Alaska Sleep Education Center

Night Owls to Early Birds

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Jun 19, 2019 11:09:00 AM

Early to bed early to rise or night owl: which camp do you reside in? Each could have potential negative and positive effects on your body depending on your own sleep cycle. Today we will look at the positives and negatives of the night owl along with ways to convert over to an early bird.

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Topics: insomnia, circadian rhythm, delayed sleep phase

Avoiding Sleep Disruptions During the Holidays

Posted by Natalie Dautovich on Nov 25, 2018 7:01:00 AM

Despite looking forward to the holiday season, many people emerge from the holidays feeling the effects on their physical and emotional well-being. Often, disrupted sleep is the culprit.

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Topics: holiday, circadian rhythm

Sleep Deprivation: Chapter 11

Posted by Joe Smith on Oct 22, 2018 8:35:00 AM

Chapter 11

Prevention

 

Really, the best way to prevent sleep deprivation is to practice good sleep hygiene, something we have talked about a few times before. Here are the basic steps you can take in order to attain a good standard of sleep hygiene and end up with a good rest:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
  • Shut off devices and do soothing things an hour before bed
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool
  • Avoid caffeine at least five hours before bed, same with alcohol
  • Don’t eat for at least three hours before bed
  • Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to boost mental and physical tiredness

It’s actually very quick and simple, making it easy for anyone to follow. Of course, it can be hard to get into the swing of things, so take some time to really work on a routine and getting your sleep hygiene just right.

The issue is, sleep deprivation is often linked to serious accidents, as well as poor job and school performance – lowering a person’s quality of life substantially. It disrupts the brain’s ability to balance emotions and the ability to think, lowering your natural defenses, and increasing your chances of developing chronic medical conditions.

Of course, the occasional poor night of sleep won’t cause you much harm, but it will if it becomes a persistent problem. After all, there is no substitute for restorative sleep, and so care should be taking to prevent ongoing sleep deprivation regardless of age.


To Conclude

Hopefully, this has helped you to better understand the world of sleep deprivation, how it is caused, and the ways in which it can be treated. It is amazing how negatively you can be impacted by a lack of sleep, and the number of health conditions that can be caused by consistently missing out should be enough to make sure you get started on paying back your sleep debt. After all, it is your health and well-being on the line.

If you live in Alaska and have chronic sleep deprivation, call us today and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, sleep hygiene, medication

Sleep Deprivation: Chapter 10

Posted by Joe Smith on Oct 21, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Chapter 10

Habits to Avoid

If you are sleep deprived, or trying to avoid becoming that way, there are a few bad habits that you really need to avoid, and they are as stated below:

#1 Taking a Nap

There are times where napping can help to give you the boost you need, especially in college or before an essential meeting, but if you don’t need to nap then consider skipping it. This is because it can lower your sleep drive, causing you to go to bed later that night and wake up feeling slow and groggy the next day. If you really do need to nap though, make sure it is between 1pm and 3pm for no more than 25 minutes, as this is the optimal time to ensure that your sleep at night is not disrupted.

#2 Going to Bed Early

It can be really tempting to do this, especially when you are feeling absolutely exhausted. However, doing so can mess up your circadian rhythm over time, and this results in what is known as being both wired and tired – where your brain is not ready to go to sleep so early, but your body is. This makes it difficult to fall asleep and can lead to stress and frustration.

#3 Sleeping In

It can seem tempting, especially on a Sunday morning after a long night in or out. However, just one morning of sleeping in by 30 minutes can completely change your internal clock, prompting your body to wake up later than usual. So, if you spend the weekends sleeping in, there is a reason it is so hard to get up on a Monday morning. Try to get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends, to make your week and easier one.

#4 Caffeine Boosts

You’ll probably remember this from being in college, those late nights spend sucking down caffeine until the early hours of the morning so you could finish that essential paper. However, it is a terrible habit to have if you are facing sleep deprivation. The average time it takes caffeine to leave your body is around 8-10 hours, so it is best not to drink any caffeinated beverages after around 2pm. However, this does also depend on your personal tolerance for the stimulant as everyone is different.

#5 Booze Before Snooze

Yes, it has been dubbed a sedative as well as a great way to fall asleep, and this is true. However, it is also the best way to get an unfulfilled and restless night of sleep too. Alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM), which is the most restorative part of sleep and helps us turn short-term memories into long-term ones. As a result, alcohol before bed can affect your memory and cause a restless sleep. Plus, it could even wake you up once the alcohol has been fully metabolized.

#6 Scrolling Through Facebook

Social media before bed is the bane of sleep everywhere, and it can have really negative impacts on the quality. Of course, flicking through Facebook or Twitter could send you down a social media rabbit hole because your sleepy self is fresh out of self-control, but the blue screen is the main culprit. It actually mimics daylight, boosting your brain and making it difficult to fall asleep. The more you engage with the social media in questions, the more amped up your brain becomes, making you more awake and alert, which will ensure falling asleep is much harder. So, say no to that last-minute scroll through Instagram before you go to sleep.

#7 Snacking Before Bed

Food choices and sleep deprivation are never a good mix, and having a midnight snack before bed can leave you feeling really heavy and bloated, so you won’t be able to sleep for a few hours. We were not made to digest food lying down, and hard to digest food can cause restless sleep or an inability to do so, as well as a slower metabolism and weight gain.

It’s best to eat no more than three hours before bed so that your body can start digesting it, but going to bed hungry can keep you awake too. If you need that snack before sleep, try having something light like Greek yogart and bananas. This is a perfect combination of 80% carbs and 20% protein, which is shown to have a calming effect on the body. Cheese and crackers is an option too, but the nightmare superstition is very real for some.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 11: Prevention and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, sleep hygiene, medication

Sleep Deprivation: Chapter 9

Posted by Joe Smith on Oct 20, 2018 2:15:00 PM

Chapter 9

Complications of Sleep Deprivation

There are a number of complications and concerns that come with sleep deprivation. For one, it weakens your ability to handle reasoning, as that area of the brain is affected by lack of sleep. This part of the brain is known as the prefrontal cortex, and it is used to control the emotional section (the amygdala). As a result, sleep deprivation leads to emotions being processed in an abnormal manner.

It is also necessary to get enough sleep in order for the brain to learn. A lack of sleep causes difficulty in concentration as well as the ability to create new memories. If we stay awake all night or cut our sleep short by a significant amount, the body will not release the necessary hormones to regulate growth and appetite. Instead, it ends up with a cornucopia of stress chemicals, like cortisol.

In fact, research suggests that a shorter sleep duration can actually cause weight gain in both adults and children, with each hour of reduction in sleep time per day being associated with an increase of 0.35kg in body weight. These changes can then result in an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, and even strokes.

A lack of sleep can also have a massive impact on a healthy person’s ability to function emotionally and think normally, which can result in the following:

  • A reduced tendency to think positively
  • Poor moods and a decreased willingness to solve issues
  • Greater tendency towards superstition and magical belief
  • Decreased empathy and an increased intolerance for others
  • Poor impulse control
  • Inability to delay gratification

Those who are experiencing a loss of sleep are more likely to have increased feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. They are also more prone to feel powerless, like a failure, have low self-esteem, poor job performance, conflicts with co-workers, and an overall reduced quality of life. Many of these feelings remain even when stimulants are introduced to boost energy, like caffeine. Those who are sleep deprived are also more likely to score highly on scales for depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

There is also the risk of microsleeps when a person has become really fatigued. After around 16 hours of staying awake, the body will attempt to balance the need for sleep, and if a person does not get enough of it, the brain will find other ways to get the sleep it needs.

Microsleeps are an uncontrollable response that your brain has when you are deprived of sleep, and it renders a person completely unable to process any stimulation around you as well as sensory information for an incredibly brief amount of time.

Your eyes will tend to remain open during a microsleep, but you will be spaced out during it. The attacks come on suddenly, making it potentially dangerous to drive or operate heavy machinery during them. A microsleep will happen regardless of whether or not you try to stay away, and it is because of this that it is almost impossible to stay away for more than 48 hours.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 10: Habits to Avoid and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, microsleep

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