Category Archives: sleep

7 Sleep mistakes you don’t know you’re making – Infographic

Sleep is one of the truly under-appreciated aspects of living a long and healthy life. I know for sure that when I was in the working world, I pretty much considered sleep to be an imposition on my life.

Times, and my mind, have changed. Please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep for more on this crucial aspect of our daily lives.

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Tony

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The Sleep Cure: The Fountain of Youth May Be Close at Hand

I couldn’t agree more with these healthy sleep sentiments. Check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep for more details.

Tony

Mark Zielinski knew he was onto something when his mice stopped sleeping. Normally, the animals woke and slept on a 12-hour cycle. When the lights were on in the lab, the mice were active. When it went dark on a timer, down they went. But Zielinski, who teaches psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, had recently […]

via The Sleep Cure: The Fountain of Youth May Be Closer Than You Ever Thought — Our Better Health

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What is Good Quality Sleep? – NSF

Regular readers know I feel strongly about the value of a good night’s sleep. I have a Page on it – How important is a good night’s sleep?

I consider it to be truly one of the most under-appreciated aspects of good health.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recently released the key indicators of good sleep quality, as established by a panel of experts.

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Given the precipitous increase in the use of sleep technology devices, the key findings are timely and relevant. This information complements the data these devices provide, helping millions of consumers interpret their sleep patterns. The report comes as the first step in NSF’s effort to spearhead defining the key indicators of good sleep quality. They key determinants of quality sleep are included in a report published in Sleep Health. They include:

  • Sleeping more time while in bed (at least 85 percent of the total time)
  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once per night; and
  • Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep.

Multiple rounds of consensus voting on the determinants led to the key findings, which have since been endorsed by the American Association of Anatomists, American Academy of Neurology, American Physiological Society, Gerontological Society of America, Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, Society for Research of Human Development, and Society for Women’s Health Research.

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Portions of the Brain Fall Asleep While we are Awake …

I am blown away by the brain and how it functions in our body and allows us to function. Remember, the brain which accounts for about two percent of our body weight burns around 25 percent of the calories we use in a day. This item from Neuroscience News moves the needle further.

When we are in a deep slumber our brain’s activity ebbs and flows in big, obvious waves, like watching a tide of human bodies rise up and sit down around a sports stadium. It’s hard to miss. Now, Stanford researchers have found, those same cycles exist in wake as in sleep, but with only small sections sitting and standing in unison rather than the entire stadium. It’s as if tiny portions of the brain are independently falling asleep and waking back up all the time.

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What’s more, it appears that when the neurons have cycled into the more active, or “on,” state they are better at responding to the world. The neurons also spend more time in the on state when paying attention to a task. This finding suggests processes that regulate brain activity in sleep might also play a role in attention.

“Selective attention is similar to making small parts of your brain a little bit more awake,” said Tatiana Engel, a postdoctoral fellow and co-lead author on the research, which published Dec. 1 in Science. Former graduate student Nicholas Steinmetz was the other co-lead author, who carried out the neurophysiology experiments in the lab of Tirin Moore, a professor of neurobiology and one of the senior authors. Continue reading

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Daylight Saving Time “fall back” doesn’t equal sleep gain – Harvard

Don’t forget to set your clock back tonight before you go to sleep.

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2:00 am this Sunday. In theory, “falling back” means an extra hour of sleep this weekend.
Winston Churchill once described Daylight Saving Time like this: “An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn… We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.”

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That’s an overly optimistic view. In reality, many people don’t, or can’t, take advantage of this weekend’s extra hour of sleep. And the resulting shift in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can disrupt sleep for several days, according to Anthony Komaroff,M.D.,  Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter. Continue reading

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“Early To Bed..” Really Can Make You Healthy, Wealthy and Wise (and Happy!)

Here are some fascinating insights into the value of sleep from Ayurveda. I am consistently amazed at the wonderful truths it holds on our health.

To read further on this subject, please checkout my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

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Tony

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

According to Ayurveda, our potential for good health depends largely on how we live our day-to-day life. It is our patterns of eating, sleeping, exercise and what we do daily to rejuvenate ourselves that help determine whether we maintain vibrant health throughout our lifetime.

Ayurveda recognizes the importance of our relationship with the universe around us. We are a part of nature: if we live in accord with the laws that structure the world we live in, we can keep our mind/body system functioning efficiently with the least amount of wear and tear.

One key to living in tune with nature is the time that we go to bed and get up in the morning. There is a saying, “The day begins the night before.” Only by going to be early in the evening can we start the next day fully rested, having synchronized our individual rhythms with the circadian…

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7 Benefits of regular physical Exercise – Mayo Clinic

You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.
Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.

