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How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart

Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. One study that examined data from 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night.

It’s not completely clear why less sleep is detrimental to heart health, but researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.

sleep heart

REM sleep begins with signals from an area at the base of the brain called the pons. These signals travel to a brain region called the thalamus, which relays them to the cerebral cortex — the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for learning, thinking, and organizing information.

One of the reasons we know how vital sleep is to the heart is that patients with sleep apnea (which causes them to wake frequently throughout the night) often have compromised heart health. This is because without long, deep periods of rest, certain chemicals are activated that keep the body from achieving extended periods in which heart rate and blood pressure are lowered. Over time, this can lead to higher blood pressure during the day and a greater chance of cardiovascular problems. Many studies have shown the relationship between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. One found that over an eight-year period, men with severe sleep apnea were 58 percent more likely to develop congestive heart failure than men without the nighttime breathing disorder. But it doesn’t take a severe underlying sleep disorder to see effects on the heart. Poor sleeping (as a result of changing work schedules or poor sleep habits, for example) can put you at risk as well.

Heart health isn’t just a concern for older adults.

Recent research has shown that too little sleep earlier in life could take its toll as well. For example, in one study, adolescents who didn’t sleep well were at greater risk for developing cardiovascular problems. Those teens had higher cholesterol levels, a higher body mass index, larger waist sizes, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of hypertension. It’s easy to see how these alterations in childhood health could snowball into major concerns later on, and why it’s important to protect sleep at every age.

Reposted from https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-your-heart

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What Do Your Dreams Say About Your Sleep Quality?

good night’s sleep is far more nuanced than simply putting in your seven to nine hours and calling it a day. Good, healthy sleep means feeling rested upon waking. It means not having chronic bad dreams or nightmares. And it turns out that the difference between a smile-filled slumber and a fearful one isn’t entirely up to chance.

According to a group of French researchers writing in the Journal of Sleep Research, all people dream when they sleep, even people who think they don’t. But is there a correlation between good sleep and good dreams? We partnered with Sleep Number to dig into this and other dream-related questions: Does sleeping well lead to more — or more pleasant — dreams? Does sleeping poorly lead to bad dreams? The answers to each of these queries, we discovered, are yes … and no.

Clinically speaking, a “good night’s sleep” is considered one that consists of seven to nine hours of quality, uninterrupted snooze time — barring the simple activities that wake us during the night like using the restroom, getting a glass of water or even turning over.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine describes the experience of sleep as unfolding in four phases, culminating in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The stages repeat in order every 90 to 110 minutes on average. Stages 1 and 2 are characterized by a progression from light sleep through a gradual slowing of brain waves. Stage 3 is the period of sleep when we’re the most conked out. If you’ve ever had a hard time waking someone up, he or she was probably in this third stage of the sleep cycle. The fourth stage, REM sleep, is when our breathing rate quickens and our eyes move under our eyelids. This is the stage during which most people dream, especially when it occurs in the latter half of the night. We can also dream in the other stages of sleep, but scientists don’t have a good idea of how often or how much.

Good night sleep

What Do Dreams Do for Our Health

Studies show that dreaming is good for us. Rubin Naiman, a sleep and dream expert on the clinical faculty of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, says, “Good dreaming contributes to our psychological well-being by supporting healthy memory, warding off depression, and expanding our ordinary limited consciousness into broader, spiritual realms.” A study at Harvard Medical School concluded that dreaming also helps us consolidate memories and retain information.

In the book The Mind in Sleep, Arthur M. Arkin cites a study in which subjects were deprived of REM sleep intermittently over a period of time. The study concluded that there is a “close association between REM sleep and dream recall” and a “positive correlation between REM density and the subjects’ active involvement in dramatic dreams.” In other words, the longer your REM cycle, the more intense your dreams.

“If you have very poor sleep, you may not even dream at all,” says John S. Antrobus, a professor of psychology and sleep research at the City College of New York, now retired. “But it depends on why you’re not having a good night’s sleep.” According to Antrobus, factors that can lead to poor sleep include consuming alcohol before bed, experiencing stress and having a disturbing day. Other causes include keeping electronics like cell phones, televisions or computers in the bedroom; eating, exercising or consuming caffeine too late; having an uncomfortable bed or sleeping environment; and keeping an inconsistent sleep schedule.

So, “good” sleep — or sack time that includes REM sleep — leads to an active dream life, and in turn an active dream life is good for us. But when it comes to the relationship between getting a good night’s sleep and having good dreams, or remembering our dreams better, the science gets murky.

Healthy dream

What Things Can Impact Our Dreams?

Several factors influence our ability to remember our dreams (also known as lucid dreaming or dream recall) — from age and gender to specific personality traits — but there is no hard evidence explaining why some people remember their dreams better than others. Often, it seems as if we only remember the dreams we were having right before we wake up. Antrobus, the former sleep researcher, explains that this is related to another cycle of brain activation on which the sleep stages rely. “That larger cycle starts before you fall asleep and leaves you feeling sleepy and wanting to go to bed at night,” he says. That cycle winds down in the hour or so before we wake up, when our brains are most active and we’re having more dreams, “and that’s why you tend to remember more of them.”

Timing, in other words, is everything. “A lot of people only remember their dreams if their alarm clock wakes them up right in the middle of it,” adds Dr. Shalini Paruthi, director of the Pediatric Sleep and Research Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. A study conducted at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center in France supported this theory, concluding that “high dream recallers are more reactive to environmental stimuli, awaken more during sleep, and thus better encode dreams in memory than low dream recallers.”

Likewise, there is no evidence-based research as to whether sleep quality affects our ability to remember dreams or control the tenor of dreams. Rather, Paruthi says, “Whatever people are exposed to during the daytime will have an impact on their dreaming at night.”

This is the premise for a technique called imagery rehearsal therapy, which involves visualizing alternate endings to bad dreams 10 to 15 minutes before a person goes to bed each night. “Even thinking about good things to dream as you’re drifting off to sleep can impact [the] dreams that you have that night,” Paruthi explains. “So, you can have a negative impact on your dreams if you’re surrounded or getting exposed to negative things throughout the day. But, on the flip side, you can also have [a] positive impact on your dreams if the last things that you’re thinking about are positive things.”

Deirdre Barrett, author of The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists and Athletes Use Dreams for Creative Problem-Solving –And How You Can, Too and an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, is a firm believer in our ability to influence our own dreams. “The details of how to do it are very different depending on whether you’re trying to induce lucid dreams, whether you’re trying to dream about particular content, or whether you’re trying to dream a solution to a particular personal or objective problem,” she said in an interview with Scientific American.

Whether your goal is to dream about a particular topic or person, change the outcome of your dream, remember your dream, or problem-solve in your dream, Barrett suggests to “first of all think of the problem before bed, and if it lends itself to an image, hold it in your mind and let it be the last thing in your mind before falling asleep.” She also recommends not jumping out of bed right away upon waking up. “Almost half of dream content is lost if you get distracted. Lie there, don’t do anything else. If you don’t recall a dream immediately, see if you feel a particular emotion — the whole dream would come flooding back.”

Things that can impacts our dreams

What Control Do We Have Over How And What We Dream?

Getting a good night’s sleep, Paruthi says, “is the most important thing” we can do to ensure that we dream. First and foremost, that means sleeping in a room that’s dark, quiet and cool (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit). Other things we can do to help us sleep better include taking a bath and reading a book before bed; practicing relaxation exercises; avoiding stressful or stimulating activities before sleep; napping early in the day (or not at all); exercising earlier in the day; avoiding alcohol, sugar and large meals before sleep; maintaining a regular sleep schedule; and, as simple as this might sound, going to bed when we’re tired.

While we can’t have 100 percent control over our dreams, there are things we can do to influence them in a positive direction, experts say. Among them: exposure to pleasant smells and sounds while we’re sleeping; avoiding spicy foods; not smoking; eating healthy and exercising regularly; and improving our daytime thought patterns. In simplistic terms, if you want good dreams, sleep well and think happy thoughts.

Just like diet and exercise, sleep is unique to each person and important for optimal health. Sleep Number® beds adjust on each side to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support— your Sleep Number® setting—for your best possible sleep.

Reposted from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/11/30/dreams-sleep-quality_n_8513908.html

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Join Us in Our World Sleep Day 2016 Project!

SleepJournal1 1

In order to sleep better, you must first get to know your sleep habits. We at Rilax advocate a good night’s sleep, and most importantly we advocate healthy sleep habits that are natural and sustainable.

A good night’s sleep could be just a pillow-pat away, and sleep journaling is the best first step we could make towards getting better sleep!

HOW IT WILL WORK:

Step 1:
Send us your name, age, email address and number to let us know you are interested to participate.

Step 2:
We will get in touch with you, and send you a template of our Sleep Journal to help you track your sleep habits.

  • It will only take you a few minutes to answer a few easy questions before bed and when you wake up in the morning, easy-peasy!
  • It’s important that you live your life as normal as possible, and that you don’t change your daily sleep routine while participating in the journal. The objective of this project is simply to observe the sleep habits of different people, and how daily habits affect sleep quality.

Step 3:
At the end of 2 weeks, we will gather the info you have kindly shared with us, and let you know of any key and interesting findings!

We’ll even throw in a few samples of our award-winning, all-natural sleep supplement Rilax for you to try.

If you’ve ever wanted to improve your sleep habits, there’s no time like the present! Join us as a ‘Sleep Journalist’ and let’s talk about sleep!

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Top 5 Sleep Myths

Myth1

#Myth1

Everyone Needs 8 Hours of Sleep
Eight is not a magic number. Everyone is different and require different needs. However, it’s about the quality of sleep, not the quantity. You’ll know you’ve got good, quality sleep when you sleep throughout the night and wake up feeling fully recharged the next morning.

Myth2

#Myth2

Some People Only Live With 4 Hours of Sleep At Night, So Do I
Although there are some who survive on little sleep every night, they do not necessarily do better. Too little sleep is bad for health as many health problems are related to sleep. For example, insufficient sleep affects obesity, weight gain, cardiovascular and many other health diseases.

Myth3

#Myth3

You Should “Catch Up” on Your Sleep When You Can
Sleeping in on weekends to make up lost sleep during the weekdays will not help in your regulating sleep routine. In fact, it increases your sleep debt. Bingeing on your sleep will only upset your circadian rhythms and hinders you from getting a refreshing sleep. Your body loves consistencies, so it’s best to sleep and rise the same time every day, including weekends!
Myth4

#Myth4

Snoring Is Common & Definitely Harmless
Although snoring can be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized as pauses in breathing that prevents air from flowing into or out of the person’s airways. These breathing pauses can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea is often accompanied by daytime sleepiness as they are frequently awakened in the middle in the night gasping for air. People having Sleep apnea should consult a doctor as it can be treated.
Myth5

#Myth5

You Need Prescription Drugs If You Cannot Sleep At Night
Although snoring can be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized as pauses in breathing that prevents air from flowing into or out of the person’s airways. These breathing pauses can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea is often accompanied by daytime sleepiness as they are frequently awakened in the middle in the night gasping for air. People having Sleep apnea should consult a doctor as it can be treated.
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Are You Having Trouble Sleeping?

Everyone would experience sleep problems at one time or another. These occasional sleep problems could be caused by temporal stress or external factors. A sleep problem is defined by regular occurrence that interferes with everyday life and it is usually link to poor sleep hygiene.

Insufficient quality sleep is a serious problem that can be a threaten lives. Ignoring sleep problems can lead and open doors to many unwanted stress, poor health, emotional imbalance and may interrupt your job performance.

Do you have any of these below?

1. Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep

sleep 1

2. Feeling extremely sleepy during the day

sleep 2

3. Stress at school, at home or at work

sleep 3

4. Fidgety and restless legs when you sleep at night

sleep 4

5. Constantly busy throughout the day and exhausted

sleep 5

6 .Have difficulty concentrating in tasks

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7. Falling asleep while driving, sitting still, watching TV or reading

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8. Having trouble controlling your emotions

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9. Looking tired at most times

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10. Require caffeinated beverages to stay awake

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11. Slow in reaction and clumsy

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12. Inclination to take naps almost every day

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13. Constant travelling and jet lags

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If you said yes to any of these, you’ll need Rilax to improve your sleep. Rilax is a natural food supplement. Some people may need to take 1-2 capsules for at least 2 weeks in order for Rilax to begin regulating their sleep quality. It is safe, natural, scientifically proven, non-drowsy, non-habit forming and has no after-effects!

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While You Were Sleeping

What do you notice when you watch a child sleeping?

On the surface, you see a peaceful and restful child and oh-how beautiful they look. If you look a little longer, soon you will notice movement in the eyes, coupled with some light jerks of the hands and legs. Well, verily, verily I say unto you… it’s normal.

While all voluntary muscular activities are temporarily suspended, your brain is still somewhat active and shift into different STAGES – REM sleep & Non-REM sleep. These sleep stages can be seen with an electroencephalograph (now say it 10 times), in short, it’s just EEG! With these stages, you’ll understand sleep better and perhaps, just perhaps become more conscious of your own sleeping habit.

Here are the sleep stages in a nutshell.

Sleep Cycle

When we sleep, our brains cycle from stage to stage. To understand the stages better, just imagine yourself falling asleep in your apartment located in a very busy city. 

NREM Stage 1:

In this stage, you close your eyes but you are conscious of your surroundings. You can still hear the taxis honking and the piercing sound of an ambulance. It feels like you are not sleeping yet. Some may even feel the feeling of falling at this stage. 

NREM Stage 2:

Slowly, your body relaxes, your heart rate slows down and body feels a tad warmer. The hustle and bustle of the city begins to quieten down and it does not bother you as much. This stage of light sleep last only about 20 minutes and you are about to enter into deep sleep.

NREM Stage 3 & 4:

These two stages are relatively known as deep sleep. The EEG would show slow waves pattern (only 50% of brain activity). At this stage, your body repairs bones and skin, and stabilizes your hormone levels.

Stage 4 is more intense and it’s also an important stage of sleep because our energy is restored in this stage. If stage 4 is deprived, you wake up in the morning still feeling physically tired.

Stages 1 to 4 sleep cycle is also known as Non-REM sleep. The NREM stages is important for us because our body repairs and regenerates tissues, strengthens our immune system and builds bones and muscles. That explains why everyone needs plenty of sleep as it is essential for growth, health and brain development.

There are notable physical changes in the body while you sleep; for example, your respiration rate becomes more rapid and irregular but shallow, your heart rate increases, and your eyes move in different directions.

REM Stage (Rapid Eye Movement) Stage 5:

Most vivid dreams occur in this stage of REM sleep as a result of the intense brain activity.  From being in your room sleeping to suddenly rescuing a princess in the “Sahara Desert”, you engage your whole self in your “action-packed movie”, your body is temporarily paralyzed (called Atonia), this happens to prevent you from physically replicating the action-packed kung-fu movements in your dreams! The REM stage is the combination of heightened brain activity and muscular paralysis; hence, it’s sometimes called the paradoxical sleep! Interesting! 

Sleep and brain

You must know that it sleep does not just progress through the sequence in order. The sleep cycles moves from stage to stage and it looks something like this: stage 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 3 > 2 > REM > 2. This sleep cycle happens about 4 to 5 times throughout the night. But when morning comes, most of your sleep consists of stages 1 and 2, or sometimes REM. Ideally, waking up in the early stages of sleep is best, helping you feel refreshed and less groggy in the morning.

Children and infants get most REM sleep, and as you age, the percentage of REM sleep decreases. The REM sleep is particularly important because many theories suggest with the lack of REM sleep, it causes irritability and anxiety as REM sleep aids in the development of our nervous system. Moreover, REM sleep can also help to improve memory.

Rilax is a natural sleep supplement formulated to help you experience a good night’s sleep, so that you wake up refreshed and ready to start your day. Rilax contains two clinically proven, award-winning all-natural ingredients (Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate and L-Theanine) in a unique formulation that calms and promotes healthy sleep, as well as effective for relieving stress. Rilax your way to a good night’s sleep…

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Drowning in Sleep Debt

Did you know that sleep debt affects our bodily functions and causes us to be less productive, irritable and depressed? 

What is Sleep Debt?

Sleep debt or sleep deficit is the accumulative effect of sleep loss from insufficient sleep. An average adult should sleep at least 8 hours per night. When our body does not get enough sleep, our body may experience symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Sleep debt

Will one hour less of sleep make a difference?

YES.Even an hour of sleep loss disrupts certain cognitive and physical tasks. One with sleep deficit may experience slower reaction times, decrease in the ability to sustain attention, memory loss, or depression. Building sleep debt overnight can behazardous towards our health and increasing the risk of developing chronic illnesses. In short, sleep deficiency magnifies many negative effects.

Sleep is important.

Sleep is more than just a shut-eye. A night’s quality sleep goes a long way for your health.Depending on individuals,most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and 8 hours of sleep. While you sleep, your body undergo restoration, repair, cleaning and maintenance that is essential for daily functioning.

Are you sleep deprived? Find out here:

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/breus-sleep-deprived

How to Get Out of Sleep Debt?

Apart from getting a good bedtime routine and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Rilax sleep supplement has helped many to get good, quality sleep naturally and wake up refreshed and ready to start your day. Rilax’s safe and natural ingredients are known to:
  • improve sleep quality
  • helped many to fall asleep and wake up refreshed
  • have no side effects unlike sleeping pills
  • calm the nerves and mind
  • help relieve stress
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Sleep vs Football

Sleep and football

When the football season kicks off, sporting fans often had to make a difficult choice between sleep and football. Like most international sporting events held in countries where timing difference becomes apparent, the games may start at the time when you are about to sleep and last till the wee hours in the morning.

A week of this schedule and normal sleep patterns are now destroyed. Bleary-eyed and operating in less than optimal capacity, you get through the day with cups of caffeine.  It’s a tough choice: do you turn your back on the opportunity to watch live sporting or do you surrender to your biological requirements and rest your head on the pillow.

Studies of sleep deprivation have shown that missing the proper amount of sleep for even one day can cause reduced coordination, reflexes and decision making. The likelihood that people may drift off to sleep in potentially embarrassing situations or potentially very dangerous situations like driving a car becomes greater.  A person can easily drift off to sleep even though he is intending to stay awake.

So, how do you make sure that you get your sleep while enjoying your football matches? Here are two useful tips:

Adjust your schedule if necessary

It’s not the best solution, but if you must watch a game that starts when your schedule says you should be sleeping, try to go to bed at a different time if you can take or take naps during the day.

Resist the urge to load up on coffee or energy drinks

It’s not the best solution, but if you must watch a game that starts when your schedule says you should be sleeping, try to go to bed at a different time if you can take or take naps during the day.