Author Archives: ase5096

Got Nosebleeds?


    There are many reasons as to why we may get nosebleeds.  When I was younger, I always just got an occasional nosebleed. Mostly it was from change of climate.  There are also many myths as to how to treat them.  Ever heard, when you get a nosebleed tilt your head back and apply pressure to your nose?  This is NOT what you should do with a nosebleed. This is actually more harmful for you.
    The medical term for nosebleed is epistaxis.  This derived from the Greek meaning “to drip upon.”  About one in every seven people have nosebleeds.  This is due to the anatomy of the nose.  There is a high amount of blood vessels under the lining of our nose.  This makes our noses more prone to becoming dry or irritated.  Our nose also is a part of our body that sticks out the most on our face; making it more vulnerable.   
   Nosebleeds often occur after a trauma, injury, or picking your nose.  When you are unsure as to why your nosebleed may occur and it just randomly happened, scientists refer to this as idiopathic.  This is an event that happens without reason.  Other causes for nosebleeds are dry air, the structure of the nose, nasal congestion, chemicals, internal bleeding, alcohol or drug abuse and high blood pressure.  Most of the time, people get nosebleeds in the winter.  This is from our nasal membrane cracking and drying out in a dry climate.  
    They are also caused by high altitudes.  No, this does not mean you get nosebleeds from the nosebleeds seats in a concert or sporting arena.  High altitude is from the atmosphere’s pressure.  You get a nosebleed at a high altitude because the air is colder and dryer.  No one knows exactly high up we have to be to be the most prone to nosebleeds; however, it probably has a lot to do with the temperature outside as well.  When I was climbing up a volcano in Arizona, I got a nosebleed.  This was due to the increase in altitude and the change in climate.  As we walked more and more up the volcano, increasing our altitude, the climate was vastly changing.  This caused my nosebleed.  
How To Treat Nosebleeds
     According to the New York Times, tilting our head back is the wrong thing to do.  Our nose is directly connected to our esophagus.  This is a part of our throat.  That is why sometimes we could lose our voice after a cold.  Sometimes we are too lazy to blow our nose, so the boogers build up until it starts to drip down into our throats.  The same thing can happen with a bloody nose.  When we lean our heads back, the blood from our nose could drip back into our esophagus.  The effect of this would be the blood traveling from our esophagus to our stomach.  This could irritate the stomach.  Then you may start to vomit blood.  
    The American Academy of Family Physicians  reported, the best way to treat a nosebleed is by sitting down, leaning forward and keep your head above your heart.  This will lessen the bleeding.  Leaning forward is better than leaning backwards as well.  It will drain the blood from the nose and it will not travel anywhere but outside of your body.  Then you should take your thumb and index finger, squeeze a soft tissue below the bridge of your nose for a few minutes and possibly put a little bit of ice on your nose.  
   There haven’t been many effective studies done on nosebleeds.  Doctors just discovered these facts based on research.  I can completely agree with everything the doctors have revealed.  I have many incidents with nosebleeds that directly match all of the causes doctors say could have caused my nose to bleed.  I also was told in the past to hold my head back.  This made me cough up blood.  
   Have you ever had an experience with your nosebleed?  Have you always held your nose back when this happened and did it cause any problems or did it work? 

Do You Lose Body Faster Through Your Head?

images.jpeg   Has anyone ever told you to put a hat on because it’s cold out?  I used to live in New York City.  Every time I look at pictures of myself from the winter time, when I was younger, I always saw I was wearing a cute little hat.  People think most of your body heat escapes through your head.  This is a myth.  

