Secrets of the Brain – from cradle to grave

My interest in the brain started with an understanding how sleep affects health and performance; so I was especially inspired by the PBS programs I share in this post. They help us understand how wonderful and adaptable this three pound organ is, how our abilities and personalities are formed, and how external forces impact our choices and even our politics. The videos will give you new perspectives of mental health, whether you have an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s or a young child with a learning disability. Read More …

Chipping Away at Healthcare Special Interests Yet?

Is it just “One Step Forward and Two Steps Back?” or is something bigger happening?

Last week I read an excellent article in Huffington Post by Charles Francis, and it inspired today’s post about public interests versus special interests. In this article I’ll reflect on the healthcare progress consumers are making despite politicians working against them. But first, more on the obstacles we face.

Special Interests Pull Puppet Strings

In How Mindfulness Meditation Can Transform Health Care, Charles examines the need to change consumer behavior toward healthier lifestyles, so I thought about the role of incentives and awareness education. I’ve written about that before, but today I’ll take a broader look at the many factors influencing the health and productivity of our nation’s workforce and why I remain guardedly optimistic that we’ll overcome political corruption. Included are links to many related articles and this list of over 130 past articles on healthcare policy. Read More …

Technology, and Parents, can Prevent Drowsy Driving

Parents, Prevent drowsy driving among teens.

1 In 5 Accidents Are Caused By Drowsy Driving. This Group Intends To Get That Number To Zero. Click on image to read Huffington Post article by Alena Hall. (UpperCut Images by Getty Images)

Last week (Nov.1-8) was Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, so I’m a bit late in posting this, using info from two Huffington Post articles.

Data shows that driving after pulling an all-nighter studying or working is as dangerous as driving drunk, with risks for you and everyone around you, but it occurs way too frequently. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively says that some 100,000 police-reported crashes caused by driver fatigue are reported each year, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. Read More …

Sleep-Deprived or Darkness-Deprived?

Are we sleep-deprived or just darkness-deprived?

By Richard G ‘Bugs’ Stevens, University of Connecticut

Blue light disrupts melatonin production. (Sleeping Boy via

Blue light disrupts melatonin production. (Sleeping Boy via

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that insufficient sleep is a serious public health concern, because it can lead to many immediate dangers such as car crashes as well as long-term health problems like diabetes. The blame for sleep deprivation is often pinned on our fast-paced, 24/7 lifestyle, made possible by electric lighting at all times of day and night.

But are we really getting too little sleep? Read More …

Prepare for the Time Change

Sleepy Pumpkin

Prepare for the Time Change
that comes after Halloween

The biannual shift between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time is like a society-imposed jet lag that can throw off your body clock and disrupt your sleep patterns. In the Spring we set our clocks forward overnight and thus lose an hour of sleep, and in the Fall we have the opportunity to gain an hour of sleep.

It’s Confusing.

Read More …

Sleep Technology use by Seniors

Today’s guest post on Sleep Technology use by seniors is written by Barry Birkett and first appeared in Senior Care Corner.

A Good Night Sleep and Our Seniors:
Can Technology Help Them Meet?

Sleep is important to us at all ages, but to seniors it can be a matter of health and safety.

Yes, safety. Too many of our senior loved ones are injured, some with long-term impacts, by falls that might not have happened if they had been sleeping well.

Getting enough sleep is more than just a matter of not feeling tired.

We have discussed seniors and sleep in a number of articles here at Senior Care Corner®, helping family caregivers to understand and address this important aspect of daily life. If it matters to our senior loved ones, after all, it matters to us.

Technology and sleep is a topic we haven’t addressed, even though we talk often about what tech can mean to seniors and caregivers.

Thanks to a new report from the Consumer Electronics Association and National Sleep Foundation, we have some information to bridge that gap. Read More …

How You Can Help Save Our Sleepy Students

Summer vacation is about to end, and the new school year is upon us, so I urge everyone with children or grandchildren to read and share this article. As I modeled in The Economic Value of Sleep, that can be worth millions of dollars in lifelong earnings and healthcare savings. It can also be a lifesaver, literally.

The research is in, and studies show that sleep duration and quality has a profound impact on health, safety and performance; but well over half of adults don’t sleep well enough, and a third sleep less than 6 hours/night when 7-9 is recommended. It’s much worse with adolescents since 70-90% don’t get enough sleep. The problem is now so bad that the CDC called insufficient sleep “a public health epidemic.”

