By Sandy Getzky
Not getting enough rest? If your mind has trouble settling down at night, you can easily end up tossing and turning instead of getting much needed sleep. Instead of worrying about an argument you had with a co-worker or what to do about that stubborn nail fungus problem, focus on helping your mind calm down for the night. Here are five things you should do before you go to bed each night.
1. Stay Away From Electronics
Spend a couple hours before bedtime with a good book instead of staring at your TV, phone or laptop screen. These electronic items can be very distracting and stimulate your brain. The light from the screen can also make it more difficult for your brain to enter sleep mode. In addition to avoiding screen time, keep the lights in your bedroom or living room dim. Read the rest of this entry »
From The Good and Bad News About Your Sleep Debt (Forbes, 2/23/20145)
“Sleep, science tells us, is a lot like a bank account with a minimum balance penalty. You can short the account a few days a month as long as you replenish it with fresh funds before the penalty kicks in. This understanding, known colloquially as “paying off your sleep debt,” has held sway over sleep research for the last few decades, and has served as a comfortable context for popular media to discuss sleep with weary eyed readers and listeners.
The question is — just how scientifically valid is the sleep debt theory?” Read the rest of this entry »
By Mary Ross, Health & Wellness Expert
The stress of being a loved one’s caregiver can be overwhelming. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of family caregivers reported a decline in their own health since care began. They also reported that this decline affected the quality of care they gave, and that they put their care recipient’s needs over their own and didn’t go to the doctor or have time to take care of their own needs. This stress can cause caregivers to become depressed, exhausted or ill. There is even a name for a caregiver whose health starts to deteriorate due to the stress of their responsibilities: caregiver syndrome. If you’re tasked with taking care of a loved one, reduce the stress and risks to your own health with these tips: Read the rest of this entry »
By Wayne Caswell
Sleep deprivation has become a terrifying problem in our on-the-go society, where working more and sleeping less can be seen as a badge of honor. But even nodding off momentarily can have disastrous results, as we saw in graphic news reports of the December Bronx Metro-North train derailment.
“I was in a daze,” engineer William Rockerfeller told investigators about the moments leading up to the crash. “I don’t know what I was thinking about, and the next thing I know, I was hitting the brakes.”
Sleep scientists think Rockerfeller may have slipped into what’s known as microsleep, when parts of the brain are awake and parts just doze off for a few seconds. But his momentary lack of attention before approaching a dangerous curve too fast derailed more than just the train; it also ended the lives of four people, injured more than 70 others, and probably cost Rockerfeller his career.
Short sleep, or getting less than 6 hours when 7-9 hours is recommended, drastically dampens our attentiveness and reaction times, as well as our health overall. While I’ll describe the negative effects of Short sleep, this article is really about the positive benefits of Restorative sleep, and it concludes with an excellent speech on the topic by Arianna Huffington. I hope it motivates you to add a New Years’ resolution — get more sleep. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr. David Nash wrote an interesting article on KevinMD.com, noting ”an unprecedented groundswell of interest in health and wellness — and the corresponding emergence of a Wellbeing Economy.” He described the Wellbeing Economy as accounting for “the health, social, and economic factors that affect the wellbeing of individuals, countries, and the world we live in.”
Examples included wellness programs in corporations and insurance plans, new university classes & degree programs stressing wellness, new research & technology developments, public sector policies on the federal & state level, and changes in health care delivery that includes wellness programs in retail clinics. But Nash did not mention the relationship between Sleep and Wellness, so I added the following comment.
Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist at the University of Oxford in Cambridge. He studies sleep and its role in our lives, examining how our perception of light influences our sleep-wake rhythms.
In this TED Talk (below) Foster asks, “What do we know about sleep?”
Not much, it seems, and that’s surprising for something that occupies one-third of our lives. Foster shares three theories about why we sleep:
- Energy Conservation (saving calories, unlikely);
- Restoration of the body (yes, tied to good health); and
- Improving Brain Function, including memory consolidation and enhanced creativity.
He also busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health. Read the rest of this entry »
If you are a family caregiver, think about how much time do you spend, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Some 65 million unpaid family caregivers look after elderly or disabled loved ones, averaging 20 hours/wk. AARP did a study that put the 2009 annual burden on unpaid family caregivers at $480 billion/year, including lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending and nearly as much as the $509B in Medicare spending.
The infographic below, from Top10OnlineColleges.org, identifies JOB stress as a leading factor in poor health, but so is not getting enough sleep. Of course the two are closely related. After the infographic and listed highlights (for blind people using a screen reader) are related infographics and articles on both Stress and Sleep. Enjoy, but don’t stress out. Read the rest of this entry »
I met Leanne Vanier a few months ago and found that she had a very interesting perspective of the healing effects of color, light and art. I connected with that concept because of previous articles I wrote on How Light Effects Melatonin and Sleep and How Light from Electronics Effects Sleep. Then I found her lecture on YouTube in three-parts. All three are embedded here with my summary notes.
Leanne describes how our bodies absorb and use different light frequencies and the latest scientific research on medical applications of color and light for treating cancer and other illnesses. In one example, she described using bright sunlight or blue light therapy on newborn babies with jaundice. Another example was about soldiers whose war wounds heal faster in natural open-air sunlight. Read the rest of this entry »
Just 30% of full time workers are engaged at work, while half are uninspired, and another 30% simply “roam the halls” spreading discontent. Some call this presenteeism. Either way, there’s a personal and economic cost.
A Huffington Post article and infographic (below) encourages us to re-think what success means and reassess our priorities, possibly leading to jobs that we really WANT to be doing.
According to Arianna Huffington, “We’ve all bought into this male definition of success, money and power, and it’s not working. It’s not working for men, and it’s not working for women. It’s not working for anyone.”
That’s where their Third Metric infographic comes into play. After the graphic I list some of the key points, as well as related statistics from a similar infographic on sleep. That way, blind people using screen readers can “see” the data too.