Archive for the ‘Sleep Deprivation’ Category
Daylight Savings Time is nearly here again. Almost all of North America (with the notably sane exceptions of Arizona and Hawaii) will synchronistically change the time on their clocks in the wee hours of next Sunday morning.
Spring Forward! It has such a perky, positive, up-beat sound to it, doesn’t it? Let’s just leap together into the future, bright eyed and bushy tailed! But wait… in order to “spring forward” we must lose an hour of sleep. How can that be? How will that work? Who thought THAT one up???
Sleep is one-third of our lives. When it doesn’t work well the other 2/3rds are likely to suffer. Poor sleep has been tied to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, cancer, depression, car crashes and industrial accidents. Healthy sleep is dependent on a healthy circadian rhythm system and suddenly, arbitrarily changing the clock overnight is definitely a shock to that system.
As a seasoned Sleep Specialist I cringe at the idea of an artificially induced jet lag syndrome being forced upon an entire national population. The symptoms of jet lag include headache, digestive upset, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, muscle aches and insomnia. If the majority of the citizens of a country came down with these symptoms all at once, a major epidemic would be declared and most everything would grind to a halt in the crisis. But we are expected to get up and go to work on Monday as if nothing has happened.
Statistics show there are 8% more car accidents on the Monday following the time change than on the Mondays immediately before or after. Suicides and heart attacks are more frequent in the few days after the Spring change as well. And while the original purpose of Daylight Savings Time was to increase productivity in the workplace, business reports indicate there is less getting done on the Monday after the change, pointing to the increase in personal web surfing and “cyber-loafing” on that day.
So what can we as individuals do (aside from moving to Arizona or Hawaii) to survive the Spring Forward with a minimal amount flack and fatigue? Here are some tips I’ve shared with my sleep coaching clients:
1.) Beat the Rush
Start adjusting your own internal body clock bit by bit in the few days before the time change. Eat your dinner and go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual on Wednesday night. Then 15 minutes earlier than that on Thursday night, and so on. By Sunday your body has started to shift its rhythms enough that when the time actually changes (and you go back to eating and sleeping at the same “clock time” as you used to) you’ll hardly skip a beat.
2.) See the Light
Light, especially sunlight, exerts the biggest influence on our circadian rhythms. So spend a lot of time outdoors on Sunday after the time change to help reinforce the rhythms of day and night on your body. Likewise, when the sun goes down, let that dimness be reflected in your indoor environment too. Keep the lights low, the electronic screens off and think about spending some time actually in the dark! Your sleep patterns will thank you.
3.) Drink the Water
Keep hydrated. Good advice at any time, but dehydration will only enhance any time warp symptoms you may experience and make you ever more miserable. Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol, though as these can further confuse your body clock and exacerbate any sleep disturbances.
4.) Take the Day Off
So, if there are more sleepy, sick and suicidal people on the freeway and there’s not much getting done at the office anyway, why risk the commute? Might as well take the “Monday After” off from work and get some more outdoor exercise with proper hydration topped off with a quiet evening of star-gazing on the dark back porch! By Tuesday you should be well on your way to newly minted circadian rhythms and able cope with the change.
I hope these tips serve you well.
I’d love to hear your ideas, too! Please post them in the comment section and share this article with your friends to hear about their ways of coping.
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep!
We all know how important it is to get enough sleep. Without it we yawn and drag through the day and maybe even need a long or involuntary nap to get through it. But you don’t have these obvious signs of sleep deprivation so you must be getting enough sleep, right? Maybe not. Check these 6 signs that you may not be getting all the sleep you need after all.
1. You use an alarm clock.
When we are free of sleep debt we will wake naturally at about the same time each day after our body has completed its restorative tasks. If you keep a regular schedule and avoid substances that alter the natural cycling of sleep and waking, you should not need to be yanked forcefully from your slumber in the morning. Waking to a jangling alarm clock is a nasty, stress inducing way to start the day. A natural, quiet and fresh awakening is a much more pleasant way to greet the new dawn.