   The myth seemed to have began in the army around the 1960s.  The U.S. army did some research to test the loss of body heat in intensely cold atmospheres.  The results showed 40 to 45 percent of body heat was from unprotected heads.  The problem with this experiment was, the people used for the experiment were wearing body suits made for the cold, but they were not covering their heads.  This isn’t surprising that they lost a lot of heat through their heads.  There was a quote in an article from The Guardian saying, “If as much as 45 percent of body heat were lost through your head, going out without a hat would feel like going out without trousers.” 
   The truth is, the amount of heat released from your body depends on the atmosphere you’re in and it’s surface area.  A greater exposure of skin can lead to higher loss of body heat.  If you are wearing insulated clothing in cold weather, most likely, the part of your body with the least insulation will be where you lose the most body heat.  In reality, we lose no more than ten percent of heat through our heads.
   The body reacts to the weather in two ways: The first is by compressing the blood vessels in our arms and legs.  This decreases blood flow.  This protects our brain and other important parts of our body.  This does not, however, protect our fingers and toes which can lead to frostbite.  You may also not know that when we’re shivering, our bodies are creating heat.  
   The face, head and chest are the most sensitive body parts due to temperature than the rest of the body.  This is what deceives us and makes us think we’re warmer when we wear a scarf or hat.  The truth is, covering up one part of the body, is just as effective as covering up others.  If the experiment of the soldiers in the army was done with them wearing swim suits instead of their body suits, they would have only lost about ten percent of body heat through their head.  
   I would advise everybody, especially with a cold winter coming ahead, try to cover all parts of your body in the cold.  Keep every part of your body possible, insulated.  Wear your jackets, wear your scarves, wear your hats and your boots and gloves.  This will cover all of the parts of the body that are most prone to getting cold such as your face, head, chest, fingers and toes.  I always feel parts of my body feel equally cold when they are not protected from the low temperatures well enough. Do you ever feel that by not wearing a hat your head feels colder than your fingers if you were to not wear gloves? 

Does TV Violence Cause Violence?


    Do you think the shows today on television have caused more violence?  On average, American children watch four hours of television a day.  Unfortunately, many shows on T.V. are now violent.  Children may become immune to the horror of violence, gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems, imitate the violence seen on T.V., and begin to relate to the victims or criminals in the crime.  The biggest problem is the shows that are violent and seem realistic.  These are the shows that most likely will make a child repeat it’s actions.  

   Violent content on television shows about three to five violent acts per hour.  Children’s Saturday morning shows, portray about 20 to 25 violent acts per hour.  Research done by the American Psychiatric Association in 1996 reported that adolescents will have witnessed 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 violent acts by 18 years old.  Statistics show 73% of the time the good guy is usually the one who is the most violent but always goes unpunished and is usually justified.  Think about shows such as 24 and Blue Bloods.  The good guys kill people and it looks really cool when they do it.  This is just showing kids it is okay to just take out a gun and kill someone.  It also shows people jumping 10 stories out of a building and surviving.  We all know these things are not okay.  
   The National Institute of Mental Health has concluded that violence on television does lead to aggressive behavior by children and teenagers.  Obviously this does not happen to all children, but it does happen to many.  A main problem of television violence is the fact the children become numb to the violence and aggression.  This means these kids are desensitized to the violent acts on TV and witnessing the violence does not effect them anymore.  Overexposure to aggressive television shows can make children think the world is an unsafe place to live.  This will make them overestimate the amount of violent situations they will come into contact with.  This will cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.  
The Experiment 
   A well-known experiment was done by Bushman in 1998.  He discovered that when we watch violent shows, we store in our memory, a perceptual and cognitive representation of the scene.  The experiment was done on 8 year old boys.  At a later age, they realized the violent scenarios they stored in their brains were pulled up and activated when they were adults.  This influenced their behavior.  They were more aggressive men.  Chronic views of TV violence leads to constantly accessing the parts of the brain where these memories are stored.  This is called primed aggressive constructs.  The younger the child is, the more harmful the violent television shows are.  
  Parents should determine what age their child is ready to witness violent acts.  Although not all children will react to violent TV shows in a negative way, some will.  We want to avoid at all costs anymore crime coming into this country.  I wonder if most criminals today get their ideas off of movies or television shows.  Sometimes when I watch certain shows I joke saying, “That’s a good idea to cover up a crime.”  Of course I would never do such a thing, but I know some people that watch might seriously think that way.   
   Do you think that the crime today is from the media and Hollywood? Or do you think it is just how a parent raises a child with their morals?  If a good child knows their rights and wrongs TV shouldn’t effect them at all right? Well for a lot of kids it seems to.  So what do you think ? 
articles used:

Does Farting On A Pillow Cause Pink Eye?


