Here we are again, talking about SLEEP … IT’S IMPORTANT!

Sleep Is the Most Productive Part of the Day was written by Markham Heid for Medium/Elemental, 26 April 2019. 

While there’s no doubt that sleep is necessary, there’s still a lot about it that befuddles sleep experts. “Despite years of scientific research and studies, we still don’t completely understand why we need to sleep,” says says Dr. Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, a sleep research and professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. “We also still don’t know why we dream.”

What experts do know is that sleep is a surprisingly active and fertile time for the brain. Sleep seems to play a crucial role in helping your brain sort, process, store, and make use of the stuff you encounter during your waking hours.

“Some people think of it as a waste of time — as turning the brain off,” says Dr. Carl Bazil, director of the Division of Epilepsy and Sleep at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “But we know now there’s a lot of brain activity going on, and all different types of activity depending on the stage of sleep you’re in.”

Bazil says a pile of research has established that sleep helps people turn short-term memories into durable, long-term ones. And sleep also helps your brain sift out and dispose of the jetsam that’s not worth holding onto, more research suggests.

Sleep may also play a role in motor-task learning. Sleep also appears to assist the brain with meaning-making and other complex aspects of learning. 

Bottom Line:  “Sleep is an evolutionary function that seems to be extremely important for our health and survival.”

Read more: Sleep Is the Most Productive Part of the Day

And from one of our favorite writers, Adam Brown (author of Bright Spots and Landmines): leep-Deprived Teens – A Neglected Diabetes Landmine was published on diaTribe.org, 1 May 2019.

Children and adolescents with diabetes report poorer sleep quality. Studies show that they spend more time in stage 2 (lighter) sleep and less time in stage 3 (deeper) sleep than people without diabetes, likely due to overnight hassles: high and low blood sugars, checking blood glucose, and technology interruptions. Sleep is currently in a crisis in teens and adolescents, and this can make blood sugar harder to manage at an already-hard time.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?  Here’s the chart from the National Sleep Foundation:

And how can we improve our sleep?  Adam gives lots of tips and advice.  The 2 things that I’ve done to get more sleep and higher quality of sleep in my life:

      • REALLY make an effort to go to bed earlier.  I am a night person and I could easily stay up to midnight or 1am.  By deliberating stopping activity by 9, I am mostly ready to rest/sleep by 10 … and then I get more hours of sleep.
      • Using a closed loop insulin delivery system allows me to sleep through the night without interrupting alarms and lots of BG variability … it is truly amazing.

And finally, The $70 billion quest for a good night’s sleep was written by Elizabeth Segran for FastCompany.com, 30 April 2019.

The good news for the sleep-deprived is that we’re living through a golden age of sleep aids. A decade ago, “sleep aid” was synonymous with sleeping pills, but these days, medication only makes up 65% of the market. The last three years have seen an explosion of other types of products designed to help people to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer. Initially, many of these sleep tools were tech gadgets, including sleep trackers, apps, lights, and noisemakers, many of which I tested for a story in 2017.

But more recently, the trend has shifted toward low-tech products like weighted blankets, temperature-regulating duvets, and pillows with built-in hoods to block out light and keep the sleeper’s head warm. “I think we’re increasingly coming to understand that technology is partly what is causing us stress and insomnia,” says Kathrin Hamm, Bearaby’s founder. “Consumers seem to be gravitating toward products that take them away from all of this blue light.”

Deep Touch Pressure blanket by Gravity Blankets

Hoodie Pillow by Rebecca Rescate

Read more: The $70 billion quest for a good night’s sleep


Exercise Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard & It’s Never Too Late to Start was reported by Robert Roy Britt for Medium/Illuminate, 18 April 2019.  As he says, ” Upping your odds of a longer, healthier life “doesn’t have to be that complicated.”

“People think they have to start going to the gym and exercising hard to get fitter,” Elin Ekblom-Bak, a former professional soccer player in Sweden, said. “But it doesn’t have to be that complicated.”  Perhaps most compelling, science has now shown it’s almost never too late to get started and experience significant benefits.

If you’re a couch potato or only somewhat fit and want to be fitter, your effort need be only “somewhat hard” on what’s known as the Borg Scale of exertion, developed more than three decades ago by researcher Gunnar Borg at Stockholm University to estimate heart rate based on how one feels, regardless of fitness level. Using the scale, heart rate is estimated by multiplying the perceived exertion number by 10.

Ample research confirms that conventional exercise or moderate physical activity of any sort — just about anything that gets the blood pumping — helps stack the deck for better physical and mental health and longer life.

 

 

Research has established that physical activity in midlife — from age 40 to 60 — has substantial health benefits, said Pedro Saint-Maurice, who works in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. But his team wanted to know more about the effects of increasing or decreasing levels of activity throughout adulthood. “The findings suggest that if you’re active in early adulthood, stay active — don’t decrease,” Saint-Maurice said. “If you’re in your 40s to 60s and you have not been active for a long time, it’s not too late to start exercising now.”  The study was detailed March 8 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

There’s a vast amount of research showing significant benefits of physical activity, from modest to moderate to vigorous and across all age groups, on everything from brain power and mood to mobility and longevity.

But the evidence is clear: Getting started is what matters.

Read more: Exercise Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard & It’s Never Too Late to Start

 

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