Tag Archives: sleep

does this alarm clock make me look fat?

 

            Sleep is a vital process for the human body: without it, humans become very physically and emotionally deprived. The technologies of this age have tried to reassure the sleeping patterns for people across the world by inventing sleep devices such as alarm clocks. But, can these apparatus drastically effect your health overall?

 

            While watching action news early this afternoon, an anchorwoman brought up a story similar to this topic. The report discussed how these devices can alter one’s sleeping pattern and could ultimately lead to major factors such as obesity. When watching the story being talked about, I became irritated by the claims.

 

            The news reporter didn’t have any concrete scientific evidence to support such as records of a double blind placebo trial. The reporter used an expert opinion for a rhetorical strategy but even that expert could have fabricated conclusions.

 

            On this same token, there was a news article published last year about this same topic. The author quotes findings, “waking up to a jolting noise can be bad for your heart. Waking up abruptly can cause higher blood pressure and heart rate.” Here, according to the research, natural light is better to wake up to when sleeping. So, the author of this article suggests that an individual should not use an alarm clock and should allow natural light to come through a window in the bedroom.

 

            But, there is an economical factor with this. Not everyone has windows in their rooms and not everyone can afford to install a well-constructed window that would be able to refract the light in a particular fashion in order to beam down on the sleeper.

     

Another issue with this claim is creditability. The author claims to have evidence from the  National Institute of Industrial Health, but there is no citation or reference to researchers funding this project or no names mentioned. The author didn’t just steal the information from this organization; he/she had to interview in order to discuss the research with a representative from the facility.


Additionally, there needs to be a concern with third independent variables with this study. the eating habits of the individuals can be a third variable and its just chance that the alarm clocks are in effect when these results appear if ever. 

 

            There is no doubt the author offers an interesting approach to more effective sleep. What would make this a better scientific claim would be to institute a random control trial where one group of people sleep with an alarm clock for consecutive weeks and another group of people sleep with natural light coming in the room. Then, the scientists can test not only their physical attributes but also their metal attributes; record their blood pressure and test their cognitive ability and compare results. 


URL:  

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/true-false-alarm-clock-affect-health/story?id=14730219#.UK0H8YfBFb4

Image URL: http://www.photo-dictionary.com/photofiles/list/409/778alarm_clock.jpg 

778alarm_clock.jpg

High Time For Hibernation

      Thanksgiving break’s around the corner! One of the sweetest things with a weeklong break is sleeping. Yeah, I know it’s old-chestnut stuff. Andrew talked about blogging topic today and he specifically mentioned that sleeping has outshined the topic of sex to be the sexier topic. I don’t intend to bring more headache to our TAs as they might have seen a whole lot of blogs with similar discussion of sleep. Today, I want to do something rarely mentioned.

      It was before my preparation that the winter of State College chimes in, and the temperature got more and more intolerable these days. What’s worse, the heater in our apartment hasn’t been working properly, since it deserts us when we are deprived at midnight and embraces us when we are spared during the daytime. Compared to just a month ago, falling into sleep becomes a much harder task these days. Most alarmingly, almost like a lasting strike in my body, I found it quite demanding to nudge myself out of that cozy environment in the morning. I even skipped a morning class this week which I had never done before intentionally. It was sort of a transformation that has dawned on me and disqualified me from a morning bird to a tardy snail which desires the snugness of the shell.

Hibernation comic.jpg

Photo Courtesy of The Muslim Observer(TMO).

      I remember lucidly how motivated I was in the late summer and early fall in the morning when alarm went off. Though I did snooze a bit on occasions, it didn’t hurt my daily schedule to the slightest. What has happened to my body which radically altered my sleeping pattern, and even beyond, shut off my energy outlet in the morning these days?

      First of all, I interested in the question of why our bodies are quite finicky to temperature for a sound sleep. We have heard of tales about poor wretches were jerked out of their dreams because of some chills (simply caused by displaced fleece thrower or so), or more dramatically, a cadre of soldiers died deep in trenches due to hypothermia in inclement weather during WWII. On the contrary, barely are we disrupted by the warmth during our sleep, which is made possible by an enclosed area with zero or few air transference.

