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BEAUTY SLEEP:

What do Hollywood beauty experts have to say on the subject of beauty sleep?

Here’s some sage advice, from beginning to end, from one who knows the increasing importance of getting your beauty sleep, especially in midlife. She aptly contrasts how we can party hardy in our 20s, but lose one or two night’s sleep in midlife, and look like you have aged many, many years. This girl (and I say that with all due respect) knows what she’s talking about. LISTEN UP, MIDLIFE LADIES!

Style: You Are Feeling Very Sleepy – How to Get Your Midlifer Beauty Sleep

To find out more about why beauty sleep makes you look SO good, go to the Sleep Diva’s post: Sleep Diva Beauty Secret

 

 

Image: porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Sleep INTERRUPTED…Good Morning America Debate

International Best Seller Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,”  ended up in a debate on Good Morning America with a guest doctor who strongly disagreed with several of his views in his new book “The 4-Hour Body.”

Mr. Ferris follows some recent discussions about being able to sleep less (or barely at all, in his case) in order to get more done and do more of the things one truly enjoys.  While these are worthy goals, there are few, if any, human beings who could get by on the amount of sleep or the patterns of sleep he recommends.  The Sleep Diva wants to know: Aren’t we all doing enough, Tim, and in many cases, way too much that we need to rob the restorative, refreshing, memory-consolidating aspects of a good night’s sleep so we can do more?

Click below to hear the audio excerpt from Good Morning America debating Ferriss’s radical statement on sleep:

Sleep INTERRUPTED…Good Morning America Debate

Mr. Ferriss contends that humans only need 2 hours of sleep per day if they time it just right, taking 20 minute naps six times throughout the day. This is not a new theory, but is referred to as “polyphasic sleep.” First defined by 20th-century psychologist J.S. Szymanski, a polyphasic sleep cycle is defined by sleeping multiple times in a 24 hour period.

Also referred to as “Uberman’s sleep schedule,” it is practiced by those who want to experiment with ultra-short napping to achieve more time awake each day. (Developing A Polyphasic Sleep Cycle)

At its best, the planned napping of polyphasic sleep differs quite a bit from random fits and starts of sleep for a person with insomnia, but there is a lot of argument that the reality of this type of interrupted sleep can be quite detrimental. In the article “Why You Don’t Want to Wake Up – Interrupted Sleep Interrupts Memory” in Psychology Today, the author references a study at Stanford as evidence for sleeping in uninterrupted blocks as much as possible.

The Stanford research team under Craig Heller and Luis Licea studied the affects of waking up mice more than usual to see what implications this could suggest for humans in similar conditions. This excerpt from the article summarizes their results:

Interrupt human sleep and you can’t get enough deep sleep and REM sleep. The beauty of the present study from Craig Heller’s lab was that the mice, generally interrupted at 60-120 second intervals, looked okay, had normal and unchanged sleep indices, showed no increases in steroid stress hormone levels, and behaved pretty much the same – except that their memory function was considerably diminished. All it took was decreasing the intervals between arousals about 30-40% above normal.

The answer: You mess up their memory and learning with relatively few 10 second stimulations – even though the rest of their sleep remains “normal.”

The implication: wake people up enough times and you mess up their physiology, even if they can’t recall the awakenings and objectively sleep as much as any normal sleeper.

The clinical bottom line: keep people sleeping without arousals as much as you can to improve overall health and function.

Michael Bonnet of the Wright State School of Medicine is one of many who studied what very brief arousals can do to human sleep.

The results he got were not pretty. Wake up “perfect” young sleepers for three seconds at a time often enough, and they felt like they were up all night – even if they slept 95% or more of the night.

In the interview, Tim seems to understand that this approach is not for everybody, but rather for a select few who can dedicate themselves to following a different sleep pattern.

While there might be occasions for getting less sleep than normal without consequence, the Sleep Diva, along with Dr. Boyle, cannot recommend this as a useful sleep pattern.  Aside from the changes in memory consolidation to think of, the hormone cascade which sets the body back to normal is not something we have success with disrupting.  The consequences of messing with estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid and cortisol, to name just a few, would not be  worth the gains in extra time. Aren’t we all doing enough already, Tim, and who has time to arrange six 20 minute naps a day?  That sounds like a full time job in itself.


 

 

 

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Many top models and actresses, the very people the media declares are the most beautiful people in the world, know an amazingly simple secret about the key to lasting beauty: something commonly referred to as “BEAUTY SLEEP.”

Unfortunately, it is far too uncommon that women are getting the truly restorative sleep that is required to create the beneficial results possible with proper sleep.

According to an article by Dr. Matthew Edlund in Psychology Today, even Gwyneth Paltrow says that she “looks like a train wreck” if she misses even one night of proper sleep. He adds the reasons why “sleep helps you look good” in the following excerpt (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-rest/201110/sleep-and-beauty) :

1. You grow a lot of skin in sleep. Some studies argue perhaps the skin spurt in sleep in 30 times what it is during some parts of the day. Lots of new, healthy skin appears while you slumber.
2. Growth hormone literally reshapes much of our continuously regrowing bodies. Growth hormone receives its greatest production during slow wave sleep. Though slow wave sleep decreases with age, it can increase with properly timed physical activity and hot baths right before you sleep.
3. Better learning – for all the many parts of your body. A great deal of learning is unconscious – by muscle, ligament, sinew, as well as brain cells – and occurs during sleep. Cut out the process and you simply don’t learn properly – whether it’s learning dance steps, remaking your ankles, or remembering and using mathematical formulas. Proper sleep makes you more balanced, more fit, more coordinated. It’s not surprising professional sports teams are adding sleep docs to their rosters in order to improve athletic performance. The rest of us will just regenerate better with adequate rest.
4. You’ll look a lot less tired. One German study which looked at sleepless versus non-sleepy people revealed faces became far less attractive following a night without shut-eye. And the photographs were made during daylight hours they would otherwise look good – not the pale faces of waking mornings. Even the normal, standard partial sleep deprivation of everyday American life does nothing for our appearance – or our waistline. By shucking sleep to work, tend children, play games and text during the night, we end up looking more tired, more exhausted – more unattractive.

Here’s the deal:
There’s no doubt that Dr. Edlund has something useful to say here to all of us who want to look our best, but the words of Gwyneth Paltrow speak to the true heart of the matter. You’ve heard it said that “beauty is only skin deep”? Well even the lovely Ms. Paltrow, who has access to the top makeup and cosmetics in the world, knows the source of her looks as a well-rested night and is honest enough to admit that. Cheers for her!! And let’s all consider her sage beauty advice – great sleep, most every night, is the core of really looking good. You, too, can have this for yourself. Challenge yourself to get your best possible sleep, and if you get stuck somewhere, call the Sleep Diva.

 

 

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Do you catch up on Facebook or check your e-mail right before going to bed? You are not alone…

A study released on Monday indicated that people in the United States are losing sleep over their late night television watching and social media activities. You can read more about the National Sleep Foundation study here.

According to the study, 95% of us play video games, watch television or use smartphones or laptop computers right before going to bed.

Spending that last hour before bed staring at the light from your monitor or smartphone makes getting to sleep more difficult because the light supresses the release of sleep-producing melatonin and makes you more alert.

According to the study, 43 percent of people ages 13 to 64 felt they rarely or never got a decent night’s sleep during the work week.

Cutting back on gadget use an hour before bedtime will help you relax and get  a better night’s sleep.

Stay tuned for more tips tomorrow on how to create a bedroom environment conducive to sleep (yes, kicking the computer out of the bedroom is a good start…)

In honor of Sleep Awareness week, I am offering free sleep screenings on Friday, March 11.  Fill out the form on the right side of this page to schedule your appointment.

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Have you tried ‘everything’ and still can’t sleep?

One of the first (and hardest steps) of treating a sleep problem is recognizing that all those sleepless nights may by signs of a treatable sleep disorder. Many people ignore the symptoms of a sleep problem … willing themselves to get more sleep each night and waking up tired every morning. We tell ourselves to “get more sleep” but often, this is easier said than done.

To overcome your sleep problem once and for all, you need to get to the root of the problem. If you don’t treat the root cause, you won’t sleep any better. Here is a quick “cheat sheet” of common sleep disorders to get you started on identifying you particular sleep problem. One of the most helpful things is to talk to a professional about your sleep issues.

In honor of National Sleep Week, I am offering free sleep screenings on Friday, March 13. Click here to learn more or to sign up for a 10 minute screening (sign up using the box on the right)

Here are some of the reasons you may not be sleeping well:

Insomnia: A very common sleep problem marked by sleepless nights. You wake up feeling tired or fatigued. You end up being feeling tired or irritable during the day.

Sleep Apnea: The most common of the three types of sleep apnea is “obstructive sleep apnea,” which occurs when enough air isn’t able to get through your mouth/nose and into the lungs.

Because the air isn’t getting through, you start breathing shallowly or stop breathing completely,– at least for a few seconds. You may snort, cough, or snore as your body tries to restart the breathing process.

You do get back to sleep – but because of all of the snoring and coughing, you are not getting quality, uninterrupted sleep. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but it is a symptom.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): Do you legs burn, itch or tingle at night? If so, you may suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome. Moving your legs makes them feel better, but the movement causes a low-quality restless sleep.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): PLMD is similar to Restless Leg Syndrome. Unlike RLS, the leg twiching and movement is involuntary.

The legs are usually affected by PLMD, but sometimes your arms move too. You may not even be aware that you are moving. The movement causes restless sleep.

This usually takes place in the legs, but for some, the arms are also affected. These movements – though you may be unaware of them – lead to a restless sleep. You wake up tired and fatigued because you didn’t sleep well.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS): Do you often feel like you were born to live in a different time zone? If you’re suffering from DSPS, it seems as if your circadian rhythm (an internal 24-hour cycle) is off by half a day, and you’re unable to sleep during nighttime hours. Because you aren’t on the same sleep schedule as your friends and family, DSPS can seriously affect your quality of life.

Narcolepsy: A dangerous disorder defined by excessive sleepiness during the daytime, as well as periods when the body’s muscles are weakened into a state of cataplexy. You’re at risk when you’re doing everyday tasks, like driving a car from Point A to Point B, since a narcoleptic attack could occur at any time.

These are a few of the causes of chronic sleep problems. There are many others ranging from hormonal issues, to poor sleep environments, snoring, seasonal affective disorder, sleepwalking, racing thoughts and more. Any of these issues can lead to sleep deprivation and take a physical, mental or emotional tool on your life.

If you are having trouble sleeping, take me up on my offer for a free sleep screening this Friday.  The sign up box is to the right on this website.

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It seems so easy.  Just get into bed and go to sleep.  It seems easy, but it’s so troublesome for the majority of us. Why can’t we find the right formula for sleep, night after night?  This blog is all about finding that formula, from both a scientific and an ordinary sleeper’s point of view.  Double the questions and the equation for MIDLIFE.  There’s too much to do, too little time, so many obligations. And our bodies are undergoing the biggest change since adolescence.

Finding balance in a number of things will be the subject of this blog on getting your best night’s sleep in midlife – tonight and most every night.  A number of ingredients make up the recipe for balance and you’ll see them all examined here, but here are the main keys to balance:

  1. SIMPLIFY
  2. BALANCE YOUR HORMONES
  3. BREATHE AND BE MINDFUL
  4. EAT GENTLY
  5. SLEEP VERY WELL

Sounds easy enough doesn’t it, yet each of these areas has something important to contribute to good sleep that isn’t immediately obvious.

SIMPLIFY – Take a deep breath and ponder what routines could be done with less complication in your life; is it mental or physical clutter that has you in a whirlwind of activity, or just doing too much and thinking you have to do all those things to get through your day and then somehow drop into bed and sleep peacefully? Be all about being, not just doing;

BALANCE YOUR HORMONES – A key to midlife wellness and soothing, peaceful sleep is an understanding of how your hormones work and your options for keeping them in balance.  Learn some of that here;

BREATHE – A simple, easy, free way to activate the body’s own, natural calming down system, but it’s important to know how it works, to practice regularly and to  scan for tension to see how your efforts are paying off;

AND BE MINDFUL – Mindfulness is the most well-known and scientifically-researched way of calming both the mind and the body so we slide peacefully into sleep, and go through our day with a lowered level of tension doing our daily work with a greater sense of purpose and mastery;

EAT GENTLY   It might be going too far to say that What You Eat is How You Sleep, but this neglected aspect of sleep needs more focus as we plan for the latter part of our day, and transition from work to home in that Happy Hour without alcohol that helps us move from work to home and begin our descent into sleep;

SLEEP VERY WELL  A series of formulas for making sleep work, involving examining hormones, sleep habits, the light-dark cycle, sleep disorders, the latest research on midlife and many other sleeping well topics.

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