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1. Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain exercise, cardio exercise, Exercise, sleep, Weight, weight control

22 Fascinating facts about sleep – Infographic

To many of us (particularly in the working world) sleep is an unnecessary interruption in our day. But, the fact is that sleep is a vital bodily function that we must get enough of or we will pay the price. Enjoy the infographic, but please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep.

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Tony

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10 Tips for better sleep – Infographic

Sleep, like walking, is one of the most under appreciated aspects of living a healthy life.

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To read much more on sleep, check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

If you really want to get into it, check out Arianna Huffington ‘s excellent book  The Sleep Revolution  at Amazon.

Tony

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Foods That Help Increase Melatonin

Sleep is one of the underappreciated aspects of good health. Please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep for more.

melatonin benefits

Tony

Our Better Health

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland situated in your brain. This chemical offers so many benefits, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that melatonin protects the heart from damage. It’s also proven to help ward off cancer.

However, the most popular role played by melatonin is the regulation of the circadian rhythm — your body clock. Individuals lacking in melatonin often find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is something that you will find on various internet articles pertaining to how to combat insomnia.

Because of the ability of melatonin to combat sleep deprivation, so many pharmaceutical companies offer the said hormone in supplement form. The downside to taking melatonin supplements is every capsule or tablet usually contains synthetic ingredients. Their intake can actually do more harm than good in the long run because of the man-made chemicals in them.

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Sleep Habits Affect Weight Loss Results, and More

How much sleep is optimal for weight loss? Between seven and nine hours a night is best. Less than seven hours increases the risk of obesity approximately 30 percent and adds an extra five pounds on average.

According to Jean-Philippe Chaput, M.Sc., from Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, and colleagues, current treatments for obesity have been largely unsuccessful in maintaining long-term weight loss, suggesting the need for new insight into the mechanisms that result in altered metabolism and behavior and may lead to obesity, HUFFPOST HEALTH reported.

The increase in body weight in the U.S. population has been paralleled by a reduction in sleep times. For the past four decades, daily sleep duration has decreased by one and a half to two hours, and the proportion of young adults sleeping less than seven hours per night has more than doubled, from 15.6 percent in 1960 to 37.1 percent in 2002.

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem for physical and mental health reasons even when it is mild, according to Dr. Anthony Goodman in The Great Courses course Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at any Age.

Sleep deprivation is prevalent in all age categories from late teens to the elderly.

The National Sleep Foundation reported that 67 percent of Americans are sleep-deprived. Some 40 percent of Americans sleep less than 7 hours a night and 70 percent sleep less than 8 hours.

College students who have been carefully tested showed that even the slightest decrease in the amount of sleep caused major deficits in their memory and test performance.
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Sleep and Social Participation Link May Be Key to Healthy Aging

A few years ago I took several courses on the importance of sleep and its impact of the body. You can check out many aspects covered in a series of posts I have listed on my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

The subjects covered on my Page apply to all ages, from school kids to seniors. However, it seems that getting a good night’s sleep, however, becomes more difficult for some folks as they age.

A recent study at the University of Missouri tied good sleep with social participation and healthy aging.

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Sleep may be one of the most important factors for well-being; yet, according to the CDC, one in three adults does not get enough. Lack of sleep can lead to potential cognitive declines, chronic diseases and death. Now, research from the University of Missouri finds that older adults who have trouble sleeping, could benefit from participating in social activities, in particular attending religious events.

“Social connectedness is a key component for health and well-being for older adults,” said Jen-Hao Chen, assistant professor of health sciences at the MU School of Health Professions and the Truman School of Public Affairs. “Close connections to, and participation in, social groups provides a sense of belonging and can be essential for healthy aging.”

Yet despite past attention to the link between social participation and many different health outcomes, little research has been dedicated to linking social participation and another critical health outcome for older adults—sleep.

To study the relationship between sleep and social participation for older adults, Chen analyzed two waves of data collected over a five year period from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. He looked at three aspects of social participation; volunteering, attending religious services and being part of organized group activities. He then compared the data to sleep outcomes measured by actigraphy—wearable wrist sleep trackers. Results showed that older adults with greater levels of social participation were getting better sleep.

However, Chen says despite the strong associations between social participation and sleep, social participation does not necessarily lead to better sleep. The strong associations he found could also be due to those already sleeping well may feel well enough to be more active socially. His future research on sleep will continue to use innovative sleep measurements to understand the role various social relationships have on sleep behaviors and outcomes. Continue reading

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Sleep or Die – Infographic

Sleep is one of the most important and at the same time one of the most one of the most overlooked aspects of our life in conversations about good health. I have written a Page on it – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?

Herewith an infographic on the subject:

9cf75fcfda61fa55d918af0a96dce503I hope you get the message.

Tony

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What is a Yoga Trick for Getting to Sleep Quickly?

Regular readers know that I started doing yoga more than 30 years ago while in my 30’s. I did it religiously for the first couple of years, then slacked off some. But, I never stopped doing yoga. I use yoga techniques when I do stretches on bike riding breaks. The yoga breathing sends oxygen-rich blood to my leg muscles and refreshes them to extend the ride.

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I wrote previously about being in Las Vegas on a trip with my girlfriend and dealing with the huge portions of food being served. Another difficulty of being here is that your mind gets going gambling and then when you finally get to bed, your brain is still in high gear.

This Royal Flush is the kind of hand that can keep a player from falling asleep.

This Royal Flush is the kind of hand that can keep a player from falling asleep.

What to do?

Going back to my practice of yoga, the one technique that I have carried forward and used probably every day of my life is breath control. I think it may have saved my life on more than one occasion.

If you aren’t familiar with breath control in yoga, I will share my experience. I learned from a yoga teacher that I was dating, there may well be other further techniques that I don’t know about.

What I do is called diaphragmatic breathing in which you lower your diaphragm by extending your stomach outward (making a potbelly). This is done to a count of five and the result is that the inhaled air reaches deep into the lungs which doesn’t occur in regular breathing. You can hold the breath for a beat or two and then exhale to a similar five count.

Besides sending oxygen-rich blood around to your muscles and brain, this also has a wonderful stilling effect on your mind as well as your body. Remember, when you are stressed, you breathe shallowly – your breath comes in short pants. The yoga breathing is the opposite of that and has the opposite effect. It calms you down.

Whenever I find myself stressed in any way, the first thing I do is to relax and breathe diaphragmatically. This slows my racing mind down and allows me to make clear decisions as opposed to panicked ones.

Now you know the first part . I recently took a yoga class from The Great Courses. In this class, the teacher extended the yoga breath which I have described. In her version, you inhale diaphragmatically to a five count, then, instead of exhaling, you expand your chest and inhale for a further five count. This results in considerably more oxygen getting into your system and also has a stronger impact on slowing your breathing and heart rate.

While practicing yoga breathing concentrate only on the breath you are taking and nothing else. Feel the oxygen entering your lungs and circulating through your body as you inhale. Release the waste air on the exhale thinking only of that. Clear your mind as you fill and empty your lungs.

I have found that using this new technique at night can result in putting me to sleep in no time. It really relaxes me and takes me right down.

If you are having trouble getting to sleep or would just like to fall asleep faster, I suggest you try it.

Finally, because so many readers are concerned about their weight and waistlines, a good night’s sleep is very helpful in controlling your weight. When you sleep badly, or too little, you are more likely to be snacking on sugary, calorie-filled, confections in the afternoon to get an energy boost. So, a good night’s sleep can help you cut down on bad snacks, too.

Tony

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How sleep can make you slim…

Very useful info here on benefits of sleep and good sleep techniques.

To read more on the value of a good night’s sleep check out my Page – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?

Tony

IMG_4162This was a really interesting theory to look in to. You know how it is, I regularly burn the candle at both ends, going to bed between 11-12pm and then waking up to the sound of my alarm at 6am feeling horrendous and my body feeling tired and limp.

The odd night I actually have enough sleep, especially if I have trained I wake up feeling great, rested, repaired and in a much better mind set. Here are a few really interesting facts about the correlation between sleep and weight loss, that have motivated me to switch my light off a little bit earlier every evening.

An early night stops late-night snacking
The longer you’re awake, the more likely you are to consume calories you don’t actually need, this can cause you to gain up to two pounds a week, research has been done highlighting that a late night can add up to…

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Design the Ideal Bedroom to Improve Your Sleep – Infographic

Regular readers know I feel strongly that we need to get proper sleep to remain healthy and live a long life. As the infographic below states, nearly half the world’s population suffers from sleep disorders. Herewith some super ideas for creating “the perfect sleep sanctuary and getting the rest your body needs to operate at peak performance.”

To read further on the importance of sleep, check out my Page – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?

Design-Your-Bedroom-For-a-Good-Nights-Sleep-1One of the techniques I have adopted for my late night computing is to wear a pair of blue-blocker sunglasses. That way, the blue light from the computer screen doesn’t throw off my circadian rhythms and keep me awake.

In case you didn’t notice, the infographic is from Made.com

Tony

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