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Should You Use the SNOOZE Button?

January 18th, 2014 Raquel Rothe

http://youtu.be/P6zcSFA7ymo

Sleep apnea may hold hidden dangers for women

November 5th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

A new study on sleep apnea reveals there could be some hidden dangers – particularly for women who have the condition – where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Women with sleep apnea may appear healthy, but they have subtle symptoms so their sleep problem is often misdiagnosed.

Now, new research, led by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing, shows that the body’s autonomic responses, which normally control blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and other basic functions, are not as strong in people with obstructive sleep apnea, and even less so in women.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that happens when the person is asleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night. When it occurs, blood oxygen drops and eventually damages many cells of the body.

There are over 20 million adult Americans living with the condition, note the researchers, who explain that it is linked with several serious health problems and also early death.

Women are much less likely to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea than men.

Lead researcher Dr. Paul Macey says:

“We now know that sleep apnea is a precursor to bigger health issues. And for women in particular, the results could be deadly.”

Early detection and intervention needed

Dr. Macey and his colleagues describe their work in a recent online issue of PLOS ONE.

For their study, the team recruited 94 adult men and women, comprising 37 newly diagnosed, untreated obstructive sleep (OSA) patients and 57 healthy volunteers to act as controls.

The three groups had their heart rates measured as they went through three different physical challenges:

  • The Valsalva maneuver – where they had to breathe out hard while keeping the mouth closed
  • A hand-grip challenge – where they had to just squeeze hard with one hand
  • A cold pressor challenge – where the right foot is inserted into near-freezing water for a minute.

The team notes the main results:

“Heart rate responses showed lower amplitude, delayed onset and slower rate changes in OSA patients over healthy controls, and impairments may be more pronounced in females.”

Dr. Macey adds:

“This may mean that women are more likely to develop symptoms of heart disease, as well as other consequences of poor adaptation to daily physical tasks. Early detection and treatment may be needed to protect against damage to the brain and other organs.”

The team now intends to investigate if the usual treatments for OSA, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), help to improve the autonomic responses.

CPAP is where a machine helps the OSA patient breathe more easily while asleep.

Funds from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research helped finance the study.

In another study published recently, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, found that sleep apnea is linked to early sign of heart failure.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

Driving Drowsy Prevention Week-National Sleep Foundation

November 14th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Young People More Likely To Drive Drowsy

November 9, 2012

National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® Provides Tips to Prevent One in Six Traffic Fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC, November 9, 2012 – In recognition of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, (November 12-18), the National Sleep Foundation is joining with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to educate drivers about sleep safety. A recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation found that young people are more likely to drive drowsy.  Specifically, one in seven licensed drivers ages 16-24 admitted to having nodded off at least once while driving in the past year as compared to one in ten of all licensed drivers who confessed to falling asleep during the same period.

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that teens and adults in their twenties reported less sleep satisfaction and roughly one in five rated as “sleepy” on a standard clinical assessment tool that determines whether sleepiness impairs daily activities.

“Young Americans are sleepy, and this affects their health and safety,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “It’s important to get the word out that it’s dangerous to drive drowsy. This could save thousands of lives.”

Using an analysis of previous data, the AAA Foundation estimates that about one in six deadly crashes involves a drowsy driver. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll found that among those who drove, about one-half (52%) indicated that they have driven drowsy, with more than one-third (37%) doing so in the past month.

Sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information. In fact, studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit in all states. It is also possible to fall into a 3-4 second microsleep without realizing it.

Feeling sleepy? Stop driving if you exhibit these warning signs.

The following warning signs indicate that it’s time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over and address your condition:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping reveries or daydreams at bay
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive.

Here’s what you can do to prevent a fall-asleep crash:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. You’ll want to be alert for the drive, so be sure to get adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) the night before you go.
  • Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Many drivers try to maximize the holiday weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. It’s better to allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
  • Use the buddy system. Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone for long distances. A buddy who remains awake for the journey can take a turn behind the wheel and help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
  • Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself like getting a snack, switching drivers, or going for a run.
  • Take a nap—find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap, if you think you might fall asleep. Be cautious about excessive drowsiness after waking up.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side-effect.
  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
  • Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.

For more information about drowsy driving, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s drowsy driving website at www.DrowsyDriving.org.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®

In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to save lives, the National Sleep Foundation is declaring November 12-18, 2012 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®. This annual campaign provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.

Help for Insomniacs

January 14th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Sleeping Well While Sitting Up? This WebMD member can’t fall asleep while lying down. Have you had a similar problem?

