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Can’t Sleep? Here Are Some Easy Ways To Get A Better Night’s Rest, According To Science  

Some studies suggest that not sleeping enough is just as damaging to our health as smoking, and that getting less than six hours could lead to medical issues and — even worse — shave years off your life span.

“People often say you can sleep when you’re dead, and I say that’s true, but you’ll be dead a lot sooner if you don’t sleep right now,” said Lisa Metzer, a doctor and associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health. “The science is quite clear that insufficient sleep leads to a significant impact on all aspects of functioning.” After all, research suggests that 24 hours without sleep is similar to being legally drunk.

The bad news: Fifty to seventy million Americans already suffer from sleep disorders. But the good news: We’re not necessarily damned if we don’t get a full eight hours.

Here’s what studies suggest about sleep — and what it means to get a decent night’s rest.

Early bird or night owl? It really might depend on your genes.

Our bodies have “diurnal preferences,” or “chronotypes,” which basically mean that we are predisposed to a certain type of body clock. One study of more than 600 people between the age of 20 and 35 suggests that these preferences are influenced by our genetic makeup, for example, and Metzer says that there’s generally a scientific consensus around the idea that we have fixed chronotypes.

“People have a tendency to be a morning or evening type. Some people are very extreme on either ends, like they always wake up at 4 a.m. or others can’t sleep until 2 a.m.,” she said.

But what about people who prefer nights but have jobs at the crack of dawn?

“Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is very critical to maintaining a normal rhythm that fits with the work or school schedule,” she said. “Even on weekends, don’t delay sleep by more than an hour and don’t sleep until noon, either — because, come Monday morning, you will not wake up.”

Changing sleep habits for just one night affects our bodies so much that she calls a late Saturday with friends “social jet lag.”

There’s a reason young people have trouble going to bed early.

Newborn babies need as much as 17 hours of sleep a day, but most adults need significantly less. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people age 18 to 64 should get about seven to nine hours of sleep a night — just a third of our daily lives.

But when it comes to teenagers and adults, Metzer said, there are specific needs. “When adolescents go through puberty, melatonin is released,” and that effectively makes adolescents night owls. “It becomes difficult for [them] to fall asleep earlier, and this carries into the early 20s,” she said.

This is why some groups are advocating for later school start times. In Boston, for example, a group recently petitioned to move the school day from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

“School start times are starting to change, but it’s certainly not at the level of recognition it needs to be,” Metzer said.

The good news: You can hack your environment to get better sleep.

No matter how well we manage to grimace through our most sleep-deprived days, or how long we’ve already mastered going through life with the constant fray of feeling tired, there’s no escaping a simple truth: Our bodies were designed for sleep.

“You have to eat, you have to drink, you have to breathe and you have to sleep. People think they can get by on less sleep, and they can — but it’s going to catch up with them eventually,” Metzer said.

But when we find ourselves struggling to drift into dreams, the following tips can help us get through the night.

1. Don’t drink or smoke before bed.

In the hours before we head to bed, be sure to avoid alcohol and cigarettes, which are thought to disrupt restorative REM sleep. It’s true that one study suggests that women are more affected by drinks before bed than men, but it’s generally not a good idea to sip a cocktail before bed, no matter who you are.

“Alcohol is a sedative and will make you sleepy, but it will also make it harder to get quality sleep,” Metzer said. She also recommends going completely cold-turkey and dropping cigarettes altogether, along with losing coffee around the middle of the day.
“Another standard recommendation is limiting caffeine use after lunch, since caffeine has a half-life of four to six hours,” she said. On top of coffee, that includes several types of tea, energy drinks and sodas.

2. Optimize your environment.

There are many tips on the internet for getting better sleep, but the most scientifically supported one is reducing our exposure to blue light by shutting off electronics at least a half-hour before bedtime.

In general, melatonin is a hormone that is released during darkness, so exposure to light at late-night hours can affect our body clocks.

Other theories are less supported, but perhaps worth a try. Keeping the temperature in our bedrooms cool, for instance, may make sleep more pleasant. Some recommend heating up our bodies with a shower a few hours before bed so that our bodies have to cool down afterward, signaling us to sleep.