2. You lose your keys.
Memory consolidation is thought to be one of the functions of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. We generally get the bulk of our REM sleep in the last ½ of our sleep session. Therefore if our night is cut short we miss out mostly on REM sleep and may be more prone to memory glitches. Long term sleep problems have even been shown to have an association with Alzheimer’s Disease.
3. You yell at your kids.
Irritability, lack of tolerance and impulse control problems have all been linked to sleep deprivation. This is true for both kids and adults. It is important for everyone in the family to make a sleep a nightly priority. Then the kids will be more likely to behave and you will be less likely to fly off the handle if they don’t!
4. You would rather eat doughnuts than broccoli.
Sleep balances our appetite hormones. With enough sleep under our belt we will have fewer cravings for carbohydrates and the artificial energy found in sugary snacks. We can then make those healthy food choices more easily.
5. You can’t seem to lose weight.
Along the same lines as #4, sleep is also the time we are most efficient at producing human growth hormone and testosterone. Theses hormones help us achieve and maintain a strong, lean body. Without adequate sleep, all our good intentions, diet plans and workout routines will be far less effective than they would be if supported by just a bit more shut-eye.
6. You’ve had a fender bender.
Just a second of inattention is all it takes. A car travelling 37 miles per hour will cover 54 yard in 3 seconds. That’s more than ½ the length of a football field! If the car in front of you brakes suddenly or someone turns in front of you, your safety, maybe even your life, hangs on whether you can react fast enough to avoid impact. Studies have shown that both chronic and short term sleep deprivation leads to slower reactions times. One study at Stanford even proved that sleep deprived people performed more poorly on reaction time tests than did people who were legally drunk.
So don’t wait until you can’t get through the day without propping your eyelids open with toothpicks. Watch for the subtle signs you need more sleep and make it a point to adjust your schedule to get it. When you get the sleep you need you can live the life of your dreams!
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep!
“Sleep is a waste of time.” “Sleep is for the weak.” “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”
These are the rallying cries of driven start up executives and creative entrepreneurs. Burning the midnight oil to create product, craft marketing campaigns and stitch together strategic alliances, they cast aside their need for sleep in favor of being first, being best, being most innovative.
While sleep may often be sacrificed in the name of success, this may actually be a false economy. I wrote a short chapter on this subject for a book that is being put together online. If you read it, like it and vote for it I may make the final version! Please let me know what you think.
Click here for book chapter.
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep,
These days life comes at us fast. Our daily tasks are listed and leering at us from our computers and date books. Even our phones chirp and chime at us throughout the day to let us know when it’s time to do this or that. Many of us are so busy we rarely accomplish everything on the list; we just keep moving from one meeting or project or chore to the next until we can’t go on any further and then we collapse. The surprising thing is, that as exhausted as we may be, sleep is not necessarily waiting right there to catch us when we fall! In fact, overfull days can easily become overalert nights.
For sleep to be as consistent and reliable as we would like it to be we need to give it as much respect as all our other appointments and obligations. Sleep needs to be scheduled into the day from the start so that the rest of the day can be built to accommodate it. If we leave sleep as an afterthought, treat it like leftovers or make it a last choice, sleep may become as elusive as a scorned lover. Declare your feelings; let sleep know it is important to you by giving it a priority place on your schedule and keeping your promise to show up on time. Then you will find sleep becomes more available for you.
While we have that BerryPhone out, let’s pencil in some exercise. The ideal time would be mid to late afternoon, but any time is better than no time, as long as you finish at least 2 hours before bedtime. A brisk walk in the sunlight is excellent. A spin class after work, awesome. Let your body move in space as it was designed to do. Get your heart rate up a bit. Sound sleep depends on changes in our core temperature. We sleep better when our inner temperature is falling. If we never do anything to raise our temp in the first place it’s like working in a room with no windows. The natural rhythms of the day and night are lost.
