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Lack of sleep has life-altering consequences.

Our 24/7 society longs for sleep, but we view it as expendable. We get by on too little, promising to catch up on weekends. But we never do. We stack up our sleep debt like an unlucky gambler. And the consequences are often life-altering.

Research shows that lack of sleep impairs memory, affects moods and undermines the ability to make quick, rationale decisions. Sleep dept hurts work performance and causes over 100,000 traffic crashes each year. Not to mention contributing to obesity, Type II diabetes and other serious health conditions. In fact, if you chronically deprive yourself of sleep—just an hour or two every night—ultimately you will be as sleep-deprived as someone who has been awake for 40 hours. That's like being legally intoxicated.

But it's not just a matter of getting enough sleep. According to the American Sleep Research Institute, the quality of our sleep is critical.

You can do something about this serious health hazard by making simple changes that have far-reaching results.
Click to read The iSleep Five Principals of Healthy Sleep.

People need at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night. But last year, as a nation, we racked up a sleep debt of 105 billion hours. That means the average American needs to sleep 24 hours a day, for two weeks to break even.
These 5 Principles of Healthy Sleep can improve your wellness
1. Wake up at the same time every day.
2. Make it a priority to sleep 8 hours every night.
3. Have a quiet, dark and peaceful sleep environment.
4. No caffeine or alcohol after dinner.
5. Sleep on a comfortable, posture correcting mattress.

Here is a guideline for nightly hours of sleep for different age groups to maintain good health:
1 week --------- 16.5 hours
1 year -------- 13.75 hours
10 years ------- 9.75 hours
20+ years --------- 8 hours

Our need for sleep is not reduced in later years.

Better sleep makes better students
The studies linking scholastic performance and sleep are numerous. Students with better sleep get better grades. Sleep affects memory, attitude, concentration, creativity, health (attendance), and on and on...Did you know that medical students who snore regularly have a 2x higher failure rate on final exams? There is no question that improving sleep is one of the most effective strategies for improving grades.

Below is a discussion on how to shift bedtimes for all ages. Remember that one must add at least 20 minutes to the above desired sleep duration to allow for sleep latency (the time it takes to actually fall to sleep.)

Get a head start on school sleep schedules
In the case of teenage sleepers, it can be an uphill battle to achieve optimum sleep. Social pressures, games, TV, internet, and stress all tend to reduce sleeping hours. The most challenging force, however, may be Mother Nature herself. The teenage endocrine system runs on a different cycle than adults. Human Growth Hormone floods out 24 hours a day. Melatonin is produced at times that create daytime sleepiness and night owl behavior.

The usual daytime activities are scheduled by adults for adult patterns. Children just have to adapt. So, the childhood complaints about your idea of a good sleep schedule can stem from strong biological forces. Habit and consistency of schedule are the keys to success. Sleeping late on weekends and then early to rise on Monday morning will be a continuing painful experience. Our biological clocks slide later much faster than they can move earlier, so a weekend of sleeping in 'til noon can take all week to correct. Just the discomfort of getting up earlier on Monday morning must contribute at least some to truancy and lower grades. A regular schedule makes everything easier.

Adjusting sleep times by Adjusting the Circadian Clock
Our internal body clocks regulate and influence all biological and physiological events. The main clock in the SCN runs a little longer than 24 hours so that it can be reset each day by daylight and other time keeping factors. The time setting shortens the time cycle to 24 hours and if not reset our clocks drift later each day. This is why it is important to stay on a regular sleeping schedule, especially the time we arise.

To move the timing of our biological clocks to an earlier wake up time, we must make the shift slowly over a period of days. It can take a week or more to fully shift an hour.

To move a teenaged subject with a pattern of midnight or later for bedtime, to a 9:00PM bedtime (for 9 hours in bed and a 6:00AM wake up time) it might take several weeks for the adjustment.

During some part of those weeks, the subject might not experience the best sleep or feel any better during the day. There will be adjustments to the endocrine system, and hormones might actually make it difficult to sleep on the new schedule. Teenage pattern melatonin levels tend to promote a sleep in / go to bed late lifestyle. Also. REM and Delta Sleep rebound will make the early days in the process most difficult and could contribute to groggy or unrested mornings. Get past the first several days and life will get better.

Sleeping in sync with your Circadian Clock is healthy
Sleep is a highly orchestrated event. All of the benefits of good sleep derive from functions occurring at the proper time. Each system has its time to produce, if it doesn't play during its part of the symphony, it sits out for a night. Hormone production occurs in the first third of the night in deep sleep only if it is in sync with your circadian clock. Immune system recharge and the production of antibodes is also during deep sleep if in sync with your biological clock. If you are sleeping out of sync, then hormones that get us going for the day's activities kick in at the wrong time. Do you wake up and can't get back to sleep? Optimum sleep occurs on schedule. That schedule must be staged by a regular routine. Arise at the same time every day, seven days a week.

