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Tom Brady Explains Why He Goes To Sleep At 8:30

November 13th, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

Sleep and performance go hand in hand!

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tom brady patriotsJeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

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At age 37, Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

For years, many have been anticipating his inevitable decline. Twice in the past four years the Patriots have drafted quarterbacks in preparation for the post-Brady era.

But every time he starts to look his age, he manages to put together a string of strong performances in which he looks like the Brady of old.

On Monday, Brady did an interview with WEEI radio in Boston, and he talked about how he stays youthful.

One of his strategies: getting plenty of sleep.

In a recent column, ESPN’s Bill Simmons said that Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman told him Brady goes to sleep at 8:30 each night.

WEEI asked Brady about the 8:30 p.m. bedtime. He said he went to sleep so early because football was the only thing he loved to do, and all his decisions were designed to keep him playing at an age when most players retire.

“Strength training and conditioning and how I really treat my body is important to me, because there’s really nothing else that I enjoy like playing football,” he said. “I want to do it as long as I can.”

Here’s his entire answer when asked about his sleep habits (full audio here):

I do go to bed very early because I’m up very early. I think that the decisions that I make always center around performance enhancement, if that makes sense. So whether that’s what I eat or what decisions I make or whether I drink or don’t drink, it’s always football-centric. I want to be the best I can be every day. I want to be the best I can be every week. I want to be the best I can be for my teammates. I love the game and I want to do it for a long time. But I also know that if I want to do it for a long time, I have to do things differently than the way guys have always done it.

I have to take a different approach. Strength training and conditioning and how I really treat my body is important to me, because there’s really nothing else that I enjoy like playing football. I want to do it as long as I can.

Later in the conversation, Brady talked about how different his lifestyle was from his early days in the NFL. He said he was “fast and loose” when he was 25 but would not change a thing:

The 25-year-old Tom Brady had a great time. I probably wouldn’t change much from those days … I was kind of fast and loose back then … I wouldn’t change anything when I was 25.

I tell [young players], I say, ‘You guys live it up, enjoy it. Because there’s going to be a time when you don’t have that opportunity again.’ You try to make good decisions and your mistakes you don’t want to be permanent. But when you’re in your youth, you should have fun and do those things that young guys do.

Brady has three years left on an extension that he signed in 2013. The $26 million in base salary for those three years becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the team for the last game of this season — which is a certainty at this point. If he plays out his contract, he’ll still be quarterbacking the Patriots at age 40.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/tom-brady-sleep-2014-11#ixzz3Ixv4iJhb

Are There Benefits to “Lucid” Dreams?

September 11th, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

Can we teach ourselves “lucid dreaming?” This blog by Shirley Wang in The Wall Street Journal explores research in the field that suggests ways to help creativity and problem-solving. “Lucid dreaming” may help people with mental health issues improve their sense of self-control, she writes:

Anthony Bloxham was standing in the garden of his house when he wondered if he was dreaming.

To figure it out, he looked at his hands. Experts in a phenomenon known as lucid dreaming, where sleeping people are aware that they’re in a dream, say dreamers should look for reality checks, or details that look different in dreams than in real life. Indeed, Mr. Bloxham’s hand was glowing yellow, so he realized he was asleep.

Some lucid dreamers are able to control elements of their dreams once they realize they’re dreaming. They do what’s impossible or unlikely in real life, like fly or meet famous people. Mr. Bloxham, 21, a recent university graduate from Mansfield, England, who stumbled onto the concept on the Internet and thought it sounded like fun, recalls the feeling of swimming through the air-though he hasn’t flown, as he’s wanted to.

Others use the technique to solve problems, spur creativity, overcome nightmares or practice a physical skill, says Daniel Erlacher, a professor at the University of Bern’s Institute for Sport Science, who has conducted surveys of lucid dreamers.

Researchers are studying people like Mr. Bloxham to understand if lucid dreaming can improve dreamers’ abilities when they’re awake.

Psychologists at the University of Lincoln in England found in a June study that people with frequent lucid dreams are better at cognitive tasks that involve insight, like problem-solving. Other researchers have shown that people who dream of practicing a routine can improve their abilities in that activity in real life. Early evidence also suggests that lucid dreaming may help improve depressive symptoms and mental health in general, perhaps by giving people a greater sense of self-control.

Many of the studies are small, however, and it isn’t always clear whether lucid dreaming is responsible for the improvements or simply linked to them, experts say. People vary tremendously in how often they remember their dreams, as well as their degree of awareness and control while dreaming.

Most people aren’t aware when they’re dreaming, which tends to occur in a stage known as rapid-eye movement, or REM, sleep. Yet even with the body in a very deep sleep, the mind is very active.

Having awareness during the dream state, and the added ability to control the dream, as portrayed in the movie “Inception,” isn’t a regular occurrence for most people. Surveys suggest that about half of us will have at least one experience in our lifetimes. About 20% or more have routine lucid dreaming experiences, according to studies conducted by Dr. Erlacher and his team in Switzerland.

The plot of the 2010 film “Inception” involves the idea of lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming comes more easily to some people, but experts say it can be learned. The low number of people able to lucid dream at will, particularly in a sleep lab, is one of the main challenges with conducting research on the phenomenon. Another obstacle is figuring out when people are actually lucid dreaming, since it isn’t clear whether people’s recollections upon waking are accurate.

Patrick Bourke and Hannah Shaw are researchers from the University of Lincoln, and lucid dreamers themselves. They set out to investigate in their recent study whether frequent lucid dreamers had different ways of thinking while awake, compared with non-frequent lucid dreamers. They hypothesized that awareness while dreaming may be related to those “aha!” moments often necessary in problem-solving. The study was published in Dreaming, a journal of the American Psychological Association, in June.

In the lab, 20 people who say they haven’t had the experience of being aware that they’re dreaming, 28 occasional lucid dreamers and 20 frequent lucid dreamers completed a problem-solving task. They were given three words and had to figure out a word to go with each. For instance, stone pairs up with the trio of age, mile and sand.

The frequent lucid dreamers were significantly better at solving these puzzles than the non-dreamers. The occasional dreamers fell in the middle but weren’t statistically different from either of the other two groups.

Why frequent dreamers showed improved performance wasn’t clear from the study. The authors speculated that the ability to make more remote associations and question unusual details could be more finely honed in the lucid group. The authors don’t know if the lucid dreamers differed from the other groups in terms of intelligence or other cognitive skills.

Other studies looking at different cognitive tasks also suggest that lucid dreamers perform better than non-lucid dreamers.

College and Sleep Should Be Two Peas in a Pod

September 3rd, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

Our new college bedding study highlights problems with the pillows and mattress pads that college students take to school with them.  But, gross fungi aside, it also brings up a very important point — a good night’s sleep increases a student’s chance of success in college exponentially.

Multiple studies have been done on the subject.  One, covered here at SleepBetter.org, looked at 60 college-age subjects.  The participants were split into two equal groups.  In the morning, the first group learned a batch of 30 fake words.  They then returned later in the evening to take a test on how well they learned the words. Meanwhile, the second group studied the same phony words at nighttime. This group did not complete their vocabulary test until the following morning after a full night’s sleep.

Once the tests were scored, researchers found that the subjects who slept after learning the new words performed much better than those who were awake throughout the day.

By entering a deep sleep, your brain is better able to establish connections between new facts and previous knowledge.  Since learning new things and applying connections is what college is all about, it only stands to reason that sleep and attending college should go together like two peas in a pod.

Here are some recommendations from an article we published last year called Five Tips to Help College Students Sleep Better:

  • Make sure they have a proper pillow.  Check out that pillow your student is taking to school.  Has it been around since they were in kindergarten?  If so, replace it.  Not only could it be filled with fungi, an outdated, out-of-shape pillow can also make it hard to get comfortable at night.
  • Add a mattress pad. Dormitory beds are notoriously uncomfortable, but adding a good mattress pad can make them tolerable.
  • Earplugs may not be a bad idea.  It’s no secret that dorms are noisy.
  • Talk about what a bed is used for.  This will sound strange, but using a bed for a desk, a TV chair, and even a video game lounge can lead to not getting to sleep when it’s bedtime.
  • Suggest a good sleep routine.  Going to bed and getting up at the same time every night is the best way to go.  Knowing that’s unrealistic, however, perhaps suggest they try to go to sleep at around the same time Sunday through Thursday.  Recognizing that Friday and Saturday night probably won’t mean lights out at 10pm, suggest trying to get to bed no later than a couple of hours after their weekday bedtime.

After reading about our college bedding story, are you freaked out about what’s inside your pillow?  Be sure to check out our article on how to clean your pillow!

http://sleepbetter.org/college-and-sleep-should-be-two-peas-in-a-pod/

Sleepy Drivers Use the Wrong Tactics to Stay Awake

August 21st, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

DME automotive recently surveyed American drivers on the top ways they try to combat sleepiness on the road, and it turns out that drivers are getting it all wrong.

Recent articles document the results of the survey which predictably found drinking caffeinated beverages at the top of the list for staying awake. This tactic, along with opening windows, pulling over and exercising/stretching, and blasting loud music and air conditioning realistically have very short-term to no effect.

Instead, safety experts recommend pulling over and taking a nap. “Pulling over and napping (only 23 percent reporting) ranked a lowly 7(th), on a par with eating or singing (21 percent),” writes Canadian Automotive Review. “The findings indicate most drivers are doing things to fight sleepiness at the wheel that don’t work, and it’s likely contributing to the scary statistics: drowsy driving is responsible for somewhere between 15-33 percent of all fatal crashes,(1) or more than 100,000 accidents each year.”

“This survey reveals a big problem: when people get sleepy on the road, too many take measures that simply don’t work. Most of us do ineffective things like stopping for that third triple-shot cappuccino or slapping water on our face just to keep going. As drivers, we need to heed our drowsiness: and stop and sleep, or let a rested person drive,” said Mary Sheridan, director of Research and Analytics for DME automotive.

Source: Purchasing B2B/From Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy

Poor Coping Mechanisms a Mediating Pathway Between Stress Exposure and Insomnia

August 1st, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments
Published on July 3, 2014

A new study identifies specific coping behaviors through which stress exposure leads to the development of insomnia.

Results show that coping with a stressful event through behavioral disengagement—giving up on dealing with the stress—or by using alcohol or drugs each significantly mediated the relationship between stress exposure and insomnia development. Surprisingly, the coping technique of self-distraction—such as going to the movies or watching TV–also was a significant mediator between stress and incident insomnia. Furthermore, the study found that cognitive intrusion—recurrent thoughts about the stressor—was a significant and key mediator, accounting for 69% of the total effect of stress exposure on insomnia.

“Our study is among the first to show that it’s not the number of stressors, but your reaction to them that determines the likelihood of experiencing insomnia,” says lead author Vivek Pillai, PhD, research fellow at the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in a release. “While a stressful event can lead to a bad night of sleep, it’s what you do in response to stress that can be the difference between a few bad nights and chronic insomnia.”

Study results are published in the July 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

The study involved a community-based sample of 2,892 good sleepers with no lifetime history of insomnia. At baseline, the participants reported the number of stressful life events that they had experienced in the past year, such as a divorce, serious illness, major financial problem, or the death of a spouse. They also reported the perceived severity and duration of each stressful event. Questionnaires also measured levels of cognitive intrusion and identified coping strategies in which participants engaged in the 7 days following the stressful event. A follow-up assessment after 1 year identified participants with insomnia disorder, which was defined as having symptoms of insomnia occurring at least 3 nights per week for a duration of 1 month or longer with associated daytime impairment or distress.

“This study is an important reminder that stressful events and other major life changes often cause insomnia,” says American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) president Dr Timothy Morgenthaler. “If you are feeling overwhelmed by events in your life, talk to your doctor about strategies to reduce your stress level and improve your sleep.”

According to the authors, the study identified potential targets for therapeutic interventions to improve coping responses to stress and reduce the risk of insomnia. In particular, they noted that mindfulness-based therapies have shown considerable promise in suppressing cognitive intrusion and improving sleep.

“Though we may not be able to control external events, we can reduce their burden by staying away from certain maladaptive behaviors,” Pillai says.

The AASM reports that short-term insomnia disorder lasting less than 3 months occurs in 15% to 20% of adults and is more prevalent in women than in men.

- See more at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/07/stress-exposure-coping-insomnia/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SR+Sleep+Report+7%2F09&spMailingID=8979349&spUserID=MjQxMTIxNTA4MjUS1&spJobID=340679522&spReportId=MzQwNjc5NTIyS0#sthash.lVQ3rxG0.dpuf

Five Ways To Sleep Outside Without A Tent

July 22nd, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/five-ways-to-sleep-outside-without-a-tent-1598690786

Great article for all the campers out there and it is summer-enjoy!

In Elderly, Less Sleep Linked to Aging Brain

July 11th, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore’s rapidly aging society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

Past research has examined the impact of sleep duration on cognitive functions in older adults. Though faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the effects of sleep on this marker have never been measured.

The Duke-NUS study examined the data of 66 older Chinese adults, from the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study. Participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive function every 2 years. Additionally, their sleep duration was recorded through a questionnaire. Those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

“Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging,” says Dr June Lo, lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow, in a release. “Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years we hope to determine what’s good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too,” adds Professor Michael Chee, senior author and Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.

The study was published in the journal SLEEP

- See more at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/07/old-less-sleep-aging-brain/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SR+Sleep+Report+7%2F09&spMailingID=8979349&spUserID=MjQxMTIxNTA4MjUS1&spJobID=340679522&spReportId=MzQwNjc5NTIyS0#sthash.DcXOgPRa.dpuf

REM Sleep Disturbance May Signal Future Parkinson’s or Dementia

July 2nd, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

REM behavior disorder could be a sign of impending neurodegenerative disease, including Parkinson’s and dementia, according to new research at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s 2014 Annual Meeting.

Researchers are not sure why spontaneous and unexplained disturbance in REM sleep should lead to a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s, but new longitudinal imaging data show a clear correlation between idiopathic REM behavior disorder and dysfunction of the dopamine transporter system involved in a wide range of vital brain functions, including memory and motor control. Dysfunction associated with dopamine in the brain marks the first hints of Parkinson’s disease.

In order to gauge the relationship between the REM sleep disorder and neurodegeneration, scientists performed molecular neuroimaging using a technique called single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), which allows clinicians to evaluate bodily functions instead of focusing on structure, the forte of conventional radiology.

“Our SPECT study showed a trend toward decreased dopamine transporter density in the brain and Parkinsonism in the follow-up data of patients with REM sleep disorder who had no previous evidence of neurodegenerative disease,” said Hongyoon Choi, MD, a researcher at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Sungnam, Korea. “To our knowledge, a study looking at a long-term link between the two has never been conducted before.”

A total of 21 consecutive patients with no known Parkinsonism or cognitive decline were enrolled in the long-term study between 2004 and 2006 and were followed after about 8 years. A baseline SPECT scan of dopamine transporter function was performed with the radiopharmaceutical I-123 FP-CIT as an imaging agent. A follow-up scan was performed to assess progression of neurodegenerative disease. Results showed that after follow-up, patients’ SPECT scans revealed substantial decreases in radiotracer binding to the dopamine transport system in the nigrostriatal regions of the brain. A lack of tracer binding in these regions of the brain is closely linked to neuronal degeneration and the development of dementia and movement disorders.

A total of 10 patients out of the original 21 patients with disturbed REM sleep were found to have decreased striatal tracer binding at the beginning of the study. Of these, seven had developed neurodegenerative disease by follow-up some years later, including four patients who developed Parkinson’s disease and two patients who developed dementia with Lewy bodies, a neurodegenerative disease identified by the build-up of proteins, called Lewy bodies, in brain regions associated with memory muscle control.

- See more at: http://www.rtmagazine.com/2014/06/rem-sleep-disturbance-future-parkinsons-dementia/#sthash.PQJm2EyR.dpuf

Is it ADHD, or does your child have Sleep Apnea?

May 21st, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

A thoughtful question posed by a doctor at The Pennsylvania Snoring and Sleep Institute. Many of the symptoms are similar and the two illnesses are often confused.

“Not much is understood by parents about snoring or sleep apnea, especially in their children. The Stanford School of Medicine states that about 10% of children 10 years of age and younger snore and, of those children who snore, about 20% will haveobstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring can be a sign that your child has sleep apnea as it indicates, at the very least, that their airway is partially obstructed during sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can interrupt or stop your child’s breathing, prevent a normal night’s sleep, impair growth, and lead to a lower quality of life. It also can cause serious fatigue during the day which is why it is so often confused with ADHD.
Sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have long been associated with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). You should know that not every child diagnosed with sleep apnea has ADHD, just as not every child diagnosed with ADHD has sleep apnea. However, many studies have been performed indicating a significant correlation between OSA and behavioral issues. Children with obstructive sleep apnea do not get restful sleep, and as a result may complain of morning headaches, be irritable and have difficulty concentrating.
Children with sleep apnea may complain of being tired during the day and, at the same time, exhibit hyperactive behavior or act impulsively. Herein lays the confusion of separating sleep apnea from ADHD because many of the classic symptoms of ADHD are often exhibited in children with OSA. So, as a parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD, what do you do?”

5-7-14 adhd“It will be in your child’s best interest if you dig a little deeper into the root of what may be causing these behaviors. Watch your child sleep at night – and even record it if you can. Check for restlessness, mouth breathing, snoring, or breathing pauses. If they occur, have your child evaluated for possible sleep apnea to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Figuring out if your child has sleep apnea or ADHD may seem quite complex but it doesn’t have to be. Consult with a sleep apnea doctor if you can answer ‘yes’ to any or some of the following questions:
- Does your child snore?
- Does your child stop breathing for a few seconds at night?
- Does your child frequently mouth breathe?
- Does your child sleep through the night or is it a restless sleep?
- Is there frequent bedwetting?
- Does your child seem irritable during the day? Is there difficulty focusing? Are there periods of hyperactivity?”

7-14-1`2 teacher and sleeper“The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common causes of sleep apnea in children. An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist can determine if your child’s tonsils and adenoids are enlarged and possibly blocking the airway at night. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can successfully treat sleep apnea by removing the obstruction in the airway resulting in a complete elimination of symptoms in 80-90% of children.”

Dr. Lana B. Patitucci, D.O. is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist at The Pennsylvania Snoring and Sleep Institute. She is trained in all aspects of general and pediatric otolaryngology including endoscopic sinus, otologic, head and neck, and facial plastic surgery.

Sleep Doctor is Guru of Slumber for Professional Sports Teams

May 20th, 2014 Raquel Rothe No comments

More practice or more sleep? Most sports teams know intuitively that sleep is essential, and they enforce the notion with strict curfews.

The idea that sleep can add up to a real advantage in high-stakes sports can be seen in the high respect given to Harvard sleep specialist Charles Czeisler. According to a lengthy story in the Atlantic by Danielle Elliot, Dr. Czeisler gets frequent calls from NHL and NBA coaches asking for advice.

According to Elliot, Czeisler is a tenured professor at Harvard Medical School and a go-to expert for professional sports teams from every major league. “In the age of analytics-as-religion, teams are looking for every possible way to squeeze more skill out of elite athletes,” writes Elliot. “They consult experts on everything from the number of minutes a player should be on the court to how many fourth down conversions they should attempt. But Czeisler recommends something much simpler: more sleep.”

As director of the Division Sleep Medicine at Harvard, Czeisler is known around the NBA as the Sleep Doctor. “Jovial, he presents most of the research with a slight laugh, as if to say none of this should come as a surprise,” writes Elliot. “It’s sleep. And yet, it’s so poorly understood. Beyond sports, he’s also consulted with NASA and the Secret Service.”

Source: The Atlantic