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Monday, May 31, 2010

Sleep Sleep Sleep...How to Get More Sleep

Rose knows sleep may be what you’re dreaming about, but that’s not enough to make you bright-eyed and sharp. It’s not that fourth cup of coffee either. I found some interesting information on lifescripts, read on:

You need rest, which isn’t the same as sleep, says psychiatrist Matthew Edlund, M.D., a former Brown University medical professor and author of The Power of Rest (HarperCollins), due out next month.

Besides “passive rest” (like sleep and napping), we need “active rest,” a conscious resting of your mind, body and spirit, says Edlund, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine in Sarasota, Fla.

But getting rest – active or passive – is no easy task. Up to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, according to the National Institutes of Medicine.

How much sleep do people really need? Check your body. [Think about] how much sleep you get a night on vacation. Are you feeling really refreshed [when you wake up]? That’s a good idea of how many hours of sleep you need.

Is there an average?Some people need nine hours, others four, some seven. Most perform pretty well with seven or eight hours, but it absolutely varies by person. I treat patients who sleep two to three hours a night – and that’s all they need.

Picasso would work all night and through most of the day. Then he’d sleep two hours and go back to work. It was perfectly fine [for him]. But most of us can’t do that.

Sometimes we get more sleep than usual and feel worse. Why?We’re meant to have a certain amount of activity and rest. If people have to lie in bed for 24 hours and they can sleep as much as they want, they feel awful. It’s about balance and doing what your body needs.

What about napping? I love naps. If you can get 10- to 15-minute naps a day, it can be really helpful.

Power naps can improve memory and learning, yet avoid the slow, deadly feeling of sleep inertia that comes with longer [siestas].

How do you rest in your own life?I do deep breathing and self-hypnosis – I mix and match different techniques, like different parts of a meal. It makes it more interesting when I need to relax.

Any advice for people who have trouble falling asleep?There are lots of things to do, such as taking hot baths, not looking at the clock and putting on an eye-mask so you can’t see the time.

Why not look at the clock?It’s a great way to keep you up all night.

Sleep is about conditioning. Your body clock will put you to sleep if your body is calm enough. The problem is that we’re so aroused [from our daily activity and stress] that we just can’t do it.

But there are many ways of calming down. I’ve been a sleep doc for more than 20 years. I found that I could solve people’s sleep problems, but that wasn’t enough. I had to teach them to rest.

What’s the difference between sleep and rest?We renew, rebuild and rewire the body [with rest]. It’s either conscious or unconscious. Sleep is a form of passive rest – we don't know what's going on. In active rest, we directly and consciously control [our bodies].

Active rest seems contradictory. Can you explain?It’s goal-oriented and directed. You rest your mind and body at will. We need active rest as well as sleep.

There are four types of active rest: physical rest, where you pay attention to your body processes to calm, relax and concentrate; mental rest, where you focus attention to obtain a sense of relaxed control [such as with self-hypnosis]; social rest, where you connect with people in different ways; and spiritual rest, where you connect with things greater than one’s self, such as meditation.

Physical rest means that you focus all your attention on a single muscle group, which when done properly, causes the rest of your body to relax.

In mental rest, you pay attention to something in your environment. [For example,] by focusing your mind on sounds and objects in your room, you reset perceptions while controlling your frustrations, letting the "steam come out of your ears" as you relax in periods of major stress.

Do we need active rest if we get enough sleep? The population has a sleep deficit almost as big as the federal budget deficit. Look at mothers who work and have kids: They’re averaging a little over six hours of sleep a night and they just feel chronically exhausted.

If they can learn active rest techniques, it can make it easier to get through the day – even if they’re not getting enough sleep.

What’s social rest?Humans are social animals, and [the number of] friends, colleagues and acquaintances we have is a large part of our overall health. It’s as big a factor as smoking or high blood pressure is.

When people know they have a connection, they start using it regularly. [It should be] someone you feel [very] close to, so you can say, “If I have a real problem, is it OK if I call you anytime?” That’s very powerful [social rest].