      When talking about comfortable temperature of sleeps, I recalled some debilitating episodes when I caught colds at young age. My mom would cover me with layers of blankets, in attempt to drive my sweat out. This article does not serve the purpose to explain the mechanism of toxin discharged with perspiration, but it is quite inspiring for me toward the solution of the temperature problem. Not necessarily to sweat hellishly as a remedy for cold, do we actually sweat a lot during sleep which helps our body in a particular way? Were that being the case, the requirement of minimal warmth for an undisturbed sleep would have been justified easily.

      Do we really sweat during sleeps? When I look up online to see what our community has to offer, I was shocked that sweat sounds much more like a bane than a normal physical activity during sleep. I was flooded with the result of hyperhidrosis. According to the index of CNN Health Channel, “hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that occurs even when the temperature isn’t hot and you’re not exercising.” When I first swept across this fresh notion, I thought that the scenario being described is most likely to happen during the sleep. If hyperhidrosis stood out as an undesirable symptom which bothers sleepers, it gives me a blurry vision that normal people should not sweat during sleeps? Well, is this hypothesis tenable then?

Night Sweat.jpg

      In an article by Mark Boyer, he tackles with hyperhidrosis again. But instead of coming to rescue for solutions, he cobbled up some conjectures which dovetails well with my experience: “Nobody likes to wake up in a pool of sweat in the middle of the night…and it’s important to look at all of the possible variables. The first and most obvious thing to consider is temperature and overall comfort of the sleeping environment.” Occurred in the exact same way when my mom tried to cure my cold during the night, this observation immediately grabbed my attention. If sweating, let alone the quantity, is essentially bad for our health during the sleep, a rational person has a strong inclination to deduce that a normal person does not sweat in bed.

      But without too much hesitation, I doubt about this idea at once. It is generally accepted as a common sense that even though our mind is somewhat in a relaxed state at night, our metabolic system is operated at full steam. A wide array of body wastes were secreted out during this time, giving an equilibrium of our metabolism. Being the most apparent manifestation of metabolic activity, why sweating is abnormal during the night, if nothing can be more normal than that? It comes as a farcical paradox. Then, I ask myself this question. If a warm temperature, which I so hope from the heater, does not guarantee an effective sleep at night and give the green light to our metabolism attunement, why do we look forward to sleeping as warm as possible at night?

      I guess this conundrum could be disentangled rather simply: we do sweat on the face of our skin during the night, but the amount of discharge is negligible on a vast scale of our perception. It evaporates gradually during the sleep and goes totally unnoticed in the morning. This hypothesis perfectly clears the mist of sweating mystery in our sleep. When it is a paltry amount, nobody cares, but a misguided voice that we don’t really sweat arises; when it is a massive amount, everybody panics, for it defies the normalcy of dryness during sleep as they suppose.

      Drawing knowledge from this discussion, I think the one of the most crucial mentalities in scientific studies is to handle extremities cautiously. It does not mean that science cannot be proved on extremities, for H. pylori is the only cause of ulcers as we studies recently, but I only suggest that we should think twice before arriving to a conclusion misled by an extremity. In this case, neither anhidrosis (lack of sweating) nor hyperhidrosis during sleeps wholesome for our health. But a moderate amount of sleep, which is not easy to determine in this case, entitles you as a normal person, if not a hearty one.

      I just talked about the role of temperature plays in our sleeping patterns, but I have missed something with the story. I do not hesitate to tell you that I slept much more recently as the prelude of a harsh winter reaches State College. There must be some reasons to square off this confusion. Not surprisingly, the temperature theory wins my favor again, because this fatal decrease on thermometer will probably also cause stagnancy to our body, like what we refer frequently as the state of lethargy.

