized tests including those performed at a sleep clinic are recommended before a narcolepsy diagnosis. There is a blood test called HLA-DQB1*0602, which is usually positive in patients with clear-cut narcolepsy with cataplexy but this only shows that the disorder is probably an autoimmune disorder. And many people are positive for this test that never develops narcolepsy. It is not a test that is clinically very useful and is generally used only in research. Two tests that are essential in the diagnosis of narcolepsy are the polysomnogram (PSG) and the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) both are performed in a sleep clinic. The PSG is an overnight test that monitors a patient while they sleep for irregularities in their sleep cycle. This can eliminate symptom result from another sleep disorder like sleep apnea. The MSLT is performed during the day and requires the individual to take four or five short naps, two hours apart. This test measures the person’s tendency to fall asleep easy and to determine whether remote factors of REM sleep interfere during waking hours.

Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, the most disabling symptoms of the disorder ED and abnormal REM sleep, such as cataplexy can be controlled in most people with drug treatment. Sleepiness is treated with amphetamine-like stimulants while the symptoms of abnormal REM sleep are treated using antidepressant drugs.

There has recently been a new medication approved for those who suffer from narcolepsy with cataplexy. This drug, called Xyrem, helps people with narcolepsy get a better night's sleep, allowing them to be less sleepy during the day. For daytime sleepiness, the drug modafinil, which is a wake-promoting agent that is far gentler with fewer side effects than the traditional amphetamines that were used for years. The newest drug to treat narcolepsy is sodium oxybate, which is a strong sedative that is used to consolidate sleep and help narcoleptic patients achieve more deep sleep.

Lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, heavy meals, regulating sleep schedules, scheduling 10-20 minute daytime power naps and establishing a normal exercise and meal schedule may also help to reduce symptoms.

[caption id="attachment_918" align="alignright" width="314" caption="Narcolepsy a Daytime Sleep Disorder - What is Narcolepsy?"][/caption]

In the past, many people with narcolepsy had symptoms for years before they got an accurate diagnosis. Often, they were told that they were lazy and unmotivated. Undiagnosed narcolepsy can have devastating effects on daytime activities such as work or schooling. Sometimes it was misdiagnosed as depression, drug abuse or, when hallucinations were reported, schizophrenia. Many patients with a clear history of cataplexy who were told they had seizure disorders or syncopal (fainting) episodes.

The good news is that narcolepsy is better recognized now by general practitioners. If you feel you are someone you know is afflicted with this disorder contact a physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. The content provided in Narcolepsy is a Daytime Sleep Disorder 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, February 20, 2011

Sleep Easy Beauty Secrets While Getting More ZZZs

“I need to get my beauty sleep” is a common saying, but does it have any truth to it? Dr. Michael Breus author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep tells us how to use the five senses to create the idyllic sleep environment and get the quality and quantity of zzzs you need. Here is my rendition of some of his sleep easy beauty secrets while getting more zzzs:

[caption id="attachment_912" align="aligncenter" width="567" caption="Sleep Easy Beauty Secrets While Getting More ZZZs - Beauty Sleep"][/caption]

Sight: I’ve discussed the reasoning behind how light affects our biological clock as it manages our sleep/wake cycle. Making sure windows are covered with blinds, curtains or black out shades that reduce sun or street light from coming through your window. When traveling and can’t control the amount of light in your hotel room an eye mask not only does the trick, it is very affordable.

Sound: Hearing sounds can either disturb or sooth your sleep. While noisy neighbors, barking dogs or heavy traffic can wake you from a deep sleep, listening to nature sounds, white noise and easy listening music will not only block out distracting noise, but can lull you to sleep. When traveling you can take your favorite sleep music on your Mp3 player, turn on a fan or wear ear plugs to eliminate external noises.

Touch: Making sure your bed is cozy affects your ability to get better zzzs. I just purchased what I consider the best pillow. I not only have it at home, but since I travel a lot I take one with me. Hotel pillows come in all sizes and fillers, while some are too hard, I have discovered that the new pillows are much smaller in size. What is up with that? Since we use our pillow on average (if we sleep 8 hours a night) around 2,920 hours a year, it is imperative to have one that suits your needs. My favorite pillow is the Home Classics two-in-one pillow which features a molded memory foam side and a plush microfiber side to give you double the softness and support. Ideal for all sleepers (side, stomach and back) from Kohl’s on sale for 44.99. Serta 2-in-1 Memory Foam Pillow, which can be purchased on for 34.82.