   Have you ever heard the saying that farting on a pillow can cause pink eye?  I was never sure if this was true.  My friend’s brother farted on his pillow one night and a few days later he got pink eye.  We were not sure if this was just ironic or if him farting on his pillow was actually true.  

Pink Eye
   Pink eye is medically referred to as conjunctivitis. This is also known as inflammation of the outermost layer of your eye ball (the conjunctiva).  Usually this is a result of a virus, bacteria or an allergic reaction.  The difference is a viral or bacterial cause of pink eye is contagious.  Pink eye from an allergic reaction is not.  Most of the time, in children, it is passed around from hand-eye contact.  This includes a child who has pink eye touching a toy and passing it onto another child.  The children may not have touched each other, but they did touch common objects.  Also if the birth mother of an infant being born has gonorrhea or Chlamydia the child is bound to get pink eye as well.  The mother can prevent this from happening by getting a vaccination.  
Pink Eye Is Not From Farting on Pillows
    The myth that farting on pillows can cause pink eye is NOT TRUE.  Most pink eye can be a result of poor hygiene.  By not washing your hands or face on a daily basis, this can cause random forms of bacteria or viruses to enter your body.  We touch our face a lot with our hands, even when we don’t know it.  By not washing our hands this is applying harmful substances to our face. If we don’t wash our face often, the bacteria that our faces intake throughout the daily course of a day, could build up and turn into something like pink eye.  Also, the gases that most likely will come from our farts are gases such as methane.  These will not cause pink eye.  
The Slim Chances of Pink Eye Occurring From Farting on a Pillow
    There are very very slim chances of pink eye occurring from farting on a pillow.  If a person is not wearing any sort of undergarments such as underwear or a form of pants, then they fart on your pillow, certain bacteria may transfer onto your face or into your eye.  This would mean the person can not be wearing any sort of pants or underwear they would fart on your pillow and you would immediately have to lay your head on the pillow for a certain length of time.  I say you have to immediately lay your head on the pillow because bacteria dies quickly when it does not have a host.  Our pillow is not a host for bacteria or viruses.  Yes, our farts can contain bacteria that can transfer onto our pillow, but this will not stay on our pillow for a long length of time.  80 percent of bacteria is in our large intestine.  If that bacteria from our large intestine comes out in our farts, it could reach the pillow, as I said earlier.  
    If the person is clothes,for that matter, you have nothing to worry about and there is no way you will receive pink eye from someone farting on your pillow.  No gases or bacteria can transfer through the clothing.  
  There haven’t been reliable experiments done on pink eye.  However, scientists are certain of it’s causes and solutions.  
  So after all of this if someone farts on your pillow, especially with clothes on, don’t be scared you’re going to be okay and pink eye free.  If someone does think they’re funny and farts on your pillow without anything covering their butt, then consider changing your pillow case just in case.  Also, always wash your hands and face, you never know what bacteria could be on your hands or things you touch.  
  Do you still think that farting on your pillow can cause pink eye?  Has this ever happened to you? Share your stories below! 

Can You See The Carrots?


  Have your parents ever told you that carrots help your eyesight?  Well they are wrong because this is a myth.  Carrots contain beta-carotene and Vitamin A.  These are both essential for eyesight. Although carrots contain certain nutrients that you need in your body to have good eyesight, carrots will NOT save your eyes from going blind.  

