Tag Archives: Sleep

Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery

shoulder surgery

Particularly after major surgery, sleep disturbances are commonplace. And having trouble sleeping after shoulder surgery is no different. According to the British Journal of Anaesthesia, the body goes through a metabolic and hormonal response to the trauma of surgery referred to as the “surgical stress response”.  This response, along with other post-surgery side effects such as pain, fever, sore incision, anesthesia, insomnia, and medications, can disrupt both the quality and quantity of sleep a person receives after shoulder surgery.

How Prescription Drugs Affect Sleep

prescription drugs

The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health report, Effects of Drugs on Sleep, states that: “Chronic use or abuse of certain drugs may lead to the development of substance-related sleep disorders. Primary sleep disorders, such as apnea, periodic movement disorders, and parasomnias, may be exacerbated by various drugs.”

According to a Harvard Report on how External Factors Influence Sleep, the impact of prescription medications on sleep varies from one type to the next. For instance, beta blockers, which are commonly used to reduce blood pressure, cause decreased slow-wave sleep and in important REM sleep, while increasing sleepiness during the daytime hours. Alpha blockers, also used to reduce blood pressure and to treat some prostate conditions, also lead to decreases in REM sleep as well as boosts to daytime sleepiness. Some antidepressants, known as SSRIs, are believed to actually promote insomnia. The long-term impact of other antidepressant drugs on sleep are, as of yet, unknown.

Sleep and Aging

elderly woman sleeping

Just as our hair will likely turn grey and wrinkles will probably adorn our faces, as we age many of us can expect to encounter sleep changes.

These sleep and aging changes can result in waking up throughout the night, becoming sleepy earlier, and awakening earlier than we used to.

Sleep and Aging Statistics

As many as 50 percent of seniors experience some sort of sleep disturbance as they embark on their golden years.  And according to the National Institute of Aging, a good number of seniors are not getting enough sleep. One of the reasons that many seniors are sleep deprived is in their trouble in falling asleep. More than a third of women and 13 percent of men reported taking more than an half an hour (30 minutes) to fall asleep (sleep latency), according to a study the institute cited.

Night Terrors in Children

little girl in bed

Has your child ever had an episode during sleep that included intense crying, kicking, thrashing, sweating, breathing quickly, rapidly beating heart rate, screaming loudly, getting out of bed and running throughout the house, being difficult to waken, or experiencing a profound fear? If so, your child probably had a night terror, also referred to as a sleep terror.

Who Experiences Night Terrors?

Up to 6 percent of children have a night terror at one time or another, according to WebMD. Children between the ages of three to 12 years are the most likely to get them. Although night terrors in adults are also an undesired sleep disorder, they occur in a far less percentage in adults than children. Fortunately, most children outgrow their night terrors by the time they reach their teens.  If you’re a parent of a child who has night terrors, you should know that in most cases, night terrors in children aren’t a cause for a concern, albeit scary to witness.

Foods That Help You Sleep

bananas

Most of us know that we should avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime because both can interfere with the quality of sleep. But are there foods that help you sleep? According to Dr. Michael J. Breus, Certified Sleep Specialist, the answer to that question is yes! From cherries to oatmeal to warm milk, here are six foods and beverages that can help you get more shut eye tonight.

Sleep Promoting Foods

1) Cherries – According to a study reported in the Journal of Experimental Botany, cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which is often referred to as the “sleep hormone” because it helps control your body’s internal clock needed to regulate sleep. While fresh cherries are only in season (and thus less expensive) for about two months of the year (June and July), tart cherry juice and dried cherries are excellent substitutes when purchasing fresh cherries tends to break the bank. According to Dr. Oz, montmorency tart cherries have six times the melatonin content than a normal cherry, so look for those for the most benefit.

Sleep Diary

woman writing in diary

Everyone needs a good night’s sleep each and every night. Unfortunately, for a large segment of the population that is a rare commodity. While there are some who would argue that the time spent sleeping is time you cannot enjoy some of the more entertaining aspects of life, sleep actually improves the quality of your life and may even help improve your life expectancy. If you’re having trouble sleeping, keeping a sleep diary can help you manage your sleep a little better now and in the future.

Benefits of Adequate Sleep

There are many benefits that you get from a proper amount of sleep that most people don’t really understand until after they’ve gone through a fairly significant period of sleep deprivation at least once. As you age, the side effects of a sleepless night become much more pronounced and harder to overcome. These benefits include: improved mood and temperament, a brain that’s more receptive to learning, improved immunity, better alertness, increased balance, and more energy.

How Light Affects Sleep

light on in bedroom

You’ve probably heard people who work late night shifts in hospitals, fire stations, restaurants, or on the road protecting our streets talk about how light during the day has a negative impact on their ability to get a decent amount of restful sleep. But, did you know there is a real reason behind it? It’s not merely a preference for darkness that’s robbing them of the recuperative sleep they need in order to wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. But why does light have such a profound impact on sleep and what can people who work these necessary late shifts do to get the kind of sleep they need?

Why Does Light Negatively Impact Sleep?

“In the presence of light, your brain will not produce melatonin,” says Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, Sleep Specialist: On the surface that doesn’t seem like such a profoundly negative thing. However, melatonin is one of the vital hormones that plays a significant role in helping people not only fall asleep but also to remain asleep throughout the night. If a room has too much light, that makes things much more difficult for anyone looking to get a proper amount of sleep.

Bedroom Color Ideas

Color Picker Icon

Sleep is something that many people around the world find to be elusive. Unfortunately, it’s also something that’s necessary for sustaining quality of life as well as optimal health and mental well-being. In other words, it’s vitally important. Oddly enough, something as simple as your bedroom color scheme can have a significant impact on just how restful your bedroom really is. Here are a few things you should know about bedroom colors, at least as far as restful sleep is concerned, before you start decorating.

mood symbols

Colors Suggest Moods

One of the most common issues people have with sleep is difficulty falling asleep due to an abundance of heat (pitta) that is built up in the body. With this in mind, it makes sense that bedrooms decorated with cool colors such as blues, greens, and even some shades of purple, would create a better mood for sleep than bedrooms decorated with warm reds, yellows, and oranges. The warmer colors may create a warm and cozy atmosphere in the room, but in the long run the warmer colors could have a significantly negative impact on the overall restfulness of the room.

Not only do soothing cool colors impact the restful mood of the room, but they also serve to lower your blood pressure and your heart rate—at least according to Shape Magazine. This makes it easier for you to relax and get the sleep your body requires.

Does Sleeping Help You Grow?

boy checking growth

You’ve probably heard, more than once, that sleep is vital for the growth of healthy children. The scientific community has known for a long time that the hours while the body is sleeping are not idle hours where it literally turns itself off. These are hours when the body is performing critical functions that help children grow. But why is it so important for children?

The Importance of Sleep for Children

Dr. Cara Natterson, a pediatrician and graduate of John Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard University, provides important insight as to why age factors into the need for more sleep:

“Sleep is a critical ingredient to good growth, and the amount of sleep we need depends upon our age,” says Dr. Natterson. “Little babies, newborns, and infants get somewhere around 16 hours of sleep for every 24 hours, give or take. Toddlers need about 14 hours of sleep in every 24 hours.”

There’s just so much going on during those hours of sleep that the body cannot accomplish during waking hours.

Guided Imagery for Sleep

island paradise

It’s a busy world we live in today. Thanks to advancements in technology, we seem to be always connected. Add that to the stress of dealing with a demanding job, worrying about our children or aging parents, or concern over a health condition either for ourselves and a loved one, and there’s no surprise that some of us have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some tool that could relax our minds and let go of our stress and worries to fall into a peaceful deep sleep? Well there is, and it’s called guided imagery.

What is Guided Imagery for Sleep?

Have you ever “counted sheep” to help you to fall asleep? If so, you were practicing guided imagery without even knowing it. In a nutshell, guided imagery is a relaxation technique where one’s thoughts are purposely redirected through imagination and visualization to achieve a desired goal. While this goal is commonly to help with falling asleep, it’s also used to help adults cope with a serious health condition, such as cancer, manage stress, depression, pain, and anxiety. It’s also a helpful technique for children, particularly in helping to chase away their fears.

Benefits of Guided Imagery for Sleep

Using guided imagery for sleep disturbances can help both adults and children alike find a soothing, relaxing, and comforting way to drift off to sleep. As a directed form of visualization, guided imagery is based on the thought that the body and mind are connected. By tapping into one’s own imagination, guided imagery can relax oneself into a soothing slumber.