Sleep ImmuneCategoriesUncategorized

Making Sleep Your No. 1 Priority Can Help Prevent & Overcome Illness

Strengthen and Boost Your Immune System with Sleep

As world-wide anxiety builds around the spread of coronavirus, one behavior that has been proven time and time again to reduce the incidence and intensity of disease is getting sufficient sleep.

In honor of World Sleep Day, and because sleep may be particularly important during a potential pandemic, we’ll dive into the science behind the relationship between sleep and immunity.

Sleep and immunity

How Sleep Affects Your Immune System

While the COVID-19 disease and the novel coronavirus that causes it are new and therefore relatively poorly understood and understudied, research by Dr. Aric Prather out of UC San Francisco on another type of Coronavirus – the common cold – demonstrated that “people who sleep six hours a night or less are four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus, compared to those who spend more than seven hours a night in slumber land.”

Although people may naturally assume that a relationship exists between sleep and immunity, the study was able to show just how strong this relationship is–much greater than the relationship between the risk of developing a cold and alcohol consumption, smoking, or other markers of health including BMI and self-reported stress.

Why Lack of Sleep Weakens the Immune System

When we sleep, our bodies repair and restore vital systems that help keep us alive. This includes muscular, skeletal, and cellular repair during our REM stages of sleep. If we are not getting adequate REM sleep, our bodies will not recover and we will be more susceptible to illness.

While examining the relationship between sleep and response to cold virus exposure, the lead author of the UC San Francisco study explains that partial sleep deprivation reduces immune parameters critical to fighting infections. Other studies have also demonstrated that the active immune system is extremely energy-dependent, and the reduced energy demands during sleep allow us allocate additional energy resources towards the immune system.

Sleep as a Natural Immune System Booster

Another study, published last year in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and led by Stoyan Dimitrov, showed that a good night’s sleep can boost the effectiveness of T cells, a specialized white blood cell responsible for activating the immune system to fight infection. T cells do their job with the help of a special immune system protein called integrins, which allow the T cells to bind to their targets.

Dimitrov and his team showed that integrin activation happened at a higher rate during sleep than during wake, suggesting that the immune system is better at identifying threats while you’re asleep than while you’re awake.

Most people who come down with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, but in severe cases it causes pneumonia. While there are many kinds of pneumonias, a Harvard study led by Dr. Sanjay Patel found that in a sample of almost 57,000 women, getting fewer than 5 hours of sleep vs more than 8 hours explained a 70% difference in the incidence of pneumonia. It is important to note that they were not specifically looking at pneumonia associated with COVID-19, however the reduced immune system functioning that made these short-sleeping women vulnerable might be a valuable cautionary tale.

Other Ways to Strengthen Immune System

Additional things you can do to boost your immune system beyond getting more sleep include:
  • Eliminating alcohol
  • Increasing your intake of zinc and Vitamins B6, C, and E
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Eating a healthy, whole-foods diet
  • Hydrating well

Adequate Sleep Can Help Fight Covid-19

KUALA LUMPUR: Adequate sleep is the best way to enhance and improve the immune system, and subsequently help to reduce the risk from contracting Covid-19.

Dr Nurul Yaqeen Mohd Esa, who is a respiratory specialist and general physician at Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV), said research has proven that an adult needed at least seven hours of sleep to sustain health.

On the other hand, lack of sleep will make our immune system weak, she said.

sleeping woman

“Many doctors and healthcare providers in China have died because of the infection, partly from overwork and lack of sleep,” she added.

Although the amount of sleep is important, Dr Nurul said other aspects of sleep also contribute to one’s health and wellbeing.

“One should pay close attention to their sleep habits. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, including during weekends.

“Exercise routinely and completing it well before bedtime may enhance the quality of your sleep and offer additional immune system benefits.

“Avoid looking at your smartphone, computer or television screens at least two hours before bedtime, since the blue light from the screens will delay your ability to sleep on the intended time,” she said, adding that people who experience trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks to an extent that it interferes with their daily performance, should discuss with their respective doctors for available treatments.

Dr Nurul said maintaining a comfortable temperature in the bedroom and observing a good diet, including avoiding caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening will improve sleeping patterns.

“If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption has been proven to be linked to adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia.