Bedding is just as important as a pillow, and Dr. Breus explains the thread count myth (the higher the tread count the higher the comfort and durability). According to him, it is impossible to get more than 500 threads in a square inch of fabric and anything above 400 you won’t be able to tell the difference. There are many fabrics that are used today; cotton, polyester, blends, satin, silk, cashmere and flannel. The best, per Dr. Breus, are wicking sheets they are sateen sheets, a cotton/silk blend, that feel great and last. Moisture wicking sheets by Wildblue tout that theirs are great for those suffering from night sweats due to their Heat Release Technology. I found a Wildblue King Size set (new) on eBay for $144.99 and Queen $129.99, both made of a cotton/poly blend.

Smell: Research has shown that Aromatherapy allows the body to relax enough to go to sleep. Lavender which decreases heart rate and blood pressure also shortens the time to fall asleep, reduces the severity of insomnia and provide a sense of calmness or as Korean researches put it, self satisfaction. Lavender can increase deep sleep which in turn your body produces more growth hormones which is very important for weight loss and looking/feeling younger. Lavender can be purchase in many forms; spray (spray on bedding), dried to fill pillow or an eye mask, oils for bath or reed diffuser and candles.

Taste: Eating right not only helps control our weight it also is a factor when it comes to our quality and quantity of a good night’s sleep. Studies have proven that some foods promote sleep such as; tuna, halibut, turkey, pumpkin, avocados, eggs, nuts, oats, bananas and milk. These foods contain healthy vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and the amino acid tryptophan which causes us to become drowsy. A good rule of thumb is to eat your dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime and refrain from eating anything hot and spicy. If you like to have that midnight snack eat light and food rich in tryptophan. Avoid caffeinated foods, beverages and medications prior to bedtime. If you have trouble falling asleep it might be advised to cut caffeine at least 6 hours before bed or altogether, as caffeine can stay in your system up to 14 hours. Remember that nicotine is also a stimulant and alcohol even though a depressant which can help you to fall asleep once the affects wear off you will wake up during the night. Dr. Breus’s advice drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to reduce its effect.

More information see: Sleep Easy Tips and Techniques to Get More ZZZs

The content provided in Sleep Easy Beauty Secrets While Getting More ZZZs 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, February 19, 2011

Sleep Easy Tips and Techniques to Get More ZZZs

What are some the tell tale signs you are not getting enough sleep at night? Do you lay awake in bed more than 30 minutes? Do you get up during the night or wake up early in the morning? If you wake up, can you fall back to sleep easily? Are you tired during the day? Do you wake up refreshed or still sleepy? These are all symptoms of insomnia and you are suffering from sleep deprivation. Here are some sleep easy tips and techniques to get more zzz’s.

[caption id="attachment_903" align="alignright" width="324" caption="Sleep Easy Tips and Techniques to Get More ZZZs - Sleep Deprivation"][/caption]

Sleep deprivation causes physical and mental health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and depression, so it is imperative to get the required sleep you need to maintain good health. Even an occasional night of getting six hours or less can make your daily life stressful causing lack of concentration, mental focus and delayed physical reaction. The result can bring about unfulfilled daily tasks, play and part in making mistakes, create tense relationship issues and make it harder to operate heavy machinery.

What is YOUR required amount of sleep? Sleep varies per individual as you may feel refreshed after seven hours of sleep, others may need only six or as much as nine. So, if you get seven hours of sleep and have trouble staying awake during the day….YOU aren’t getting enough sleep. Other sleep deprived symptoms are a tendency to be short-tempered with family, friends and co-workers and struggle with short-term memory. Some people with medical issues like; lupus, fibromyalgia or epilepsy may require more sleep and they can’t, because of their medications; such as prednisone which has side effects that may cause them not to be able to get the sleep they need.

Besides medications there are other sleep stealers that can contribute to your sleep deprivation. Shift work, jet lag, stress and pain associated with RLS, PMS or night sweats are a few. Being overweight can also be a factor when it comes to sleep loss as it may increase the chance for sleep apnea a condition when you snore and/or stop breathing due to a constrictive airway passage. External factors that can rob you of your sleep are; irregular sleep schedules, caffeine, too much light or noise in your bedroom and working out too late at night.