      The research tells me that I was just off the bull’s-eye on this one. Instead of the slump of temperature, the independent variable turns out to be the intensity of sunlight. An article from fitwatch.com helps me considerably understand this proposition. “The science behind all of this [seasonal change of sleep pattern] involves serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters in the brain. Melatonin is produced when we sleep. Sleeping too much produces abnormal levels of melatonin. The more we sleep, the more we want to sleep because of the increase in this neurotransmitter.” Alright, this makes a great sense to me to explain my behavior of skipping class for more sleep after an 8-hour one, but it didn’t specify the variable of season. It doesn’t take me long to reach the following lines: “During the summer, we experience higher serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for our mood. When sunlight is in short supply, our serotonin levels fall and we don’t have so much energy or so many good feelings.” This article leaves me a good position to elaborate further.

      The primary drive of seasonal change with sleep is as simple as two conflicting variables vying for prevalence. When summer kicks in, massive sunlight exposure spurs the production of serotonin, and therefore keeps us highly motivated throughout the day; when it turns to winter, the shortage of sunlight suppresses the level of serotonin, vacuuming our energies to consecrate the chilly weather. In addition, as previously indicated, melatonin accumulates during our sleep. In a dank winter morning, when the assumption that beyond the bed lies a territory of hostility creeps in, we are not in the least encouraged to get off. This reluctance gives melatonin an unrivaled opportunity to decimate the serotonin, and then we become the victim of chemical overkill in our body regulatory mechanism.

t1larg_girl_rock_ts.jpg

Photo Courtesy of CNN Health Channel.

      Nevertheless, the inability to get up in the morning is far from the worst of situation that ensues after the change of season. Seasonal Affective Disorder, coincidentally with the acronym of SAD, is what drags us down. A CNN editorial reveals the underlying factor of its development: “Seasonal affective disorder can be expected in regions of the world that are farther away from the equator and thus experience seasonal changes in daylight hours more dramatically.” State College’s latitude is well above 40� north of the equator, thus making it a representative venue of the peculiar climate. That article also suggests that SAD occurs most frequently on women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Being a legitimate male, I am fortunate at least at this moment without a tract of SAD symptoms save some difficulties of getting up. However, to the best of my knowledge, the sound of SAD seems to have an ability to cause depression. Once a victim of the latter, I absolutely do not want it again.

      I have to confess that instead of an open talk of SAD, this blog is more a gossip about sweat during our sleeps. My fellows, have you ever noticed evident sweat on your body when you get up? Are you confused when that happens to you? If not, please tell me your theory of that phenomenon.

      Above all, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Sources:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/men/sweating-odor/sweating-while-sleeping1.htm

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/03/sad.seasonal.affective.disorder/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/hyperhidrosis/DS01082.html

http://www.fitwatch.com/health/seratonin-why-you-need-more-sleep-in-the-winter-366.html

You Can Drink Soda

  caffeine.jpg 

   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.  Kidshealth.org 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 Boston.com 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 Boston.com 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 babycenter.com 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
  

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. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-aura/MM00659 
article used: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/DS00120

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 Smithsonianmag.com, 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.  
sleep-stages.gif
   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: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleepwalking-causes
http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/05/the-science-of-sleepwalking/
Website for the pictures: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/sleepwalking2.htm
  

Sleep is for the Weak

We’ve all been there. You’re doing work, finishing a paper, studying, taking on online quiz 10 minutes before it’s due, and you’ve been doing work like this all day. Your body is telling you to stop and go to sleep, but your schedule simply does not permit it. So you have to keep going on like the good student inside you tells you to. 

For me, I figure that sleeping for eight hours a day (on average) is such a waste of time. That is a whole third of your day just gone. Excuse me, but I have stuff to do!
So then I remembered, I have a friend who uses a different sleep cycle, and she has so much more time to fit everything in…and most importantly she doesn’t look like death when walking around campus after an all-nighter.