“Abstinence or moderate alcohol consumption is advisable to protect one from the Covid-19 infection.

“Adopting a good and balance diet high in fruits and vegetables can boost our immune systems since they are sources of vitamins and minerals,” she added.

Other tips shared by Dr Nurul in the wake of growing public concern over Covid-19 include maintaining a healthy lifestyle by not smoking.

Smoking, she said, harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reduces the quality of health of among smokers in general.

“The Covid-19 virus will mainly attack our respiratory tract and lungs. Being a smoker will further weaken the lungs, hence, increasing the risk of getting severed Covid-19 infection,” she said.

She also cautioned the people when taking over-the-counter medications to treat cold or flu symptoms, since some of these products contain ingredients that can cause sleeplessness at night or sleepiness during the day.

“Proper hand and overall hygiene is important as well. Medical masks may seem like the most common response to preventing respiratory disease, but always remember to wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based rub or soap and water – this kills the virus if it is on your hands. If you have any symptoms, seek help at your nearest clinic or hospital.”

“Studies have also shown that between 30 and 40 per cent adults do not get enough sleep, nor do they have knowledge on how much sleep they should be getting.Source:


How You Can Use Sleep to Fight Back Against Coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak that has devastated China and left the world scrambling for answers has also reinforced the important role sleep plays in building our immune systems.

In a nutshell: Making sure we consistently get a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways we can improve our immunity and defend against viruses and disease. Sleep is a natural immune booster.

Sleep and immunity

To be clear, I’m not suggesting sleep is a cure-all for the coronavirus. That isn’t the case; currently, there is no vaccine for the infection. The coronavirus has, by Feb. 20, killed more than 2,100 people globally. Altogether, nearly 75,000 cases have been confirmed, mostly in China, where the country has ground to a halt as it looks to safeguard against a further outbreak.

The coronavirus has also become a major concern here in the U.S, as several hundred Americans have been quarantined for up to 14 days in the last few weeks.

The signs of the virus are typical of less severe illnesses. Coronavirus symptoms, according to the CDC, include headaches, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, and a fever.

Here’s what we know about the immune system and sleep:

How the Immune System Works

The immune system is your built-in defense system against harmful germs that can make you ill. The system has three primary jobs:
  • To identify pathogens, or disease-causing germs, and remove them from the body. These include viruses, parasites, bacteria, or fungi.
  • To spot and neutralize harmful substances that come from outside the body.
  • To combat major changes within the body, like cancer cells.
Your immune system is activated when it recognizes antigens or toxins and other foreign substances to your body. This triggers a response in which the immune system develops antibodies, or cells specifically developed to fight the invader. Once these are produced, the immune system will keep a file and use it again if it ever runs into the same issue; this is why you typically only fight the chickenpox once in your life.

How Sleep Affects Your Immune System

Sleep is necessary for your immune system to run as efficiently as possible. You can think of your immune system as your body’s football coach and sleep as its halftime break.

Good coaches make adjustments at halftime, after recognizing what their opponents are doing effectively. Sleep plays the same role for your immune system, giving it a chance to fully assess any threats. The immune system can then deliberately tackle antigens, directing its cells—or players in this analogy—as they mount a counterattack. Without enough sleep, though, your body will have a hard time implementing the best game plan to fight back against illness.

Sleep Boosts T Cell Production

One way sleep helps the immune system is in how it fosters T Cell production. T Cells are white blood cells that play a critical part in the immune system’s response to viruses. Their activation is an important step in how the body handles invaders, with T Cells attacking and destroying virus-carrying cells.

Sleep Improves the Immune System’s Response to Threats

The immune system’s response time is also improved by getting a good night’s sleep. By completing the four sleep cycles, you’re supporting the release and production of cytokine, a multifaceted protein that helps the immune system quickly respond to antigens.

Cytokines have two priorities:

  • Promoting cell-to-cell communication.
  • Directing cells to head toward infections to counteract the issue.

These proteins are essentially the quarterback for your immune system, taking the orders on how to best fight back against a virus and directing immune cells to follow the game plan.

A lack of sleep makes this tougher. Your body relies on a full night of rest to replenish the cells and proteins it needs to fight diseases. Sleep loss stymies cytokine production, and in the process, makes it harder for your body to battle back against viruses.