October 7th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Great article to share if you are having difficulty sleeping except in strange positions

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/behavioral-treatments

October Marie Claire Magazine has Narcolepsy Article

September 22nd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#2

May 15th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Somniloquy

Somniloquy is the act or habit of talking in one’s sleep.

Festival of Sleep Day

January 3rd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Festival of Sleep Day

When: Always on January 3rd
No, you are not dreaming. But, perhaps you should be. Festival of Sleep Day is today. It is an opportunity to sleep in, snooze, doze, nap, and catch 40 winks.

We feel this is the perfect date for Festival of Sleep Day. The holidays are over…Wow, weren’t they exhausting! It’s cold and snowy…. time to hibernate. And, why not re-charge the batteries as a new year of school and work begins?

Festival of Sleep Day is a favorite holiday to catch up on a little sleep. Whether its all day, a full 8 hours, or just a power nap, enjoy the day sleeping. Cozy up in bed on the couch, or any other comfortable place. Oh…. don’t forget your favorite stuffed animal.  It’s okay to sleep alone, sleep alone or with someone else. We do not recommend groups sleeps.

Caution: Sleeping at work is not recommended, today, or any day. The only exception is for mattress testers.

Warning #2: The Surgeon General has determined that sleeping is good for your health.
——————————————————————————–
Origin of Festival of Sleep Day:

Our research on this day failed to uncover the origin of this sleepy day. Perhaps the founders were too groggy to properly record the very first Festival of Sleep Day.

Note: There is some reference to Sleep Week in March.   www.sleepfoundation.org

Turkey the Sleep Inducer?

November 26th, 2010 Raquel Rothe

 

The Truth About Tryptophan

Does tryptophan really make you sleepy — and is turkey to blame? Experts set the record straight.
By 
Reviewed by 

Every year at Thanksgiving, most of us engage in an annual rite of passage: stuffing ourselves mercilessly with turkey, cranberry sauce, and pie. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday.  But inevitably, in that hour between feeling so full you think you’ll explode and gearing up for round two with the leftovers, your relatives can find you conked out on the couch. 

Along comes Aunt Mildred with her armchair scientific explanation. You’re tired, she tells you, because the turkey you just ate is laden with L-tryptophan. Tryptophan, she says, makes you tired.

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So is your aunt right? Is the turkey really what’s to blame for Thanksgiving sleepiness? The experts helped WebMD sort out the facts.

What is L-Tryptophan?

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid. The body can’t make it, so diet must supply tryptophan. Amino acids are building blocks ofproteins. Foods rich in tryptophan include, you guessed it, turkey. Tryptophan is also found in other poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs.

Tryptophan is used by the body to make niacin, a B vitamin that is important for digestion, skin and nerves, and serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that plays a large role in mood) and can help to create a feeling of well-being and relaxation. “When levels of serotonin are high, you’re in a better mood, sleep better, and have a higher pain tolerance,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of numerous nutritionbooks, including her latest, Eat Your Way to Happiness.

Tryptophan is needed for the body to produce serotonin. Serotonin is used to makemelatonin, a hormone that helps to control your sleep and wake cycles.

Turkey the Sleep Inducer?

As it turns out, turkey contains no more of the amino acid tryptophan than other kinds of poultry. In fact, turkey actually has slightly less tryptophan than chicken, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and author of The Flexitarian Diet.

Jackson Blatner says that if we’re sleepy on Thanksgiving as a direct result of eating turkey, then eating other foods rich in tryptophan should have the same effect.

“When is the last time someone ate a chicken breast at a summertime barbecue and thought they felt sluggish [because of it]?” she asks.

Turkey is, indeed, a good source of tryptophan. Still, it’s a myth that eating foods high in tryptophan boosts brain levels of tryptophan and therefore brain levels of serotonin, Somer says.

Somer says that proteins like turkey, chicken, and fish, which are high in tryptophan, require assistance from foods high in carbohydrates to affect serotonin levels.

“Tryptophan is quite high in milk and turkey, but that’s not the food that will give you the serotonin boost,” she says. It’s a small, all-carbohydrate snack — no more than 30 grams of carbohydrates — in combination with the tryptophan stored in your body from food you’ve already eaten that will give you the biggest boost of serotonin, Somer says. 

A serotonin-boosting snack may include a few Fig Newtons, half of a small whole wheat bagel with honey drizzled over it, or a few cups of air-popped popcorn some time after you’ve eaten foods high in tryptophan. “Research shows that a light, 30 gram carbohydrate snack just before bed will actually help you sleep better,” Somer says

Lisa Zamosky
WebMD FeatureLouise Chang, MD

 

Amino Acid Overload

When you eat foods rich in tryptophan, as the food digests, amino acids – not just tryptophan – make their way into the bloodstream. This causes competition among the various amino acids to enter the brain.

