Sleep Deprivation Could Speed Up What?

The onset of Alzheimer’s. This is what I’ve read from Huffington Post’s website. This is what’s written in their site:

Researchers at Temple University’s School of Medicine believe chronic sleep disturbances could speed up the onset of dementias and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. Chronic sleep disturbances can be caused by factors like insomnia, overnight work shifts, and other health conditions.

Wanting to determine the causation relationship between dementia and sleep disturbances, researchers studied two groups of mice in an eight-week pre-clinical study. Both groups of mice were at the human age equivalent of 40 years. One group was kept on an adequate sleep schedule while the other received excess light hours, significantly reducing their sleep time.

“At the end of the eight weeks, we didn’t initially observe anything that was obviously different between the two groups. However, when we tested the mice for memory, the group which had the reduced sleep demonstrated significant impairment in their working and retention memory, as well as their learning ability,” researcher Domenico Praticὸ said in a release.

The sleep-deprived mice were found to have more tangles in their brain cells. These tangles can disrupt signals between cells, leading to major brain impairment.

“This disruption will eventually impair the brain’s ability for learning, forming new memory and other cognitive functions, and contributes to Alzheimer’s disease,” Praticὸ said.

Sleep deprivation is a major health concern nationally, with an estimated 50-70 million adults suffering from some sort of sleep disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Insufficient sleep can impede daily life activities by lowering concentration, blunting your memory, and even affect your focus while driving. Some studies have even shown that sleep deprivation in older men can increase their risk of premature death.

What’s worse is, as you age, your sleep quality takes a hit and it’s harder to fall and stay asleep. Aches and pains can keep older adults awake, as do some medications, and repeatedly having to wake up in the middle of the night.

The good news? There’s something you can do about it. Improve your sleep hygiene by doing things like keeping a cool, dark room, use breathing techniques, and make sure to get out of bed if you can’t sleep.

This is really one hell of a scary news, isn’t it? I better go cut this short and sleep then. Until next time folks!

For more sleep information, click here.

Random Stuff: Fun Fact Friday #2

Some people are genetically coded to only need 4 hours of sleep!

According to OMG-Facts:

There’s some people who have a genetic mutation called hDEC2, which regulates their sleep-wake cycle to be shortened to only 4 hours.

Most of us might be able to get by with sleeping only 4 hours for a little while, but eventually it takes a toll. These people are as refreshed as if you and I had slept for 8. Some of the people who are known or suspected to be short sleepers are Margaret Thatcher, James Franco and Martha Stewart.

Imagine if all people would have this kind of genetic mutation, would it be cool? Or not? Let us know what you think. Comment below.

For more fun facts, click here.

10 Steps to Better Sleep

I found this article from Express.co.uk which was written by Rachel Carlyle. She talked about  the following steps which can probably help you achieve a better sleep. Well, here it is:

1. STOP WORRYING

Anxiety is the enemy of good sleep. Worrying that you’re not getting enough will actually stop you sleeping and create a vicious circle that’s hard to break.

“The view that we all need eight hours is nonsense,” says Professor Jim Horne, founder of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University. Experts say most of us can cut down to six hours without suffering major knock-on health effects.

The “inflammatory markers” that raise your risk of disease tend not to kick in until you get below six hours for long periods.

2. HAVE A ROUTINE

We enforce a bedtime routine for our children – milk, bath, story, cuddle – but how many of us have one ourselves? We should. Those 60 to 90 minutes before bed are crucial to the length and quality of sleep.

The aim is to wind down and get rid of what psychologists call the “mind chatter” of the day. Turn off screens an hour before sleep, make a to-do list so worrying about tomorrow’s tasks won’t wake you later, have a bath, a small snack or warm drink (but not a meal), and keep the bedroom dark, quiet and clutter-free.

3. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT

What you eat has a big effect on your sleep – and not just in the last couple of hours before bed.

Surprisingly, breakfast is really important. If you eat within half an hour of getting up, research shows you will produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin during the day.

“Include protein with your breakfast, as the amino acids help make the hormones that will send you to sleep later,” advises Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, author of Tired But Wired (£11.49, expressbooks.co.uk).

Caffeine from coffee, chocolate or cola isn’t a good idea in the afternoon – and caffeine sensitivity increases with age. Drinking alcohol late in the evening is bad too: it may send you to sleep quickly, but fragments sleep while the body metabolizes it.

4. TRY AN ELECTRONIC SUNDOWN

Smartphones, tablets and the instant, 24-hour connectivity they provide can be a disaster for sleep if used late in the evening. We’re overloading our brain with too much information that it can’t process before sleep and research shows the bluish light from screens can delay the body’s production of melatonin.

“Ask yourself, is it really important to check your emails at 10pm?” says Dr Ramlakhan. “Our phones are amazing devices but we need to create healthy boundaries.” She advises turning off your tablet/computer and putting your phone downstairs an hour before sleep and don’t use it as an alarm clock.

TV is OK before sleep, as it doesn’t stimulate the brain so much.

5. TUNE OUT TWICE A DAY

Some studies say just 10 minutes’ meditation a day will give your body as much rest as the final phase of night-time sleep. That’s because when you tune out, your brain has the chance to consolidate and recharge.

There are lots of free apps that teach a daily meditation, but if that feels like a step too far, try other ways to reboot. “Walking does it for me,” says Professor Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management.

“It’s a time to switch off, listen and reflect.”

6. HAVE A WIDE-AWAKE PLAN

It’s perfectly normal to wake up 10 to 15 times a night, so have a plan to avoid lying there and fretting. Try not to check the time because that brings you back into full consciousness (and makes you worry how few hours there are until getting up time).

Stay as sleepy as possible and don’t put lights on, even if you have to go to the bathroom. Get comfortable and bring your attention to your breathing, advises Dr Ramlakhan.

Breathe deeply into your belly and follow your exhalations. Then slowly count each breath. “Go back through the previous day and recall every small positive thing that happened – a hot shower, a nice cup of tea etc. It’s a surprisingly effective technique.”

7. GET A SHORT NAP

A short afternoon nap can actually help your night-time sleep. But set your alarm (anything over 20 minutes may involve deep sleep, which could disrupt your night).

In fact, you don’t need to sleep to get the benefits: just five to 20 minutes of zoning out with your eyes closed is restorative, even if it’s face down at your desk.

Studies show a 15-minute nap during the afternoon dip (1 to 3pm) is as good as extending night-time sleep by an hour.

8. EXERCISE MIND AND BODY

Some kind of physical exertion every day is important to ready you for sleep – 20 to 25 minutes is enough.

But don’t do it within three hours of going to bed, as it will keep your body temperature too high to sleep. Get half an hour a day outside as daylight helps melatonin production.

Staying socially engaged and keeping the mind busy are also key, says Professor Horne. In one study, he discovered that it wasn’t the sea air that made people tired at the seaside but the mental effort of taking in new sights and sounds.

The newly retired often report insomnia, probably because they’re not getting enough mental stimulation in the day.

9. SORT OUT MEDICAL ISSUES

As we age, sleep becomes more fragmented, often because of disruptive physical complaints such as pain from arthritis or menopausal hot flushes.

Sometimes it’s the drugs used to treat illnesses that prevent sleep. Beta-blockers, diuretics and cold remedies are all common culprits.

Snoring is a huge problem: twice as many women as men visit the doctor for insomnia, probably because their partner is waking them. If yours is a snorer, there’s a chance they have sleep apnoea (60 per cent of over 65s have it).

This can be dangerous as those affected stop breathing for short periods, so ask them to see their GP and get referred to a sleep clinic so it can be effectively treated.

1O. CAN’T SLEEP? ACCEPT IT

If you can’t get to sleep or you wake up very early, accepting the problem can help resolve it. Tell yourself your body is still resting, you’ll be able to cope the next day even if you can’t sleep, and try to enjoy the stillness of the night.

“Value that additional time you have rather than feeling you’ve been robbed,” says independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. “You can’t chase sleep – you have to let sleep find you.”

That was real informative right? For more sleep tips, click here.

How Much Sleep Does A Person Need?

In this article I am going to try and answer a question which I’m sure has plagued most of your minds at one time or another, “how much sleep does a person need?” And if you tell me that you have never thought about this before, then you will be lying. Either way, let’s get started.

The first thing you need to do is examine how you feel at the end of the day. If you are ready to collapse onto the bed the moment you get home from work you obviously need more sleep. Feeling tired throughout the day is another sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep. The only problem is that there is no fixed amount of sleep you need. This figure varies from person to person and depends on a number of factors like your diet, your age, your routine, etc.

You can say that the amount of sleep you need reduces as you get older. In most adults, an appropriate amount of sleep would be anything between seven and eight hours. Then again, it is different for everyone which means that while some people are fine with just four hours of sleep there will be others who require ten hours before they feel normal.

Have you ever wondered why some people still feel tired even after sleeping for more than ten hours in a day? The main reason for this is because these people believe that the amount of sleep they get is in some way related to the amount of energy they will have when they wake up. Sleep does help you to restore your muscular energy, concentration and alertness but this isn’t always the case. You need to have quality & restorative sleep instead of excess sleep. Fragmented sleep can occur because of a number of reasons like stress, bad sleeping habits, etc. Even excessive exertion could cause poor quality sleep.

Sleep helps you rejuvenate your body and restore functionality. The only problem is that some people find it very difficult to enter the later stages of sleep that are essential for restoration. Not getting enough sleep may even weaken your immune system which will make you susceptible to illness.

Insomnia is something which can affect anybody. Your age, gender, race, etc. don’t matter here. There are a lot of accidents caused every year simply because people lose concentration when behind the wheel or even fall asleep while driving or operating heavy machinery. So you see not getting enough sleep isn’t only dangerous and harmful for you but may even end up being harmful for others.

It is very important for you to get enough sleep and ensure you are fresh and full of energy at the beginning of every day. If you are suffering from insomnia then you need to fix the things in your life which are causing it like a poor diet, stress, insufficient sunlight, lack of exercise, etc. As long as you never underestimate the power of sleep, you should be fine.

Random Stuff: Fun Fact Friday #1

When you sleep, you grow by about 8mm!

According to OMG-Facts, although we grow by about 8mm when we’re asleep, this growth is just temporary because the next day you shrink back to your former height. The reason is that your cartilage discs are squeezed like sponges by the force of gravity when you stand or sit.

But it’s still pretty cool, huh? Watch out for more fun facts here.

What Astronauts Can Teach You About Sleep?

Here’s a part of an article written by Time.com about some tips on how astronauts can keep their circadian rhythm from going haywire because of the lack of external cues and this might also help us reset our circadian rhythm if it has already gone haywire.

In the past I’ve rounded up sleep research and documented my own sleep-hacking experiments. Let’s add some astronaut knowledge.

Given you probably don’t have to deal with the thruster jets of Skylab waking you up or the sounds of the hull of your ship expanding and contracting, I’ve edited the recommendations down to four points:

  • Maintain a consistent schedule, even on weekends. Keep in mind the “free-running” problem. Your body will push later if given the chance.
  • Take an hour to wind down before bed. Yes, you’re busy. But your time is not more precious than an astronaut’s. So take the time to wind down.
  • If you don’t have strong day/night cues, add them. Get sunlight in the morning. Dim the lights at night. Turn electronics off as bedtime approaches or use an application like f.lux.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool and free from noise. Even if you think “the light doesn’t bother you” or “the noise isn’t that bad” it can still reduce sleep quality.

Durant offers another solid piece of advice I follow myself: forget the alarm clock in the morning; set an alarm to remind you to go to bed at night.

That’s all for now folks! For more sleep info, click here.

What is the Best Time to Sleep?

Have you ever wondered if you were sleeping at the right time? Is there a perfect time to sleep? People usually believe that by sleeping & waking up early, they will be able to improve their health. Is this true? Can you maintain your health while sleeping & waking up late as well? Read on for answers to all these questions and more.

First of all you need to understand that your biological clock is incredibly precise. It regulates all your bodily functions including the time when you are asleep. Now between 11 pm and 3 am, your liver works the hardest. This is the time at which your liver detoxifies your blood. This is the time when it neutralizes & breaks down all the toxins which you have accumulated in your body during the day. Now if you don’t give your body enough time to do this, it’s your loss. And if you do not sleep before 3 am, your body will not detoxify anything that night. Keep up with this sleeping pattern and eventually all the toxins accumulated in your body will start causing trouble. Have you realized that whenever you go to sleep late, you will feel tired the next day irrespective of how much you slept? Even getting a full eight hours of sleep is useless unless you sleep on time.

Now between 3 am and 5 am is the perfect time for you to work on your lungs. This is the time at which you should take in a lot of fresh air. The period between 5 am and 7 am is the best for pooping. That’s right, blood concentrates in your intestines during this time and you will be able to efficiently pass out all the unwanted substances from your body. This will free up your body for fresh nutrients as well. Between 7 am and 9 am you should eat your breakfast. The main reason for this is because blood is concentrated in your stomach at this time and it is important for you to eat all important nutrients during this time.

If you can follow the above practice, you would be starting your day in the best way possible. The only problem is, with the number of distractions available after the sun goes down nowadays, it will be very difficult for most of us to maintain this schedule. This is why it is important for us to try and maintain this schedule to the best of our abilities. Make the required changes to our lifestyle. Try and wind up your day by 11 pm so that you can be in bed ready to sleep. If you can make this into a daily routine for yourself, you will definitely start feeling fresher & more energetic.