3) Eat Regular Balanced Meals
Speaking of natural rhythms, our bodies take their cues about when it is time to sleep and when to be awake from several different things. Light is really important, as is exercise and temperature changes as we just discussed. Another strong cue can come from regular mealtimes. It is important to eat, i.e. fuel the machine, several times during the day. Good, unprocessed, organic food is always preferable. If you go to bed hungry you are likely to find yourself awake, standing in front of the fridge at 3 a.m. Likewise, if you eat a big heavy meal 30 minutes before lying down for the night, your bodily functions will be busy with digestion. Sleep is likely to be delayed or at least restless for a couple hours. Regular nutritious meals at thoughtful intervals through the day can help you sleep more soundly at night. There are certain foods that can assist or hinder your ability to fall asleep easily or stay awake when required, but that is for another post.
4) Make a Worry List
Here we are back at lists again! This one however is one you should do nearer the end of the day, but not too close to bedtime. Right after dinner would be a reasonable time for this exercise. The idea here is to sit down with a blank piece of paper (several if needed) and let all those nagging little thoughts that are likely to start circling in your brain after lights out and spill them out in ink. You don’t have to be neat — just get it out on paper for safekeeping overnight. You may write out tomorrow’s to-do list, or a reminder to get the tires rotated. You may jot down an idea for next week’s presentation or just a gripe about an inconsiderate neighbor. What ever comes up, put it down. Once this “brain dump” is complete you’re free to slip away to slumber without concern you’re missing something. If, out of habit, one of those petty thoughts tries to rise up after you’re down for the night you can let it go quickly, knowing you’ve covered that ground already and have it well secured on your “worry list”.
5) Invite Sleep In
After our busy day is done, after the workout is over, after the worry list is written and the dinner dishes done, there needs to be one more task to really get the most out of our coming night’s sleep. We need to wind down. There needs to be a very clear separation between our waking day and our sleeping night to reinforce the change in states we are seeking.
Remember the bedtime routine your mom set up for you when you were little, or the ones you have for your kids? Well, bedtime routines aren’t just for children. In addition to brushing our teeth, changing into our jammies and checking the closet and under the bed to be sure there are no monsters lurking, there are some grown-up things we can do.
First, an hour before “official” bedtime, turn off all your screened devices. That includes computers, video games and phones. Dim the lights and engage in a relaxing stress free activity. This may be a warm bath, a soothing cup of caffeine free tea, a good lighthearted book or soft music. Relaxing yoga poses, a foot massage or lovemaking can also ease the body toward slumber. With this obvious change in lighting, mood, thought and activity you signal your mind and body to prepare for sleep. In essence, you invite sleep in.
When it’s time, lay your head on your pillow, give thanks for your blessings, turn out the light and
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep,
Business entrepreneurs often feel they have to make a choice between getting the sleep they need and creating the success they desire. An article from US News and World Report turns this notion around and offers “6 Ways Lack of Sleep is Costing You a Fortune”. Below are some of my favorite excerpts. A link to the full article can be found at the end. I would also love to hear about your experiences in trying to balance sleep and work. What worked, what didn’t and what would you do differently if you could? Please leave your comments below.
Here are six ways lack of sleep can cost you money.
1. More Accident-Prone
Driving sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Anywhere from 16 percent to 60 percent of car accidents involve a sleep-deprived driver, and 30 to 40 percent of all heavy truck accidents are caused by fatigue.
2. Increased Medical Expenses
People who don’t get enough sleep are 15 percent more likely to have a stroke and 48 percent more likely to develop or pass away from heart disease.
3. Bad Financial Decision Making
Sleep deprivation causes people to restrict their choices to decisions that promise bigger gains, which aren’t always the best ways to accomplish positive results.
4. Sucking Out Success
When you haven’t gotten enough sleep, your brain doesn’t function as efficiently and isn’t able to remember things as well… The overall GPA of a sleep-deprived student versus a student who gets enough sleep is 2.84 as compared to 3.18.
5. Paying for Convenience
When you are tired, you are less likely to take care of tasks on your own. Be it washing your car, making dinner, or cleaning your house, if you are tired you are more apt to look to other people to take care of those tasks for you.
6. Caffeine Costs
If you buy espresso every day to help you stay awake due to sleep deprivation, you can end up spending upwards of $5,000 per year, or if you buy drip coffee everyday, you can end up spending close to $1,900 per year.
Be sure to leave your comments below!
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep,
Would you like to lose 30 pounds without going on a diet, going to the gym or having surgery? The answer may be in improving your sleep habits and patterns. This story is a about one man who did exactly that.
Please let me know in the comment section below, how sleep has effected your weight loss efforts.
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep!
Even during the playful days of summer we must encourage our children to get plenty of sleep. In this endearing video Andrea Bocelli sings Elmo to sleep in spite of Elmo’s pleas to stay up. I hope you enjoy this. If so, please let me know in the comments below.
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep,
The courage to go on
Without sign or post or guide
Is failing now.
I cannot see beyond
To any season that would draw
My heart to sing.
My fears and tears and
Wailing thoughts drown out
The softly lapping
Waves of Possibility.
I yearn to end the effort
With a quiet disappearing.
A sideways slip to some
Where neither touching nor not touching
The longing strings a stone
Around my neck, outweighing far
The morning light
Or Springlit song of nesting ones.
I feel no calling
Now to write or rhyme or reason.
Still less to struggle to
Explain or beg.
I do not feel so much for any cause
Soft, warm slumber
Wrapping round me like a hug
Without the asking.
This article is a good reminder that sleep deprivation can, and does, kill people every day.
Ten years ago, a former colleague of mine, a fine teacher and person, was tragically killed in a car accident in British Columbia. He was on vacation with his daughter who miraculously survived the accident. What happened was a classic case of sleep deprivation: my friend was anxious to make his way to a chosen destination and despite his fatigue and the fact that he had been on the road for over 6 hours, he made the decision to drive through the night. He never made it there.
That there is a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and traffic accidents cannot be disputed. In 1998, 24,318 deaths were cited from accidents related to sleep deprivation in the US. There were as well 2, 474,430 disabling injuries resulting from accidents where decreased mental efficiency and attentiveness due to sleep loss was the major causative factor. In fact, a major review conducted in 1996 suggested that the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez, the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl( costing over 50,000 lives) and the near nuclear accidents at the Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom reactors were all associated with sleep deprivation of the personnel involved.
Sleep deprivation is often caused by sleep disorders which are unknown to the subjects themselves. Sleep apnea, for example, is a common cause for sleep deficit. A study at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center of Stanford University Medical School showed that truck drivers identified with sleep disordered breathing had a two-fold higher accident rate than drivers without sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep disordered breathing, commonly known as sleep apnea, affects 15 million people in the United States. This condition, characterized by suffocation and oxygen deprivation which wake the subjects up several times in the course of the night, is responsible for daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Put these subjects on the highway and we have a recipe for disastrous traffic accidents.
Perhaps an examination of the influence sleep deprivation has on our mental acuity and performance level can shed light on how we can protect ourselves and others from the disastrous consequences of sleep fatigue.
What happens to you when you are sleep deprived? According to the Traffic Research Center, these are the influences of sleep deprivation on performance:
- a) Slower reaction time: sleeplessness slows down your reflexes; reaction time slows down, preventing you from stopping in times of danger.
- b) Decrease in concentration levels: When you are overly tired, your attention span decreases. Most people are subject to a decrease in attention every 90-120 minutes; however, sleepiness makes this decrease even worse and it can cause accidents when you fall asleep at the wheel.
- c) Disorder in information processing: Sleepiness is very much like being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When you are sleepy, your mental and psychomotor skills diminish. In one study, a group of subjects were kept awake for 28 hours; another group was given alcoholic drinks every half hour. When both groups were tested for hand-eye coordination, the ones who were sleep deprived performed equally bad as the ones with 0.5 blood alcohol level.
What are the factors that have a direct effect on a driver’s tiredness?
- a) The amount of time the driver has been on the road. When a driver has been on the road for 8 or more hours, his driving performance is impaired. The risk of accidents increases.
- b) The amount of sleep the driver had the night before. Not having any sleep for 16 hours has a serious impact on driving performance. Research shows that the sleeping period of drivers who are involved in road accidents are shorter than the ones of those who had sufficient sleep.
- c) Sleep disorders and Obesity. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea or narcolepsy in truck drivers are a major risk factor. In the same Stanford University Study mentioned above, even weight can seriously affect the frequency of traffic accidents. Obese drivers with a body mass more than 30 kg also presented a two-fold higher accident rate than non-obese drivers.
- d) Environmental factors. The lack of resting and parking facilities for drivers is another factor that contributes to the accident rate.
What can we do to ensure that we get adequate sleep?
- a) Set up a bedtime ritual–the same time to bed, the same routines like reading in bed or listening to relaxing music.
- b) See your doctor if you have snoring or breathing problems, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, night time choking episodes. You could have sleep apnea which can be treated with new devices and technology.
- c) If you are overweight, take the steps to bring down your weight. Obesity is a common factor in sleeplessness.
- d) Get into a routine of exercise during the day. Do not exercise after 7Pm as the activity could be over stimulating and prevent you from sleeping.
A simple thing like sleep is nothing to be dismissed. More and more studies are revealing a direct link between our nighttime and daytime experiences.
Copyright 2006 Mary Desaulniers
You can visit Mary at http://greatbodyat50.blogspot.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mary_Desaulniers
Mary Desaulniers – EzineArticles Expert Author
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/187425
Please sleep well, sleep enough, drive safely and live to drive home.
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep,
Sleep Paralysis may be one of the most frightening, least dangerous things one can experience in sleep. It usually happens just when falling asleep or right at awakening and is the distinct sensation that one cannot move or speak. The feeling is caused by a slight mismatch in the brain and body, in that one is awake and the other still “asleep”. It usually only remains for a few seconds, but can last minutes, which for the uninformed can be terrifying. The episode is usually ended by a sound or movement in the room that can “break the spell”. I have told patients in the past to just concentrate on moving one tiny muscle, like an eyelid or pinky finger. This usually allows full movement to return quickly.
When sleep paralysis occurs at the onset of sleep it is called “hypnopompic sleep paralysis”. In this situation the body is relaxing more and more while the mind is kind of surfing between wake and sleep. If the mind wakes up and finds the body far more relaxed than when it last checked it can lead to a startling feeling of being hard to move.
When it happens upon waking in the night or morning it is referred to as “hypnogogic paralysis”. This is more likely when waking out of REM or dreaming sleep. During REM sleep it is natural and normal that our big muscles should be completely limp or paralyzed. This keeps us from acting out our dreams all night – which is a good thing! However if we again have that mismatch and the brain wakes up from REM just a fraction before the muscles wake up we will “catch ourselves” in that paralyzed state.
Sleep paralysis happens more often if we’re not getting enough sleep or if our schedules are really irregular. A change in time zones can be a trigger as can some medications that alter sleep cycles or timing. It may occur only once in a lifetime or become a recurring experience. It is usually harmless and once one knows what is happening it can be kind of entertaining. It’s the only time we ever get to watch ourselves sleeping!
If sleep paralysis is frequent enough to interfere with refreshing sleep it can be addressed by improving sleep habits, catching up on sleep and working on some general stress relief. There are some antidepressant medications that change sleep stages in such a way that sleep paralysis would be less likely, though this would be reserved for a fairly severe case. It can be associated with Narcolepsy, though, so if sleep paralysis is a common occurrence and there is significant daytime sleepiness, an evaluation by a sleep specialist would be advised.
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Please tell us about it in the comments below.
Best Wishes for Peaceful Sleep,