   There are two types of vitamin A, according to  These are retinoids and carotenoids.  Retinoids are a fatty form of vitamin A that can be found in liver, fish oils and butter.  However, abusing these foods will lead to nothing but bad results such as cancer and toxicity.  Carotenoids are provitamins that the body converts into Vitamin A.  This includes the healthier alternatives such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pumpkin etc. Even though the body converts these things into Vitamin A, it all depends on how much is already stored in your body.  In simpler words this means, if your body does not need the Vitamin A because it already has a sufficient amount, then the body does not convert the provitamin. 
   Now, after research, I realize where this myth started.  It is not the carrots that are essential for your eyesight, it is the Vitamin A.  A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to being blind at night or other eye conflicts.  If your vision is getting worse at night this is one of the first signs of lacking Vitamin A.  Eating carrots and other sources of Vitamin A can improve your night vision if you are deficient in this vitamin.  If you do not need anymore Vitamin A in your body then these sources of the vitamin will not do anything more for you. 
   There was a study done called the Blue Mountains eye study in the late 1990s.  This study researched the correlation between Vitamin A and deteriorating night vision in older people.  The researchers found that the people who reported to be losing their eyesight WERE eating more carrots (just like they were told by their parents).  However, it did not help.  Professor Algis Vingrys from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Optometry said, “No amount of carrots will improve your eyesight if your already have a well balanced diet”.  
   The vision loss, according to the Blue Mountains eye study, was caused by age.  The older these people got the worst their vision got, it had nothing to do with their diet.  This is why no matter how many carrots they tried to eat, their eyesight did not get any better.
   I know I always give my dog carrots because she is older and I feel it would help with her eyesight.  However, I now realize two things.  One, it is not just carrots that carry the vitamins your eyes need to be as good as they can be.  Secondly I realized that no matter how many carrots I may give her, it still won’t make her vision any better.  This is because if her body already has the amount it needs, it’s not going to intake more of it because it does not need it.  Also, if her eyesight is deteriorating due to old age, nothing I do will make her eyesight any better, just like we saw in the Blue Mountain eye study. Have you ever tried to eat more carrots to make your eyesight better?  Have your parents or anyone you know ever told you about this? Do you think it is true that once your body as the amount of a certain vitamin that it needs it stops breaking it down and is now used for nothing? 
articles used are all in the hyperlinks

You Can Drink Soda


   People always say, “Caffeine stunts your growth”.  I come from a small family.  I am 5-2 my mom is 4-11 my grandpa is 5-3 etc… My Aunts and Uncles want to make sure my cousins are as tall as possible so they limit them on how much soda they can drink.  My parents never really did this to me.  I have discovered my parents were right and the rest of my relatives are wrong because this is a MYTH.  Caffeine DOES NOT stunt your growth, directly at least.  
   Caffeine is common in liquids such as coffee or soda. describes how this substance stimulates the central nervous system also known as a stimulant.  Stimulants can make your heart beat faster, upset stomachs, raise blood pressure, cause anxiety, dizziness and interfere with sleep. Too much caffeine can also affect people who are on certain medications.  It messes with people’s heart rates and can trigger migraine headaches.  In this blog I wrote earlier in the blog session, I spoke about migraines and it’s effects and causes. 
    According to there is no evidence that shows caffeine can stunt our growth.  However, there are many things that caffeine can lead to that may have this effect on our height.  For example, if consuming too much caffeine leads to sleep deprivation.  Our growth hormones are secreted at night while we are sleeping.  If someone, especially a growing child, is not getting the amount of sleep they need because the caffeine is keeping them awake at night, their body may not be secreting these hormones as often as they should be. 
   The article by briefly discusses a study done back in 2006.  It showed that children need more sleep than adults.  The study reported adolescents who were intaking high amounts of caffeine were feeling more tired in the morning and were having trouble sleeping.  
    As we can see, it is not the caffeine that stunts your growth it is other things like sleep.  When I was home I used to drink a lot of soda.  When I got to State College, I stopped taking in as much soda as I did at home.  I do not think soda effected my sleep because I have not seen a difference from drinking a lot of it or a little of it.  However, I know for some people soda really makes them hyper, especially if they are not as used to drinking it.  
  According to certain parts of the world, such as Canada, recommended limits on a child’s intake of caffeine.  They say a child 4-6 years old should get no more than 45 mg a day of caffeine.  Kids 7-9 should get no more than 62.5 mg and ages 10-12 no more than 85 mg.  The United States has not created any recommended limits for children; however, it is up to you to decide how much you think you or another individual should intake.  This decision should be based off of how well a child may be able to sleep at night and how well they handle caffeine like if it makes them hyper.  
   If you do decide to stop taking in as much caffeine as you do, do so in a gradual pace.  Stopping the intake of caffeine too quickly can be the cause of more unpleasant symptoms.  For example, headaches, irritability, and constantly being tired can occur. 
   Although after extensive research I have not found any studies done on caffeine stunting growth, I have discovered many facts.  As discussed throughout this blog, I have realized caffeine does not directly stunt growth; it is the other side effects of caffeine such as lack of sleep that can effect it.  I think this is where a lot of myths derive from.  These sorts of things do not directly cause something to happen, they create symptoms that can eventually lead to bigger problems occurring.  There are many things that contribute to how a child grows.  Majority of this is based off of genetics.  I do not think I am only 5-2 because I drink soda.  I think I am 5-2 because no one else in my family is over 5-9.  
  What do you think?  Have you seen in your growth that caffeine may have effected it?  For example, is your whole family tall and you are short and you intake a lot of caffeine?  Do you also think that caffeine effects your sleeping patterns?  I discussed throughout this blog my thoughts on it and how caffeine has effected me and my life.  What about you? 
websites: all websites used are hyperlinked into the blog