How to Best Avoid Coronavirus Infection

With no vaccine available for the coronavirus, the CDC has issued a number of rudimentary steps that should be taken to best prevent infection. These include:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Work from home when you’re sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects you frequently use.
  • Use tissues when you cough or sneeze, and make sure to throw them away immediately.

Following these instructions, while at the same time getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, would be the best defense I can recommend. When considering how sleep helps the body ward off the common cold, that becomes especially clear.

Quality Sleep Fights Back Against Colds

When you’re suffering from a cold, one of the first things your doctor—or your mom—would tell you is to get plenty of sleep.

There’s plenty of research that backs it up. Sleep is perhaps the single best measure you can take to deal with, or prevent, colds.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, highlighted this last year. Their findings indicated poor sleep was the number-one factor in determining whether someone would get sick after being exposed to the cold virus.

The UCSF study had 164 participants track their sleep habits for a week. Afterward, they were all put in a hotel and given nasal drops, exposing them to the cold.

Volunteers who had reported good sleep during the week—averaging at least seven hours of sleep each night—were much less likely to get sick. But participants who got 6 hours of sleep or less each night were 4.2 times more likely to catch a cold.

The researchers indicated that poor sleep was the main determinant of whether someone got sick, overriding age, race, income, stress level, and habits like smoking. The results drove home just how important sleep is in combating everyday illnesses.

How to Get the Best Sleep Possible

We’ve gone over how important sleep is to building your immunity. That knowledge puts an extra emphasis on making sure you get the best sleep possible now.

Still, simply finding the time for a good night’s sleep can be tough. I get it: Between work, family, and day-to-day tasks, sometimes we can put sleep on the back burner.

The coronavirus outbreak has understandably become a worldwide story. It’s certainly concerning, and I’m thankful we have so many dedicated people working toward a solution.



How to Boost Your Immune System to Help Avoid Coronavirus Covid-19

Just about anyone could catch the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading around the world, but it is especially affecting those who have compromised immune systems.

The City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Health Department, Inova Health System, and Alexandria City Public Schools officials will host an online virtual information session on Thursday, March 12, from 8 to 9 p.m., to provide information and answer questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus. The session will be accessible at and residents may submit questions in advance through that website.

The virtual info session will provide useful details about how to protect yourself, plus information about how government and the health care sector are preparing for additional impacts from the virus; and how businesses and nonprofit organizations can protect themselves and help.

At this point, national health officials have said it is very likely that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 will reach people in all 50 states. There are cases in 16 states right now, although there are no diagnosed cases in Virginia yet.

For individuals, prevention is key. Even people who are normally healthy may consider doing a few things to boost their immune system for additional protection against this virus. While there are no guarantees that taking these steps will help, they are very unlikely to hurt.

The most important tip from all health professionals: Wash. Your. Hands. (And do it correctly.)

If soap and clean running water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. There are organic hand sanitizers available.

With all of the advice below, it’s important to remember to check in with your personal doctor or health professional before any change in your habits, whether it’s taking vitamin supplements or starting an exercise program.

It Starts with Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep will help you keep your immune system healthy. The reason: Sleep helps your T cells stick to and attack infections. With less sleep, your T cells are less “sticky” and aren’t as strong in fighting off viruses.

A “good” night of sleep varies from person to person, but general guidelines are for 7 to 9 hours of solid sleep each night. If you have restless sleep, wake up every night or snore, you may want to talk to a doctor.

Sleep and immunity

“One really good thing to do is to not panic, because anxiety weakens the immune system,” said Joanie Stewart, an acupuncturist and health professional in Alexandria. Being stressed can cause your body to release extra cortisol, which over time can negatively affect sleep quality and your immune system.

Add a Healthy Diet

Put away the candy and soda.

A well-balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables can help increased your immune function. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the three most important vitamins for your immune system are Vitamin C, B6 and E.

Healthy diet

It’s best to get these from whole foods, as your body absorbs the nutrients more efficiently than with processed supplements. In addition, taking too much of certain vitamins can actually be harmful. If you do take supplements, try to take them early in the day and with food. Always check with a doctor before taking any supplements, even multivitamins.

Jade Screen may be a supplement that can help, as it was used during the SARS epidemic, Stewart noted. (She recommends Mayway Plum Flower brand.) But, again, check with your health professional.


A number of studies have shown that a strong immune system goes hand-in-hand with being fit. This doesn’t mean to go out and run a marathon — in fact, exercising too much and too vigorously can actually suppress your immune system for a few days while your body recovers. Moderate  exercise can be good for your immune system.


Other Treatments

Several studies have shown that acupuncture can have anti-inflammatory effects and can help boost your immune system. The ancient Chinese treatment uses tiny needles to stimulate certain parts of the body. “The point of acupuncture is to strengthen the immune system by balancing and fortifying certain organic systems,” Stewart explained. “One of the things acupuncture does is fortify the lungs and the kidneys, which also are very important in boosting immunity.” Source:
sleep routineCategoriesUncategorized

This Exact Sleep Routine May Help You Stave Off Coronavirus

During this time of heightened awareness about public health, it’s important to take stock of your own to make sure you’re checking all the boxes.

In order to avoid contracting the novel Coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes the importance of washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.  Extra precautions past washing your hands are, of course, recommended.

One way to make your immune system as strong as it can be is to make sure you are getting a solid night’s sleep. Dr. Patrick McNamara, of Psychology Today, emphasizes that getting quality sleep should be added to your list of preventative measures.

Sleep and immunity

How can a good sleep routine protect you against coronavirus?

“Getting enough sleep can help protect you against all kinds of common infections and viruses,” McNamara wrote. “Sleep strengthens your body’s capacity to fight off pathogens of all kinds. We need all the help we can get in fighting this Coronovirus outbreak.”

The strength of your immune system is directly tied to the quality and amount of sleep you receive, according to the Mayo Clinic

Studies show that adults who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Additionally, a lack of sleep also affects how fast you recover when you are sick.

Sleep aids restoring your immune system because as you sleep your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation. Sleep deprivation is likely to decrease the production of these rotective cytokines. When you don’t receive enough sleep, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced.

How to have the best night sleep

Here are tips for getting the right amount of quality sleep:
  • Aim to get the right amount of sleep each night. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 receive seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Adults who are 65 and older should receive seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Make your bedroom cool and dark.  For most people, the Do not consume caffeine after lunch. Caffeine has a six-hour half-life, so it actually takes a full 24 hours to get out of your system. Even if you drink your cup of coffee at 8 a.m., you will still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at 8 p.m. Any caffeine you drink in the afternoon will still be at 50% strength by the time you are ready to go to sleep.
  • Avoid screens for at least an hour before you plan on turning in. Blue light, which is emitted by screens on your cell phone, computer, and tablet, and television, is known to hinder the production of melatonin. As melatonin is the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm, reducing melatonin by using your screens will make it harder to fall or stay asleep.
  • Don’t fall asleep with the television on. The light from your television screen penetrates through your eyelids, which means that your brain still processes that it is being exposed to light. The confusion it causes the brain staves off achieving more refreshing stages of deep sleep.
  • Sleep tracking can help you get into a healthier sleep routine. In a study, 60% of respondents said that tracking their sleep was beneficial to some degree.

Fifth of Swiss youth suffer from sleep and concentration problems

Most Swiss youth report to be in good health but a growing number are affected by health ailments such as headaches and insomnia, which researchers believe could be linked to increased screen time.

According to the James studyExternal link on youth media use and health published on Tuesday, about one fifth of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 have trouble sleeping. A similar portion reports psychological issues including concentration problems or anxiety.

Although nine out of ten youth say that they feel healthy, over half (53%) complain that they are tired on a regular basis (daily or a few times per week). Backaches and headaches are also common ailments especially among girls with 23% suffering from headaches on a regular basis compared to 8% of boys.

The researchers say there may be a connection between some forms of online media use and health ailments, particularly when it comes to time spent on the internet and frequency of physical problems.

Some 23% of girls report suffering from headaches on a regular basis compared to 8% of boys.

“Those who use screen media intensively often move less and sit for long periods in unfavorable positions or undertake repetitive movements that can lead to back and neck pain or eye problems,” says media psychologist Gregor Waller.

The study also found signs that intensive use of social networks could also be related to psychological complaints and sleep problems. The authors note that it is not just the mere time spent online but the content itself that affects youth physical and mental health.

Waller cautions though that as it is a cross-sectional study, cause and effect cannot be clearly demonstrated. “It may be that media use causes health problems – or vice versa, that health affects media use.”

The James report, released every two years by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Swisscom, measures the relationship between media use and the health of 1,000 adolescents in Switzerland.


SocialJetLagCategoriesBrand Buzz

Social jetlag – Are Late Nights & Chaotic Sleep Patterns Making You Ill?

Waking later at weekends can have the same effect as jetlag – and lead to weight gain, reduced mental performance and chronic illness. But there is a solution.

Do you set an alarm to wake you up on weekdays, then hit the snooze button at weekends because you need more sleep? If so, you could be experiencing social jetlag – a condition associated with weight gain, reduced mental performance and chronic illness.


“Social jetlag promotes practically everything that’s bad in our bodies,” says Till Roenneberg, professor of chronobiology at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, who coined the term. It occurs when we go to bed later and wake up later at the weekend than on weekdays. Like normal jetlag, it is a consequence of being forced to shift our bodies between two time zones: one dictated by work and social obligations, the other by our internal timing system, the circadian clock. It is estimated that two-thirds of us experience at least one hour of social jetlag a week, and a third experience two hours or more – equivalent to flying from London to Tel Aviv and back each week.

How much social jetlag you experience is down to the magnitude of the mismatch between your two time zones. People’s sleep preference, known as their chronotype, is largely dictated by genes. “Owls” – whose natural tendency is to stay up late and not wake until 10 or 11am – experience more social jet lag than “larks”, because they struggle to get enough sleep in the week and sleep in at weekends to catch up. However, an extreme lark pressured into staying up late at weekends by friends will also suffer.

As anyone who has experienced normal jetlag will know, one of the most obvious symptoms is trouble sleeping. The body takes a while to adapt to a new time zone – typically a day for every time zone you cross. Similarly, says Roenneberg: “Social jetlag and sleep deprivation are practically inseparable.”

Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to many of the same illnesses as social jetlag, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression; and has been declared a public health epidemic by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study by the Rand Corporation calculated that inadequate sleep costs the UK £50bn a year – equivalent to 1.9% of GDP – due to decreased productivity and sickness. Sleep deprivation also takes its toll on our daily lives, affecting our vigilance, hand-eye coordination, memory, logical reasoning and emotional stability.

However, social jetlag doesn’t only disrupt the amount of sleep. A study of undergraduates found that those who kept irregular bedtimes had poorer quality sleep than those with more consistent sleep schedules, even though they got roughly the same amount overall. Irregular sleep was also associated with poorer academic performance. Andrew Phillips, now at Monash University in Melbourne, who led the study, says: “This suggests sleep regularity is very important – it’s not just about getting the right amount of sleep, for example by sleeping in at weekends.”

It has other consequences, too. Inside each of our cells is a molecular clock that governs the timing of almost every physiological process in our bodies. The most obvious of these is when we feel sleepy or alert, but circadian clocks also control when we secrete hormones, the activity of our immune cells, our body temperature, even our mood at different times of day and night.

These clocks run on roughly (though not precisely) 24-hour schedules – larks tend to have slightly faster clocks, and owls slightly slower ones – synchronising through signals from a tiny patch of brain tissue known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which acts as a kind of internal Greenwich Meridian. It knows the time through its interactions with light-responsive cells at the back of the eye, which evolved to register the rising and setting of the sun.

If you change the timing of your light exposure – as you do when you go to bed and wake earlier on weekdays, or when you fly across time zones – the timing of the clocks in your organs and tissues also shift, although at different rates. If you constantly shift the timing of your sleep and light exposure, as you might if you regularly sleep in at weekends, your clocks will be perpetually out of synchrony.

“Almost all the hormones in your body are on some sort of circadian rhythm and when you are shifting your sleep time, the entire system is not going to be working as efficiently as it should,” says Sierra Forbush, a research assistant at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She recently presented data from a study of 984 adults that suggested that, for every hour of social jetlag a person experienced each week, there was an 11% increase in their likelihood of having cardiovascular disease. Social jetlag was also associated with worse mood and greater levels of sleepiness and fatigue.

Another study found that adults with higher levels of social jetlag were more likely to be overweight or obese and have metabolic syndrome (which is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes) compared with those with more regular sleep patterns – even after controlling for how much sleep they got.

“We found that just one hour of social jetlag led to the accumulation of about two additional kilograms of fat mass, on average, by the age of 39,” says Michael Parsons, a circadian biology researcher at the Medical Research Council’s Harwell Institute in Oxfordshire, who led the study. “Although you often see this increase in fat and body mass index in shift workers, we were surprised that a relatively small amount of social jetlag – equivalent to flying across one time zone each week – could be associated with a relatively large increase in such things.”

He cautions that factors such as eating too much and not getting enough exercise play a greater role in weight gain. However, he says: “As a society, it’s something we need to consider when deciding whether or not we should keep such things as daylight savings time or introduce more flexible working hours to better fit with people’s chronotype.”

Which leads us to the question of what to do about it. It is unlikely that the occasional lie-in will be detrimental to your health – indeed, if it is the only way of catching up on sleep you have missed during the week, it is probably a good idea. “If you have accrued a sleep debt, it needs to be paid back,” says Phillips. “However, a much healthier alternative is to try to maintain a regular sleep pattern throughout the week and get more sleep each day.”

One way of achieving this would be to allow greater flexibility in people’s working hours, so that owls could start work later and therefore get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If he were an employer, Roenneberg says, he would ban the use of alarm clocks and instruct employees to start work only once they had had adequate sleep. “The majority of employees would still be in the office by 10am or 11am, but this would increase productivity, sick days would go down, and I would get your best time as an employer,” he says. “It’s a win-win situation.”

However, there may be a simpler solution: light. Although people’s chronotype is genetically determined, environment also influences sleep timing. Studies have shown that when people are sent camping – removing them from the influence of artificial light and exposing them to more daylight – they become more lark-like and fall asleep about two hours earlier. Inspired by these studies, Phillips used a mathematical model of human sleep and circadian physiology to probe why this should be. He found that, regardless of whether they were exposed to natural or modern lighting conditions (where people spend most of the daytime indoors and their evenings exposed to artificial light), people with longer molecular clocks went to sleep later. However, in the modern condition, variation in the timing of people’s sleep more than doubled because exposure to bright (or blue-enriched) light at night pushes the timing of the SCN, the brain’s master clock, later – meaning a night-owl’s natural tendency to stay up later is amplified. “We found that these large inter-individual differences in sleep timing only manifest themselves in the presence of electric light,” says Phillips. “This is what’s causing a lot of individuals to become very delayed in their sleep timing and hence experience social jetlag.”

He suggests turning off overhead lights two hours before bed, and switching to dimmer table lamps. And if you do use a computer or smartphone in the evening, install an app that automatically dims the screen and filters out the blue light.

We evolved on a planet where day was day, and night was night. For the sake of our health, it is time to reacquaint ourselves with those extremes.


InsomniaCategoriesBrand Buzz

Which Type Of Insomniac Are You? Study Suggests Different Sleep Problems Require Different Solutions

While many of us struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, not all of our struggles are the same. New research examined a range of reasons why people don’t sleep well and found that insomnia generally falls into one of five types. Which type you fit into, the study suggests, affects which solutions may help you break out of the sleep-loss pattern.

Insomnia is a disorder characterized by “chronic complaints of unsatisfactory sleep, despite having an adequate opportunity to sleep” according to the National Sleep Foundation. Insomnia complaints include “difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early, and/or having sleep that is not refreshing.”


The researchers analyzed survey responses from more than 4,000 people participating in the Netherlands Sleep Registry, a project that tracks information on the factors affecting sleep habits. Roughly half the participants in this group had insomnia, as indicated by their responses, although none had been formally diagnosed. When checked against several other factors—including personality traits, emotional dispositions, and mood characteristics—the results pointed to five categories of insomnia:

Type 1: People in this category tended to have high levels of negative emotions like anxiety, and low levels of pleasurable emotions and overall happiness.

Type 2: These participants had moderate levels of emotional distress, but their levels of pleasurable emotions and happiness were normal, on average.

Type 3: People in this group also had moderate levels of distress, but experienced lower-than-average levels of pleasure and happiness.

Type 4: These participants had low levels of distress, but tended to experience chronic insomnia in response to a stressful event.

Type 5: Finally, those in this group also had low levels of distress, and their variety of insomnia wasn’t typically affected by stressful events.

The researchers looked for correlations between the insomnia types and responses to treatment. They found that people in the Type 2 category respond well to talk therapy (including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)), but those in the Type 4 category don’t. Both Type 2 and Type 4 insomnia sufferers tend to experience improvements when prescribed medication, while those in the Type 3 category don’t respond well to sleep-inducing drugs.

The most concerning finding was that people in the Type 1 category are also at greatest risk for lifetime depression. Addressing the underlying emotional issues is crucial for improving their sleep.

In commentary accompanying the study, lead study author Tsuyoshi Kitajima (Department of Psychiatry, Fujita Health University School of Medicine) said that the way clinicians think of insomnia has recently experienced “revolutionary changes” largely based on “the recognition that insomnia and other psychiatric or somatic disorders have independent courses and bidirectional associations, each of which needs specific clinical attention and treatments.”

In other words, we can’t think of insomnia, which affects an estimated 10% of the population, as a singular problem. Instead it’s a multifaceted problem requiring multifaceted thinking to arrive at solutions that really work.

The researchers noted that all of the study participants volunteered (and were thus motivated to participate in a sleep study), a potential limitation when trying to extend the results to the broader population. Also, since all responses were gathered via surveys, the results relied on participants accurately representing their symptoms and related factors. Further clinical research will be needed to confirm the results and determine if there are other categories not yet identified.


Stress2CategoriesBrand Buzz

Stress & You: A Detrimental Affair

Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us.

As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective.

As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems.


Effects of Stress

Think illness is to blame for your nagging headache or frequent forgetfulness? Recognize common stress symptoms — then take steps to manage them:

On your bodyOn your behaviourOn your thoughts & feelings
Chest pain
Pounding heart
Shortness of breath
Muscle aches
Clenched jaws
Tooth grinding
Stomach upset
Increased sweating
Sleep problems
Weight gain or loss
Skin breakouts
Angry outbursts
Drug abuse
Excessive drinking
Increased smoking
Social withdrawal
Crying spells
Relationship conflicts
Decreased productivity
Blaming others
Mood swings
Job dissatisfaction
Feeling insecure
Inability to concentrate

7 Ways You Can Conquer Stress Now!

  • Set realistic goals to lessen the circuit overload in your life.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Prioritise a few truly important things and let the rest slide.
  • Focus on one problem, avoid extreme response and control your reactions to it.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of rest aggravates stress.
  • Don’t escape or self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. They only mask stress.
  • Do something for others to help get your mind off yourself.
  • Meditation and breathing exercises are very effective in controlling stress.  Practice clearing your mind of disturbing thoughts.

Manage Stress Every Single Day: It’s Worth Your Health!

Being part of our fast paced, modern lifestyle, no one expects you to eat right and well every single day. So what you can do to stay ahead in life is to add on daily supplements that have naturally relaxing and calming properties such as Rilax.

Rilax melts your daily tension away, and helps you enjoy better sleep, better concentration, healthier skin and immunity. It is convenient for anyone – professional, homemaker, student, caregiver, young bride or whoever you are.

By regulating your stress levels, you reduce the risk of weakening your immune system and the onset of serious diseases.

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How do I take Rilax?

  • For those leading a stressful lifestyle and to protect the body from long term wear-and-tear of stress, take 1-2 capsules of Rilax daily, one in the morning and/or one before sleep.
  • For a demanding period in your life, e.g. a stressful job, getting married, tobacco detoxification, intensive physical training, weight loss program, menopause, separation from loved one, take 1-2 capsules of Rilax daily during the stressful period. A sensation of well-being sets in within 1-2 weeks of regular consumption.
  • For facing a stressful situation, such as sitting for an exam or giving a public speech, take 1 capsules of Rilax one hour before your event.
  • For a deeper and more restful sleep, take 1-2 capsules of Rilax one hour before bedtime.