External factors can be modified or alleviated with a few lifestyle changes; avoid caffeine after dinner, exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime, darken your bedroom with black out curtains, blinds or use an eye mask, block out uncontrollable noises with a fan, white noise machine or ear plugs, limit your naps to 20 minute power naps and take them before 4pm, stick to a sleep schedule even on the weekends and if you can’t sleep because of your stress…get up and write it down. Sometimes by getting it out of your head and onto paper can help you relax enough to fall asleep.

If you are the type of person that needs a snack before bedtime remember that while you don’t want to go to bed hungry you don’t want to go to bed with a too full tummy also. Refrain from eating a large meal (and/or hot spicy meal) too close to bedtime as this may result in indigestion, heartburn and/or acid reflux. A light snack consisting of foods that are full of tryptophan an amino acid that causes lethargy can actually act as a sleep aid. Try a slice of turkey, a bowl of oat cereal or a glass of warm milk.

Sometimes helping your mind and body to relax before your bedtime can help you to fall asleep faster. Taking a relaxing warm bath can make you feel tired, but remember if the bath water is too hot you will increase your internal body temperature and stimulate you enough to make it harder for you to fall asleep. Although your doctor may recommend a prescription sleep aid, I recommend that you try a natural herbal supplement first. Prescription drugs have side effects and can be addictive. There are many sleep aid supplements on the market today like; Valerian, melatonin, passionflower extract, hops, GABA, Kava Kava and catnip. You can try them alone or in combination. Chamomile and lavender are also herbs that help induce sleep. You can purchase chamomile in a tea and lavender is available as oil for bath, dried in pillows or candles for aromatherapy.

[caption id="attachment_904" align="alignright" width="382" caption="Sleep Easy Tips and Techniques to Get More ZZZs - Snoring a sign of Sleep Apnea"][/caption]

If you feel you have chronic insomnia or the inability to sleep longer than a week it may be time to talk to your doctor. A good practice for determining the cause of your insomnia is keeping a sleep journal. A sleep journal should consist of at least two weeks of information including how long you sleep at night, how you feel the next day and if you wake up periodically during the night. Your doctor can use the information to determine the cause of your insomnia and may recommend a sleep clinic to monitor your sleep pattern and diagnose if you are suffering from sleep apnea. If your medication is causing your sleep problems, he may change your prescription or recommend that you take it earlier in the day. You may also see if you are deficient in magnesium, a magnesium sleep deficiency causes people to wake up frequently during the night. Other health concerns due to a magnesium deficiency are; constipation, anxiety, irritability, and pain to name a few. For more information see: magnesium sleep

The content provided in Sleep Easy Tips and Techniques to Get More ZZZs 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, February 13, 2011

Sleep Easy without Night Terrors

CNN recently had an article about night terrors written by Lisa Shives, MD the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, IL. She explains that experts don’t know what causes night terrors, but they are classified among arousal disorders or conditions in which someone is partially awake. The children may have their eyes open but they do not respond to external sounds or know that you are close by. They may scream, kick, panic, sleep walk, thrash, mumble or even think objects or persons are in their room scaring them. Night terrors can occur after two hours of sleep, can last from 10-30 minutes and the child often doesn't remember the episode the next morning. Helping your child sleep easy without night terrors can be difficult especially if your child can not be fully awakened to comfort them.  What can be done?

[caption id="attachment_894" align="alignright" width="222" caption="Sleep Easy without Night Terrors or Nightmares"][/caption]

If your child will not wake up, try not to do so. Shaking and shouting make cause them to become more upset. If they do respond to you, hold them until they feel better. Turn on a night light if they feel someone or something is in their room so they can feel safe and secure. Protect them against injury if they sleep walk, so they don’t fall down stairs or run into furniture. Sometimes night terrors are triggered when the child is over tired. Make sure they adhere to a regular bedtime schedule so they get enough sleep. Children are born with a polyphasic or multiphasic sleep pattern that does not develop into an adult-like monophasic sleep pattern for a number of years. Infants need approximately 16 hours per day while a typical five year old child needs up to 12-13 hours of sleep that is usually broken into a biphasic sleep routine of 8-9 hours at night with a 2-3 hour nap. It isn’t until they are 17 years old when they full adjust to an 8 hour sleep schedule or monophasic sleep pattern. Thus a normal range of sleep duration can vary in children during their development.

Keep a sleep journal that records when they fall asleep and how long it takes for their night terror to start. You may be able to wake the child before an episode starts, if anything, a sleep journal will help the pediatrician understand what might be causing their night terrors and reduce how often they have them. Other things to record in the child’s sleep journal are how long they last, if their episode includes sleep walking, when they occur during the night, daytime fears and anxiety, and any drooling, jerking or stiffening during an episode.  Note:  many believe night terrors are normal for children under the age of six.

Dr. Shives talked about her patient, Emily an 8-year old girl with no past medical problems but according to her mother has terrible nightmares where she wakes up with a blood-curdling scream. She sits up in bed, with her eyes wide open, appearing terrified, agitated and confused. At first her mother could comfort her but as the episodes continued she pushed her mother away. Emily doesn’t remember having these episodes. Her parents know the night terrors (nightmares) occur two hours after she falls asleep. Emily seems happy during the day, but appears over tired and has frequents sore throats.

Was Emily having a night terror episode or a nightmare? It is rare for children to report a nightmare associated with night terror as they typically remember a nightmare and not a night terror episode. When children have a night terror they have physical symptoms like rapid breathing, a racing heart and sweatiness. The doctor confirmed that Emily had enlarged tonsils causing her to have continued sore throats and tested her for obstructive sleep apnea that can cause sleep deprivation. Also her sleep schedule changed when her episodes started. This was due to her father’s work schedule. He came home later therefore they ate later and she ended up going to bed later. When they changed her bedtime back to her normal hour of 8pm her night terrors decreased to once a week. After she had her tonsils and adenoids removed, resolving her obstructive sleep apnea, the episodes only occurred every two to three months. Dr. Shives concluded saying Emily should outgrow them completely by the time she reaches her teen years.

Know the difference between night terrors and nightmares as nightmares or scary dreams will wake the child and they will be afraid to go back to sleep. There is no known reason we have nightmares, but some occur when we see or hear things that upset or scare us. Bad dreams can start at the age of six months as toddlers may dream about bedtime separation anxiety, 4-5 year olds about the boogie man under their bed and school age children may dream about current events witnessed on the news. Nightmares usually happen during REM sleep. The first sleep cycle of REM is around 90 minutes and lasts for 10 minutes. With each continued sleep cycle the length the REM is longer ending with the final one that lasts an hour. The percentage of REM sleep is highest during infancy and early childhood, drops off during adolescence and young adulthood, and decreases further in older age.

[caption id="attachment_896" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Sleep Easy without Night Terrors - Taking Care of Bedtime Business"][/caption]

How to comfort a child that has a nightmare: talk about it during the day, protect your child from hearing and seeing scary things, leave the bedroom door open or leave a nightlight on in their room, check for the boogie man under the bed and in the closet as part of your nightly routine, provide a security object such as a stuffed animal, blanket or toy, talk about happy thoughts right before bedtime as they may visualize a happy place they have been or a friend/family member they love or read a funny book before bedtime.

Call the pediatrician when nightmares are controlling the child's daily life, they happen more often than not or you have questions about related concerns due to the child’s nightmares. The content provided in Sleep Easy without Night Terrors 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, February 9, 2011

Sweet Slumber Sound Machine for Bedtime Separation Anxiety

Bedtime separation anxiety is common for children under three years of age. When they are eight or nine months, children realize that their parents are around even if they can’t see them, but their ability to feel safe and secure without them can develop until they are three to four years old. Many time your toddler will end up in your bed if they wake up during the night to assure themselves that you are there before they can go back to sleep. This can cause you to have lack of sleep because of the limited space in your bed. I know my granddaughters climb into my daughter’s queen size bed and because there are two of them and they flop about, her husband is the one that ends up on the floor. I’ve often suggested putting a small foam mattress or sleeping bag next to their bed so when they do come in they can sleep near you and everyone still can get a full, good night’s sleep. What tips and techniques are available to help? Sweet Slumber Sound Machine for bedtime separation anxiety can sooth and simulate the sounds a baby hears in the womb. This sleep aide offers 12 soothing sounds, including lullabies, nature sounds and white noise to help the child go to sleep easy and stay asleep throughout the night. The white noise can also block out noises in the house that may otherwise wake the child.

[caption id="attachment_890" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Sweet Slumber Sound Machine - A Sleep Easy Sleep Aide for Children with Bedtime Separation Anxiety"][/caption]

You can even use the Mp3 plug-in to customize a playlist or record your own voice. There is a timer option which will automatically shut the sleep aide off after easing baby to sleep. It has a night light that will assure the child there is no boogie man in their room and is ideal for traveling as it can operate with an AC plug or batteries.

Amazon reviews for the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine, White:

1) We really love this sound machine...especially since you can play music right from your mp3 player. The sounds are VERY realistic too. In fact, our breastfed baby was only sleeping 2-2.5 hours at a time at night, but the first night we played the sound machine he slept 4 hours. Of course it could have been a fluke, but he's been sleeping better ever since. I would DEFINITELY recommend this product.

2) Bought this to help my 6 month old stop frequently waking whenever hearing the dogs barking, noise at night to get her to take longer naps and eventually sleep through the night. Well, she doesn't sleep through the night, but her naps went from 45 mins to an hour and a half! The dogs barking at the UPS man doesn't wake her up anymore. I can vacuum around the house when she sleeps; do dishes and carrying on a normal level of sound. Prior to this machine, I could not do that. We use the white noise for sleeping and play the music when she plays in her crib. Sound quality is nice. I haven't tried the Mp3 cable yet. I also like the night light for at night when I go in to soothe her I don't have to turn any lights on, just tap the top of the sound machine.

Other alternative tips and techniques to help prevent separation problems at night, when your child is between four months and a year old, give them a transitional object (like a blanket, doll or stuffed animal). Then when they wake up, having that object there will comfort them and help them go back to sleep.

Your baby may groan and move around, or even cry out during REM sleep. Wait a little before you go to them. If you want your baby to be able to sleep without your help, give them a chance to develop their inner ability to feel that they are safe and secure to fall asleep on their own. For more information see: Techniques for Bedtime Separation Anxiety. The content provided in Sweet Slumber Sound Machine for Bedtime Separation Anxiety 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, February 6, 2011

Baby Blanket Sacks

Infant Hip Dysplasia and Sleep Easy Swaddling

The director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI), Dr. Charles T. Price, has trained parents in orthopedic care for children to improve the health and quality of life for those afflicted and/or concerned with infant hip dysplasia and sleep easy swaddling. He has been a part of the cause to advance pediatric orthopedics in the area of limb lengthening, limb deformity correction, non-operative and operative management of scoliosis and certain hip disorders in children. He is known for his clinical and academic achievements including scientific publications on a variety of subjects.

[caption id="attachment_878" align="alignright" width="315" caption="Baby Blanket Sacks - Hip Dysplasia"][/caption]

What is hip dysplasia? It is a medical term for the instability or looseness of the hip joint that can range from mild laxity to a complete dislocation. Hip Dysplasia is not a birth defect and one out of every 20 babies will have some hip instability, while two to three per thousand will require treatment. The laxity is due to the mother’s hormones that help ligaments relax during child birth. The birth position may also stretch the hip joints and make them loose. Most babies’ hips tighten up naturally which happen 90% of the time, but with tight swaddling, genetics and other condition a natural correction can keep this from occurring. Also, there is recent information that mild hip dysplasia is a very common cause of hip arthritis in young adults and one third of all hip joint replacements before the age of 50 is due to unrecognized hip dysplasia. Family history and breech position in the womb are the two biggest risk factors. One in four babies in the breech position will have some hip dysplasia and one in eight babies if one parent has a medical history. Since girls are afflicted more than boys the risks can up if there is family history and she is in a breech position in the womb. Other factors can include; first born girls, twisted neck or foot, birth weight more than 8lbs, 13oz, mother older than 35 years and hip click. Hip clicks are usually not due to actual or potential dislocation and are secondary to normal snapping of the tendons and other factors similar to popping in the normal ankle or cracking knuckles.

[caption id="attachment_880" align="alignright" width="344" caption="Baby Blanket Sacks - HALO SleepSack"][/caption]

Hip dysplasia and dislocation are usually diagnosed by a routine exam of the hip joint. Your pediatrician may recommend an ultrasound if he feels your baby is at risk for hip dysplasia. The ultrasound can tell whether the hip joint is loose or dislocated. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that an ultrasound be administered at six weeks of age for all baby girls who were in the breech position. An ultrasound is rarely performed during the first two weeks since it takes this long for the mother’s relaxing hormones to leave the baby’s body. That is why it is important to not swaddle a baby too tightly as it can cause serious hip problems. It is important to leave the hips free to move and not tightly strapped with legs straight and together. IHDI approves of the HALO SleepSack for healthy baby hips.

The HALO Sleep Sack has sufficient legroom to allow for sleep easy swaddling and free movement for hips and knees. This wearable blanket replaces loose blankets that can cover the baby’s face and interfere with breathing thus reducing the possibility for SIDS. See: Baby Blankets and SIDS for more information. Baby blanket sacks can’t be kicked off during the night ensuring that the baby will stay warm and sleep soundly throughout the night. You can help your baby have healthy hips by recognizing the risk factors and not swaddle their legs too tightly for the first few months of their life. The content provided in Baby Blanket Sacks 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, February 5, 2011

Sleep Paralysis

What is sleep paralysis? Sleep paralysis is when you cannot perform voluntary movements at the onset of sleep or upon awakening. Sleep paralysis is also known as isolated sleep paralysis, familial sleep paralysis, hynogogic or hypnopompic paralysis and predormital or postdormital paralysis. The symptoms of sleep paralysis range from the inability to move limbs, brief periods of partial or complete skeletal muscle paralysis and episodes can be associated with hypnagogic hallucinations or dream-like mentation which is the result from mental activity.

Sleep paralysis is often associated with narcolepsy, a neurological condition when a person falls asleep easy uncontrollably during the day. More information about narcolepsy see: My Child Falls Asleep Easy - Narcolepsy. There is no known reason why people experience sleep paralysis. It is not harmful to the body but can be very scary to the individual because there are no signs when an episode will happen. An episode can end gradually or abruptly by a sound or a touch on the body.

[caption id="attachment_874" align="alignright" width="162" caption="Sleep Paralysis - Old Hag Syndrome"][/caption]

When hypnogogic hallucinations happen people sense another presence in the room with them or something is sitting on their chest which makes them feel impending death and suffocation. This condition has been called the “Hag Phenomena” or the Old Hag Syndrome. You wake up unable to move, barely able to breathe... you feel an oppressive weight on your chest... and you sense some evil presence in the room... The old hag strikes!

The experience is so frightening because the victims, although paralyzed, seem to have full use of their senses. In fact, sometimes it is accompanied by strange smells, the sound of approaching footsteps, apparitions of weird shadows or glowing eyes, and the oppressive weight on the chest, making breathing difficult if not impossible. All of the body's senses are telling the victims that something real and unusual is happening to them. The spell is broken and the victims recover often on the point of losing consciousness. Fully awake and well, they sit up; completely baffled by what just happened to them since now the room is entirely normal.

The phenomenon occurs to both men and women of various ages and seems to happen to about 15 percent of the population at least once in a lifetime. It can occur while the victim is sleeping during the day or night, and it is a worldwide phenomenon that has been documented for centuries.

Other reasons that cause sleep paralysis are those with disrupted sleep schedules that upset the sleep/wake cycle, people that suffer from panic attacks or a panic disorder. If you see a doctor about this condition he may recommend a polysomnography which will monitor your muscle tone, REM onset and dissociated REM sleep while you are sleeping.

Ways to cope with your symptoms and avoid setting off an episode is to determine what set them off in the first place. Some episodes are triggered by a certain sleep position, stress, or happen during a particular time or place. Breathing exercises or reading/watching something funny right before bedtime can reduce stress. Try not to exercise close to bedtime as it is known that if you are physically exhausted there is a higher chance for a paralysis attack. Experts agree that sleeping on your back and not getting at least 6 hours of sleep can also trigger sleep paralysis.

When an episode starts remind yourself that you may experience certain sounds, feelings or hallucinations and they are not real otherwise, it may only worsen your episode. Try to remain calm and relaxed by breathing deeply. This will provide more oxygen for the body and can help you end the episode faster. Also if you can envision your body walking it could increase your wakefulness and snap you out of the attack. Concentrate a moving a small part of your body like your eyelids, fingers or toes as these small movements could stimulate you enough to end the episode. Some people who experience scary episodes may need antidepressant medication to eliminate dream-like mentation.

Treatment of sleep paralysis is aimed at whatever causes it to occur. Remember that sleep deprivation may trigger sleep paralysis, therefore it is recommended to get at least six to eight hours of sleep per night. People with psychiatric problems, like bipolar disorder may suffer from sleep paralysis. This person would need ongoing treatment with medication. This would be overseen by a physician or psychiatrist. You may notice sleep paralysis occurring with restless leg syndrome (RLS). It may also happen after a change in your medicines. The content provided in Sleep Paralysis is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your 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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