Try whatever you’d like, but always remain some level of skepticism. Some studies also support using aroma therapy — particularly lavender — to aid our transition to sleep. Metzer, however, isn’t convinced that those kinds of solutions work. We just need to have the discipline to put our smartphones away and go to bed at a regular time, she said. That’s what will transform American health and culture in the future.

“People have become more interested in sleep, and it has become a hot topic,” she said. “But until [sleep] becomes a recognized pillar of health, the same way diet and exercise are, I don’t see vast changes happening quickly.”


By Kelly Kasulis        June 10, 2017          @KasulisK
source: mic.com


Fun Fact Friday

  • Believing you’ve slept well, even when you haven’t, improves performance.

  • Drinking cold water actually causes your body to burn calories, as it uses energy to warm it up to body temperature.


  • When feeling depressed, do some cleaning.

  • About 80% of all cats are infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can cause depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia in humans.

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact

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Busy Schedules are Putting Children’s Health at Risk

‘Worry and busyness and stress is robbing children of their peace of mind,’ says child therapist

According to child and family therapist Michele Kambolis, children are vulnerable to anxiety and stress preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep.

Busy schedules, too many worries and a lack of sleep could be threatening the health of your children, one expert is warning parents.

Vancouver-based child and family therapist Michele Kambolis says she often hears from children who say they are working with tutors or doing homework late into the night.

“Worry and busyness and stress is robbing children of their peace of mind,” she says.

But getting enough sleep is crucial to a child’s development, Kambolis says.

“It’s a non-negotiable part of their health. Children who are sleep-deprived are at risk for a whole host of problems including difficulties at school.”

Cultural attitudes to sleep play a big role, she notes.

“We seem to live in a culture that doesn’t value sleep in the way that it should,” she says.
“Our lifestyles are more hurried and more worried and a lot of busy, busy activity is falling into the time of day when children really need brain rest.
“We’re focusing on high productivity and we know that children match us. They match our choice and our behaviour.
“It’s really important to create a clear delineation between the busyness of the day and nighttime when children can wind down, lean into our care and talk about whatever worries have arisen throughout the day.”

(Natalie Holdway/CBC)

Some of her tips include:

  • Cut back on children’s screen time an hour and a half before bed.
  • If nighttime wetting is a problem, help keep kids dry by using absorbent bedtime pants.
  • Address dietary issues. Caffeine and sugar late in the day makes it very difficult for kids to sleep at night.
  • Practice ways to calm the mind and body in order to facilitate sleep.
  • Communicate with teachers, day care providers or other caregivers about how the child is functioning through the day to see if a lack of sleep is causing concern.


CBC News      Posted: May 17, 2017 
source; www.cbc.ca

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What Snacks To Eat For Better Sleep

Story highlights
=> Foods that boost the production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain might benefit sleep
=> Experts weigh in on what and when to eat before bedtime

(CNN)Many people chug caffeine-packed coffee or scarf down an energy bar to wake up, but what should you eat to wind down?

More than a third of adults in the United States are not getting enough shut-eye, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, to make sure that your bedtime snack can be effective in promoting sleep, some experts say it should contain one essential amino acid: tryptophan.

“There is a real lack of studies that show that specific nutrients can influence sleep, either better or worse. There are a few exceptions. Tryptophan has been shown to induce sleep,” said Michael Grandner, director of the University of Arizona College of Medicine’s Sleep and Health Research Program.

Tryptophan, an amino acid, might help you snooze because once it enters your body, it’s converted into two brain chemicals associated with sleep: melatonin, which helps regulate your body’s natural sleep and wake cycles, and serotonin, which causes relaxation and drowsiness.

“Tryptophan is the reason why it is widely perceived that a Thanksgiving dinner causes drowsiness, because of the tryptophan in turkey. However, other foods contain tryptophan, and some have more tryptophan than turkey,” said Dr. Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and specialist in nutrition and preventive medicine.

Does your diet influence how well you sleep? Snacks containing high amounts of tryptophan include egg whites, soybeans, low-fat cheese, chicken and seeds, such as pumpkin or sesame, Hensrud said.