UPDATE: The CDC just issued a press release saying, “Most US middle and high schools start the school day too early,” and suggested that later start times are important if students are to get enough sleep. 

How much sleep do sleepy students need? According to, newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep per day, infants need 12-15, toddlers 11-14, preschoolers 10-13, school age 9-11, teens 8-10, adults 7-9, and seniors 7-8. Read More …

2015 Alzheimer’s Statistics

EDITOR: These stats are from, an online community dedicated to education, advocacy and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s to give caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. I added a short section on the impact of sleep duration & quality and a related infographic.

Alzheimer’s Statistics Worldwide

2015 Alzheimer's Statistics

  • Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind)
  • Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)

Read More …

Mysterious World of Sleep


Woman sleeping in bed (Getty Images/Tetra Images RF)

Woman sleeping in bed (Getty Images/Tetra Images RF)

The Mysterious World of Sleep

Byline article by Tom Allon (original in Huffington Post)

I’ve been thinking a lot about sleep lately. It’s a topic many complain about and discuss occasionally with friends and family, but it still remains a very mysterious topic to most people around the world.

After air, water and food, it’s probably the most essential thing in our lives to ensure our health and daily functioning. And although it’s self evident, it bears repeating that almost all humans spend one third of their lives (25-30 years) sleeping. Read More …

Why Color and Light Matter

Secrets for Improving your Sleep, Health & Productivity:
Why Color and Light Matter

by Leanne Venier, BSME, CP AOBTA

(From her LinkedIn article. Also Published under “Research” in Texas MD Magazine, April/May 2015 (sold throughout Texas) & in

Leanne Venier - Luminous Tranquility

Pictured Above: “Luminous Tranquility” by Leanne Venier-

It’s 7 am. The alarm clock starts blaring and you groggily reach over to swat it into snooze-ville, wishing for nothing more than an extra hour of sleep. Lately, you just never feel rested in the morning although you go to bed plenty early every night. Read More …

Sleep Statistics from Sleepless in America

By Wayne Caswell, Intelligent Sleep and founder of Modern Health Talk

This last Sunday, I watched “Sleepless in America,” a 2-hour documentary on the National Geographic channel, and I captured some of its powerful statistics and blended them with my own, forming the basis of today’s article. But first, here’s the 3-min trailer. Additional short video segments are included below, along with a related infographic, and if the full length video gets posted, I’ll include it too.

Sleep Statistics

How much sleep do we Need?

Read More …

Amyloid Plaques and Alzheimer’s Disease


Alzheimer’s Disease affects millions of Americans, but right now, there isn’t a known cure. Researchers in Connecticut, however, suggest that the solution might lie in understanding the gooey protein that builds up in brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

That’s how WNPR introduced an article on Alzheimer’s Prevention: Understanding Malicious Brain Proteins.

Modern Health Talk has spent a lot of time covering sleep issues because of the direct relationship between good sleep and health, safety and performance. That includes its relationship with Alzheimer’s, so I added the following comment and include it in today’s post, along with an introductory video by the National Institutes of Health. Read More …

Sleep Deficiency – a Public Health Epidemic

By Wayne Caswell, founder of Modern Health Talk and cofounder of Intelligent Sleep

Honor Thy Sleep

Image source: from the 3:10 min video below.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70 million American workers suffer from chronic sleep problems, and researchers have associated their insufficient sleep with increased risks of inflammation, obesity, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and early death. That’s why the CDC has labeled sleep deficiency “a public health epidemic.”

Just as important are the positive benefits that getting good sleep provides. It helps improve alertness, attention, concentration, creativity, decision-making, driver safety, energy, focus, judgment, mood, reaction & recovery times, stamina, and working memory. These are all attributes of good performance at school, work and in sports, and who doesn’t want to make better grades, advance their career, or excel in athletics? Read More …

Take Care of Your Heart This Valentine’s Day

Valentine AppleYou can always tell when it’s a month from Valentine’s Day; stores are screaming love and have filled entire aisles with merchandise from red decorations and heart-shaped boxes of delicious chocolates to mushy cards filled with sentimental poems…and hearts…hearts everywhere. All the red heart-shapes make it difficult not to think of your own heart and its impressive job of steadily keeping blood and oxygen pumping throughout your body.

This Valentine’s Day, why not take care of your heart? After all, statistics underscore the need for seniors to cut their risk of heart disease. An American Heart Association fact sheet for 2013 reported that more than 42 million Americans over the age of 60 have cardiovascular disease, and for those between the ages of 60 and 79, just over 70 percent have heart disease. But while these numbers are concerning, the problem is avoidable. With proper care and a focus on prevention, it is very possible to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Not smoking, regular exercise, a healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption, and adequate sleep can significantly lower your risk by 65% and cut the risk of fatal events as much as 83%. That’s according to this article referring to a large study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Read More …

How to Make a Smart Bed for your Smart Bedroom


Here’s you can make a smart bed for your smart bedroom.

Because good sleep so closely tied to good health, I’ve posted dozens of articles about sleep, including many about technology and how artificial lights interfere with our biological clocks and sleep-wake cycle. I’ve also been working with Dr. Bruce Meleski to open Intelligent Sleep, a new sleep wellness and brain health center here in Austin. We’re doing some pretty cool stuff with metabolic, neurosensory, and behavioral therapies, and we’re promoting a vision of the Smart Bedroom. So today’s post is about a new product we hope to carry and that I think you’ll like. (video below) Read More …

Snooze or Lose – TODAY Show series summary

Snooze or LoseOn November 9th, TODAY launches a weeklong “Snooze or Lose” series with a commissioned survey exploring why Americans can’t sleep. Highlights with the best statistics and videos are shown below, but more can be found at the link to

Sleep Statistics

Americans feel so sleep deprived that almost half of adults — 65% of women — prefer a good night’s sleep over sex.

  • 72% of adults see sleep as one of the great pleasures of life, but 46% say they don’t get enough. It’s even worse for women; 58% fall short of their ideal goal of just over eight hours a night.
  • 33% of young adults 18-34 believe to get ahead in their careers, they must survive on less sleep; while 19% of 35-54 year-olds and just 6% for seniors  think this.
  • 40% of young adults, 33% of older adults, and over 11% of seniors believe they must sacrifice sleep to care for their families.
  • 64% of young adults, 49% of older adults, and 35% of seniors agree that being able to survive on less sleep would be an advantage.
  • 32% of young adults say work makes them fret throughout the night.
  • 31% say their children cause sleepless nights.
  • When it comes to children, interrupted sleep seems unavoidable and 42% of people with a child under 18 report inadequate sleep.

Read More …

Parafacial Zone as On-Off Switch for Deep Sleep

Scientists discover new “sleep node” in the brain

Findings may lead to new therapies for sleep disorders, including insomnia

Parafacial zone in brain stem

Using designer genes, researchers at UB and Harvard were able to ‘turn on’ specific neurons in the brainstem that result in on-off switch for deep sleep.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (9/16/2014) – A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second “sleep node” identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.

Published online in August in Nature Neuroscience, the study demonstrates that fully half of all of the brain’s sleeppromoting activity originates from the parafacial zone (PZ) in the brainstem. Read More …

Stress Management Tips

Everyone occasionally has to deal with stress, especially when starting up a business like Dr. Bruce Meleski and I are doing with Intelligent Sleep. So this week, with his permission, I’m sharing this great story from Jeffrey Fry and his 15 Stress Management

When explaining stress management to an audience, a lecturer raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 6 ounces to 24 ounces, but the lecturer replied that, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it…

  • If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem.
  • If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.
  • If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance.
  • In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, the burden will become increasingly heavy … and we won’t be able to carry on.

Read More …

70 tips to Improve Sleep

70 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster & Stay Asleep Longer

Byline article by Michael Lamb (original at

We all sleep and we all dream. Some nights it is easier to fall asleep. Other nights it’s a battle.

After having some trouble with sleeping these past couple of weeks. I decided to do some research. Since a lot of people wear sweat shorts to bed I thought, why not share this information with you? Hoping that you will find it as useful as I have. After doing all of my research I came up with 70 tips to improve sleep, help you fall asleep quicker, and stay asleep longer. Hopefully this info will have you sleeping like a champ.

If you don’t have any trouble sleeping, then by all means don’t change a thing. Just share these sleep improvement tips with others. Read More …