Got Acne?…Don’t Eat Chocolate


  There is ongoing research of whether or not chocolate causes acne.  Some researchers say these delicious treats may not cause acne directly; however, it may cause certain things to develop in the body that can lead to acne.  

  According to WebMD, young men who ate up to 8 ounces of chocolate saw their number of pimples rise from as low as four to about 70.  Based on observation, the more chocolate they ate, the more they broke out.  

The Experiment: 
   Scientists studied 10 men who ranged in ages 18-35 who were previously diagnosed with acne.  These men were observed by the researchers.  They ate as much pure chocolate as they wanted.  This went up to a maximum of four ounce candy bars.  Then they were told to follow a normal chocolate free diet for a week.  
   At the start of the experiment, the men had about three pimples.  By the fourth day of observing the men, some of them had about 13.  By the end of the week they had about 18.  The men who had less than a four ounce chocolate bar had fewer than 10 pimples the next week.  One young man, who had the most chocolate, had about 8 ounces of chocolate.  This resulted in about 70 pimples by the end of the week. 
Why Does Chocolate Do This? 
   Researcher Caroline Caperton, an MD, stated that people that ate chocolate typically eat chocolate that had sugar, milk, and other ingredients that can aggravate one’s skin.  Some of these ingredients may also include caffeine and theobromine.  These are known for clogging your pores. According to a dermatologist, Dr. Shamban, there is little evidence that fatty foods, such as chocolate, will cause acne.  On the other hand, it has been discovered that foods high in sugar and fat can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body.  The increased production of these parts of the body can result in acne.  Over eating too many of these fatty and sugary foods can increase your chances of developing or getting more acne.  
The Solution:
   According to the Huffington Post, dark chocolate, in certain cases, is better for you than milk chocolate.  It is better for your cardiovascular system and for your skin.  Dark chocolate has high cocoa content.  This can result in higher amounts of flavonoids, catechin, and procyanidin.  These chemicals are antioxidants in the body which protect the body’s cells against free radicals.  

   It may not always be the chocolate that is causing the increase of acne, it can be the things inside the multiply in your body.  Certain ingredients that chocolate has can overproduce in your system and cause an increase in acne, especially when you are prone to it.  Although the test study I spoke about earlier in the blog was not done with enough people to really support the case, scientists are doing bigger and further research on this topic to finally be able to come up with an answer. 
articles used:

