Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Sleep Better with Dream Dust


What is Dream Dust? Dream Dust a Natural Sleep Aid 60 ml is Drug Free and manufactured by Vitila Brands, a New York based developer. Targeted to 70 million Americans that can't fall asleeep easy and frequent users of over-the-counter sleep aids and prescription medications, this beverage is sold in a two ounce liquid dose and is formulated with natural ingredients which eliminate the next morning “groggy” side effect and additive properties. Competitively priced, Dream Dust has been designed to help those that are suffering from an occasional sleep problems to chronic insomnia that delivers effective results.

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US manufactured this formula is free of drugs, calories, sugar and carbohydrates and melatonin is its main ingredient. Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Natural melatonin levels slowly drop with age. Some older adults make very small amounts of it or none at all. Melatonin does have a few side effects. But they will go away when you stop taking the supplement. Side effects include: sleepiness (that’s good, right?), lower body temperature, stomach discomfort, headaches and vivid dreams.

Warnings are; do not drive or operate heavy machinery after use, do not use if pregnant or breast feeding, not recommended for those under 18 years of age or those that have other medical conditions or using a prescription medication unless under a physicians care. Do not combine with other sleep aides or alcoholic beverages. Do not exceed one bottle a day. Directions for use; take one bottle 20-30 minutes before retiring for the best effect. Discard any unused portion within 48 hours.

Ingredients include; purified water, citric acid, natural flavors, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, sucrakose, calcium disodium EDTA, GABA, Phenibut, L-theanine, 5-HTP and melatonin.

GABA helps induce tranquility via the nervous system. Read more about GABA for sleep

L-Theanine is found in tea and reduces physical and mental stress.

Melatonin is an antioxidant known for regulating the body clock.

5-HTP increases the speed to deeper sleep and dream state.

Phenibut reduces stress and anxiety and is known to improve sleep.

The content provided in How to sleep better with Dream Dust 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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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Overnight Sleep Study at a Sleep Clinic Center

Sleep clinic centers offer treatments for those with sleep disorders. They specialize in clinical diagnosis, treatment and follow up services for those suffering from insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, night terrors, narcolepsy and sleepwalking, to name a few. An overnight sleep study at a sleep clinic center can include the following tests; EEG (electroencephalogram) which monitors brain activity to document sleep stages, EOG (electrooculogram) that measures REM eye movement, EMG (electromyogram) that determines muscle activity, muscle tone and body movement especially in the limbs and face (teeth grinding), EKG (electrocardiogram) which gauges heart activity, respiratory airflow to determine if there is an obstruction with airway passages caused by OSA or chronic snoring, respiratory effort that can indicate respiratory disturbances in the chest wall and abdominal cavity and body position that will assess the effect of certain sleep positions on a person ability to sleep well and retain normal breathing.

A polysomnography (PSG) is a sleep study test that is only available at a sleep clinic. It records data while you sleep by attaching electronic transmitters to your face and scalp. The recordings or sleep study scoring will determine if you have a sleep disorder.

There are four types of sleep disorder study:

1. Diagnostic Overnight PSG; Study of sleep by brain wave, eye movement and number of arousals, etc. to determine the amount of non-REM and REM sleep. This sleeping study also monitors body functions including breathing patterns, oxygen levels, heart rhythms and leg/arm movements.

2. Diagnostic Daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) This sleep research study diagnoses narcolepsy and measures restlessness, sleepiness during the hours you are awake. This study of sleep is usually done after a PSG test and will conclude if you fall asleep easily during the day and monitors how often you enter REM sleep. MWT test or multiple wake test measures whether you can stay awake during your normal awake hours.

3. Two-night Evaluation PSG and CPAP Titration; a sleep apnea study CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure involves using a specially designed nasal mask that evaluates the delivery of air into the airways. The first night is general monitoring to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The OSA sleep study will show if you stop breathing during your sleep. The second night is required to see if CPAP pressure will alleviate apnea.

4. Split-night PSG with CPAP Titration; Instead of two consecutive nights this test splits one night in half. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea with the first half of the study then the second have they will use the mask to determine the CPAP pressure required to lessen your sleep apnea.

A home study are for those that have been diagnosed with OSA and meet the following criteria; patients with a high pre-test probability of moderate to severe OSA, they have no significant co-morbid medical conditions which include moderate-severe pulmonary diseases (cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, active asthma, COPD), congestive heart failure and neuromuscular diseases (ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease), they are unable to be studied at a sleep clinic and to monitor the response to non-CPAP treatments after the diagnosis has been made.

When you arrive at the sleep center you will be assigned a private room that may appear to look like a bedroom. This room is a central monitoring area where technicians will record and analyzes you while you sleep. There you will be hooked up to the monitor. Electrodes will be attached to your face and scalp so that your electrical signals will be sent to the measuring equipment. An Oximeter will be put on your finger to calculate the oxygen level in your blood and a strap will be placed around your chest to measure your breathing. All the machines and wirers may look intimidating and uncomfortable, but most patients fall asleep without any problems.

Sometimes you may have shift work sleep disorder and your internal clock or circadian rhythm is causing you to become restless during the day. A home sleep study test called Actigraphy, a device that looks like a watch which will assess your movement during night and day. It will help your doctor to determine what times during the day you are active and what times you are sleeping.

Before you have a sleep study your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary for 1 or 2 weeks. Try to adhere to your normal routine for a more accurate record and indicate if you have any chronic insomnia symptom; can't fall asleep easy, can't stay asleep throughout the night or if you wake up you can't fall back to sleep, you wake up to early or get less than six hours of sleep and/or feel tired and restless during the day. Two or three days before the test do not take any naps, stop taking any drugs especially sleeping aides and don’t drink or eat anything with caffeine.

On the day of the test take a shower but do not put anything is your hair like hair spray or hair gel. Some of the test equipment will be attached to your face and fingers so no makeup, fingernail polish or fake nails. Pack a small overnight bag; bring a book, pajamas and your favorite pillow if you like.

All pertinent forms should be completed prior to the sleep study test day. Make sure you complete and answer all answers honestly this will help your doctor to diagnosis your sleep disorder. The doctor will ask about your and your family’s medical history as well as request a list of any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and/or herbal supplements you are taking. And above all else ask questions and discuss concerns with your doctor.

Sleep studies are usually done at a sleep clinic and your results should be available within 1-2 weeks. Sleep centers are usually staffed with professional pulmonologists, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and oral specialists. Their counselors can quickly resolve any problems to increase the likelihood that patients accept their treatment and learn to successfully manage their sleep disorder. Depending on the diagnosis they may be recommended to seek further tests or treatment from a specialist. The content in Overnight Sleep Study at a Sleep Clinic Center 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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Sunday, March 27, 2011

How to Sleep Easy with Back Pain Tips

Chronic back pain disrupts sleep as it is hard to find a position to alleviate the pain or a position that won’t make the soreness worse when you get up in the morning. Studies now suggest that not getting enough sleep can make you more sensitive to pain because you are not getting the deep sleep (NREM) your body needs to restore and repair itself. See: Stay Healthy by Getting Enough Sleep for more information regarding NREM sleep. Other medical conditions that are affected by little deep sleep are rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can cause tenderness throughout the body and is linked to fatigue and anxiety. Anxiety will make it harder for you to fall asleep easy and stay asleep which can worsen the pain.