Successful Napping
Many people like to nap. Naps can be good and naps can be bad. Here are benefits and drawbacks of naps and some important rules to follow for successful napping.

Naps during the afternoon can restore alertness and improve performance and learning. Naps during night shifts can have similar benefits to daytime naps and can even reduce musculoskeletal pain. Longer naps can interfere with nighttime sleep, affecting the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. Frequent long duration naps are associated with higher morbidity and mortality, including: more daytime sleepiness, more pain and fatigue, increased body mass index and waist circumference, higher risk of falls in the elderly, and higher risk of developing diabetes.

Here are some guidelines for successful daytime napping:
10 minute naps produce immediate results lasting about two hours

20 minute naps produce about the same results but with a 30 minute delay

naps longer than 30 minutes can cause loss of alertness and productivity and create sleep inertia as well as interfere with nighttime sleep

for both motor and perceptual learning a 60 to 90 minute nap four hours after the study / training can yield the benefits equal to eight hours of sleep

remember that long frequent naps interfere with nighttime sleep and the resulting poor sleep leads to pressure to nap more

Even with spectacular improvements in healthcare during the past century,
disease continues to persist. In many ways the causes behind this fact are linked to sleep. Sleep is one of the most important factors in good health and longevity. With Americans sleeping about two hours less on average than they did in 1900, one of the reasons for increased disease is apparent.

The study of sleep is a young science. The important modern beginning of the science of sleep began in the 1950s and the basic understanding that there are different stages or types of sleep was learned in the 1960s. During that period there were very few people involved in sleep research. Today there are thousands of sleep scientists and healthcare professionals focused on sleep research. There is much yet to learn about why we sleep, the mechanisms of sleep, our internal biological timekeepers, and the impact sleep has on our lives.

We have been making sleep products for over forty years. We have always been keenly interested in making our products perform the best and provide the best sleep possible. Our products have improved as our knowledge of sleep increases. Working with Nebraska Wesleyan University and pioneers in the field of sleep we founded a sleep research group, American Sleep Research Institute, that in 1988 built the world’s first stand-alone sleep research facility to study what healthy sleep is, good sleep bio-mechanics, and how to achieve it. The research that followed yielded some surprising and important conclusions. We have not only learned that quality sleep is very important to good health, but how long and how well we sleep can predict how long we might live.

The healthiest and longest lived people sleep about eight hours a night on average. A shorter life span is associated with less than seven and more than nine hours per night average sleep. Less than seven hours is apparently not enough to receive the full health benefits of sleep and sleeping more than nine or ten hours can indicate a sleep disorder that robs the benefit of quality sleep.

Among the reasons for shorter than average lifespans is that lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other serious diseases. For example: studies have shown that night shift workers have higher cancer rates. Shift workers struggle with sleeping in synch with their internal bodyclock because the world around them is on a different schedule. Night shift workers also have higher traffic accident rates. So, it is not only disease that works into the statistics of shorter lifespan.

How are disease and sleep linked? One reason is that our immune systems recharge during sleep. Lack of sleep lowers our defenses against disease. The first half of a night’s sleep is the most important in physical healing and prevention of illness. The internal timekeepers that we all have orchestrate repair and rebuilding so that it occurs only during certain phases of sleep. If we do not sleep during those important phases the risk of disease increases.

Another reason for the link between sleep and longevity is the immediate effect lack of sleep has on human performance. Missing sleep leads to poor decision making and can affect everything we do: rushing when we should be methodical, forgetting important procedures, loss of attention (such as when driving), not having the energy to exercise, poorer reaction time, higher stress levels, elevated blood pressure, and inability to adapt to change. These things lead to accidents in the short term, and poor health in the long term. It is only necessary to look at our own or other people’s behavior after a single night of poor sleep. Irritable - Fatigued – Scattered - Sound familiar?

Poor sleep can also contribute to obesity. Even a few nights of short sleep reduces our ability to utilize insulin by forty percent. This creates increased stress on our hormone system. There is good news though, quality sleep is an easy and important part of a weight loss program. When sleep is missed, we become hungry for fats and sugars and the body increases fat storage. Poor sleep leads to caffeine and donuts. Good sleep at the right time of night regulates hormone production to increase muscle mass and reduce fat storage. It is easier to maintain a healthy diet if food cravings are in order and quality sleep will do that. Remember to include a sleep plan in any diet.

For athletes sleep is critical in repairing muscle and learning coordinated movement after training and exercise. For everyone, sleep is a critical part of the healing process after injury. Pain can interfere with sleep and delays this rebuilding and healing process.

So how do we achieve quality sleep? It is important to have good sleep habits. From our years of sleep research, the following principles have been shown to be the most important for healthy adults starting a program of sleep improvement.

iSleep Five Principles of Healthy Sleep

1. Wake up at the same time every day.

2. Make it a priority to sleep eight hours every night.

3. Have a quiet, dark, and peaceful sleep environment.

4. No caffeine or alcohol after dinner.

5. Sleep on a comfortable, posture correcting mattress.

Your Doctor can also advise you about techniques to improve your sleep. Even if you are sleeping the recommended eight hours per night already, you might not be achieving the full benefit of deep, restful, sleep. It is one of the challenges to a good night’s sleep that we are not aware of and cannot completely asses the true quality of our sleep because we are not conscious at the time. Is usually only after symptoms of poor sleep become so extreme that we seek help. This can be too late.

Best time for peak performance
Night owls nervous systems function differently Researchers at the University of Alberta have found that there are significant differences in the way our nervous systems function depending on whether we're early birds or night owls. Neuroscientists divided the study subjects into two groups: those who wake up early and felt most productive in the morning, and those who typically felt livelier at night. Muscle torque and the excitability of pathways through the spinal cord and brain were tested using magnetic resonance imaging-guided brain stimulation. It was found that morning people's brains were most excitable at 9 a.m. This slowly decreased through the day and it was shifted 12 hours later for evening people, their brains were most excitable at 9 p.m. Other reported major findings: * Evening people became physically stronger throughout the day, but the maximum amount of force morning people could produce remained the same. * The excitability of reflex pathways that travel through the spinal cord increased over the day for both groups. These findings show that nervous-system functions are different and have implications for maximizing human performance. This could also influence the optimum time of day for treatment or adjustment. Are your various patients morning or evening oriented? Helping your patients understand the importance of sleep and how to achieve it naturally is a critical part of their care.

Night owls report more insomnia symptoms

People who are considered "night owls" tend to report more insomnia symptoms, even though they have the opportunity to gain more sleep time, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM). The study was authored by Jason C. Ong, PhD, and researchers at Stanford University. It consisted of 312 patients, who were categorized as morning, intermediate and evening chronotypes based upon scores on the Morningness-Eveningness Composite Scale. Comparing people with insomnia who prefer evening activities, the "night owls," to the morning and intermediate types, the night owls reported the most sleep/wake irregularities and waking distress, even after adjusting for severity of sleep disturbance. "Our findings indicate that further research should investigate the relationship between circadian rhythms and insomnia, especially with the severity of the 'night owl' group," said Ong. "These factors may serve to perpetuate the insomnia disorder, and might be particularly important to consider when treating this subgroup of insomniacs."

Being a Night Owl is genetic
All of our body's processes follow a daily cycle controlled by our circadian clock. A common gene variant that affects virtually the entire population has been found that is responsible for up to an hour a day of our tendencies to be an early bird or night owl. "The internal 'biological clock' regulates many aspects of human biology and behavior, such as preferred sleep times, times of peak cognitive performance, and the timing of many physiological processes. It also influences the timing of acute medical events like stroke and heart attack," says first author Andrew Lim, MD, who conducted the work as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). "This particular genotype affects the sleep-wake pattern of virtually everyone walking around, and it is a fairly profound effect so that the people who have the A-A genotype wake up about an hour earlier than the people who have the G-G genotype, and the A-Gs wake up almost exactly in the middle," explains Saper, who is also the James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. This same genotype predicted six hours of the variation in the time of death: those with the AA or AG genotype died just before 11 a.m., like most of the population, but those with the GG genotype on average died at just before 6 p.m. "Also, working out which causes of death are influenced by gene variants like the one we identified may eventually lead to rational timed interventions - such as taking heart medications at particular times depending on which version of the gene variant one carries - to provide protection during an individuals' period of greatest risk," says Lim. The potential clinical applications may be as diverse as the many processes that the circadian clock controls.

Night owls are not as motivated to exercise
People who are "night owls" have a tendency to spend more minutes sitting and are less motivated to regularly exercise, according to a new study from researchers in the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Glazer Baron provides: "We found that even among healthy, active individuals, sleep timing and circadian preference are related to activity patterns and attitudes toward physical activity. Waking up late and being an evening person were related to more time spent sitting, particularly on weekends and with difficulty making time to exercise." A patient's daily sleeping schedule should be considered when giving exercise advice, especially for less active adults, the study suggests.

Neutral sleep posture allows the body to heal properly and prevent future injury.
Why neutral is important: Neutral posture reduces strain and pressure on joints and muscle, allowing good circulation and movement. With pressure on joints and muscle scar tissue can develop. Adhesions bind up tissue that needs to move - muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons can lead to tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. Range of motion and strength are affected. Pain can result. How to achieve neutral sleep posture: Start with a mattress that supports neutral posture. Because the human body has variation in mass and shape, a good mattress must have differentiated support from head to foot. Mattresses that do not have the ability to support differing body sections often mask that defect with extra firmness, this causes too much pressure on soft tissue and reduces compliance for shoulders and hips. It is not possible to achieve a neutral sleep posture on many beds, especially air beds, because of their tendency to "hammock." The iSleep bed overcomes this problem with additional zoned support that is custom tailored to each patient. The two best sleep positions are lateral (side) or supine (back). Avoid prone (stomach) sleeping to avoid torsion in the neck and lower back that can create compression of the discs, degeneration and muscle strain. Side Position Lay on your side with a pillow under your head that is as thick as the distance between your ear and the bed when your neck is straight. Your head should not be elevated or sinking. You might have someone observe your neck while in this position in bed. Back Position Lay on your back with a one pillow under your head and neck that supports the natural cervical curve. Focus on the curve of your spine and adjust the bed to support the lumbar curve. On some beds it might be necessary to place a small pillow under your knees to achieve proper lumbar support. The goal is to have the EAR - SHOULDER - PELVIS - ANKLE all in alignment. Exploding Head Syndrome With a name that sounds like an urban legend it is hard to take it seriously, but this is a real sleep disorder. The syndrome experience is described as hearing abrupt, loud noises when going to sleep or waking up. Sometimes with mild pain, explosions in one or both ears and flashes of light. Considered harmless, the episodes can be frightening. The term "exploding head syndrome" dates to a 1988 article in Lancet. Brian Sharpless, a Washington State University assistant professor and director of the university psychology clinic reviewed the scientific literature on the disorder for Sleep Medicine Reviews. "I've worked with some individuals who have it seven times a night, so it can lead to bad clinical consequences as well." "Some people start to become anxious when they go into their bedroom or when they try to go to sleep," said Sharpless. "Daytime sleepiness can be another problem for people."

Lack of sleep can affect concussion tests
At the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL researchers reported that athletes who didn't get enough sleep the night before undergoing baseline concussion testing didn't perform as well as expected. Lead author, Jake McClure, MD from Vanderbilt University: "Our results indicate athletes sleeping less than 7 hours the night prior to baseline concussion testing did not do as well on 3 out of 4 ImPACT scores and showed more symptoms. Because return-to-play decisions often hinge on the comparison of post-concussion to baseline concussion scores, our research indicates that healthcare providers should consider the sleep duration prior to baseline neurocognitive testing as a potential factor in assessing recovery." The study included 3,686 non-concussed athletes with baseline symptom and ImPACT neurocognitive scores. Subjects were grouped by self reported sleep duration the night before testing. Reaction Time, Verbal Memory, Visual Memory, and total number of reported symptoms were significantly different in the group sleeping less than 7 hours.

Sleep when on a diet or lose muscle mass.
Sleepers and non-sleepers will lose about the same weight on a low-calorie diet. The weight lost will be mostly muscle and not fat without adequate sleep. Dieters sleeping 8.5 hours per night will lose much more fat, while those on 5.5 hours lose mainly muscle, instead of fat. According to research from the University of Chicago published in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The authors concluded: The amount of human sleep contributes to the maintenance of fat-free body mass at times of decreased energy intake. Lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss and related metabolic risk reduction. During sleep the body is producing new bone, muscular and nervous tissue, it is a period when growth and repairs occur - it is a heightened anabolic state.

Sleep quality improvement in chiropractic patients: a pilot study.
American Sleep Research Institute, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA March 1, 2010

STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional descriptive study of self-reported quality of sleep in individuals. OBJECTIVES: To assess and describe subjective quality of sleep in subjects, with and without chiropractic treatments. SETTING: Private Practice. METHODS: A total of 80 Chiropractors, patients, and non-patients were sent and responded to a questionnaire containing queries about chiropractic care, pain intensities, pain timing, mood, and sleep quality and completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale survey to assess quality of sleep. RESULTS: The 80 questionnaires that were returned were analyzed. Respondents were divided into two groups: (1) those who reported receiving chiropractic care, and (2) those who reported to not have had chiropractic care for at least six months. Group(1) Patients of chiropractors reported fewer sleep problems, better quality of sleep and had superior scores on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale compared with Group(2). CONCLUSIONS: Improved subjective sleep quality was associated with chiropractic care. It is possible that the benefit of chiropractic treatments serves as a modulator of sleep factors. SPONSORSHIP: This study was made possible by grants from iSleep.

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