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Monday, September 27, 2010

Sleep Aides: To Nap or Not to Nap

That is the question…Rose knows that many of us sleep around 8 hours per night, which is considered a normal sleeping pattern or monophasic sleep.  On the other hand a biphasic sleeper not only sleeps during the night they also nap during the day. Siestas are considered the norm in Spain and many Latin American countries, not so much in Britain and the U.S.A.   


The siesta takes advantage of what is known as the post lunch dip, a period right after lunch when you feel tired and could fall asleep easy.  Siestas or “power naps” do not last longer than 30 minutes to avoid going into a deeper stage of sleep which would be hard to wake up from.  A power nap revitalizes the mind and body having the same effect of an extra few hours of sleep.  If you take a longer nap, around 90 minutes the body will have time to complete a full cycle of sleep and you would either be in REM or NREM stage 1 upon waking.   


The best time to wake up refreshed is at the end of a sleep cycle.  Sleep cycles have 7 stages and repeat over and over, so if you take a nap and experience one or two cycles wake up exactly at the end to get the most benefit.  Waking up in the middle of a cycle can cause more damage than good.  The average sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes although long-term biphasic sleepers have been known to reduce this time to as little as 75 minutes.  


Biphasic sleep is nothing more than sleeping twice a day usually involving a 30-90 nap and 3 -4 ½ hours of core sleep.  Usually the length of the nap is maintained at a single cycle; both the difference between the nap and core sleep and the length of core sleep should be fine-tuned to suit an individual.  

What are the benefits to napping?  Biphasic sleep can reduce the total number of hours you spend asleep, can increase the quality of sleep and can improve both clarity and frequency of dream recall.  For those that work out, naps have an impact on recovery from weight lifting.  


On the other hand, it may be difficult to interact with monophasic sleepers as far as taking care of business matters.  Other than that the adjustment from monophasic to biphasic sleep takes about a week. You may feel like you are experiencing jetlag. Once you have made the switch to biphasic sleep try to stick to a routine.  Don’t feel bad if you oversleep, you can always start over.  There will be times when you have a social activity you want to attend, or a TV show you want to watch, or you had too much caffeine, just don’t be too hard on yourself as your mind and body are adjusting to your new sleeping schedule and your established routine will get easier with time. 

New research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that an hour's nap can dramatically boost and restore your brain power. The findings propose that a biphasic sleep schedule not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarter. In opposition, they reported the more hours we spend awake, the more sluggish our minds become. Sleep not only rights the wrong from prolonged periods of wakefulness, it moves you past where you were before you took a nap.
  Sleep clears the brain’s short-term memory storage and makes room for new information.  Sleep Researchers have established that fact-based memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before being sent to the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which may have more storage space.  This memory refreshing process also occurs when nappers are engaged in a specific stage of sleep known as the stage 2 non-REM.  Stage 2 non-REM takes place between deep sleep or NREM and the dream state REM or Rapid Eye Movement.  It is known that during sleep we spend at least half our time in stage 2 non-REM. 

Researchers are continuing to investigate whether the connection between the reduction of sleep and older people are related to the decrease in their ability to learn as we age.
  It may be a link in understanding neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.  The general opinion of people who nap are lazy, have bad sleeping habits and are less productive can be further from the truth according to recent brain research. 

Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy used to make a habit of taking a nap.
  So if employers and their associates want to remain alert and be smarter to do their work, an afternoon nap may be a lucrative solution! So what is the answer …to nap or not to nap?

Good Nap,
Rose Sheepskill

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleep Aides: Dream Water Review

Rose knows there is finally an all-natural solution that will put an end to those sleepless nights.  Dream Water, which was created by people who themselves were in search of a natural way to cure their own insomnia.  They discovered Dream Water, which is the only zero calorie relaxation drink available.  This innovative product is the safe and easy way to get the sleep you need—naturally.

This all-natural sleep aid can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.  The key to the success of the product is the 3 sleep aid ingredients:
Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid—induces tranquility
Melatonin—regulates the natural cycle of sleep
5-HTP—improves the quality of sleep

These products not only help you fall asleep easy, but are also the key to helping you stay asleep.
Without a good night’s sleep, you can suffer from fatigue and other health problems.  Dream Water helps you get your life back on track with consistent and healthy sleep.  The various products and flavors offered make it easy for you to enjoy it anytime, even when travelling.  The 2.5-ounce Dream Shot is the perfect size for travel.  It is designed with airline restrictions in mind, making it easy to take it with you, even on the plane.  It’s perfect for those early morning or late night flights.  The 8-ounce Dream Water Drink is ideal for daily use at home.

No matter what makes you decide it’s time for a sleep aid, Dream Water is the best, most natural solution available.  Whether you suffer from long-term insomnia or you just need a temporary solution, this all-natural product is the best way to get the sleep you need.  With no side effects, you can easily use it when you need it without worrying about any adverse effects.  From jet lag to insomnia, this is the best solution for sleeplessness.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dr. Oz's "Just 10 Pounds" Weight Loss Challenge - Lose Weight While Sleeping

Rose heard on September 13, 2010, Dr. Mehmet Oz introduced his "Just 10 Pounds" weight loss challenge. "The benefits of losing just 10 pounds are enormous for your heart, liver, knees, pancreas and blood pressure. The incidence of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis can be cut in half," said Dr. Oz. Starting a diet with a goal of only 10 pounds doesn’t seem so inconceivable. Dr. Oz and his team have designed a program to keep you motivated including five fitness commandments. You can sign up for the challenge online at doctoroz.com and track your progress. During Dr. Oz's season he will be following up with participants as well as provide tips to be successful.

One way to lose weight is while you sleep; the longer that you sleep (at least 7 ½ hours) could help you to achieve your weight loss goal. Researchers studied women that made no changes in their eating habits or lifestyle except to get 7 ½ hours of sleep and at the end of a 10 week period the women lost between 6 and 15 pounds. Evidence concludes that the amount of sleep, weight gain and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes are related. The factors find that sleep is associated with hormones that control our sleep/wake cycle such as melatonin. Melatonin tells our bodies to slow down and get ready for sleep when the sun goes down. The human growth hormone, which encourages our body to repair our cells, is released during deep sleep.

Two other hormones that have been implicated in the effects of sleep on weight are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin and ghrelin work together to control our appetite. Ghrelin is released by the gastrointestinal tract to stimulate our appetite while leptin is released by fat cells and signal the brain that you are not hungry. An imbalance of these two hormones can negatively affect hunger. Lack of sleep decreases leptin level while raising ghrelin levels that will cause you to want to eat and eat, because you never feel fully satisfied.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea can interfere with our ability to get adequate sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea you are waking up periodically during the night because you stop breathing due to a constrictive airway passage. Poor sleep contributes to weight gain, while weight gain can be part of the cause for sleep apnea. So just losing 10 pounds can help those with sleep apnea.

One way to help you to fall asleep easy is by using a sleep aide that has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese have used honey and Europeans have recommended drinking a warm glass of milk with honey before bedtime since the middle ages. Another remedy is taking two teaspoons of cider vinegar with two teaspoons of honey in a glass of warm water or a teaspoon of honey in your cup of chamomile tea, passionflower tea or just a teaspoon of honey with your peanut butter sandwich with whole grain bread.

Researchers believe that honey restores how long we can sleep without interruption by limiting the release of two stress hormones; cortisol and adrenalin. More information about cortisol and adrenalin see my post: http://asleepeasy.com/asleep-easy-to-lose-weight/.

Honey also stabilizes blood sugar levels and contributes to the release of melatonin. When the glucose portion of honey is digested and passes into the general blood circulation it produces a mild glucose spike which causes the pancreas to release a small amount of insulin that in turns drives tryptophan into the brain where it is converted in serotonin, a key hormone that promotes relaxation.

Serotonin converts into melatonin when it is night causing drowsiness and lowers your body temperature. Melatonin promotes the release of the human growth hormone. Taking just one or two tablespoons of honey an hour before bed can activate this cycle that improve the quality of sleep, burns fat while controlling the release of stress hormones. Note: read your honey’s label, some honeys have a glycemic index between 35 and 87 and has been able to contribute to low increases in glucose levels, even among diabetics.

To get a slim and healthy body it must be fulfilled with these three things: balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and 7-8 hours of sleep. Myths about sleep and eating include what we’ve been told about sleeping right after eating will accumulate in certain parts of our body such as our stomach or hips and that less sleep causes stress which makes us lose weight because we don’t want to eat.

The facts are if your BMI is high, apparently your hours of sleep are associated with your weight gain. For instance it has been reported that people with a BMI of 30 sleep between five to six hours. Your BMI or Body Mass Index is a number calculated from your weight and height that roughly correlates to the percentage of your total weight that comes from fat, as opposed to muscle, bone or organ. The higher a person's BMI, the higher the percentage of fat in their body. If your BMI is under 20, you might be underweight. Between 20 and 25, you are probably at a good healthy weight for your height. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, and over 35 is considered obese.

What is the relationship between lack of sleep and BMI? Lack of sleep can cause metabolic disturbances. When our metabolism slows down it decreases our ability to burn fat. Lack of sleep improves our taste for eating up to 24%...that’s 350-500 more calories a day!

Other hormones that are produced during sleep are associated with anti-aging, and physical appearance overall. Therefore, lack of sleep will also affect your beauty and physical appearance such as; skin tone and circles under your eyes. Quality of sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise program. With the right amount of sleep Dr. Oz’s "Just 10 Pounds" weight loss challenge will be a piece of cake….or at least a cup of tea with honey.:)
Good Day,
Rose Sheepskill

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Prescription Sleep Aides

Rose knows there are a lot of sleep aides on the market and a new prescription sleep aide that promotes dreaming and improving memory is being formulated by drug researchers and pharmacologists. This new prescription drug targets the orexin system which also is associated with food intake and addiction.  Discovered in 1998, Orexin is a type of hormone that controls or induces a number of physiological reactions and conditions such as narcolepsy, a sleep disorder where people will fall asleep periodically during the day and also experience paralyzing musculo-skeletal contractions. 

Actelion, a Swiss drug company is making public a new drug called  Almorexant's, its main, active ingredient, orexin-RA-1, can block the orexin system.  Studies with rats have shown they slept more soundly and performed better in maze tests the following day suggesting that the drug improves memory capacity.  Measurements of muscle tone and brain activity increased in the dream phase of sleep.  The dream phase of sleep is when memory is hardwired to the brain.  Older sleep medications reduced REM sleep causing people to still feel tired during the day even after a full night of rest. Almorexant also has potential for regulating appetite as it reduces cravings for food.

This new sleep aide is undergoing stage trials and could be available on the market as early as 2012.  Unlike other prescription sleep aides, orexin-RA-1 shows no signs of addiction or loss of effectiveness over time.  However, the stage trials will determine unwanted side effects since existing sleep medications have a number of side effects.  Other tests are being conducted to analyze the drugs effect on the brain and how it can provide other benefits without causing harm to internal systems. 

As of March 2010, the first phase III studies were completed with positive results and the drug was well tolerated. However there is an ongoing non-pivotal program, certain safety observations were made that will require further evaluation and assessment in longer-term. Additional studies are being planned to further establish the clinical profile of Almorexant. They will explore aspects of sleep quality, absence of addiction and improved next-day performance. According to Actelion's website the amorexant development program was recently discussed at a meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration.

When side effects cause more harm than good doctors and therapists advise alternative non-medical solutions for those suffering from insomnia.  There are herbal supplements that might work just as well without addiction or side effects.  Herbal supplements like Melatonin work, it just takes longer to feel the effects.  Combining an herbal supplement with other lifestyle changes can improve one’s sleep.  Cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and large meals before bedtime is a plus.  Avoid stimulating activities such as video games, action movies and exercise.  Although light yoga stretches before bedtime encourage calmness and prepare the body for sleep.

Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, cool, cozy and preferably pet free.  Keep your bedroom a haven for sleep and sex only.  Doing your work, reading and watching television in bed will only keep you up longer.  Adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep to feel well-rested the next day.

If you have a severe case of sleep deprivation it is advised to consult with your doctor as he may recommend a sleep specialist or psychiatric professional for additional testing to determine the cause.   In any case you need to ask your doctor before taking any herbal supplement or over-the-counter medication as some may interfere with other medications or health issues. Using OTC sleep medications without proper consultation could lead to abuse or overdose.

Fortunately, researchers are working on new prescription sleep aides like Almorexant that will help those with insomnia be able to get the sleep they need without the worries associated with other drugs or over-the-counter medications. 
Good Evening,
Rose Sheepskill