How do social connections boost health? When people are together, they [experience] changes in adrenaline levels and, in many cases, oxytocin (a hormone that stimulates the brain’s feel-good centers). When we have people we can talk to, it tends to be profoundly restful.

Studies at the University of California at Berkley in the late '70s showed that when people had more social connections, they had fewer heart attacks, strokes and, in many cases, cancer and depression.

It’s a tremendous stress reducer. The data is pretty good that if you [socialize], you’re going to live longer.

We see our hair and nails grow. People don’t realize it, but our brains grow too.

Most people spend most of their lives at work. Can you get rest there? Yes. [If] you’re having a bad day, just walk over to a colleague and talk to them about what’s bugging you. Take a walk with [them] at lunch.

You’re talking about work and your kids, and you’re also getting physical activity, which can be profoundly healthy.

How does physical activity help with sleep?Physical activity actually leads to brain-cell growth in memory areas during sleep.  

Are there other ways to rest at work without compromising the job?Many corporations will reprimand you – or even fire you – if they catch you napping.

So I developed the UnNap Nap, which uses a relaxation technique to get people rested and relaxed in 30-60 seconds. They’re still alert, but they’re also able to rest at their job.

How does that work?[By focusing on] one muscle group at a time. There’s a technique developed by psychologist Edmund Jacobson, Ph.D., called paradoxical relaxation. He found that paying attention to tiny, different muscle tensions – from one muscle to another – causes the rest of the body to relax. You relax by not relaxing.

You don’t have to do very much. You don’t have to do self-hypnosis, concentrate on relaxation, or stretch. All you have to do is notice things.

How to Have an UnNap Nap

1. Find the tensest part of the body.

2. Sit down comfortably and touch that area; touching it focuses your attention on that area.

3. Put your arms and hands down at your sides.

4. Close your eyes and focus on the tense area.

5. Don’t try to relax the area – just notice it, feel it, sense the tension for a few seconds (5-10 seconds).

6. Open your eyes and notice how the rest of your body relaxed while you focused on the tense area.

“The paradox is that the part of the body you’re paying attention to may not relax at all, but the rest of the body does,” Edlund says.

7. After you focus on one tense area, move to another. Include muscles you’ve never noticed before in the neck, arm and leg.

“Find these tiny differences and focus on them for a few seconds or 10 seconds at a time, then go onto the next,” he says.

Good Day,
Rose Sheepskill 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Adjustable Beds

Rose knows in the last 30 years there are many choices when it comes to adjustable beds. People are looking for an alternative choice to the flat beds and want one that reclines, elevates and provides heat and massage options. Also an adjustable bed will help alleviate acid reflux by elevating the upper body, provide comfort for those with back pain, osteoarthritis and multiple sclerosis. If you are looking to purchase an adjustable bed there are many reviews on line to provide information on the different brands and technology, because you are not only considering a new mattress but also the electric bed frame. Make sure you read reports about understanding adjustable beds and go to a sleep store to test different mattress choices. There are two types of mattresses for adjustable beds the coil springs and the air adjustable mattress as well as latex and memory foam which are flexible enough for an adjustable bed frame.

The following is an overview of the technical differences between various mattress choices including the benefits of each.

Coil spring
mattresses still rank the most popular as they dominate 80% of the market. First patented in 1865, the coil spring mattress differs from the adjustable bed mattress as it is able to bend into various positions. Unlike the flat mattress where the coils are connected together, an adjustable bed mattresses’ coils remain independent thus likely to transfer motion. The more expensive models have a layer of memory foam, latex or a pillow top. In some states the only government standard is a flammability test. Although a coil spring mattress may be the best value in today’s market, the coils can create pressure points especially with your shoulders and hips which can cause you to sleep restlessly.

Memory foam is made to be completely pliable, so it works on both a standard and adjustable bed frame. This mattress will mold to your body so there are no pressure points and is great for anyone with back pain. (I got a memory foam mattress pad topper for Christmas and I have degenerative disk disease, believe me it really helps me get up in the morning without any stiffness or pain.) There are many manufacturers that make a memory foam mattress, but Tempur-Pedic is one of the more well-known brands.

Remember when looking at memory foam mattresses there are four factors that determine the quality of the product; the firmness of the foam should be between 2-6 lbs, the ILD rating also determines how hard or soft the material, the H.R. or resilience factor determines how fast the mattress bounces back and the tensile of the mattress shows how well it will stretch by the weight of the sleeper. It is very important to know the warranty and return policy of a mattress. Most manufacturers feel a 3-4 lb firmness is more commonly sold as cost greatly depends on the above four factors. A 5 lb mattress may have a 20 year warranty because it does have a longer lifespan. More information about the four factors on memoryfoammattresspadtoppers.blogspot.com

When you first get your memory foam mattress it will initially have a chemical odor, but this will dissipate over time. Also make sure you have a terry cloth cover over your memory foam mattress, it not only helps keep your mattress clean, you will stay cooler by allowing air to move between you and the foam mattress.

Latex foam is a naturally ensuing substance made from the milky sap of the rubber tree and like memory foam can be flexible enough for both flat and adjustable beds, but is also hypo-allergenic. Mold, mildew and bacteria cannot live in latex and it is also very resilient to dust mites. Two major differences between memory foam and latex foam are; latex has no chemical smell and latex provides breathability which cools in the warmer weather and warms in the cool weather, as memory foam can retain body heat (the reason a terry cloth cover is needed).

There are also two types of latex foam; synthetic and natural and two types of blended synthetic foam; Talalay process and Dunlop process. The blended synthetic foam mattresses use approximately 60% synthetic and 40% natural latex and are primarily sold in the U.S. China makes synthetic foam mattresses that are less expensive and have a shorter lifespan. The most expensive is 100% latex as it doesn’t involve using toxic chemicals and can have a lifespan up to 30 years.

Air bed mattress is one mattress that is, itself, adjustable as you have the option to raise or lower an area of the mattress as well as the overall firmness. Please note that not all models of air mattresses are made for adjustable bed frames as most are used for camping. The air mattress composition consists of inner air chambers, four thick foam side rails that create the firm edge, a cover, a plastic or wood base, an electric pump and a remote control. The more expensive models have a pillow or memory foam pad. Most stores offer a 30 day return policy as this type of bed may require getting used to. An air bed helps people that need maximum circulation and reduction in pressure points therefore is widely used in the health care industry. The Self Adjusting Technology or SAT mattress uses no pumps, but an intake/release valve system to self adjusts to the patient’s weight. This mattress is also available for home use.

Dual adjustable air beds are recommended for couples as it allows each sleeper to control the firmness on their side of the bed by remote control. If more firmness is desired a memory or latex foam topper can be added. It is best to pay a little more for a quiet pump as less expensive models have air pumps that are very load and disturbing if your partner has to adjust the bed during the night.

Here is important information regarding electric adjustable bed frames:

An electric adjustable bed are electrically operated metal frames or bases where a mattress is places. When looking for an adjustable bed frame here are some features to consider; a quiet motor, a remote control (preferably programmable), backup power, built in massage and a wallhugger option that keeps the bed lined up with the nightstands when raised. If you have a king or queen mattress you may consider either a single or split frame to allow each person to adjust their side of the bed. A split frame could cost up to $1000 or more.

Hospital electric beds are designed with the patient in mind as they provide safety, comfort and assistants for those that are disabled or ill. They are available as fully electric (higher cost), semi-electric and manual (lower cost).

Tempur-Pedic has seven mattresses choices that range from $1499 to $5999 with widths from 8” to 14”. These mattresses can be used on flat or adjustable bed frames. Their adjustable bed frames have wireless remote controls and massage features. They also sell memory foam pillows for added comfort and support.
Craftmatic adjustable beds all sit on frames made by Leggett and Platt. They have four models to choose from; the Monaco, luxury model which comes with massage and heat options with high density foam or latex mattresses, other models I, II and III with III the least expensive has a coil spring mattress. To obtain more information about a Craftmatic you need to request a brochure from their website.