students-sleep-lecture.jpg

So, fellow hard workers, what can we do?
What we (and by we I mean most people) do, is considered a monophasic sleep cycle, where you sleep once a day for 
6-8 hours and are awake the rest.
But there are several other ways to attack that pesky little problem of needing enough sleep.
The other four sleep schedules are considered polyphasic and work by getting you to Stage 4 REM sleep a lot quicker than you do with a monophasic cycle. Generally, it takes you about 45 minutes of sleep to reach it, whereas the differing cycles can get you there almost instantly after falling asleep.
When you start switching over from sleeping once a day for a long period of time to sleeping a few times a day for much shorter periods, your body will adjust and make sure you reach Stage 4 REM a lot quicker, as you cannot live or function without reaching that point. The transition period is certainly a difficult one, and you should not try it if you cannot fully commit to it for at least 10 days to train yourself. Here are some options:
The Uberman Cycle: you take 20-30 minutes naps every four hours, resulting in about six hours a day of sleep. It is highly efficient, however, it is very difficult if you miss a nap, so the schedule is pretty strict. Steve Pavlina had a huge success with this cycle, and he documents his journey very thoroughly. This cycle has also been linked with an increase in lucid dreaming.
Everyman Cycle: you have one longer sleep time of about three hours, and then three 20-minute naps throughout the day. Many people have tried this cycle and found that it is a lot more flexible and missing a nap is not that detrimental. It is, again, highly efficient because you are only sleeping about four hours a day.
Dymaxion Cycle: the most extreme of the four cycles, this one requires you to take a 30 minute nap every 6 hours, resulting in only two hours of sleep per day! It is, not surprisingly, the most efficient of all the cycles.
Biphasic/siesta Cycle: apparently, this cycle is closest to what most college students do. This one involves sleeping four hours at night and then taking a 90-minute nap around noon. Although this is the least efficient of the four, it is still more efficient than the monophasic cycle, just not by much.
If you are genuinely interested in trying one of these cycles out, here are some tips:
-eat healthy and avoid fatty foods to make the transition easier
-make sure you have stuff to keep you busy or else it is easy to fall back into old patterns
-be patient and diligent when attempting to switch to these cycles
Doesn’t seem too awful, none of the studies on these sleep schedules reported negative health effects.
Would you be willing to give one of these a chance?

Sleep is for the Weak

We’ve all been there. You’re doing work, finishing a paper, studying, taking on online quiz 10 minutes before it’s due, and you’ve been doing work like this all day. Your body is telling you to stop and go to sleep, but your schedule simply does not permit it. So you have to keep going on like the good student inside you tells you to. 

For me, I figure that sleeping for eight hours a day (on average) is such a waste of time. That is a whole third of your day just gone. Excuse me, but I have stuff to do!
So then I remembered, I have a friend who uses a different sleep cycle, and she has so much more time to fit everything in…and most importantly she doesn’t look like death when walking around campus after an all-nighter.

students-sleep-lecture.jpg

So, fellow hard workers, what can we do?
What we (and by we I mean most people) do, is considered a monophasic sleep cycle, where you sleep once a day for 
6-8 hours and are awake the rest.
But there are several other ways to attack that pesky little problem of needing enough sleep.
The other four sleep schedules are considered polyphasic and work by getting you to Stage 4 REM sleep a lot quicker than you do with a monophasic cycle. Generally, it takes you about 45 minutes of sleep to reach it, whereas the differing cycles can get you there almost instantly after falling asleep.
When you start switching over from sleeping once a day for a long period of time to sleeping a few times a day for much shorter periods, your body will adjust and make sure you reach Stage 4 REM a lot quicker, as you cannot live or function without reaching that point. The transition period is certainly a difficult one, and you should not try it if you cannot fully commit to it for at least 10 days to train yourself. Here are some options:
The Uberman Cycle: you take 20-30 minutes naps every four hours, resulting in about six hours a day of sleep. It is highly efficient, however, it is very difficult if you miss a nap, so the schedule is pretty strict. Steve Pavlina had a huge success with this cycle, and he documents his journey very thoroughly. This cycle has also been linked with an increase in lucid dreaming.
Everyman Cycle: you have one longer sleep time of about three hours, and then three 20-minute naps throughout the day. Many people have tried this cycle and found that it is a lot more flexible and missing a nap is not that detrimental. It is, again, highly efficient because you are only sleeping about four hours a day.
Dymaxion Cycle: the most extreme of the four cycles, this one requires you to take a 30 minute nap every 6 hours, resulting in only two hours of sleep per day! It is, not surprisingly, the most efficient of all the cycles.
Biphasic/siesta Cycle: apparently, this cycle is closest to what most college students do. This one involves sleeping four hours at night and then taking a 90-minute nap around noon. Although this is the least efficient of the four, it is still more efficient than the monophasic cycle, just not by much.
If you are genuinely interested in trying one of these cycles out, here are some tips:
-eat healthy and avoid fatty foods to make the transition easier
-make sure you have stuff to keep you busy or else it is easy to fall back into old patterns
-be patient and diligent when attempting to switch to these cycles
Doesn’t seem too awful, none of the studies on these sleep schedules reported negative health effects.
Would you be willing to give one of these a chance?