“Tryptophan, which is a bulky amino acid, would have to stand in line to get through the blood-brain barrier with a whole bunch of amino acids,” Somer says. “It would be like standing in line when the Harry Potter movie comes out and you didn’t get in line early enough. The chances of getting in [to see the movie] are pretty slim. That’s what happens when you eat a protein-rich food. Tryptophan has to compete with all these other amino acids. It waits in line to get through the blood-brain barrier and very little of it makes it across.”

The small, all-carbohydrate snack is tryptophan’s ticket across the blood-brain barrier, where it can boost serotonin levels. So have your turkey, Somer says, because it will increase your store of tryptophan in the body, but count on the carbohydrates to help give you the mood boost or the restful sleep.

“It’s the all-carb snack that ends up being like a sneak preview of the [Harry Potter] movie, where no one else knows it’s showing,” she says.

Too Much of a Sleepy Thing

Is it possible to have too much tryptophan in the body? Not really, Somer says. “Except if you end up eating a lot of tryptophan, it means you’re eating a lot of protein and Americans already eat a lot of protein. It’s the only nutrient we get too much of,” she says.

“If you’re getting even one serving of 3 ounces of meat, chicken, or fish; a couple of glasses of milk or yogurt; or if you’re eating beans and rice, you will get all the amino acids you need and in there will be the tryptophan,” Somer says.

Thanksgiving Grogginess: Look Beyond the Turkey

So if eating turkey isn’t exactly the same as popping a sleeping pill, why the sudden grogginess as soon as our holiday feast is over?

“It boils down to Thanksgiving being a time when people overeat,” Jackson Blatner says. “When people overeat food, the digestion process takes a lot of energy. Don’t incriminate the turkey that you ate,” she says of post-Thanksgiving meal exhaustion, “incriminate the three plates of food that you piled high.”

And let’s not forget that the holidays generally mean time off from work and with family. Many people feel more relaxed to begin with (family wars not withstanding). Add alcohol to the mix, and voila! Sleep!

Speaking of sleep, Joyce Walsleban, PhD, associate professor at New York University’s Sleep Disorders Center, suggests we all get plenty of it. “Coming up on the holidays and trying to get all the things done that one would normally be doing, you short cut your sleep and that’s never helpful. By the time the holiday comes, everyone has gotten sick.”

At least then you’ll have a good excuse to lay down and take a nap.

 

Drivers Beware: Getting Enough Sleep Can Save Your Life this Memorial Day

May 28th, 2010 admin

WASHINGTON, DC, May 24, 2010, Less than half of Americans say they get a good night’s sleep every night. Combine excessive sleepiness with an automobile, a long drive, and the one of the heaviest travel weekends of the year, and our risk for a fall-asleep crash increases significantly. In fact, 28% of American drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, according to a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, and more than half (54%) said they have driven while drowsy.

“People think they can judge the precise time they are too tired and don’t realize that ‘drowsy driving’ is a serious danger,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “They don’t know that it’s possible to fall into a 3-4 second microsleep without realizing it. Traveling at 65 MPH, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field basically unconscious.”

Even if you manage to stay awake, sleepiness causes slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information, which are all critical elements for safe driving practices. “Getting enough sleep can literally save your life,” adds Cloud.

Prevent a fall-asleep crash by getting enough sleep the night before and by knowing the warning signs of sleepiness and using appropriate countermeasures.

Warning Signs: Feeling Sleepy? Stop Driving!

If you start to do the following, it’s time to get off the road. Find a safe place to pull over:

* Have problems focusing, blink frequently and/or have heavy eyelids;

* Drift from your lane, swerve, tailgate and/or hit rumble strips;

* Have trouble remembering the last few miles driven;

* Miss exits or traffic signs;

* Have trouble keeping your head up;

* Yawn repeatedly;

* Or finding yourself rolling down the windows or turning up the radio.

National Sleep Foundation’s Countermeasures to Prevent Fall-Asleep Crashes

* Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. You’ll want to be alert for the drive, so be sure to get adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) the night before you go.
* Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Many drivers try to maximize the holiday weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. It’s better to allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
* Use the buddy system. Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone for long distances. A buddy who remains awake for the journey can take a turn behind the wheel and help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself like getting a snack, switching drivers, or going for a run.
* Take a nap—find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap, if you think you might fall asleep. Be cautious about excessive drowsiness after waking up.
* Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side-effect.
* Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
* Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.

For more information about drowsy driving, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s special drowsy driving and sleep website at www.DrowsyDriving.org