Category : Facts

Unmade Bed
Facts, Tips

How these simple bedroom tips improve your sleep drasticaly

One of the best ways to get a better night’s sleep is to create an environment that is conducive to deep, restful slumber. Your bedroom’s lighting and noise level can both affect how rested you feel each morning. Even the dripping of a leaky faucet or the light of your alarm clock can have an impact on your sleep, so consider adopting a few bedroom tips and making small, simple changes to your sleep environment to feel more rested each morning.

How Light Affects Our Sleep

Light – or a lack of it – is one of the most important ways our body regulates sleep. Bright lights, particularly strong, outdoor lights, help regulate our circadian rhythms. These rhythms operate sort of like a clock, telling us when to sleep and when to wake up. Sunlight and bright indoor lighting tell our brains to wake up, while darkness indicates that it is time for sleep.

Before the invention of the light bulb in the late 19th century, our bodies transitioned between sleeping and waking with cues from natural light and darkness. But now, the brightness from indoor lighting and electronics has disrupted that natural rhythm. Even low lighting from a street lamp or a television set can send our brains the wrong messages and keep us up.

Begin sending the right signals to your brain by powering off electronics and turning down lights in the hour before bedtime. You can also make your bedroom more conducive to sleep by following a few steps to reduce lighting in your sleeping environment. If you are someone who works at night and sleeps during the day, reducing the light in your bedroom is even more essential to restful sleep.

Reducing Light

  • Turn off your television, laptop, tablet, or other electronics before falling asleep. Better yet, shut them off an hour before your head hits the pillow.
  • Use curtains or blinds to diffuse harsh outdoor lights, such as the light from a street lamp. If light still keeps you up, or if you sleep during the day, invest in blackout curtains, which will block all outside light.
  • If you use an alarm clock, choose one that goes dark at night and is only illuminated when you hit the snooze. The glow may not only affect your sleep, but anxiety about the time may also keep you up.
  • Even little lights, such as the light from a laptop’s “on” indicator or the glow of a watch, can impact sleep. Cover these with tape and scraps of paper, or move them to another room, to snooze soundly.
  • If you can’t control some of the light in your room, use an eye mask to block it out.
  • If you frequently get up at night, line the hallway with dim nightlights instead of flipping on overhead lighting. These bright overhead lights can interrupt our brain’s messages and tell us to wake up, making it harder to fall into a deep sleep when we return to bed.

How Noise Affects Our Sleep

For our early ancestors, small noises were often the only indication of an enemy or a predator lurking nearby. Humans adapted to respond to sounds while asleep. This is why, even today, a neighbor’s noisy party shakes us into wakefulness. Even when noises don’t wake us from sleep, they often cause us to transition to a lighter stage sleep, affecting our overall sleep quality and our feelings of restfulness the next day.

But not all noises are bad for our sleep. Some faint sounds, like the low hum of traffic, the sound of crickets, or the ticking of a clock, won’t wake us up if we are acclimated to them. In fact, silence can actually disrupt our sleep. When we are used to complete quiet, even the smallest sounds can startle us awake.

Unfamiliar, inconsistent, or loud noises, however, can wake us up. Outside your house or apartment, you may wake to noises from street construction or arguing neighbors. Inside, you may experience the sounds of a snoring partner or a television set in the next room. Even the dripping of a faucet can keep some people up at night. Improve your sleep by using the following techniques to reduce and control noise in your sleeping environment.

Reducing Noise

  • If you have noisy roommates or nocturnal pets, close your bedroom door to block out sounds.
  • Some people like to fall asleep to nature sounds or soothing music. This kind of background noise may improve your sleep quality, but if you find it waking you up later at night, set the noise on a timer so it shuts off shortly after you fall asleep.
  • If outside noise is invading your sleeping space, invest in heavy or noise-cancelling curtains or line your walls with sound-absorbing panels.
  • Some noises within your sleeping environment – for example, a roommate’s snoring – you may not be able to control. In these cases, invest in high-quality earplugs, which will reduce noise and improve sleep quality.
  • If, on the other hand, your sleeping space is very quiet, small sounds may wake you from a restful sleep. If this is the case, create some “white noise” in your environment by turning on a quiet fan or investing in a white noise machine or smart phone app.
  • If you have a ticking clock in your bedroom, consider packing it on trips so you experience the familiar sound while you’re away.


Making these simple changes to your sleeping area can improve your overall sleep quality. If you continue to suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems, talk to your doctor about medical interventions that may help.

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Young woman sleeping at night in bed
Facts, Health

How Not To Lose Sleep Over Hypertension

The part of the nervous system in vertebrates controlling involuntary actions of the smooth muscles, the heart and the glands is called the autonomic nervous system. Sleep alters its functions and initiates certain physiological events important for normal functioning of the body. When there’s a lack of sleep, one of the outcomes is high blood pressure. This worsens the sleep cycle furthermore but let’s take things one at a time. We’ll start with nocturnal blood pressure (BP).

Sleep, or normal sleep makes blood pressure dip. Nocturnal dipping is between 10% and 20% (both in systolic and diastolic) compared to daytime. When blood pressure drops less than 10%, it is considered abnormal. It indicates an increased cardiovascular risk which translates to an approximately 20% greater risk in mortality. The reasons can be the development of chronic kidney diseases and diabetes due to the high blood pressure and may give rise to resistant hypertension, which is: you have grown tolerance to at least three optimally-dosed medications and not being able to keep your blood pressure under control. The other risk is OSA (obstructive sleep apnea, or… snoring), which occurs when you get to breathe less than you need while asleep.

Sleep Duration and Hypertension Statistics

Following are important statistics about how sleep patterns have changed over the years and is having an increasing impact on our day to day lives.

When high blood pressure doesn’t let you sleep

Really? But we thought it’s a lack of sleep that brings high BP. Yes, but also the other way round and that’s what we are actually interested in. It’s chiefly the BP medications that interfere with the sleep patterns; for example, Alpha-blockers (Uroxatral, Cardura, Minipress, Rapaflo etc.) cuts down REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. In case of Beta-blockers like Tenormin and Coreg, they often bring nighttime awakenings and nightmares by blocking melatonin. Over a long span, they can start chronic insomnia.

Those on ACE-inhibitors (Lotensin, Capoten, Vasotec) also run a risk of losing their sleep since these medications cause a hacking, dry cough. These also increases potassium levels in the body and can lead to diarrhea, leg cramps and body ache; all these add up to sleepless nights. Please ask your doctor if you can change into a safer benzothiazepine calcium channel blockers. If you are above 65 years, medicines like Avodart or Proscar shall prove better. Additionally, you must also try sublingual (under-the-tongue) doses of vitaminB12 (1,000 mcg daily) and B6 (200 mg daily) along with Folic acid (800 mcg daily).

Ways to lower blood pressure naturally

Wonders of Nature comes again to rescue! These herbs exhibit blood pressure lowering potential.

  • Garlic: A very effective herb also against hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), it increases nitric oxide production and relaxes smooth muscles. Garlic decreases BP and lipid peroxidation only when it’s needed and not in healthy people. But it does increase levels of vitamins C and E, which are powerful antioxidants that repair you from within.
  • Prickly Custard apple: Use the leaf extract to decrease peripheral vascular resistance and lower an elevated BP.
  • Celery: Mix an equal amount of its juice and honey (8 ounces total) and take it orally, three times a day for one week. It will reduce both systolic and diastolic BP. With vinegar, it relieves dizziness, headaches and shoulder pain that often show up with BP.
  • Green Oat: Replaces antihypertensive medications effectively and improves BP control. However, don’t rush it; ask your doctor to guide you towards tapering down the dose of medications. Don’t worry, the oats shall fill in the place of the medications.

Gaining back a good night’s sleep by fighting hypertension is easier said than done. However, these recommendations will work better if combined with the methods and measures stated in the previous installments. Remember, Hypertension is more of a symptom and a sign of a disorder, not a disorder itself in most of the cases. Once you know how to eliminate the root cause, you cure a lot of other problems also that were troubling you all this time.

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beautiful woman has woken up and is sitting on a white bed

Sleep less with Polyphasic Sleep Patterns

You may think the way we sleep now, in a single seven- or eight-hour block, is the way humans have been sleeping for thousands of years. But the truth is, for much of human history, people have slept in segments rather than all at once. Polyphasic sleep refers to sleeping patterns that are broken up throughout the day. In many societies throughout history, people have slept in smaller chunks or napped during the day, either for leisure or necessity. Warriors, for example, slept in short segments to catch up on sleep before reentering battle.

The way most people sleep now is called monophasic, referring to the single chunk we spend in bed each night. But more and more, people are transitioning to polyphasic sleep to improve their sleep quality and decrease their overall time asleep. While many people following a polyphasic routine get the typical seven or eight hours of sleep each day, some people who transition to a polyphasic schedule are able to sleep just two hours a day without becoming sleep-deprived.

Uberman Sleep Schedule

The Uberman sleep schedule, the most popular of the polyphasic sleep routines, consists of six 20-minute naps, which are taken every four hours during the day. Following this sleep schedule, you would get a total of two hours of sleep per day. Some people adapt the schedule so it includes eight naps instead of the traditional six (one every three hours) to get an extra 40 minutes of sleep.

Because the Uberman sleep schedule is a significant departure from the traditional monophasic routine, most people will need the help of others to transition to this new sleep pattern. Expect to spend three to four weeks with significant cognitive impairment as your body adjusts to the new schedule.

The Uberman schedule is one of the most difficult to adapt to, as it is very different from traditional sleep patterns. Many people fail to adapt to this schedule, but still may find success with other polyphasic sleeping patterns.

Everyman Sleep Schedule

The Everyman sleep schedule is an alternative to the Uberman sleep schedule. With the Everyman routine, you sleep for 3 to 3.5 hours at night and then take three 20-minute naps during the day for a total of 4 to 4.5 hours of sleep daily.

The schedule is designed to coincide with when your body is naturally more inclined to sleep. Adherents may get their “core sleep” in the late evening and arise in the very early morning. Many adherents schedule two naps in the morning and the third in the middle of the afternoon.

Several variations to the Everyman sleep schedule exist with differences in the length of the core sleep and the length and number of naps. Experiment to find the one that fits best with your body and schedule.

People adjusting to the Everyman sleep schedule will experience fewer cognitive effects than with Uberman, but should still expect a significant transition period while the body adjusts.

Dymaxion Sleep Schedule

The Dymaxion sleep routine may be the most challenging schedule to master, and it may only work for people who need four or fewer hours of sleep on a monophasic schedule. The Dymaxion routine consists of four 30-minute naps evenly spaced during the day. For most people, this schedule does not provide enough REM sleep to fully recharge.

Some people have experimented with the Dymaxion routine and made adjustments, such as creating a 1.5-hour core sleep with three short naps. This routine may not work for everyone, particularly if you are someone who requires at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night.


Diagrams showing sleeping hours in polyphasic sleep patterns

Napping and Siestas

These types of sleep schedules, which break sleep up into a long core at night and a shorter midday nap, are the most common type of polyphasic sleep schedules. In fact, many cultures have traditionally encouraged midday naps as a way to recharge, rest, or escape the hot sun. There are many variations to this sleep schedule. Core sleep time may range from 4 to 7 hours, while midday naps range from 20 to 90 minutes. Some people naturally nap for 20 minutes, while others may not wake for an hour or more. Experiment and find out which is best for you.

For many people, this type of schedule is the most realistic for their busy days. One key is not to nap too late in the day because then your siesta may interfere with your nighttime sleep. Also note that you may have to adjust caffeine consumption, which can impact your ability to nap during the day.

Transitioning to a New Sleep Schedule

While many people jump right into a new sleep schedule, you’ll experience fewer adverse effects – and potentially greater success – if you transition slowly. Once you’ve chosen the schedule you want to pursue, work slowly toward your goal by shortening your core sleep time and adding naps at the scheduled times in your day. This will help your body adjust to sleeping at new times.

Gradually reduce your overall sleep time. Keep yourself from sleeping longer than scheduled by using an alarm or a friend or family member to wake you up. If one schedule does not work for you, consider trying another before giving up on polyphasic sleep.

Precautions and Long-Term Effects

Some people should not switch to a polyphasic sleep schedule. Children and people who are in poor health should not use a reduced-sleep polyphasic schedule, as it may create or complicate health problems. Similarly, young adults may need more sleep than older adults to stay healthy and feel rested.

While people have used a variety of sleep schedules throughout history, the long-term effects of polyphasic sleep are not yet known. If you are considering switching to a polyphasic sleep schedule, talk to your doctor about making the transition and whether you should take any precautions.

Sources: Polyphasic Society

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Mature man, eyes wide open with hand on alarm clock, cannot sleep at night from insomnia
Facts, Health

How Insomnia Impacts Your Health

In an earlier post we explained how sleeping issues have an impact on the people around us and society in general. But from a personal health standpoint, sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss are associated with: diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure. In fact, according to numerous studies, if you suffer from insomnia, a disorder characterized by trouble both falling and staying asleep—you have a 90 percent chance of also having a secondary health issue.

Insomnia, the natural fat

As an added bonus, lack of sleep can also make you fat—literally. Studies now show that too many sleepless nights can increase your appetite and hunger levels. A 2004 study revealed that people who get less than six hours sleep a night are close to 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who’ve slept even one hour more. The study showed that: “Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin,” the peptides that regulate appetite. So all of you late-night bingers, rest assured; there really is a reason for your insatiable 3 am hunger. And of course, this hunger isn’t for the food that is actually good for us. We crave fattening, high-carb snacks as we search the cupboards in our zombie-like states. Chips, candies, ice cream, chocolate… anything to fill that late night or early-morning hunger. Enough studies have now made this correlation that a recommendation for 7-9 hours sleep may be part of all weight loss regimes.

Deprivation causes Frustration

It also stands to reason that continued lack of sleep can lead to frustration and eventually depression. I get that. But apparently, insomniacs are actually five times more likely to develop depression than people who actually sleep. And this can easily become a vicious cycle: less sleep can heighten depression and deeper depression can cause more sleepless nights.

Another obvious effect of lack of sleep is that it can affect our sense of judgment. When you are exhausted, it becomes increasingly harder to see things clearly. Whether we believe we are functioning well or not, studies show that people who get even as much as 6 hours sleep perform worse on mental alertness and physical performance tests compared to people who get 7-9 hours of shut eye every night.

And for all of you women (and men) who are worried about the inevitable signs of aging, people who suffer from lack of sleep show just that, marked signs of aging such as sallow skin and puffy eyes even after just a few sleepless nights. For you chronic insomniacs, sleep loss can lead to those horrible dark circles under your eyes that even the best concealer can’t hide. Your skin will also lack that youthful luster, not to mention the growing number of fine lines and eventual deep wrinkles that seem to come out of nowhere. This is due in part to the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down your skin’s collagen that keeps your skin smooth and elastic.


Lack of sleep can be especially serious for younger people since too little sleep causes the body to release too little human growth hormone (HGH). As we get older, HGH helps to increase muscle mass, thicken the skin, and strengthen our bones. And this hormone is only released during deep sleep, a type of sleep insomniacs rarely get.

Another issue caused by lack of sleep is lowered libido. While this is easy to understand, when you’re exhausted, sleep is all you can think about, this will probably not bode well for your partner, or your ego for that matter, however.
While all of this is bad enough, if you are getting 5 or fewer hours of sleep a night, a 2007 study shows that you are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease. In fact, you have essentially doubled your risk of death from ALL causes. Yikes!

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Lazy man against gray background.
Close up of a tired guy.

The Real Cost of a Sleepless Night

You know when the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) states that sleep disorders have become a national health epidemic that the issue is probably pretty serious. For those of you who are part of this ‘epidemic,’ you know the toll that countless sleepless nights can take on you, both physically and mentally. But that is only part of the real cost of sleepdisorders according to several new studies. The issue has become so widespread that employers are now able to put an actual dollar amount on the negative effects caused by their exhausted employees. And overall, it’s in the millions!

Sleep Disorders And Nuclear Meltdowns

While many people can have a few nights of interrupted sleep here and there and cope just fine, it’s those of us who suffer with the curse of chronic insomnia and other sleep-related disorders that truly understand how seriously lack of sleep does affect us.
Did you know that sleep deprivation was actually a factor in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island? What if I were to tell you that the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl was also related to lack of sleep? How about the horrific Exxon Valdez oil spill that killed close to 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, close to 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs according to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council? Yup, you guessed it. Lack of sleep coupled with an excessive workload was stated as the cause behind why the third mate failed to properly maneuver the huge vessel. While there were other factors involved, it is actually sad that just a little sleep could have possibly prevented this unfathomable disaster.

Lack of sleep is also the cause of close to 100,000 car accidents in the US every year. And surprisingly it’s people under the age of 25 who are more likely to cause these accidents. Studies have proven that drowsiness behind the wheel can slow your reaction time as much as if you were drinking. The difference is that the majority of people who know they are drunk don’t get behind the wheel. We don’t hesitate in most cases if we are tired, which is pretty scary when you think of the consequences.

Drowsy Drivers Road Sign

How Sleep Disorder Affects Your Memory

Lack of sleep also affects your ability to pay attention. It can also severely affect your ability to stay alert and concentrate. Reasoning and problem-solving abilities decline significantly with lack of sleep. For students, this can make learning more difficult, especially since many of the different sleep cycles we are supposed to undergo, help us to “consolidate” memories, meaning if you don’t get enough sleep, you will have a very hard time remembering what you learned or experienced during the day.

In 2009, researchers showed that specific brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for this memory consolidation. These ripples also transfer any information we may have learned from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep… sleep that insomniacs and others who suffer from various sleep disorders rarely get.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


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