Midnight Snacks Good or Bad?

article-2210468-1544112A000005DC-277_634x421.jpg   

   Have you ever come home late and all you crave is food?  I know this happens to me all the time.  I always love to get midnight snacks, for some reason the later I stay up the hungrier I get.  Unfortunately, this eating late may be an explanation for why I consider myself nocturnal.  According to this linked article, eating late may be the cause for you losing a night’s sleep.  

   The Professor is Dean Drew Dawson.  He says, “It depends on what is in the meal and what time you eat that meal before you go to sleep”.  An experiment that was done at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia. 
   The Experiment: 
   Four people were chosen to be analyzed in the experiment.  Two people got their dinner at a normal time about three hours before going to bed for the night.  The other two people got the same exact meal but had to wait until right before they went to bed to eat it.  All four people were hooked up to a machine.  They all had an electrode on the right middle of the head.  This is what will read the signals of the brain activity.  
   The Next Morning: 
   The early eaters slept well.  However, the late eaters said they tossed and turned all night and it took them a little while to fall asleep even though they typically fall asleep quickly and deeply at night.  
   Five Stages Of Sleeping:
   1. drowsiness
   2. light sleep
   3&4. deep sleep
   5. REM (rapid eye movement)
  Deep sleep is the part of sleeping that rests and repairs the body that gets you ready for the next day.  The late eaters skipped the deep part of their sleep.  
  The scientist who evaluated their entire nights sleep, Sarah Biggs said, “They had a lot more awakenings and a lot more movement than the early eaters so they didn’t actually get a lot of the deep sleep that is normally associated with the early hours of the night”. 
   Dr. Clare Collins, a lecturer in nutrition at the University of Newcastle said it was very common to get reflux if eating before sleeping.  You have your digestion system fully working at a time it should be relaxed.  
 Conclusion:
  Eat a light meal before going to sleep so you are not too hungry and not too full. Nothing with caffeine or alcohol.  
  Some suggested foods by Health Central are bananas, small bowl of oatmeal or cereal, small yogurt with granola, half a bagel, crackers with peanut butter, sliced apple, a scrambled egg with toast and tea.  Most of these foods have magnesium, calcium and carbohydrates.  All of these nutrients relax the body and help your brain be at ease before falling asleep. 
   What do you eat before you go to sleep?  Do you usually eat a big meal before going to sleep or a light snack?  I know many people like to fall asleep on an empty stomach while others find it impossible to like I do.  However, now I know I can not fall asleep on a completely full stomach either.  I have to find the happy medium with little snacks like the ones I named.  Did this make you want to evaluate how you fall asleep?   
articles used: http://www.healthcentral.com/sleep-disorders/cf/slideshows/7-snacks-to-eat-before-bed-for-better-sleep/banana-with-a-small-glass-of-milk/?ic=obnetwork&ic=obnetwork 
http://health.ninemsn.com.au/whatsgoodforyou/theshow/694624/eating-just-before-sleeping-151-will-it-affect-your-sleep

Why is it So Hard to Get Up in the Morning?

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Ever find yourself having a hard time falling asleep or waking up? Ever wish that your alarm would go off later? Ever wish that the ‘snooze’ period would feel longer? These are all related. So why exactly is it so hard to wake up in the morning? According to an article published in “Daily Mail” a UK news site, approximately 62 percent of Brits reported needing anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before they felt fully awake. So why is this?

 

According to sleep expert Dr. Neil Stanley, it could be due to sleep deprivation or that your body’s natural rhythm is out of sync. Now what exactly does this mean? It means that your body’s natural clock isn’t in time with your actual one. Every body has what is thought to be an “extremely accurate” natural clock, which prepares your body to wake up hours in advance from your actual wake up time.

 

In order to prep your body for waking up, your natural clock causes sleep to become lighter, your body temperature to rise and it also releases the stress hormone cortisol which will help you feel energized so you can “get up and go”. So given this, why is it so difficult to wake up in the morning? Studies show that if your body’s rhythm is off it doesn’t know when you are waking up and therefore cannot help prepare it for waking up leaving you with a groggy exhausted feeling.

 

In order to help yourself wake up every day feeling less and less exhausted you can try to get the required amount of sleep your body needs (which is between 7-9 hours for adults) and you can try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends). The idea of waking up early on weekends when you don’t have to sounds awful, but according to Dr. Stanley in a couple of weeks your body will be back in rhythm and it will be easier for you to wake up.

Also, according to an Oxford University professor of neuroscience, Russell Foster, due to the fact that we are diurnal (we sleep at night and are awake during the day) our Circadian rhythm (which is the rhythm that controls when we feel awake and tired) is based off of light receptors in the eye that send messages to our brains and help set our natural clock. So if you are like me, and wake up before the sun rises and go to bed after the sunsets, you might be finding it difficult to wake up. This is because your body still things you should still be asleep due to the fact that the light receptors in your eye have not been able to send messages to our brain because they haven’t been in contact with any natural light.

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In order to reset your body clock, it is suggested that you spend time (about one to two hours) out in the sun each day in order to allow your body to reset its body clock and synchronize with “the local times”. This tip also works well for jetlag. In another article published on waking up by PopSci’s Jessica Cheng, Jean Matheson, a sleep-disorder specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, you can also start setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day in order to wake yourself up easier. However, the issue with this is the potential to fall back asleep. In Daily Mail’s article, it states that many experts say staying in bed for an extra 10 or 20 minutes is the WORST possible thing to do because it messes up your bodies “pre-waking” hour. During this hour, Dr. Stanley says sleep gets lighter in order to make it easier for you to wake up however, if you hit the snooze button you take the risk of falling back into a deep sleep and pass over the preparation stage making you feel worse later on when you actually do get up.

sleepwalking!

While at my brother’s house over the weekend, something strange happened. I woke up on his couch with only my pajama pants and bra on when I knew for a fact that I went to sleep with a t-shirt on as well. Very confused, I got up to look for my t-shirt. I walked into the bathroom and found it laying on the floor. The only possible conclusion for waking up half dressed would be that I slept walked in the middle of the night. I have only slept walked a few other times in my life, but not in a very long time. Sleepwalking can be very scary! What if I were to walk out the front door and into the street instead of just removing my clothes in the bathroom.

Having this happen I decided to look into it and write a blog. Why is it that people sleepwalk? I found some interesting information on WebMD. I learned that sleepwalking is actually a sleep disorder that causes people to walk during sleep. It usually occurs during stages 3 and 4 which are the deep stages of the sleep cycle. There are different types of sleepwalking. From casual roaming around the house to actually trying to run and escape. If the sleepwalker returns back to sleep after the episode they are not going to remember what had happened. This is what must have happened to me!

Since I do not sleepwalk often, I was confused as to why it happened in the first place. While reading information about sleepwalking on WedMD, I looked up the causes of sleepwalking. Sleepwalking can be caused by genetics, medical conditions or environmental factors. The environmental facts included sleep deprivation, chaotic sleep schedules, stress, drug use and alcohol intoxication.

Since I am a full-time student and also work at a restaurant, I believe I know the reason for my sleepwalking. I have been under a lot of stress and also have had very hectic sleeping patterns due to work. To avoid waking up half naked on my brother couch I need to take better care of my health and make sure I stay stress-free and get plenty of rest!

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The funniest video of a dog sleepwalking on YouTube
SLEEPWALKING DOG