Category Archives: sleep

Romance, Scent, and Sleep …

I have written previously about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Must admit that I would not have guessed that one of the keys was right under my nose.

Forget counting sheep. If you really want a good night’s sleep, all you may need is your romantic partner’s favorite T-shirt wrapped around your pillow.

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New research accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep. This is true regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware that the scent is even present. Continue reading

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6 Resolutions for a Happy – and Healthy – New Year – Johns Hopkins

This is probably something more appropriate for with first week of January, not the fourth. Better late than never. Johns Hopkins Medicine has some very useful information here.

The new year can be an exciting time, brimming with the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. It’s also an opportunity to recommit to your health and well-being: Eat better. Exercise three times each week. Drink more water.

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Creating these resolutions is easy enough. Sticking to them beyond the month of January, however, is another story. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, New Year Resolutions, sleep, sleep aids

Losing one night’s sleep may increase blood levels of Alzheimer’s biomarker – Study

I have written repeatedly about getting a good night’s sleep. You can check my page – How important is a good night’s sleep?  for more details. Regular readers also know about my concern about cognition and the vulnerability of an aging brain because of the Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in my family.

A preliminary study by researchers at Uppsala University has found that when young, healthy men were deprived of just one night of sleep, they had higher levels of tau – a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease – in their blood than when they had a full, uninterrupted night of rest. The study is published in the medical journal Neurology.

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Tau is a protein found in neurons and the protein can form into tangles. These accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This accumulation can start decades before symptoms of the disease appear. Previous studies of older adults have suggested that sleep deprivation can increase the level of tau in the cerebral spinal fluid. Trauma to the head can also increase circulating concentrations of tau in blood.

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Science underestimated dangerous effects of sleep deprivation

I have written numerous times about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Here is further news about the damages of sleep deprivation.

Michigan State University’s Sleep and Learning Lab has conducted one of the largest sleep studies to date, revealing that sleep deprivation affects us much more than prior theories have suggested.

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Published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, the research is not only one of the largest studies, but also the first to assess how sleep deprivation impacts placekeeping – or, the ability to complete a series of steps without losing one’s place, despite potential interruptions. This study builds on prior research from MSU’s sleep scientists to quantify the effect lack of sleep has on a person’s ability to follow a procedure and maintain attention. Continue reading

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Yoga and physical therapy as treatment for chronic lower back pain also improves sleep

Yoga and physical therapy (PT) are effective approaches to treating co-occurring sleep disturbance and back pain while reducing the need for medication, according to a new study from Boston Medical Center (BMC). Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the research showed significant improvements in sleep quality lasting 52 weeks after 12 weeks of yoga classes or 1-on-1 PT, which suggests a long-term benefit of these non-pharmacologic approaches. In addition, participants with early improvements in pain after 6 weeks of treatment were three and a half times more likely to have improvements in sleep after the full, 12-week treatment, highlighting that pain and sleep are closely related.

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Previous research from BMC discovered that yoga and PT are similarly effective for lowering pain and improving physical function, reducing the need for pain medication. In this study, results for sleep improvements were compared over a 12-week intervention period and after 1 year of follow-up.The image is in the public domain.

Sleep disturbance and insomnia are common among people with chronic low back pain (cLBP). Previous research showed that 59% of people with cLBP experience poor sleep quality and 53% are diagnosed with insomnia disorder. Medication for both sleep and back pain can have serious side effects, and risk of opioid-related overdose and death increases with use of sleep medications. Continue reading

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More Americans struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep – Study

Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night is a struggle for most people, but even those who do may not have the best sleep.

New research from Iowa State University finds more Americans have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. The changes were independent of sleep duration, and difficulties were most prevalent in people with healthy sleep length, the findings show. The study, published in the journal Sleep Health, is one of the first to look at how multiple dimensions of sleep health change over time.

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Craving junk food after a sleepless night?

I am a big believer in getting a good night’s sleep. When I was in the working world I thought of sleep as an unwelcome interruption in my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sleep is a wonderful chance for the brain to reboot and your body to repair any physical mishaps. To learn more about the value of sleep please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

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Sleep-deprived subjects gobbled doughnuts and potato chips
Brain zeroes in on smells of energy-rich food
After sleepless night, your ‘tired’ nose fails to talk to brain regions directing food choices

When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to reach for doughnuts, fries and pizza. A new Northwestern Medicine study has figured out why you crave more calorie-dense, high-fat foods after a sleepless night — and how to help thwart those unhealthy choices. Continue reading

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Heart and brain health – Infographic

I have written about the brain benefits of exercise time and again. Here, is some further info on benefits for the brain and heart.

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Filed under alcohol, good night's sleep, heart, heart health brain health, relaxation, sleep

8 Tips to curb overeating – Tufts

No matter how much you exercise, you can’t outrun your fork. If you are eating too much, you may be doing serious damage to yourself. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter offers the following ideas.

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These tips may help to curb overeating:

Focus on NUTRITIONAL quality of food. Highly-processed foods may be more likely to trigger craving and overeating.

Avoid distractions. Focus on the food you’re eating and slow down to increase odds of recognizing when you’ve had enough.

Don’t get too hungry. It may be harder to control food intake and choices when the body’s systems are all screaming for food.

Address stress. Look for ways to cut down on exposure to stressful situations. Try stress-reducing techniques such as meditation and exercise to cut down on stress eating.

Avoid temptation. Fill your pantry with healthy choices that you enjoy, not highly-palatable highly-processed junk food.

Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.

Get enough Sleep. Ensure you get at least seven hours a night.

Support policy change. Government and industry policy changes can improve access to healthy choices and make portions smaller.

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Tips on living a longer life – WebMD

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestions in this blog over the past nine plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “

As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.

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Filed under aging, aging brain, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, sleep, successful aging

6 Tips for successful aging

Simple, but not easy, is a common description that I seem to hear all the time. I have accumulated some simple, and I hope easy, tips for successful aging. These are from Dana Corp.’s Brain in the News.

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1. Be physically active – 30 minutes a day – three days a week. Easy peasy.

2. Reduce your cardiovascular risk factors – including hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

3. Manage your medications by reviewing them with a clinician and learning about their effects on your cognitive health.

4. Be socially and intellectually active.

5. Get enough sleep. I can’t stress this enough. If  you want to know more about this utterly simple step, please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

6. Guard against delirium, a decrease in cognitive function that can be triggered by hospitalization, medications and certain illnesses.

 

Tony

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How many hours of sleep do you need?

I started writing this blog in March of 2010. In the beginning my only concern was losing weight. I have since developed my focus to living a healthy and long life with my mental faculties intact in the home stretch. In order to achieve that, some very important, but often overlooked aspects of living must be observed. Regular, hopefully daily exercise, will keep our organic machine humming. By all means one needs to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Intelligent eating is a sine que non. And. last, but not least, one needs to get enough sleep. Sleep is a reboot for the brain. Essential for a healthy life. Herewith, some superb guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation.

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Common lore would have you believe that everyone needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel their best—and for the majority of adults, that’s true. However, there is (unfortunately!) no one-size-fits-all answer. Many factors (like age, your body’s base or innate need for sleep, age, sleep quality, pregnancy, and sleep debt) play a role in establishing your particular “magic number.” As you age, your sleep needs change — older adults may need less sleep, seven to eight hours after age 65, for example, than their  younger counterparts. Continue reading

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Nitty-gritty on Sleep vs. Weight-loss

I think that a good night’s sleep is possibly one of the most singularly unappreciated aspects of living a healthy life. There is a Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? with tons more information on the subject. I stumbled across the following infographic, however, and thought it was particularly interesting.

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Tony

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Filed under good night's sleep, normal weight gain, overweight, sleep, sleep deprivation, Weight, weight loss

Sleepless nights add pounds – Study

An international team of researchers has found that a single sleepless night can alter metabolic processes leading to weight gain and lack of muscle maintenance. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of the impact of a sleepless night on several volunteers.

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Prior research has shown that interfering with normal sleep patterns can lead to weight gain—night shift workers, for example, have a tendency to gain weight. But until now, the mechanism responsible for such metabolic changes has not been known. To learn more, the researchers with this new effort enlisted the assistance of 15 adult volunteers. Each volunteer was tested in a lab on two separate occasions. One of the occasions was after getting a good night’s sleep, the other was after the volunteer had stayed up all night. Each submitted blood, fat and muscle samples, which the researchers then studied looking for differences.

They found differences in gene activity linked to the production of proteins associated with lipid absorption and cell proliferation in the volunteers between the two visits. More specifically, they found that when volunteers missed a night of sleep, they had elevated levels of both metabolites and proteins that are involved in the process of storing fat. They also experienced a breakdown of proteins that are involved in muscle buildup and repair. The researchers also found that missing a single night of sleep caused changes to genes that have been associated with a type of inflammation linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The team reports that they do not know how long the metabolic changes lasted after the volunteers returned to normal sleep patterns. But they point out that their study shows that sleep serves more functions than previously thought—it is not just to rejuvenate the brain or to conserve energy, it also plays a role in overall metabolism. They suggest more study is required to determine if such changes due to episodic sleep disruptions become long-term.

To read further on the value of sleep check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

Tony

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Filed under good night's sleep, normal weight gain, sleep, sleep deprivation, Weight, weight control, weight gain

Sleep loss linked to late time snacking, junk food cravings, obesity, diabetes

Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, according to the University of Arizona Health Sciences.

Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, a study by University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers stated.

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The study was conducted via a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3,105 adults from 23 U.S. metropolitan areas. Participants were asked if they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and whether lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also were asked about their sleep quality and existing health problems. Continue reading

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Filed under circadian cycles, diabetes, good night's sleep, junk food, obesity, sleep, sleep deprivation, Snacking

Bad habits that can hurt your brain – Web MD

I find myself writing something every week on how exercise benefits the brain as well as the body. I hope you are getting yours regularly. The other side of the coin includes actions we do or omit on a regular basis that harm our body as well as our brain. Here are some from WebMD.

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Not surprisingly, their first is not getting enough sleep. ” … lack of sleep may be a cause of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. It’s best to have regular sleeping hours. If you have trouble with sleep, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and electronics in the evening, and start a soothing bedtime ritual.”

I feel strongly about getting enough sleep. Check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for lots more details. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain damage, brain function, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, impact of quitting smoking, sleep, Smoking dangers