If you are heavy and have back pain you might also be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The drugs often prescribed for back pain can exacerbate or cause OSA. Also if you sleep on your back the extra weight on your neck can restrict airflow making you snore and stop breathing periodically during the night. Other medications that impair sleep are for the following conditions; high blood pressure, epilepsy and ADHD.

Many doctors prescribe medications that will help you get some sleep, but these drugs have side effects and a potential for addiction. Ambien may be one of the medications prescribed, but should be used only as directed and for a short-term use as with some over-the-counter medications like aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofens. Prescribed drugs for back pain may include an antidepressant, an antidepressant and pain reliever or a muscle relaxant and should be taken three months or less as these drugs can result into a dependency. The goal is to improve your sleep pattern, not create a drug habit.

How to sleep easy with back pain tips? Since anxiety can increase back pain and make it harder to sleep. Try to calm yourself down before bedtime. Take an hour or so to relax by taking a warm bath or doing some light exercises. Your doctor or physical therapist can provide some helpful exercises that include relaxation techniques. Yoga can also create a balance in the body through various poses that develop flexibility and strength.

Balneotherapy is one of the oldest therapies for pain relief as it is a form of hydrotherapy that involves bathing in mineral water or warm water.

• A study compared bathing in mineral water to plain tap water in 60 people with low back pain. They found that mineral water containing sulphur was superior in reducing pain and improving mobility compared with tap water.

• A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Rheumatology assessed spa therapy and balneotherapy for low back pain. The researchers found that the data suggest beneficial effects compared to control groups. They concluded that the results were encouraging and that large-scale trials were warranted.

Dead Sea salts and other sulphur-containing bath salts can be found in spas, health food stores, and online. People with heart conditions should not use balneotherapy unless under the supervision of their primary care provider.

Eliminate sleep stealers like caffeine, eating a heavy meal or hot, spicy foods before bedtime, don’t medicate with alcohol and remove all electronics from your bedroom as the light they emit will reduce your melatonin production, a hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle.

Try acupressure as an alternative to medications. How does acupuncture work? According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain results from blocked energy along energy pathways of the body, which are unblocked when acupuncture needles are inserted along these invisible pathways. A scientific explanation is that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving opioids, sends signals that calm the sympathetic nervous system, and releases neurochemicals and hormones.

When many people have back aches and pain, the first thing they think of is massage. Studies have found that massage may be effective for subacute and chronic pain. It has also been found to reduce anxiety and depression associated with chronic pain. Massage therapy is the most popular therapy for low back pain during pregnancy.

Most importantly choose a comfortable mattress and pillow that suits your back pain needs. If yours is too soft or too firm you may consider a memory foam mattress pad or sleep with a pillow under or between your knees depending on your sleeping position.

According to WebMD these three sleeping positions are best for different types of chronic back pain:

Sleeping on your side

By making simple changes in your sleeping position, you can take strain off your back. If you sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly toward your chest and put a pillow between your legs. Use a full-length body pillow if you prefer.

This position may be particularly helpful if you have osteoarthritis in the spine, spinal stenosis — a narrowing in the spine — or hip pain.

Sleeping on your back

If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. You might try a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support. Support your neck with a pillow.

This position may be helpful if you have low back pain.

Sleeping on your abdomen

Sleeping on your abdomen can be hard on your back. If you can't sleep any other way, reduce the strain on your back by placing a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen. Use a pillow under your head if it doesn't place too much strain on your back. If it does cause strain, try sleeping without a pillow under your head.

This position may be helpful if you have degenerative disease or a herniated disk in the central portion of your spine.

While the best way to get a good night's sleep is to get rid of chronic back pain, this is not always possible. Other factors such as stress, anxiety and depression that affect sleep and back pain might also need medical attention. Many people put up with pain, when in fact most back pain can be helped and treated successfully. Don't give up on finding a treatment that can work for you. The content in How to Sleep Easy with Back Pain Tips 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.

What does your sleep position say about you? Discover your sleep position and find out how you can rest easier and healthy. There are a number of sleeping positions that you might find comfortable and at the same time promotes proper blood flow. Having a correct sleeping position would prevent that stiffness and soreness you might experience during mornings.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sleep is a writer’s dream because sleep deprivation is big business

Everywhere you look these days; CNN, USA Today, MSNBC and even on the Dr. Oz Show, they are writing or talking about sleep or I should say the lack of it. Sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems like; obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and depression. BUT, sleep deprivation is a two edge sword because illnesses such as; epilepsy, lupus, fibromyalgia and even sleep related conditions; obstructive sleep apnea, night terrors, and sleepwalking are reasons many of us are getting less sleep than we need. Since we can’t fall asleep easy and stay asleep throughout the night (symptoms of insomnia) this can cause us to lose mental focus, become irritable and we may cause physical harm to ourselves as well as others by falling asleep during the day.

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Recently, in the news, an air-traffic controller fell asleep on the job and two airliners at Washington's Reagan National Airport had to land on their own. The National Transportation Safety Board said the controller, who had 20 years' experience, was working his fourth consecutive overnight shift, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. alone. Since this incident the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ordered that Reagan National Airport have two air traffic controllers in the tower during the overnight shift. DAH! OK, so we were told that the backup system kicked in to ensure the safe landing of both airplanes.

Truth or not, sleep can be a snore spot when it comes to the news, but it is a stirring topic when it comes to writers. Professional businesses tout their drugs, sleep supplements, memory foam mattresses, hypnotic sleep CDs and Mp3s and even lavender stuffed eye pillows and why…sleep is a writer’s dream because sleep deprivation is big business.

We spend one-third of our lives sleeping and every one at one time or another has had trouble falling asleep, even if it was for one night. They are surfing the internet, reading the newspapers or business journals to find the answer to “Why can’t I fall asleep?” In fact the Puget Sound Business Journal did an article that mentions sleep-related business ideas including a study that Continental Airlines is taking part in, in regards to the effect of long-haul flights on airline staff.

Professional writers and bloggers alike have talked about a range of sleep topics that relate to the transportation industry to why grandma sleepwalks and this has created a sleep aid market that reaches revenues of $25 billion a year! Sleep clinics are reporting close to $6 billion in profits, while mattress and pillow sales have sky rocketed to $10 billion. Due to the economy in the last few years, stress related sleep deprivation has increased the profit of sleeping pills to $1.8 billion.

Note: While businesses can make money on the sleep deprived, the sleep deprived are costing businesses a lot of money too in lost productivity and sick days. The over-worked, underpaid get more colds and flu due to stress and lack of sleep because there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, least 7 hours of shut-eye. For more information see: Rest Assured on 7 Hours of Sleep

[caption id="attachment_1005" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleep is a writer's dream because sleep deprivation is big business - CNN Article on Sleep"][/caption]

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine researchers estimated that lost productivity due to poor sleep cost $3,156 per employee with insomnia and an averaged $2,500 for those with less severe sleep problems. This doesn't include the cost of absenteeism--those with insomnia missed work an extra five days a year compared to good sleepers.

So you bloggers that are staying up late at night, losing sleep, to get your sleep article done…search sleep in Google. What do you get? 441,000,000 articles on sleep! Now who can compete with that? You need at least 7 hours of sleep, plus another hour to calm your brain and body or what I call The Power Down Hour. So if you have to get up at 6am to have enough time to get ready for work you need to go to sleep at 11pm and at 10pm turn off all electronics and dim the lights, take a warm bath, have a cup of tea or a glass of warm milk and relax.

The content in Sleep is a writer’s dream because sleep deprivation is big business 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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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stay Healthy by Getting Enough Sleep

If you consider yourself a normal, healthy adult and have noticed in the last few years you are always getting sick there may be a connection between poor sleep and your health. Working long hours, eating a poor diet, trying to keep up with family activities and not exercising can cause you to become sleep deprived and lower your immune system. Strangely enough, even if you are healthy, eat well and exercise, sleep deprivation can still lead to health problems. Stay healthy by getting enough sleep can greatly affect how your body fights off infection. We know that when we are sick we tend to sleep easy because our body needs increased NREM to get healthy again. According to researchers the reduced activity of NREM sleep provides the opportunity for many brain cells to repair themselves. During NREM sleep, the lower metabolic rate and lower core temperature that occurs allows our body to deal with the free radical damage done during our waking cycle.

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Sleep is absolutely essential for our body to maintain and repair its neurological, endocrine, immune, musculoskeletal and digestive systems. Melatonin a hormone we produce in the pineal gland that increases after the sun goes down and during the night, in a normal circadian rhythm, which will increase our immune cytokine function to ward off infection. That is why you will get sick after a few nights on limited sleep. Lack of sleep also will affect our memory and mental clarity, diminish our physical performance, cause irritability, lower our immune function and reduce our stress tolerance. Studies have shown that adults with less than six hours of sleep can develop low-grade chronic inflammation, worsen insulin resistance, increase the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as psychiatric disorders like depression and panic attacks.

Getting enough sleep is a much of a priority in your life as eating right and exercising to maintain good health. Structuring your everyday life to include good sleep habits will help you get the right amount of sleep you need each and every night to ward off infection.

Melatonin the hormone that controls our sleep wake cycle and prepares our body and mind to calm down and get ready for sleep can be disrupted if we have too much artificial light at night. Blue light emitted from electronics can also suppress melatonin production. Experts advise to avoid light exposure close to bedtime by shutting down your computer, iPod, video games and television. Use blinds or blackout curtains to deter outside light from coming into your bedroom window. If you can’t control the light you may consider using an eye mask/pillow. See: Sleep Easy Hotel Tips –L.E.N.T. for more information about how to sleep easier at a hotel.

Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full by eating a light dinner. If you need a snack before bed or have a tendency to be hypoglycemic stick to foods that are full of tryptophan like; a slice of turkey, a handful of nuts, a bowl of oat cereal or a warm glass of milk.

Change your sleep schedule by going to bed earlier. When you fall asleep you go through a 90 minute sleep cycle of NREM sleep followed by REM. The earlier part of the night the majority of the cycles are stages NREM 3 and 4 with very little REM. In the second half of the night the balance changes to more REM sleep and a lighter form of non-REM sleep (stage 2).What’s important about this is that the NREM deep stages 3 and 4 is where our body regenerates and repairs tissue and engages in other restorative processes. If we don’t get enough deep sleep, we can’t rejuvenate and heal.

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Can’t go to bed earlier because you have too much energy at night? This is a sign of a disrupted circadian rhythm in which your cortisol levels are too high at night instead of in the morning. Stress from day to day living causes elevation of cortisol at night because you can’t unwind. Low cortisol levels in the morning causes drowsiness which in turn we will drink caffeine to get going and keep going. An intake of caffeine which can be found in coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate and many other sources like some medications, can perpetuate the pattern because it stays in our system throughout the day. It increases cortisol which can put fat into and around the abdominal organs. (This is why many people gain weight from disrupted sleep/wake cycles)

To a nerve cell, caffeine looks like adenosine. Caffeine therefore binds to the adenosine receptor in the brain. However, it doesn't slow down the cell's activity like adenosine would. So the cell cannot "see" adenosine anymore because caffeine is taking up all the receptors adenosine binds to. So instead of slowing down because of the adenosine level, the cells speed up. You can see that caffeine also causes the brain's blood vessels to constrict, because it blocks adenosine's ability to open them up. This effect is why some headache medicines like Anacin contain caffeine - if you have a vascular headache, the caffeine will close down the blood vessels and relieve it.

Adenosine reception is important to sleep, and especially to deep sleep. The half-life (of how long the caffeine stays in your body) is about 6 hours. That means that if you consume a big cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine in it at 3:00 PM, then by 9:00 PM about 100 mg of that caffeine is still in your system. You may be able to fall asleep, but your body probably will miss out on the benefits of deep sleep. That deficit adds up fast. The next day you feel worse, so you need caffeine as soon as you get out of bed. The cycle continues day after day.

Going to bed earlier and limiting caffeine in the morning only can correct cortisol and melatonin rhythm dysregualation. Melatonin can also be taken as a supplement. Your doctor can determine if you have a melatonin deficiency, as older folks will produce less naturally. Note: taking a supplemental hormone can disrupt our body’s natural production and create a dependency even though a melatonin supplement is not addictive. Another deficiency that will affect our ability to fall asleep is magnesium. Your doctor can also determine if this is a cause of your sleeplessness. If you take a magnesium supplement the chelated forms are a better choice. See more information on Magnesium and Sleep. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY SUPPLEMENTS, they can interfere with other medical conditions and medications.

The content provided in Stay Healthy by Getting Enough 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. 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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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sleep Easy Hotel Tips – L.E.N.T.

I travel around the state of Indiana 150 nights every year with my job. I stay in a variety of hotels, but mostly well known chains and casinos. Staying at a hotel you have to deal with noisy neighbors, banging doors, kids running up and down the hall and if the hotel is next to the freeway, as many are, the sounds of semis roaring by. But noise isn’t the only issue when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep at a hotel. Here are some sleep easy hotel tips – L.E.N.T.:

L is the light that is outside and inside your room

E is the ease to improve your comfort level

N is the noise outside your room

T is what temperature insures the best sleep

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Light: It is essential to control how much light is in your hotel room. Recently I stayed at an older hotel within a well-know chain that had a balcony with large window including sliding glass doors. Now how many hotels have a balcony that you know? While it may be great sitting outside, the problem is that the curtains don’t fit the window well and there is always outside light coming in from either the hotel’s exterior lighting or the morning sun streaming in at the crack of dawn, like a crowing rooster. What can you do? If you know the issue in advance you could take a bunch of bag clips and clip the curtains shut or invest in a nice eye mask/pillow. Some eye masks/pillows even are scented with lavender. A lavender eye pillow is filled with flower buds and flax seed. The flax seed is added to give weight to the pillow against your eyes and forehead. If you spend a lot of hours in front of a computer or book, this pillow will sooth tired achy eyes as it will also alleviate tension headaches. Chilling your eye pillow will help you beat the heat a promote sleep. A dark cotton material is not only comforting it also blocks out external light.

How many gadgets do take on a trip? Do you power down your computer and cell phone when you go to bed? Take the light that emits from your electronics and add in the hotel’s alarm clock and maybe microwave, etc. equals one messed up sleep/wake cycle. Your body produces melatonin which controls your sleep cycle when it starts to get dark outside. When you keep electronics on their light will deplete the amount of melatonin your body will produce therefore you will have a harder time falling asleep. So it is not only important to keep the light from coming in your room, it is also important to turn off everything you can in your room.

Ease: My number one advice to improve comfort and peace of mind is to take your own pillow. If you have allergies to commercial grade bleach, as I do, you can either take your own pillow or an organic pillowcase to cover one of theirs. I’ve noticed in the last year many hotels are changing out their pillows for a smaller square one. If you need a pillow between your legs or under your knees to alleviate back pain they hardly do the job. If the hotel hasn’t changed out their pillows lately, how old are they? What have other guests used them for? Do I want to know? Older pillows are probably full of dust mites eating off your and everyone else’s dead skin cells. Dust mite feces produce antibodies in those that are allergic when they touch your skin or are inhaled. These antibodies release histamines that cause nasal congestion and irritation of the upper airway passages. Other symptoms can be hay fever, watering eyes, runny nose, sneezing, asthma, infantile eczema, cough, frequent awakenings and facial pressure. Doctors can diagnosis a dust mite allergy by a blood or skin test. Another reason to bring your own pillow is comfort. I love a 2-1 hypoallergenic memory foam pillow as it provides the support I need along with the comfort of a regular plush microfiber pillow. See: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs and Sleep Easy for hotel and bed bug information

[caption id="attachment_985" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleep Easy Hotel Tips - LENT - N is for Hotel Noise"][/caption]

Noise: Ways to limit and control the hotels external noise. So how do you deal with noisy neighbors, kids running up and down the hall and banging hotel doors? One way is to get an end room then you just have a neighbor on one side and cross your fingers, a quiet one. This also lessens the number of doors you will hear shut and kids running around. Make sure you don’t get a room next to the elevator as you don’t want to listen to it going up and down all night. Most of the time the rooms at the end of the hall are reserved for priority hotel guests because they are either a two-room suite or Jacuzzi suite. If there is a Jacuzzi on the 2nd floor there will be one on the floor above or below you too. The sound of a filling Jacuzzi is definitely heard in your room, but luckily this will pass and not continue throughout the night. As far as the freeway noise goes, ask for a room on the opposite side of the hotel away from the traffic. If you get stuck in a room where you can’t minimize the noise you may want to bring ear plugs or just turn on the bathroom fan to drown out external sounds.

Temperature: Controlling the hotel room’s temperature is vital to getting your zzz’s. More times than not the hotel has a heating/air conditioning unit under the window which is either controlled at the unit or, if you’re lucky, has a wall thermostat. The units I have trouble with the most are the ones with the controls in the unit as they tend to only have three choices; heat, cool or off and a dial with red and blue colors indicating if it is hotter or colder. Most of these units will run the fan constantly all night even when it reaches your desired temperature. If you like a fan running to drown out outside noises that is fine, turn on the bathroom fan. Why? These units pump out forced air that dries out the room and in turn will dry out your sinuses and your skin. Over time your sinuses will become congested and you will have trouble sleeping. If you had this trouble at home I would advise you to get a humidifier, but at a hotel there is no easy solution other than using a good nasal spray right before retiring.

My research into sleep disorders and insomnia has suggested that the room temperature should be somewhere in between 65 and 69 degrees to get a good night’s sleep. Although this may be too cool when you are just hanging out in your room, while asleep your body may over heat and you’ll wake up during the night or toss and turn while trying to fall asleep adjusting your covers. If you are a woman going through the change you may even want it cooler in order to alleviate night sweats. But guys, women are not the only ones that have night sweats.

There are many causes of night sweats; one being heartburn or acid reflux from eating hot spicy food or a hot drink. Another reason may be caused by the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition when you have constant repetitive episodes of cessation of breath which causes snoring and daytime restlessness. Also if you are overweight you can suffer from night sweats.

Night sweats are usually a symptom of another condition. Another condition could be an infection; including a bone infections, TB, HIV or cancer. Even some medications can cause night sweats; anti-depressants, corticosteroids including prednisone and if you have a fever and take aspirin, bring your temperature down usually causes night sweats. If you are a man that suffers from night sweats the primary thing to do is try to determine the cause. Talk to you physician and review any medication you are taking and have a complete physical examination.

The content provided in Sleep Easy Hotel Tips – L.E.N.T. 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 do you decide to leave a hotel and never come back? I can give you two reasons (1) Bugs and critters. If your room is full of bugs no matter what kind that is a good indication that the housekeeping staff is not cleaning the room well. What else are they not cleaning? The older hotel I referred to above also has a restaurant/lounge. This is great for those nights you just don’t want to go out of the hotel for dinner or tired of eating pizza, but because of the kitchen it draws in field mice in the winter. One night a little mouse fell from the ceiling and onto a patron’s dinner plate. That little guy must have been scared to death! 

(2) Is theft from the housekeeping staff. I deliberately leave the Do Not Disturb (DND) on the door because I feel if I allow my room to be cleaned it is an open invitation for theft. These people are not only looking for money and jewelry they take expensive cosmetics and facial products. So if you don’t mind using the same towels (you can always ask to exchange them the next day) or getting into an unmade bed leave your DND on the door. NOTE: The DND is no guarantee they won’t go into your hotel room when they see you leave and rifle through your goodies. If you catch them in your room make sure that you call the manager on duty while the person is still in your room. Once they leave it is your word against theirs and you might as well kiss your stuff goodbye. Sometimes I have no choice but to stay at a hotel where I’ve had trouble with staff. I make sure my DND is on the door, cross my fingers and leave the good stuff at home or take it with me when I leave and keep it in the car.

[caption id="attachment_993" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleep Easy Hotel Tips - LENT - Priority Club Bonus Rewards"][/caption]

Want an upgrade to a suite or Jacuzzi suite to sleep easier? Make sure to join the hotels membership program. These programs not only give you room upgrades, you can accumulate points and get free hotel stays. It doesn’t’ cost you anything to join. Remember also that some of the well known chains are owned by one company. If you like to stay at the Holiday Inn their membership is the Priority Club. The Priority Club hotels are; Holiday Inn Select and Express, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, Crown Plaza, Intercontinental and Hotel Indigo. Priority Club Rewards are also worldwide and partnered with other companies. HHonors consists of 10 hotel chains including Hilton and Embassy Suites and has over 3600 hotels in 82 countries. NOTE: If you like to accumulate points watch for ways to get extra points. Right now Priority Club Rewards is offering the following bonus From February 1 through April 30, 2011, earn 3,000 bonus points or 1,000 bonus miles for every 3rd qualifying night you stay. Keep staying and keep earning, up to 30,000 points or 10,000 miles.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Valerian a Sleep Easy Supplement

Valerian a sleep easy supplement is a hard perennial flowering plant that was used as perfume in the sixteenth century. Today valerian is used for sleeping disorders, a muscle tension, restlessness and anxiety. Some studies suggest that it has sedative and anxiolytic effects that can help those that suffer from insomnia. Valerian typically works better when taken over a period of time, but some find that it takes effect immediately. Valerian seems to increase gamma aminobutyric acid GABA, a chemical in the brain that has a natural calming effect.