Foods rich in carbohydrates, lean in protein and low in fat also may boost the production of serotonin and melatonin, such as granola, unsweetened cereals or whole-grain crackers with milk, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Have a sweet tooth? Pineapples, oranges and bananas also may be linked to increased melatonin levels, according to a small study published in the Journal of Pineal Research in 2012.

On the other hand, eating foods low in fiber but high in saturated fat and sugar is associated with a lower quality of sleep, such as having difficulty falling asleep or not spending as much time during your sleep cycle in a deep sleep. That’s according to a small study published last year in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Spicy foods and caffeine before bedtime are also associated with impaired sleep – and not only what you eat but when you eat can play a role in how well you snooze. One small study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in 2013 suggests that you should refrain from consuming caffeine within six hours of bedtime.

The CDC recommends avoiding large meals too close bedtime. Grandner said people can eat a big meal about four or five hours beforehand.

And what about late-night snacks? “It’s never too late to eat a small snack,” he said. “I might have a small snack about an hour before going to bed, but many nights, I don’t.”

People with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or acid reflux, should be careful not to lie down within three hours after a meal. That might trigger symptoms of reflux, which could interfere with sleep, Hensrud said.

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN      Thu May 11, 2017
source: www.cnn.com

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More Sleep Can Lead To Less Chronic Pain: Study

A new animal study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, suggests that sleeping more and drinking coffee rather than taking analgesics can help reduce the intensity of chronic pain.

Chronic pain sufferers could benefit from combining good sleep habits, taking sleep-promoting medications at night and alertness-promoting agents such as coffee during the day, according to a joint study by Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

The researchers first studied the sleep cycles of lab animals (mice), measuring how long they slept and their sensory sensitivity.

To assess the impact of lack of sleep on pain, the research team kept the mice awake for as long as 12 hours in one session, or for 6 hours for five consecutive days. They did this by entertaining them with games without over-stimulating them or stressing them, thus mimicking the way people watch TV late in the evening instead of going to sleep.

Sensitivity to pain was gauged by exposing the mice to heat, cold, pressure or capsaicin (found in hot chili peppers) and “measuring how long it took the animal to move away or lick away the discomfort caused by the capsaicin.”

The researchers also tested responses to non-painful stimuli, such as loud noise which made the mice start.

The study showed that moderate sleep deprivation for five consecutive days can significantly increase pain sensitivity in healthy mice.

Analgesics (such as morphine and ibuprofen) did not reduce heightened pain sensitivity due to sleep loss. The study showed that morphine in particular lost most of its efficacy in mice deprived of sleep.
The study points out that in general, patients tend to increase analgesic dosage to compensate for the loss of efficacy due to sleep deprivation, thus increasing the risk of side-effects.

In contrast, caffeine and modafinil, both of which are known for promoting wakefulness, successfully blocked hyper-sensitivity to pain caused by acute and chronic sleep loss. But the study showed that in non-sleep-deprived mice, these substances did not have any analgesic effect.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.” It can be acute when associated with trauma or an operation, or chronic if it lasts longer than 3 months and responds poorly to treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, one in five adults suffers from moderate to severe chronic pain and one in three of those are unable to live independently.

Relaxnews      Published Friday, May 12, 2017

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Fun Fact Friday

  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. This is mostly due to the hormonal changes that women often experience.

  • When ignored by someone whose attention means the most to you, the reaction in the brain is similar to physical pain.


  • Pistanthrophobia is a common fear of trusting people due to past experiences with relationships gone bad.

  • Studies show acting confidently is the surest key to success – If you fake it, you will make it.

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact

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Fun Fact Friday

  • Optimistic people are 23% less likely to die of cancer and 30% less likely to die from heart diseases.
  • Porphyrophobia is the fear of the color purple.
  • When people feel physically cold, they seek out psychological warmth, like watching a romantic movie that will make them feel warm inside.
Optimistic people are 23% less likely to die of cancer
and 30% less likely to die from heart diseases.
  • Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per day.
  • Eating mangos one hour before smoking marijuana can heighten the effects.
  • 85% of people have experienced a dream so real that they were not sure if it happened in real life or not.
Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact