Monday, January 14th, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because spending time outdoors in the sun is known to increase vitamin D in the body via the skin. Our ancestors spent a considerable amount of their time outdoors, but for the first time in history, large amounts of the world population spend most of their time inside their offices and homes. Researchers at the East Texas Medical Center and the University of North Carolina have discovered that vitamin D helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. They’ve found a definite link between vitamin D deficiency and the current global epidemic of sleep disorders.
Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) is one of the deepest levels of sleep. It is the level in which dreaming occurs, and its related to good memory and learning. A disruption of REM sleep or an absence of it, is one form of insomnia. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Hot flashes and night sweats create a sudden feeling of warmth and often a breakout of sweating in the upper half of the body. These flashes are experienced by 80% of women around the time of menopause, and also by men due to a lessening of testosterone in middle age. Another source of hot flashes can be medications. According to WebMD, “Taking certain medications can lead to night sweats. Antidepressant medications are a common type of drug that can lead to night sweats. From 8% to 22% of people taking antidepressant drugs have night sweats. Other psychiatric drugs have also been associated with night sweats.”
The “Sleep in America” poll results from the National Sleep Foundation recently found that more than half of all Americans (60%) experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night. Interestingly, a ten-year study to discover which drugs are used to treat insomnia was published in the journal “Sleep”. The study found that prescriptions for sleeping medications have decreased by 53.7%, but that antidepressant drugs prescribed for insomnia have increased by a surprising 146%. Examples of antidepressants prescribed for insomnia are trazodone, doxepin, trimipramine, and amitriptyline. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 at 2:18 AM
By Jobee Knight
Stress can come from a variety of sources such as a troubled relationship, a bad job condition, illness, financial pressures, the hormonal changes that accompany aging, or just plain old not getting enough good food and rest. Sometimes the pressures of life can interfere with our sleep. Stress manifests on the physical level by an outpouring of the adrenal hormone cortisol. The adrenal glands are small triangular-shaped glands that sit on top of each kidney.
Cortisol has a stimulating effect and can promote wakefulness at the very time when one is trying to fall asleep. Scientists have recently discovered that increased blood levels of cortisol exist in people with chronic insomnia. Research has also uncovered that in the presence of elevated cortisol levels, the amount of calcium is rapidly reduced in the body – a mineral that’s widely known to assist with relaxation and sleep. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 at 2:41 PM
A new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder has found that people who take one of the world’s most commonly prescribed sleep medicines are significantly more at risk for nighttime falls, potential injury, and memory impairment. The study, which involved twenty-five healthy adults, showed 58 percent of the older adults and 27 percent of the young adults who took a hypnotic, sleep-inducing drug called zolpidem showed a significant loss of balance and impaired thinking-ability when awakened two hours after sleep.
Zolpidem is a generic drug that is marketed under a number of different brand names, including Ambien, Zolpimist, Edluar, Hypogen, Somidem and Ivedal. “These findings are important because falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, and 30 percent of adults sixty-five and older who fall, require hospitalization each year,” said Associate Professor Kenneth Wright, lead study author. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, February 28th, 2011 at 9:14 PM
With the National Sleep Foundation reporting that six out of ten Americans suffer with insomnia several nights a week and 25% of the U.S. population uses sleeping drugs (known as “hypnotics”), an increasing number people these days are looking for natural sleep remedies. In recent research studies, it was discovered that both walnuts and tart cherries contain significant levels of the natural sleep hormone melatonin, and may therefore be a natural, food-based way to get a better night’s sleep.
Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin, that it is absorbed when it is eaten, and that it improves our ability to resist oxidative stress caused by toxic molecules called free radicals. Walnuts also contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to inhibit certain types of cancer and to keep the heart healthy.” Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 8:08 PM
‘Tis the season for holiday stress. From last minute shopping, to getting less sleep, to making ends meet financially, to consuming more sweets and drinks at holiday get-togethers. Americans are faced with many more physical and emotional pressures during the holidays. Recent research studies and surveys in the areas of sleep, eating, and finances are shedding some light on actions one can take to lessen the stress load.
The market research firm Harris Interactive recently conducted a “Holiday Stress Index” study. The poll was based on a nationwide sample of 2,173 adults in the U.S. eighteen years and over. Ninety percent of the respondents said they experience some level of stress and/or anxiety about the holiday season. However this year, more than a third (38 percent) said they expect to feel more stress and anxiety in this holiday season due to the current economy. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, November 22nd, 2010 at 9:32 PM
By Jobee Knight
Each of us has our own source of stresses in our lives. Whether we take these home from the workday or they exist in the home itself, sometimes the pressures can interfere with our sleep. Stress manifests on the physical level by an outpouring of the adrenal hormone cortisol. Scientists have recently discovered that increased blood levels of cortisol exist in people with chronic insomnia. Some individuals may be suffering from a sustained activation of the body’s system for responding to stress. Related research has also uncovered that in the presence of elevated cortisol, the level of calcium is rapidly reduced in the body – a mineral that’s known to assist with relaxation and sleep.
In a study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (1), investigators monitored the sleep of eleven patients with insomnia and thirteen people without any sleep disorder. Blood was collected every thirty minutes for twenty-four hours, and levels of the adrenal stress hormones were monitored. The researches found that the average levels of adrenal hormones measured were significantly higher in the insomniacs than in the control group. The insomniacs with the highest degree of sleep disturbances secreted the highest amount of cortisol, particularly in the evening and nighttime hours. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 2:20 PM
By Jobee Knight
Sleeping well is a highly valued thing. According to an article in the United Kingdom’s “Daily Telegraph”, a good night’s sleep has been voted life’s “Greatest little pleasure”. The poll, which interviewed 3,000 people in the UK, asked them what their greatest little pleasures in life were. The British company “Bachelors” conducted the survey. The sleep theme showed up in other places as well, with “Little pleasure” number three being “Sleeping in newly laundered bedding.“ Number six was “Cuddling up with a loved one in bed”.
Chronic insomnia contributes to sleepiness during the day, increased accidents and illness, and may have an adverse effect on concentration, interpersonal relationships and the ability to handle stress. Because good sleep is so vital to health, scientists continue to pursue the trail of finding things that enhance its quality and quantity. Dr. Ramakrishnan, a professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, says, “Exercise improves sleep as effectively as sleeping drugs in some studies.” His study found that on average, exercise increases total sleep time by 42 minutes. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 4:23 PM
Cherry juice could hold the key to a good night’s sleep, say scientists.
Volunteers who drank a glass of unsweetened cherry juice in the morning and evening enjoyed more shut-eye than when they drank the same amount of other juices, a study found.
Curing insomnia has become one of the biggest health challenges of the modern age.
About one in four adults suffer from it and a fifth regularly get fewer than five hours’ sleep a night. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, July 9th, 2010 at 2:52 PM
Melatonin is one among the several natural hormones. The pineal gland located within the brain of a human body secretes ‘melatonin hormone’. The “pineal gland” is almost equal to the size of a pea. To be very precise, it is exactly located just above the middle of the brain.
Pineal Gland, Light, and Melatonin
The pineal gland acts like the internal clock of the human body specifically the brains. This internal clock is responsible for commanding the brain that it is time to go to the bed or when to sleep. Read the rest of this entry