[caption id="attachment_975" align="alignright" width="216" caption="Valerian a Sleep Easy Supplement - Valerian Plant"][/caption]

Valerian is an herbal supplement that is not regulated by the FDA; therefore it is advised to talk to your physician as this natural product does have some known side effects. Because it has tranquilizing properties it may cause dizziness and should be avoided before operating heavy or hazardous equipment. In some individuals valerian can cause stomach aches and night terrors. Dosage varies per individual, so if a larger dose is taken, results have been reported to cause lack of mental focus and mild depression. In rare cases, valerian has cause an allergic reaction, typically as a skin rash, hives or difficulty breathing. Other side effects are headaches, excitability, uneasiness and morning drowsiness. It should never be used with other depressants like alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates or opiates. People that have other medical conditions such as; epilepsy, liver disease, allergies to food, dyes or preservatives or pregnant/nursing should only take valerian under a physician’s care.

Valerian is broken down in the liver. Theoretically, it could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are broken down by the same liver enzymes, such as:

• allergy medications like Allegra (fexofenadine)
• cholesterol medication such as Mevacor (lovastatin)
• antifungal drugs such as Sporanox (itraconazole) and Nizoral (ketoconazole)
• cancer medications such as Camptosar (irinotecan), Etopophos, Vepesid (etoposide), Gleevec (STI571), Taxol (paclitaxel), Velbe (vinblastine) or Oncovin (vincristine)

Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medication you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

For inability to sleep (insomnia): Supplements are available in tablets, capsules or tinctures and it can also be brewed as a tea. Because valerian tea has a somewhat bitter taste, flavorings are often added, including peppermint or fruit flavor, to make a more pleasant-tasting drink.  If you don't like the taste of your valerian tea, your cat may love it as it has catnip affecting properties.

1 400-900 mg valerian extract up to 2 hours before bedtime for as long as 28 days, or
2 Valerian extract 120 mg, with lemon balm extract 80 mg 3 times daily for up to 30 days, or
3 A combination product containing valerian extract 187 mg plus hops extract 41.9 mg per tablet, 2 tablets at bedtime for 28 days.

Take valerian 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime, it may also cause excessive sleepiness if taken with other herbs thought to have a sedative effect, such as hops, catnip and kava. Swiss researchers found a valerian/lemon balm combination to be significantly more effective than a placebo in inducing sleep. Sleep Easy - Natural Sleep Aid for Better Sleep with Valerian and Lemon Balm, 60 Tablets is available online or at your local health food store.

NOTE: It is not known what exactly to expect from an overdose, although there have been reports of fatigue, stomach cramps, tightness in the chest, light headedness and shaky hands and/or feet. If you think you may have taken too much valerian, seek immediate medical attention. The content provided in Valerian a Sleep Easy Supplement 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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Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Sleep Easy on Daylight Savings Time

In 1919 daylight saving time (DST) was established and the world was and still is dealing with DST effects such as heart attacks, suicides, sleep deprivation and general grouchiness. The problem is we are already sleep deprived as we are just barely getting through our daily activities. When DST comes along people can’t cope and losing another hour of sleep can be a shock to our system. How to sleep easy on daylight savings time?

[caption id="attachment_968" align="alignright" width="300" caption="How to Sleep Easy on Daylight Savings Time - Spring Ahead"][/caption]

According to Dr. Adam Mocovitch, if there are no medical issues, he advises a period (an hour) before you go to sleep to relax your mind and body, keep your bedroom free of electronics, your sleep environment should be comfortable, quiet, dark and at the right temperature, establish a sleep routine where you go to bed and get up at the same time every day, workout early in the morning or at least four hours before bedtime, limit or avoid caffeine and don’t eat too much before bed. If you like to have a late night snack consider foods that will cause you to become drowsy like a bowl of cereal or a slice of turkey. Sleep deprivation results in lack of mental focus, causes daytime sleepiness and influences our mood. But studies have found getting less than six hours a night can increase health issues like; diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and depression.

So, if you are already sleep deprived, daylight savings time can become the catalyst to develop these conditions that is why it is necessary to make the above simple lifestyle changes to get the sleep you need. During sleep our brain, body and nervous system repair, build immunity, store energy and boost our metabolism and sleep deprivation can increase stress hormones and cytokines that increase inflammation, create greater oxidative stress and free radical damage. Elevated cytokines through sleep deprivation causes depression, anxiety, cognitive fog and lack of focus. Stress hormones like cortisol increase the risk of a heart attack and obesity.

If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking an herbal sleep aid like melatonin, this so-called sleep hormone is naturally produced in your pineal gland. Melatonin will decrease as we age, but it is also known that production will not occur until it gets dark and peaks between midnight and 2 a.m. that is why with extended daylight hours the longer it will take our body to get enough melatonin to make us sleepy. Taking an alternative sleep aid like melatonin or a combined herbal supplement that includes other stress reducing/relaxing properties like passionflower, hops, catnip and/or valerian will help you to fall asleep easy. Electronics in your bedroom also affect the production of melatonin that is why it is imperative to keep light producing gadgets in another room. Remember to consult your physician before taking any supplements as they can interfere with prescription medication and other medical conditions.

Other tips; gradually change your bedtime by 20 minutes three nights before DST or take a quick power nap of at least 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Get up early on Saturday and Sunday to get the morning light as this will help keep your sleep/wake cycle in check. Recap: On Saturday quit caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime, no alcohol close to bedtime as it decreases slow-wave sleep — the restorative kind you need to wake up feeling refreshed and alert, change your clocks 2-3 hours before, log off your electronics an hour before bed and eliminate light in your bedroom. Sunday soak up the sunshine to stop melatonin production.

[caption id="attachment_969" align="alignright" width="247" caption="How to Sleep Easy on Daylight Savings Time - Internal Sleep/Wake Cycle"][/caption]

How can you help your child make the DST adjustment and reduce sleep deprivation? Maintain their sleep schedule as they naturally adjust to the time difference within a few days to a week. Or make a slow transition starting on Thursday night moving the child’s bedtime by 15 minutes each night and by Sunday night they will be back on their schedule.

Daylight Saving Time marks the end of National Sleep Awareness Week, so it is very important to be aware of the importance of sleep and recognize signs of potential sleep disorders. The content provided in How to Sleep Easy on Daylight Savings Time 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, March 9, 2011

National Sleep Awareness Week

The National Sleep Foundation campaign to promote the importantance of sleep is sponsoring the National Sleep Awareness Week, March 7-13, 2011, which ends with the clock changing to Daylight Saving Time when most Americans lose one hour of sleep. Some 70 million Americans have a sleep problem in which 40 million adults suffer from a chronic sleep disorder and in addition 20 to 30 million have an intermittent sleep related problem.

[caption id="attachment_959" align="alignright" width="192" caption="National Sleep Awareness Week at Asleep Easy"][/caption]

The loss of sleep effects work performance costing US employers some $18 billion in lost productivity. As the average adult American averages roughly 6.9 hours of sleep a night, this is less than the recommended seven to nine hours that is required, according to sleep experts.

75% experience a symptom of a sleep disorder in the past year. A poll in 2011 found that 4% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 6 rarely or never fall asleep easy and stay asleep during the weeknights and over half experience sleep problems like; snoring or waking up too early to feel refreshed in the morning.

It wasn’t until the 1950’s when sleep experts thought sleep as a passive dormant part of our daily lives. Now they know that our brains are very active during our sleep to restore and regenerate our mind and body that allows us to be active during the day and provide health benefits that they are just beginning to understand. During sleep we repetitively pass though five stages of sleep, 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM.

Stage 1 is where we sleep the lightest as our eyes move slowly and muscle activity reduces. This is also when some experience muscle contractions called hypnic myoclonia which often is preceded by a sensation of starting to fall. This sensation is similar to the involuntary jump reflex we encounter when we get startled. I always thought it was when our tense muscles started to relax that made them jerk. We can also be awaken easily in stage one and when we experience hypnic myoclonia we know it is happening, but we also know it is a precursor to falling asleep.

During stage 2 in which we spend 50% of our time, our eye movements stop and our brain waves become slower with occasional bursts of electrical activity called sleep spindles. Stage 3 our brain waves slow down even further, these are known as delta waves. Stage 4 consists of delta waves exclusively and during this stage it is very difficult to be awoken, as this is the stage where you get the deep sleep required for regeneration. There is no muscle activity or eye movement. This is the stage where many people experience a parasomnia like; NS-RED (nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder), sleepwalking, night terrors, confusional arousals and bedwetting. See other related articles related to the above bold parasomnias.

When we enter REM we suddenly start to breathe more rapidly, our eyes move and jerk in various directions and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. We spend 20% of our time in REM sleep and this is the time we experience dreams or nightmares. A complete sleep cycle last 90-110 minutes, in which 70-90 minutes after we fall asleep we will enter into our first REM stage. During the first cycle of sleep we have a short REM stage and longer deep sleep cycles as the night progresses our REM stage increases and deep sleep wanes. By morning people nearly spend all their time in stages 1, 2 and REM.

[caption id="attachment_960" align="alignright" width="265" caption="National Sleep Awareness Week - REM Sleep Stage"][/caption]

Sleep/wake cycles are influenced by different neurotransmitters that signal in the brain and many external influences like food or medicine can change the balance of these signals that affect how alert we are and how well we can sleep. Many suffer from insomnia due to caffeine and drugs that stimulate the brain and prevent us from sleeping. Antidepressants and nicotine suppress REM as many heavy smokers experience nicotine withdrawal during sleep and will wake up after 3-4 hours. Alcohol which can make us fall asleep easy will rob us of REM and the deeper stages of sleep causing us to wake easily when the affects wear off. If your sleep environment is too cold or too hot it will affect your REM sleep and when you go to sleep the next night your body/mind will try to catch up on REM sleep.

If you don’t get enough of the quality and quantity of sleep that is required for YOU, you will experience lack of focus, memory loss and slow physical response time (that impacts using heavy machinery). The required amount of sleep varies from person to person, but most adults need 7-9 hours to feel rested. When sleeping less than seven hours women are more likely than men to experience trouble functioning the next day. Lack of sleep can impact our daily activities and over time can affect our health. Sleep isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity!

The content provided in National Sleep Awareness Week 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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Sleep-Related Eating Disorder a Parasomnia

You may know someone that seems to sleep easy during the night, but unbeknownst to you they are getting up during the night and attacking the refrigerator. This phenomenon is known as a sleep-related eating disorder, a parasomnia, that usually happens because of other sleep or eating disorders. Nocturnal eaters while asleep or half-asleep have little or no recall of the episode the next day other than the mess in the kitchen or a few extra pounds around their middle. Episodes may happen gradually at first then more frequent and can include hazardous activities like using knives or the oven. Eating fatting carbohydrates or sugars are their usual fare, but it is also known that they will try to eat non-foods or raw foods like frozen/raw meat or even animal food.

Who is at risk for developing a sleep-related eating disorder? People that have eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa or those that have obstructive sleep apnea a sleep disorder are more likely to have these episodes, but those younger than 30 also could be affected. More information regarding anorexia nervosa see: Anorexia Nervosa Causes Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder and Sleep Deprivation

[caption id="attachment_955" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Sleep Related Eating Disorder a Parasomnia"][/caption]

Unlike night-eating syndrome which involves over eating between dinner and bedtime, this disorder is fully conscious eating and no bizarre foods or non-foods are eaten. Night-eating syndrome is not caused by an underlying sleep disorder but more likely brought about by issues with food and weight gain in general. Sleep-related eating disorder has health concerns for the individual like; obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, let alone the fear of ingesting toxic substances, burning or cutting themselves. Plus there may be psychological issues because they don’t know why or how to control their behavior.

Treating this disorder begins with diagnosis and evaluation of the underlying eating or sleeping disorder. Determining if it is night-eating syndrome or sleep-related eating disorder by performing a sleep study where they can monitor sleep behaviors though out the night. A doctor may recommend keeping a sleep journal for a least two weeks to document what they and/or their sleep partner may recall. This will help their doctor determine the diagnosis for their particular sleep behavior.

According to WebMD, medication sometimes can be helpful for these disorders; however, sleeping pills should be avoided as they can increase confusion and clumsiness that can lead to injury. Additional treatments may include methods to release stress and anxiety. Examples of these methods include stress management classes, assertiveness training, counseling, and limiting intake of alcohol and caffeine.

The advice for reducing episodes is to keep the individual on a set sleep schedule, make their sleep environment safe and comfortable, avoid sleep deprivation and remove hazardous objects from the kitchen.

The content provided in Sleep Related Eating Disorder a Parasomnia 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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Monday, March 7, 2011

Sleepwalking a Parasomnia is a Sleep Disorder

Sleepwalking a parasomnia is a sleep disorder also known as somnambulism. A sleepwalker will get out of bed during the slow wave sleep stage 4 or NREM in a state of low consciousness and perform activities they usually carry out when fully awake. According to sleep specialists, sleepwalkers may fall asleep easy but may act out these activities that include sitting up in bed, walking, eating and may involve dangerous actions like driving, cooking, grabbing sharp objects, eating nonfoods and even fall to their death between the hours of 11pm and 1am. A parasomnia, like confusional arousals, is an unwanted movement or physical episode that happens during sleep or just upon awakening. Sleepwalkers tend to be children, ages of 8-12 that are known to eventually outgrow this disorder. It does run in families and if a parent experiences a parasomnia then their children are 10 times more likely to suffer from a similar one.

[caption id="attachment_946" align="alignright" width="344" caption="Sleepwalking a Parasomnia is a Sleep Disorder - NREM Stage 4"][/caption]

Research has shown to disagree with the parasomnia classification and according to MedicineNet they define sleepwalking as an automatism. An automatism is an unconscious movement that may resemble simple repetitive tics or may be a complex sequence of natural-looking movements. The sleepwalker will not remember what he is doing or how he is doing it. Repetitive actions include chewing, lip-smacking, pulling on clothes or wandering around in a stupor. In the case of law, an individual may be accused of non-insane automatism or insane automatism. Non-insane automatism is a defense for temporary insanity or involuntary conduct resulting in an acquittal. Insane automatism is a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Some actions that take place during sleepwalking could be classified as automatisms.

For those that reach adulthood and do not outgrow this disorder, many misconceptions indicate that is psychological even though sleepwalking can be a symptom of a mental illness. Many adult sleepwalkers find it hard to deal with aggression during the day in which they act out while sleepwalking. These episodes can be very aggressive and dangerous to the sleepwalker and other family members. In these rare cases medications like benzodiazepine, Clonazepam may be prescribed.

Other factors that trigger an episode may include; sleep deprivation, chaotic sleep schedules, stress/anxiety, intoxication, medications like sedatives/hypnotics, caffeine, fever and even a noisy sleep environment. Medical conditions can also cause sleepwalking such as; obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, seizure disorder, abnormal heart rhythms, acid reflux, panic attacks and asthma.

[caption id="attachment_949" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleepwalking a Parasomnia is a Sleep Disorder - Lock the doors"][/caption]

When treating a sleepwalker it is important to eliminate the underlying cause which may include changing medication, establishing a sleep routine and finding a remedy for a medical condition. Sleepwalker’s safety will be the number one priority during this discovery period. It is advised that they should sleep on the ground floor, remove hazardous objects and lock doors and windows. When a person is sleepwalking it is best to lead them back to bed then wake them. Waking them is not only hard to do but will upset them. Discussing their sleepwalking episode will only cause more anxiety which may lead to insomnia.

One suggested form of treatment is anticipatory awakenings that consist of waking the sleepwalker 15-20 minutes before their usual time that an episode occurs and keeping them awake for the duration. Relaxation techniques and mental imagery have also helped eliminate sleepwalking episodes when done by an experienced therapist or hypnotist. Sleepwalking is not usually a serious sleep disorder and the condition can often be treated effectively. The content provided in Sleepwalking a Parasomnia is a 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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Saturday, March 5, 2011

How to Stay Healthy and Sleep Easy on Long Flights

This May I am going to travel to Athens, Greece, although I am very excited to go, I am dreading the 10 hour flight to get there. To prevent boredom, dehydration, deep-vein thrombosis, sleep deprivation and more, I have researched some tips and techniques on how to stay healthy and sleep easy on long flights. Unfortunately, since it is a company trip I have to fly coach and the number one tip is to upgrade, if possible, to business or first class to get extra legroom, too fully recline, eat better meal and get the best entertainment money can buy. If you are fortunate enough to upgrade stop here, if not, I can offer the following suggestions.

[caption id="attachment_939" align="alignright" width="247" caption="How to Stay Healthy and Sleep Easy on Long"][/caption]

Devise a plan to combat the boredom look up to see the type of jet you are traveling on. will show you not only where you will be seated but if you have movies provided at your seat. If so, make sure you bring some good noise cancelling headphones or bring cash to purchase the airlines. You can also bring your iPad or computer with pre-downloaded movies. Remember to make sure your electronics are fully charged for the trip. Nothing makes me madder than to run out of battery in the middle of a movie. Also, electronics, good as they may be, can only hold a charge for so long and you might need other forms of entertainment to get through the flight like magazines, newspapers or a book.

When it comes to what gear to bring to stay healthy and get some sleep you might want to consider your own pillow, eye mask and earplugs to drown out engine noise, crying children or pilot announcements. Why your own pillow and not the airlines? A CNN article stated that studies show that germs can travel very easy on planes when people are packed together like sardines. According to a New England Journal of medicine, in 1994, six people contracted the drug-resistant tuberculosis and in 2003, 22 people came down with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) from a single passenger who had SARS, but no symptoms.

It is best advised to sit toward the front of the plane as most planes provide better air circulation as people aren’t sitting so close together. ALAS another reason to get an upgrade. If you are concerned with bacteria due to a suppress immune system, refrain from drinking tea or coffee as these beverages are made from the airplanes water tank that isn’t always clean. When boiling water it usually kills the germs, but prepared coffee and tea aboard an airplane generally doesn’t get to the high temperature guaranteed to kill these germs. Bring some kind of sanitizer and use it especially in the planes public toilet. Charles Gerba, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona, who is also known as Dr. Germ states that E. coli is usually always found in the airplanes restrooms. Not only should you wash your hand after using their restroom, you need to sanitize your hands and the door handle on the way out. Other areas that need sanitized or avoided are the escalators in the airport, an ATM machine, seats, pillows and blankets on planes are more germ-ridden than your laundry basket; that your tray table is probably dirtier than your own bathroom floor; and that the seatback pockets — well, you don't even want to know, apparently. Remember, it isn't "air quality" that is of concern when you are flying, or recycled air, or anything of the sort — it is your body's compromised ability to deal with normal bacteria and viruses that puts you in danger of getting sick after a flight. So bring some sanitizing wipes and/or a bottle of hand sanitizer to whip down your seat, tray and if you are lucky enough to have a TV, wipe that down too.

[caption id="attachment_940" align="alignright" width="300" caption="How to Stay Healthy and Sleep Easy on Long Flights-Bring Your Own Entertainment"][/caption]

Ok so far we have 1) make sure the plane provides entertainment, otherwise bring your own and 2) a list of the gear you need to stay healthy and get some sleep. Now you want to pack all this stuff up and not compromise your space as anything in front of you means less legroom. If at all possible try to keep your stuff in the compartment above your head and use it as needed. For books, magazines and newspapers use the now sanitized seatback pocket. Make sure you secure your valuables; credit cards, passport, wallet and cash as dishonest travelers maybe waiting for you to fall asleep to move in on your carry-ons. Consider keeping these items on your person (man) or deep inside your purse (woman) under your front seat or next to you. NOTE: If you don’t like the seat they assigned for you, try to reassign your seat at the gate. If traveling with a companion the best way to fly is in AB or FG (depending on the plane) seats that are window aisle seats only. Not only do you feel you have your own little secured space, you don’t have to worry about climbing over any one or having someone sit in the middle seat.

Sleeping on a plane is not always easy. I am amazed that some people can fall asleep easy before we even take off. I can sleep off and on and usually not for hours on end. If you are like me I usually have a routine when travelling more than five hours on a plane. I know as soon as we get past 10,000 miles the flight attendants start their beverage service. Then about 2 hours later serve dinner. I want to make sure I have enough water on this long trip so that I don’t get dehydrated and I want to pick a meal that might have foods that induce sleep, like turkey. You may also find online what type of meals that are provided for your particular flight. If there are no foods that induce sleep you might want to bring your own or a sleep aid supplement, like melatonin. TIP: if you are considering an herbal supplement or herbal blend you might want to try it out at home first to see if you can rely on them during your flight. See my article on List of Foods that Induce Sleep for more information. Remember that hydration is a concern on a long flight and it has been recommended by some doctors that drinking an electrolyte solution is better than water alone. If you are older or have medical problems it is important to maintain electrolyte balance as the combination of dehydration and stasis is really the issue with blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) the risk of developing DVT on flights less than four hours is relatively small but the chances increase as more flight time increases. NIH’s tips; walk, move, flex, stretch to encourage blood flow and wear comfortable non-restrictive clothing, drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol. If you are at risk for DVT, your physician may recommend compression socks during flight or taking a blood thinner before you fly. You may also consider hydrating very well the night before your trip as well as avoiding alcohol or diuretics such as coffee, soda or even chocolate, take a baby aspirin the night before and make sure you have an aisle seat so you can walk around whenever you can.

[caption id="attachment_942" align="alignright" width="381" caption="How to Stay Healthy and Sleep Easy on Long Flights-Snooze Foods"][/caption]

In the beginning of my article I recommended visiting the as they show where you will be sitting and if it is yellow or red seat according to their seating chart. Yellow seats have some drawbacks and the red seats are considered poor seats according to their standards. Remember if you don’t like your assigned seat to talk to the attendants at the gate for reassignment. There is nothing worse than sitting where you will be uncomfortable and being in coach you need to feel safe and satisfied about your surroundings for the long haul. So after about four to six hours of flight time has passed with the beverage and food delivery done for a period of time reducing flight attendant interruptions, I pick out a funny movie and hopefully the sleep inducing foods kick in so I can get some shut eye and be refreshed enough to tour Athens the next day. OPA!

The content provided in How to Stay Healthy and Sleep Easy on Long Flights 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, March 4, 2011

Book Overview - I Can Make You Sleep by Paul McKenna

Paul McKenna, Ph.D., the author of I Can Make You Sleep states that he has a twenty year background studying insomnia. He has a one of a kind approach to improve your quality of sleep by using easy exercises and lifestyle changes. The book comes along with a hypnosis CD that restores your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle using both your conscious and unconscious mind that will enable you to fall asleep easy, sleep deep and have the energy you need to improve your daily life.

[caption id="attachment_935" align="alignright" width="205" caption="Book Overview - I Can Make You Sleep by Paul McKenna"][/caption]

Your conscious mind or the mind that you use while awake is limited as studies have shown that it can only embrace so many ideas at one time. That is why your unconscious mind or larger mind is the part of you that controls your manners and bodily functions such as; heart beating, lungs breathing, brain thinking and keeps your body healthy and energized. The unconscious mind can multi-task and when you learn how to do something it will remember like riding a bicycle or driving a car. Learning to drive involves many functions that become a habit that after time you don’t have to think about the mechanics of driving anymore such as; knowing when to brake, use a turn signal or when to accelerate. But since our unconscious mind can learn anything that is repeated no matter if we want to or not, it can also instill bad habits. In fact, according to McKenna book I Can Make You Sleep: Overcome Insomnia Forever and Get the Best Rest of Your Life! Book and CD, insomnia is just a bad habit.

Changing how you think by exercises and lifestyle changes you can learn to undo bad habits. The CD also provides hypnotic suggestions that aid in the regulating you sleep/wake cycle. I tried the CD for the first time and found that it helps you to relax, but needed to listen to it a second time to become drowsy enough to fall asleep. I slept six hours straight and felt fully rested upon waking. Publishers Weekly’s review found that the book was easy to follow and didn’t get bogged down in unnecessary explanation. The CD offers help for insomniacs through self-hypnosis and deeper sleep. Library Journal assessment of McKenna’s work as written in a special hypnotic language intended to reset the reader’s sleep cycle with colorful graphics and a low-toned male voice recommending that the listener sleep, make love and use his book/CD only in bed. The book concludes with sleep questions and a list of 14 golden rules of sleep.

Paul McKenna, PhD is a bestselling author of I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD) [Hardcover]and other I Can books that have sold over three million copies. Known as a self-help guru by The Times of London, McKenna has helped people lose weight, quit smoking, overcome insomnia, eliminate stress and gain self-confidence. He has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View, CBS’s The Early Show, Rachael Ray, The Montel Williams Show, Fox and Friends, The Mike & Juliet Show, ABC’s Primetime Live, and 20/20. Paul McKenna’s TV shows and live appearances have been watched and attended by hundreds of millions of people in 42 countries around the world.

The content provided in Book Overview - I Can Make You Sleep by Paul McKenna 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, March 2, 2011

Confusional Arousals a Parasomnia is a Sleep Disorder

Recently I wrote about Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavioral Disorder in which I talked about parasomnias and what they were. Confusional Arousals, a parasomnia, is a sleep disorder that causes a person to yell or thrash about in bed while they are asleep. Sometimes confusional arousals are referred to as sleep drunkenness or severe morning sleep inertia, but confusional arousals occur during the night and severe morning sleep inertia happens upon wakening. Both cause the person to react very slowly to stimulation and if they do wake, they will have a hard time understanding what is happening to them. Trying to calm a person in this state can be difficult because it is very hard to waken them until the arousal is over, then they can be calmed to fall back to sleep easy. Symptoms include slow speech, confused thinking, poor memory or short response to questions and requests. These events can last a few minutes to a few hours.

[caption id="attachment_930" align="alignright" width="169" caption="Confusional Arousals a Parasomnia is a Sleep Disorder - Yelling and Thrashing During Sleep"][/caption]

Confusional arousals happen in young children, teen and adults. Sometimes with adults they can become very aggressive and can cause stress in their relationships. Children confusional arousals can seem frightening to watch as the child is yelling and flinging their arms and legs about. If their eyes are open they may look like they are staring right at you but will not respond or might even become agitated to your approach to wake them. Remember yelling or shaking the child awake will only cause them to become more frightened and it will take them longer to go back to sleep once the episode is over. Young children’s episodes can last longer than those that occur with teens or adults. Once they are teens other sleep disorders can happen along with their confusional arousals like sleepwalking or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that causes periods when breathing stops which interrupts deep sleep. A doctor may recommend the removal of tonsils and adenoids to alleviate the obstruction to the airway passage. Teens are more likely to have vivid dream due to outside influences such as horror movies or even the news that they act out during sleep, a rapid eye movement sleep behavioral disorder.

Are you suffering or at risk for confusional arousals? You are more likely to have this disorder if it is in your family history but if you work the late or split shift, sleep deprivation, drink alcohol in excess, suffer from bipolar or depressive disorders, stress/anxiety and/or abuse drugs you are also at risk. Confusional arousals are also associated with other sleep disorders such as; hypersomnia, insomnia, OSA, periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

[caption id="attachment_929" align="alignright" width="362" caption="Confusional Arousals a Parasomnia is a Sleep Disorder - Epworth Sleeping Scale (ESS) "][/caption]

If you are having difficulty getting through the day, lack focus and motor function it is advised to talk to your doctor, but you may want to keep a sleep journal for at least two weeks before your appointment to help the doctor diagnosis your condition. The sleep journal should include all confusional arousals, how many hours you sleep every night and if you get sleepy during the day. Dr. Murray Johns was the Founding Director of the Sleep Disorders Unit at Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. He developed the Epworth Sleeping Scale (ESS) a questionaire that assesses a person’s daytime sleepiness. However, many people with a variety of sleep disorders have normal ESS scores. It is just an example of some of the questions you should ask yourself to determine if you need consultation or treatment for your condition. Once you see your physician he will want your family medical history along with all herbal supplements, OTC’s and prescription drugs you are taking.

He may recommend a sleep study or polysomnogram that will monitor your brain waves, heart beat and breathing patterns while you sleep. They can also watch to see if your arms and legs move or determine if you have another sleep disorder like OSA or periodic limb movement disorder.

In most cases, no treatment is necessary. These events rarely indicate any serious underlying medical or psychiatric problem. In children, the number of events tends to decrease as they get older, although they may persist into adulthood. Remember to clear the bedroom of obstructions, secure doors and windows with locks and alarms and try to have the person to sleep on the first floor to avoid injury. If any underlying causes are indicated they need to be treated first. Treatment for confusional arousals may include prescription drugs like clonazepam or behavioral modification techniques. Behavioral modification techniques can be to make sure they have good sleeping habits which include getting the proper amount of sleep for their age group to decrease the chance for an episode and/or behavioral waking episodes later in the night can worsen confusional arousals earlier in the night, so elimination of these problem wakings can help reduce or eliminate confusional arousals.

he content provided in Confusional Arousals a Parasomnia is a 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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