By Arianna Huffington (comment at Huffington Post)
Are you busy right now? Are you already behind on what you wanted to accomplish today? Or this week? Or this year? Are you hoping this will be a short post so you can get back to the million things on your to-do list that are breathing down your neck? Okay, I’ll get on with it: Our culture is obsessed with time. This is our real deficit crisis, and one that, unlike the more commonly discussed deficit, is actually getting worse.
In order to manage time — or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time — we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, always just a little late and trying to save a bit of time here, a little bit there. We download apps for “productivity” and eagerly click on links promising time-saving life-hacks. We fear that if we don’t try to cram as much as possible into our day, we might be missing out on something fun, or important, or special.
Zeo has closed shop. Mentioned here & here and shown in the video below, Zeo is the company that provided a well known direct-to-consumer (DTC) sleep monitoring and coaching system that claimed to take the “science of sleep out of the lab and put it into your hands.” While speculation abounds as to why this happened (see comments in this group discussion: http://bit.ly/ZeoDHDiscuss), it does highlight some of the challenges in this dynamic consumer digital health market segment, which represents 70 million people in the US alone. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be your electronics.
As I wrote in How Light affects Melatonin and Sleep, the hormone melatonin helps regulate our sleep & wake cycles (the circadian clock). Production of this hormone is triggered by darkness and inhibited by light, and that helps explain why we have trouble with jet lag, shift work, and winter months with fewer daylight hours. But it’s not just the availability or intensity of light; it’s also the color temperature, and it’s been that way for thousands of years.
We’re genetically programmed to get sleepy at dark and wake in the light of day, but man’s DNA has not evolved as fast as electricity or electronics. The flickering flame of a campfire, with its warm orange glow, plays a role in getting our bodies ready for sleep, as does the bright morning sunlight that helps us wake up. So it’s not surprising that the cool blue light of a television, PC, or tablet does the same thing.
On the first day of CES I attended a Digital Health Summit panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. To introduce the discussion, she described Americans’ increase in antidepressants, sleep medications, and stress, and how 75% of healthcare spending is spent on preventable diseases, and 80% of medications are for pain. All of these conditions are preventable through other means, she said.
The panel discussed a perfect storm of multiple trends: (1) stress (and I’d add sleep deprivation) is a killer, (2) our broken & expensive sick care system, and (3) technology & wearable devices that can help us focus on health & wellness. Market researchers note that 30 million wearable devices shipped in 2012, going to 60 million in the next year. In addition, 44 million health apps will be downloaded to smartphones and tablets this year.
By Marlo Thomas, award-winning actress, author and activist
(original on Huffington Post)
I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t get rattled easily — I get my work done, I pace myself, I’m cool under pressure. But that’s during the workday. Once I get in bed, all bets are off. My mind begins to tick, and then I start making lists — and the next thing you know, I’m the Queen of Eyes Wide Open. “Toss” and “Turn” are my middle names.
So, I’ve recently begun researching what’s behind those sleepless nights, and I’ve been amazed at what I’ve read. Did you know that insomnia affects women nearly twice as much as men– but women are more likely than men to report their insomnia to their doctor? Were you aware that the optimal temperature for deep sleep is around 68 degrees — which is why we keep flopping around at night when it’s too warm? And did you know that if you fall asleep in five minutes or less, chances are you are sleep-deprived? Ideally, it should take you ten to fifteen minutes to drift off at night. Read the rest of this entry »
The findings, published in the journalExperimental Biology and Medicine, showed that sleep-deprived rats had decreased bone mineral density — which researchers said in the study indicated osteoporosis. The rats also had less fat in their bone marrow than fully-rested rats, as well as double the amount of megakaryocytes, which are bone marrow cells that produce platelets.
By Susan Redline, MD, MPH and Dr. Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods and racial/ethnic minorities are at increased risk for sleep disorders due to a variety of environmental exposures, occupational and psychosocial conditions, and possibly genetic factors. Editor: They also have higher rates of obesity and other health conditions, and they don’t live as long.
A wide range of serious health problems disproportionately afflict individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. These conditions, which reduce quality of life and shorten lifespan, include heart disease, stroke, diabetes,asthma, and cancer. Other health problems commonly associated with poverty are obesity,pregnancy complications, increased infant mortality,HIV/AIDS and dental disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s “Healthy People 2020,” which sets 10-year national objectives for improving the health of the nation, has prioritized the need to close the gap in these “health disparities.” There are numerous potential targets for improving the health of low-income people, such as improving nutrition and access to health care. In addition, accumulating research points to a need to improve sleep as means for improving alertness and daily functioning, as well as for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Past articles promoted the health & productivity benefits of good sleep, but what about a short nap? The folks at Patio Productions shared this great infographic on the science and statistics of napping, spent inside or in the majestic outdoors. Enjoy, and pass it along to friends.