Sleep Comfort beds offer a variety of mattress choices such as coil spring, memory foam and latex. Manufactured out of San Diego, this company offers a maintenance program on their beds in all 50 states.

Select Comfort beds are the ‘Sleep Number’ beds that allow each person to adjust their side of the bed with their own firmness ‘number’. Not all mattress models come with an adjustable bed frame as this company touts their mattresses adjustable firmness, but frames can be purchased separately. Their mattresses’ inner core is an air bed that is surrounded by thick foam rails for support, covered in memory foam and enclosed in a mattress cover for additional comfort.

Other brands for adjustable beds are GoldenRest which provides models for both home and hospital use, Niagra, Serta, Sealy, Spring Air and Simmons that offer a wide range of sizes and models to choose from.
Good Evening
Rose Sheepskill

Ok here is a joke...how does President Obama sleep?

Friday, May 7, 2010

What does your sleep position reveal about your personality?

Hi Rose here I found a fun article on Healthy Living on Shine about what your sleeping position reveals about your personality.  Here is the article:

These days, the way that I sleep simply says, "I am happy to be single and spending five to seven hours sprawled out in the center of my bed alone."

At other points, my tightly squeezed eyes and curled-up body would have screamed, "I know the baby will wake up/someone will start snoring/the alarm will begin blaring as soon as I finally, finally, finally get to sleep."

Years and years ago, the corpse-looking college student still in her clothes would have mumbled something like, "Finals. Boys. Beer."

Our lives, the amount of sleep we get, and how well we actually rest during those nighttime hours may change drastically over time. However, one sleep researcher says that our body position in bed could say something about who we are, not just what else is happening in our lives.

Professor Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, says that a study of 1,000 Brits revealed that the six most common sleeping positions are indicative of personality types.

If this sounds ridiculous (and honestly, I'd love to see information on this study and the analysis fleshed out further than any of the reports I could find), consider that Idzikowski says it comes down to body language.

"We are all aware of our body language when we are awake but this is the first time we have been able to see what our subconscious posture says about us," Idzikowski said. "What's interesting is that the profile behind the posture is often very different from what we would expect." 
The research also links certain sleeping positions with health risks. Some aid digestion while others spur on snoring and restlessness.
Here are the six common sleeping positions and correlated personality traits and health implications, according to this study.

[graphic via BBC.com]
  • Fetus position - A whopping 41% of participants sleep in this curled-up manner. Women are twice as likely to rest like this and it is listed as the most common position. These sleepers are said to have a tough exterior but are still sensitive and may appear to be shy but warm up quickly.
  • Log position - If you sleep on your side with both arms down, you are a social, easy-going person who is trusting, sometimes to the point of being gullible. The study showed 15% of people sleep like a log.
  • Yearner position - A close third is the side-lying position with both arms out in front of the body, with 13% of partipants sleeping like this. Yearners are noted to be open-minded and still cynical, suspicious, and stubborn about sticking to decisions once they are made.
  • Soldier position - These sleepers lie on their backs with arms down and kept close to the body. This 8% study is said to be reserved, quiet, without fuss, and hold themselves and others to a high standard. Soldier sleepers have a higher likelihood for snoring due to the flat-back position, which may not cause them to wake up often but may result in a less restful night's sleep.
  • Freefall position - Those people who lie on their bellies with arms under or wrapped around a pillow with head turned to the side, make up 7% of the population studied. Freefallers are brash, outgoing, and are very uncomfortable with criticism. 
  • Starfish position - Sleepers who lie on their backs with arms up near their head or the pillow account for 5% of participants. These people are good listeners, helpful, and are uncomfortable being the center of attention. People who sleep in starfish position are more likely to snore and to suffer from a poor night's sleep more often.
If you think you are one of those people who move through all of these positions, that's not likely to really be the case. Idzikowski said the research reveals most people stay in the same position all night and only 5% lay differently night by night. Also interesting is that the study showed only one in ten people cover their bodies entirely with a blanket, with most people exposing an arm, leg, or both feet.
Good Evening,
Rose Sheepskill