Sunday, June 24, 2012

Want to Live to 100?

A quick post, I found an article that sums up a lot of what this blog tries to show our readers.  It was on Yahoo, and can be accessed by clicking: .  Sleep may be the most important thing we can do for our health, yet so many try to see how little they can get away with... If you sleep well, you live well.  Visit our Comapany web site at to improve the quality of your sleep on a great Comfortaire Mattress.

Sleep Well!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Circadian Rhythms

So much is talked about our body clocks, how better sleep can improve our performance.  But how does this 'clock' work, and what the heck are Circadian Rhythms?

Body clock and it's affect on health
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences definition of circadian rhythms is:
"Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes. The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology."*

Quite a mouthful!  Bottom line is circadian rhythms are what controls our sleep / wake cycle in our discussion on sleep.  It is, if you will, our body's reaction to the environment, especially light and dark times. 

We can affect our clocks, however, the natural state will always want to reemerge.  To control when you see light or dark will affect the clock.  So a shift worker working a late shift should sleep in a darkened room during daylight hours.  The darker the room the better.  In fact all of us should try to eliminate light from our sleeping areas, something we don't always do so well.  Think cell phones, TVs, ipods, and the like that generate light and often we keep right next to our beds.

The master clock is located in the hypothalamus, near the optic nerves.  It is a dense group of nerves.  Besides sleep the clock also controls the release of other hormones, and controls our body temperature.  The clock is our brains hardware, loaded with certain software that will maximize our ability to cope with the environment.  Which is why paying attention to the circadian rhythms is so important.  We have talked about sleep cycles, and how these cycles are important to our over all well being and health.  Circadian Rhythms can affect our productivity, stress levels, and even our body weight.

According to NIGMS, the circadian rhythms also have a genetic component.  Which may help explain why different people require different amounts of sleep.  But don't be fooled and blame your 5 hour sleep nights to genetics!  You need to find the proper amount of sleep for your body.  In doing so, your body can maximize it's ability to respond to infection, stress, injury, or other important things that will make you happier, more active, and healthy.

Sleep Well!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Healthy Sleep

We all should know that healthy sleep is better sleep.  And that is one thing we like to promote.  But what is healthy sleep?

We spend a third of our lives in bed sleeping or trying to sleep.  Sometimes sleep eludes us and that is when we get cranky, become under productive and may develop health issues.  Stress can keep us from sleeping healthy, from work to personal lives there are times when thing just do not go our way.  It is important to try to not let these times affect our sleep.  It is a "catch 22"  stress leads to poor sleep which leads to increased stress.  Did you know that in a poll, sponsored by, only 2% of us report that current events causes sleep issues?  Current events include economic recessions, politics, and world affairs.  Sixteen percent report that personal finances wrecks their sleep.  And last, family issues deters 23% of us from a good healthy night's sleep.

They did not combine the above in their research, however, often times family issues can be caused by financial issues, which can be caused by macro economic issues.  The point is that in the world as it is today in 2012, there are lots of reasons to lose sleep.  So what are we to do?

Consider stress reduction techniques.  Often times just admitting there is stress allows us to process it in our brains and reduce it.  There are many stress reduction activities available to us, from meditation to exercise.  And don't forget the family!  One thing that family has done through out the millennia is offer a support structure.  Spouses should talk, children should talk to parents, and parents should talk to children.  Even more distant relatives and friends can boost your well being and help reduce stress.  Some people turn to religion to reduce stress.  And some will find a way to feel they are working to change the stress points. 

What ever works for you, do it!  Poor sleep can be a plague on us.  Also know what healthy sleep is.  Try to go to bed at the same time every day, and wake up at the same time.  A consistent schedule can be your best defense.  Avoid alcohol, especially before bed time.  Find ways to relax, like a warm bubble bath, or yoga.  Try to exercise, but not before bed.  Avoid mood altering drugs like caffeine or nicotine.  Tell yourself a joke, tickle your significant other, it really doesn't matter, as long as you relax.

So you are now an expert!  See how well you can sleep well to be well, by taking this quiz:

Sleep Well!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lose Weight... By Sleeping

Lose weight by sleeping?
 What?  Did you read that right?  Yes you did!  Besides exercise and calorie control the way we sleep can determine the success of any diet.

Us News and World Report published an article on just this phenomena.  In it they report that not getting enough sleep can do several things.  They sight sources that tell us that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep at night are more likely to be obese.  Lack of sleep can add to your Body Mass Index or BMI.  Lack of sleep will stress the body, putting it in the protective mode ingrained in our DNA.  When stressed the hormones secreted will cause us to be more efficient in storing calories, adding fat because it senses lean times.  It is all about survival.  Hormones controlling appetite were effected.  And the cravings were not always healthy, seems the body was calling for carbs and starches more than for healthier fruits and vegetable products.  Most diets try to regulate carbs, fats, and or starches to try to boost metabolism.

Hmm, so it seems the metabolism is effected as well.  Lack of sleep can lead to an over all lethargy, too tired to go to the gym, maybe I'll take a nap after work or school.  Less activity means that the extra calories from those cravings will end up as fat.  The research they site says that there was an 8% drop in resting metabolism, which could mean an extra 10 pounds over a year's time. 

Both the cravings and metabolic drop can lead to diabetes or pre-diabetes.  Seems according to the research that the pancreas stopped reacting normally to meals.  And we know that obesity can lead to diabetes.  Could it be that simple?  Just get a good night's sleep?  When you combine a regular schedule, with the proper amount of sleep and diet and exercise, yes.

Let's talk for a minute on "regular" schedule.  Our bodies have a biological clock, that clock tells us when to wake, when to sleep, and when to eat.  When we ignore the clock we stress our bodies.  So not only is the quantity of sleep important, but when you sleep is also important.  When we look back at a somewhat more pure time, around 1900, before the electric light, TV, Computers and the Internet, the average adult slept on average of 9 hours.  Obesity was much less a problem.  And what's more our biological clock is built on nature, we tend to want to sleep when it is dark, and do waking activities during the day.  And consider there is very little change day to day when the sun comes up, yes over the year it does change, but it is literally minutes a day.  The point here is that we need to go to sleep and get up at about the same time every day.  And the bonus:  Monday mornings will be more manageable.

This blogger also believes that the biggest meal of the day should be early, like breakfast.  Way back in the 1900's we were also more of an agrarian nation, and we ate what was available.  No running to the store, no prepared cereals and such; as a result things like bacon and eggs got into our diet, but because of the work, few farmers were obese.  The lightest meal should be the last meal of the day, the reason being that our bodies then have the ability to metabolize the calories, rather than storing them.

We have many advantages today.  We have a better handle on good nutrition, and finally more people are studying sleep and it's effects on our bodies.  To sum up:  get the proper amount of sleep at the same time each day, eat sensibly, and work or exercise to lose the extra pounds.  Take a look at their article for more information by clicking here.

Sleep well!