Eye See Myths


   Ever hear that if you sit too close to a television or if you read in the dark that you may damage your eyes?  According to this is a myth.  
The Science behind it according to Dr. Oz: (video)
  The muscles in the eye that allows the lens to adapt depends on the brightness of light.  Little muscles work hard to pull on the lens and sometimes strain the lens.  Then the blood vessels on the white part of your eye dilate and get blood shot eyes.  Your eyes may be strained and uncomfortable but does this do further damage on your eyes?
The colorful part of your eye, the iris, closes to let the light inside and opens up when it is dark outside. Just like the muscles in your body that burn after you work out, your eyes do that same thing. 
  The only thing that can contribute to damaged eyes is typically hereditary.  This all depends on your family’s genes.  As an individual gets older, they start to lose their eye sight.  It is a common fact among aging people.  Obviously aging people do not want to blame their loss of sight on them getting older, so people look for other things to blame it on such as reading in the dark or sitting too close to a television. Science Behind Reading in the Dark: 
  Muscles around the iris relax.  Then the pupil dilates which enables more light to enter the back of the eye.  This part of the eye is where your photoreceptor cells are.  These are called cones and rods.  This turns light into useful information for the brain.  As a room gets darker, cones and rods enhance the ability to transform the light.  These cells kick in for a few hours but then get back to normal once the light does too. 
  When you are reading in the dark have you ever had to pull the book closer so that the black letters can stand out to you a little more? While you are doing this your ciliary muscle, which is around the lens of your eye, contracts.  It reshapes it so the light that is entering your eye is redirected in the back of your eye.  The reason this may make a person nauseous or give you headaches is because your muscles are working harder than they are used to.  
  TLC has the same ideas.  According to their article reading in the dark gives your eyes mixed signals.  Your eyes want to relax to collect the most light possible, but they also want to contact to keep focused on the image or words you are reading.  This activity is called visual acuity.  Your eyes are working harder to separate the words from the page, as if it were 3D.  Also, your eyes may become strained because if you are staring at something trying to maintain focus, you are not blinking enough.  This will cause dryness in your eyes.  
  Even though there are not many experiments done or published that speak about this myth, the evidence is clear.  Most doctors and stories about losing or hurting your eyesight permanently are false.   Our eyes are just straining muscles that cause the eye to burn or be uncomfortable; however, the damage is only temporary, just like the muscles we use to workout.  The pain may be there for the time being or even the next day, but eventually it goes away. 
  Do you still believe the myth?  Are you going to feel better reading in the dark now or sitting close to the tv? I hope this changed some of your minds and gives you some more freedom to read when and where whenever you want, dark or light.  
*The articles used are the ones hyperlinked into the article*

The Unknown Migraine

migraine.jpg    Migraines are never truly understood.  Ever experience a migraine?  I have.  For me, the migraine starts as me seeing stars, such as when you take a picture and the flash hurts your eyes.  Then, I get a headache that does not seem to go away until I go to sleep.  Then sometimes the headache can lead to me becoming nauseous and sometimes throwing up.  I was always told by my parents I get these migraines from lack of sleep or my blood sugar being low from not eating for a long period of time.   

  The definition of a migraine, according to the Mayo clinic staff, is intense throbbing and pulsing in one area of the head and commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. 
  Although I think I know why I get my migraines, nobody knows the true cause of them; however, scientists do have an idea.  Migraines can be caused by changes in the brainstem and it’s interactions with the trigeminal nerve.  This nerve is a large pain pathway.  Also, an imbalance in the brain chemicals such as serotonin may also contribute to migraines.  Serotonin  helps regulate pain throughout your nervous system.  Serotonin levels tend to drop when a person has a migraine.  Migraines trigger your trigeminal system to release substances called neuropeptides.  These travel into your brain’s outer covering called meninges, resulting in a headache.  
   Other things that may trigger migraines are hormonal changes in women, certain foods, commonly alcohol, cheese, chocolate, overdose of caffeine, salty foods, Asian foods and processed food. Also, skipping meals or fasting can make a migraine come about.  I am not saying to not eat these things, however, having too much of some of these things can trigger the brain to have a migraine. But please because I said this do not be scared to eat them!! A few other causes of migraines are stress, sensory stimuli such as bright lights and loud sounds, changes in sleeping patterns, physical factors such as physical exhaustion, changes in environment such as weather, and certain medications. 
   There are many tests one can take to determine if they have a migraine.  One is called the Computerized tomography (CT).  This uses X-ray pictures to show a cross-sectional view of your brain. This also helps doctors diagnose tumors, infections and other medical problems that can possibly cause headaches.  Another test is Magnetic Response Imaging also known as an MRI.  MRI’s use radio waves and a magnet to create a detailed view of the cross-sectional picture of your brain.  This helps doctors diagnose strokes, tumors, aneurysms, neurological diseases, blood vessels that supply the brain and other abnormal activities in the brain.  The last test is the spinal tap also known as the lumbar puncture.  If the doctor think something more serious is going on such as meningitis, which is inflammation of the membranes (mininges) and cerebrospinal fluid circulating the brain and spinal cord.  
  I was looking for any experiments done on migraines; however, I could not find any.  I think the information the researchers have come up with about migraines is correct.  From personal experience I can say their symptoms and causes are identical to what I feel when I get them.  
  Do you ever get migraines?  If you do why do you feel you get them?  I had a teacher in high school who said she gets migraines when it rains.  I think I get them from lack of sleep and food.  What about you? 
  This link links you to a video by Mayo clinic about migraines with aura.  Auras are usually visual but could also be sensory, motor, or verbal disturbances. This is a good visual about migraines. 
article used:

The Sleepwalker

sleepwalking-man.jpg  Ever fallen asleep in your bed and end up somewhere else when you wake up?  These are one of the many things a sleepwalker may do.  Sleepwalking is a sleep disorder that causes people to get up and walk while sleeping.  It may also be referred to as somnambulism. This is usually during the deep stage of sleeping. (The link provides the different stages of sleeping.) The sleepwalker is usually unable to respond to anyone or anything during this type of sleep. They also usually do not remember doing what they did.  

  There are many different symptoms of sleep walking.  This can range from a quiet stroll around the room to disturbed running as if the individual is trying to escape from somewhere. The walkers eyes are usually opened and glassy as if they are staring at something.  Their responses are usually also pretty slow. 
  There are many reasons why a person may sleepwalk.  Some of it may be genetic.  In fact, it is likely to occur in identical twins.  It is also ten times more likely to happen to an individual who may have a first-relative who has episodes of sleepwalking.  There are other environmental factors when sleeping that can contribute to a sleepwalker’s disorder.  Lack of sleep, stress, alcohol intoxication and drugs can influence a person’s ability to sleepwalk.  
  Many medical issues have also contributed to people sleepwalking.  These include, abnormal heart rhythms, fever, gastroesophageal reflux, nighttime asthma or seizures, or psychotic disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.  Kids tend to sleep walk an hour or two into sleeping.  Sleepwalking is also more common in kids than adults.  Results showed from a survey of 19,136 across 15 states that certain medical conditions and sleeping conditions have a correlation to sleepwalking. 
   In a blog written for, a study was done by neurologists that revealed we like to walk in our sleep. The first ever large scale showed that over 8.4 million Americans have had a sleepwalking episode in this past year.  “The study underscores the fact that sleepwalking is much more prevalent in adults than previously appreciated,” the researchers, led by Maurice Ohayon of Stanford University reported.  
  There are two different types of sleeping the scientists reporter.  REM sleep and non REM sleep.  REM is rapid eye movement underneath the eyelids.  Sleep walking typically happens during the deepest stage of non REM sleeping.  This is the part of sleep that if it is interrupted it is the most groggy. It usually lasts from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.  Although scientists still do not know the direct cause of sleepwalking, some researchers think that it is caused by the brains attempt to switch from deep non REM sleep to wakefulness.  In other words, the brain is going through abnormal patterns of sleep.  
   Although there are many statistics to show certain reasons for sleepwalking there are always multiple questions we can ask about studies done.  Some scientists ask if the medical conditions are provoking the sleep walking or is it the other way around?  I find this interesting because this is exactly what we talk about in class. We do not know if it is direct causation or reverse causation. 

Is sleepwalking harmful? 
  Sleepwalking is not harmful; however, people who sleepwalk may not know what they are doing or where they are going.  Some people tend to go outside and take a casual stroll down the street or even just walking downstairs.  Sleepwalking is not a sign of something being psychologically wrong with an individual.  The odds are the person may not even remember what they did by the time they wake up. 
How to keep a sleepwalker safe
  You should not wake a sleep walker especially if the person is a child because it may scare them.  You can however gently guide them back to their bed.  In addition, if you know your child is prone to sleepwalking you should lock all of your doors and windows to prevent them from doing anything too dangerous. 
I remember one time I was sleepwalking.  I had a dream but I did not think I was physically doing the dream.  I dreamt that I brought my blanket downstairs to my living room.  However, the next morning I woke up in my bed with no blanket on me and my dad was wondering why my blanket was on the couch downstairs in my living room.  We all laughed about it but were kind of creeped out at the same time. Do you ever sleep walk?  Do you even remember if you have ever?  
Websites used:
Website for the pictures: