Tag Archives: sleep

Struggling to sleep? The two things you should eat or drink before bed

Struggling to sleep? The two things you should eat or drink before bed

A lack of sleep or insomnia impacts many of us. Having a full eight hours of sleep is essential for your health and productivity. Ever woken up feeling groggy or struggled to get a good nights kip? Experts say what you eat or drink before bed could be impacting the quality of your sleep.

Everyone knows to avoid caffeine before bed, experts now recommend that on top of ditching coffee before bed you might be able to boost your sleep by drinking cherry juice.

According to sleep experts from MattressNextDay, drinking tart cherry juice before bed may boost your sleep by 1.5 hours or more a night.

They point to several studies that show consuming tart cherry juice can help calibrate your circadian rhythm, also known as your internal body clock, to help promote sleep.

Cherry juice helps increase your body’s production of melatonin, a critical hormone for your sleep.

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Studies show Brits who drink cherry juice before settling down increased their sleep by an average of 84 minutes, so if you find yourself starving off insomnia cherry juice might be able to help you.

According to Dr Karanr, the myth that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares could be an old wives tale.

He recommends eating cheese before bed could give you a better nights sleep.

He added cheese is packed with tryptophan used by the brain to make melatonin which helps induce sleep.

Cheese is high in calcium which can reduce stress and helps to stabilise your nervous system, both of which could help you to become more settled for sleep.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference to your quality of sleep.

Aside from the obvious factors such as trying to relax before bed, having a good quality mattress and cutting down on your caffeine the NHS has pulled together a few easy lifestyle changes to help you get a more restful nights sleep.

The NHS encourages Brits to keep their sleeping pattern as regular as possible.


You might be able to banish these worries by writing them down before you go to bed.

Set aside a few minutes before you climb into bed to jot down what you need to do tomorrow instead of forming these plans in your head whilst you are trying to get to sleep.

Avoid smoking

Caffeine is an obvious stimulant but did you know nicotine is another one? Brits who smoke take longer to fall asleep the NHS says.

Smokers wake up more often and have more disrupted sleep than non-smokers so, if you suffer from restless nights you may want to consider giving up smoking.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Health
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How to tell when to replace your pillow – the sign your old one is affecting your sleep

How to tell when to replace your pillow - the sign your old one is affecting your sleep

Bad sleep can ruin the day ahead, but long-term bad sleep can have serious effects on your health. Your pillow is just as important as your mattress when it comes to good sleep health, so making sure it’s exactly right for you should be a priority when investing in a new place to rest your head.

Why is your pillow so important?

Your pillow is essential for good sleep posture, and getting a good pillow can help prevent damage to your neck and shoulders.

If your neck and shoulders don’t get sufficient support or are propped at an angle that causes twisting, craning, or crunching, this can put your spine and body out of alignment.

This in turn can lead to strain and discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and back, and an overall bad sleep.

As with your mattress, comfort and support are both important in selecting the right pillow.

The best pillow for you is one that feels comfortable to rest your head on, and supports your head, neck, and shoulders.

How do I know if my pillow is good for me?

Lying in bed in your usual sleeping position, using your phone take a selfie that includes your head and torso.

On the photo, draw a line dissecting your face in half from your forehead to your chin, and then draw one down your torso.

If these lines don’t line up, it means your pillow is either too big or too small, and you need to change it.

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Sleep by age chart: How much sleep do you REALLY need? Simple guide

Sleep by age chart: How much sleep do you REALLY need? Simple guide

Sleep is fundamental for the growth and development of babies, young children and teenagers. It is also important as it enables your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you awaken. Healthy sleep ensures your body is healthy and can defend itself from diseases and without it, your brain is unable to work properly.

Sleep is essential to one’s health.

Lack of sleep can cause a range of issues from mood imbalances to much more significant ailments.

One in three people suffers from poor sleep with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed as the causes of disrupted sleep.

The cost of a bad night’s sleep can mean more than just a bad mood and lack of focus.

Regular sleepless nights can put you at risk of many serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Doctors and medical professionals have also linked poor sleep to a shortening of one’s life expectancy.

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Author: Kaisha Langton
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Health
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DIY Neuromodulation a Mood Booster for Sleep Deprived?

DIY Neuromodulation a Mood Booster for Sleep Deprived?

Self-administered, noninvasive cervical transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation (ctVNS) appears to boost mood and cognitive performance in sleep-deprived individuals, early research suggests.

In a study of sleep-deprived US Air Force pilots, those who received active ctVNS performed “significantly better on multitasking, had faster reaction time, higher arousal levels, and reported feeling more energetic and less fatigued” than peers who received sham stimulation, first author Lindsey McIntire, MS, with Infoscitex, Inc, Dayton, Ohio, told Medscape Medical News.

CtVNS could be a “powerful fatigue countermeasure tool that is easy to administer, long-lasting, and has fewer side-effects compared to common pharmacological interventions,” the investigators note.

The study was published online June 10 in Communications Biology.


“With ctVNS, we can augment activity in key brain areas like the locus coeruleus, which is basically the brain’s main norepinephrine center, involved with wakefulness, attention, arousal, and learning,” R. Andy McKinley, PhD, an investigator on the study with Air Force Research Laboratory/Applied Neuroscience Branch, Wright-Patternson Air Force Base, in Ohio, told Medscape Medical News.

The investigators note that fatigue is a “pervasive public health and safety issue” that is often managed with caffeine or other chemical stimulants. They note that although these can be effective in a limited way, noninvasive electrical neuromodulation has shown promise, and it is “reasonable to suspect that other types of noninvasive neuromodulation may be similarly effective or perhaps even superior.”

To evaluate the ability of ctVNS to mitigate the negative effects of fatigue on cognition and mood, the researchers used the gammaCore (electroCore LLC) product, which is approved in the United States to treat cluster headaches and treatment-resistant migraine. The device passes a noninvasive electrical current at 25 Hz through the skin to the nerve via two electrodes placed over the neck.

Forty active-duty air force personnel (mean age, 28 years; 33 men) from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base participated in the study; 20 were in the ctVNS stimulation group, and 20 were in the sham stimulation group.

Participants in both groups underwent 34 hours of continuous sleep deprivation in the laboratory. They completed performance tasks and answered subjective questionnaires at various points throughout the duration of the study.

As hypothesized, ctVNS improved some aspects of cognition during the sustained wakefulness vigil, the authors report.

Significant improvement was noted in objective arousal and multitasking cognitive performance up to 24 hours after stimulation ended. The greatest performance boost was in tasks that required visual attention.

Active ctVNS also led to improvements in mood and subjective ratings of fatigue but not working memory.

New Application?

“This is the first study to successfully utilize ctVNS in healthy humans to enhance cognitive performance during sustained wakefulness,” the investigators note.

“Certainly, this has applications for the military, where people often rotate shift schedules, transitioning from day to night shift or night to day shift, and this might make that transition easier,” McIntire told Medscape Medical News.

“It also has applications for jobs like transportation and the medical field, where people do shift work or have longer duty hours,” she said.

Reached for comment, Shin C. Beh, MD, assistant professor of neurology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, said, “The effect of VNS on wakefulness and fatigue is quite novel. The results need to be replicated, of course, but I think it is certainly a potentially exciting new application for it.

“We are always learning more about the connections of the vagus nerve through the brain, and it is quite possible that the effects of VNS on fatigue and cognition extend beyond the locus coeruleus,” Beh said.

Funding and support for the research was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. McIntire, McKinley, and Beh have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Commun Biol. Published online June 10, 2021. Full text

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This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Statins side effects How statins affect the brain’s nerve cells causing sleep problems

Statins side effects How statins affect the brain’s nerve cells causing sleep problems

In a study published in Science Daily, cholesterol-lowering drug and its link to sleep disruptions was investigated.

The study noted: “A cholesterol-lowering drug appears to disrupt sleep patterns of some patients, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007.”

In the study, researchers tested 1,016 healthy adult men and women for six months in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using simvastatin, given at 20 milligrams (mg), pravastatin at 40 mg, or a placebo.

They assessed outcomes with the Leeds sleep scale, a visual analogy scale of sleep quality, and a rating scale of sleep problems. Both scales were measured before and during treatment.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Kidney cancer: The lesser-known danger sign found in the way you sleep warning of risk

Kidney cancer: The lesser-known danger sign found in the way you sleep warning of risk

Kidney, or renal, cancer refers to any cancer that involves the kidney. Older age, obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure increase the risk of developing kidney cancer. Suffering with night sweats could be an indication of your risk to the deadly disease.

Most people will suffer with unusual symptoms which are not always obvious to the deadly disease.

The symptoms can also be caused by a variety of other common conditions.

When kidney cancer does cause symptoms, these may include:

Blood in your urine (this is the most common symptom)

A dull pain in your side between your upper abdomen and back

A high temperature, night sweats and feeling very tired

Losing weight for no obvious reason

A lump in the tummy area, side or back.

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People who believe could have symptoms of kidney cancer should see their GP.

Every year there are around 11,900 cases of kidney cancer in the UK – 7,400 cases in men and 4,500 cases diagnosed in women.

Every year about 4,300 people die from the disease.

Cancer Research UK warns that just under half – 42 per cent – of kidney cancer cases each year in the UK is linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors including obesity and smoking.

Research has also found kidney cancer risk is 23 per cent higher per 10cm height increment. Risk is also higher in people with diabetes.

Healthcare professionals do not know exactly what causes kidney cancer, however, genetic and environmental factors may play a role.

Cancer starts when there is a change in the structure of DNA in cells, which causes them to grow uncontrollably resulting in a tumour eventually forming.

Without treatment, cancer grows and spreads. It usually spreads through the lymphatic system, which is a series of nodes or glands that exist throughout the body.


In most cases, surgery is the first option, said Medical News Today.

The health site added: “The surgeon may remove part or all of a kidney, as well as tissue from around the tumour.

“If necessary, they may need to remove lymph nodes and other tissues.

“A person can function with just one kidney, so removing a whole kidney is an option.

Laparoscopic surgery, which requires only small incisions, is often possible.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Dr Amir's amazing hot water bottle trick to keep you COOL and help you sleep in the heat

Dr Amir's amazing hot water bottle trick to keep you COOL and help you sleep in the heat

Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine this morning, Dr Amir advised to fill the hot water bottle with water (as you normally would do), but then to “put it in the freezer”. This might seem unconventional, but the doctor is certain it will “keep you cool”. Just before you get ready for bed, you can “stick it under your bed shirt”, beamed Dr Amir.


“Warmer temperatures can cause discomfort and restlessness,” said the Sleep Foundation, but anyone’s personal experience can attest to this.

Too warm of a bedroom can interfere with the body’s “thermoregulation abilities and cause fatigue” – causing the person to feel physically and mentally tired.

“A higher core body temperature has been associated with a decrease in restorative slow-wave sleep,” said the Sleep Foundation.

Thankfully, Amir has another suggestion to help you enjoy a cool night’s sleep.

The NHS doctor recommended “cooling bead eye masks” that you put in the fridge and use to cool you down when you’re ready for bed.

For anyone who has the added pain point of sunburn while trying to sleep, Dr Amir provides home-made remedies.

The first tip is to apply yoghurt to the sunburned areas – and to leave on the skin for five to 10 minutes – up to three days in a row.

The lactic acid and probiotics in the yoghurt are said to “help repair the skin and reduce inflammation”.

Furthermore, cool showers are needed to help ease any discomfort from the sunburned skin.

Dr Amir’s top tip is to avoid sunburn in the first place by wearing plenty of sun protection (i.e. sunscreen) and clothing.

Cancer Research UK advise to choose a sunscreen with good protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

The charity suggests using a product “with at least four stars” found on the back of the sunscreen.


This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Lunar eclipse pregnancy precautions: Can a pregnant woman sleep during an eclipse?

Lunar eclipse pregnancy precautions: Can a pregnant woman sleep during an eclipse?
The eclipse will unfold early on Wednesday, May 26, but will not be visible from the UK. Instead, the Moon will enter Earth’s shadow over the Americas, Pacific, Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. When this happens, the Full Moon will take on a red hue and become the beautiful Blood Moon.

Can a pregnant woman sleep during an eclipse?

There is absolutely no scientific rationale behind the myth linking insomnia with lunar eclipses.

Aztecs believed a lunar eclipse was a consequence of a bite being taken out of the Moon.

This idea reportedly translated into the Mexican superstition that if a pregnant woman viewed an eclipse of the Moon, a bite would be taken out of her unborn child’s face.

And even Hindu text credits the eclipse to the head of the demon dubbed Rahu, who devoured the Moon or Sun.

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However, another popular myth urges expectant mothers to wear metal and red underwear.

Mexican superstitions say wearing a safety pin, or rather more worryingly, a knife close to her belly, in addition to red underwear, offers protection against their baby being born with a cleft palate.

But while the cause of a cleft palate remains a mystery, there has, of course, been no proven links to eclipses during pregnancy.

Indian astrologers also urge pregnant women to avoid using sharp utensils to slice fruit and vegetables.

They warn this can cause the unborn baby to develop another cleft organ.

Obstetricians gynaecologists believe some pregnant in Pakistan might be told warned to lie straight to prevent a baby from developing crooked joints.

However, Dr Shafia Bhutto told St. Louis Post Dispatch: “There is nothing that will happen to your unborn baby during an eclipse because they are in your uterus.”

And in in India, meanwhile, some expectant mothers are even urged to bathe before and after the eclipse and partake in other religious routines to ward off bad omens associated with the eclipse.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Weird Feed

How much deep sleep do you need? Are YOU getting enough deep sleep?

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

How much deep sleep do you need? Are YOU getting enough deep sleep?

The language associated with sleep is very complex and can be too confusing for some of us to keep up with. Words like deep sleep and REM are thrown about casually these days with the invention of health tracking watches which tell us detailed information about our sleep. So what is deep sleep, and how much of it do you need? Are YOU getting enough deep sleep?

Deep sleep is the last stage of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, according to the Sleep Association.

It is the point during your sleep at which your brain waves are at their slowest and your neocortical neurons are able to rest.

While you are in a deep sleep, your breathing and heart rate drop to their lowest levels and your brain activity slows.

Deep sleep is the sleep stage associated with your memories, but your general body is also rebuilding and repairing.

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We spend a quarter of our time asleep in deep sleep and we’re completely unconscious during it.

During deep sleep, you’re not dreaming and you’re pretty much oblivious to external light, sound and movements.

According to Sound Sleep Health, deep sleep is the most “physiologically profound stage of sleep.

“When you enter this stage, your body releases human growth hormone (HGH), a powerful substance that plays a vital role in cellular repair.

“Built-up waste products are flushed away, tissues are repaired and regrown, bones and muscles are built especially in growing children, and the immune system is strengthened.”

Why is deep sleep important?

When scientists discuss which sleep stage is the most important, there are often different answers because each stage has its benefits.

Some scientists say deep sleep is the phase that makes you feel the most well-rested and refreshed when you wake up.

The Sound Sleep Health site explains: “It effectively erases the accumulated need for sleep that builds over a normal day of wakefulness, and may play a major role in helping clear the brain for new learning the following day.”

REM sleep is different and just as important because it is more about mental maintenance – dreaming, learning, retaining information, than physical maintenance.

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How much deep sleep do you need?

The average person needs between six and nine hours of sleep a night, and deep sleep normally consists of 15 to 25 percent of this.

So, in theory, you should be getting between 54 and 81 minutes of sleep a night on average.

Unfortunately, the amount of deep sleep you get shortens as you get older so you might be on the shorter side of this range.

How to get more deep sleep

To increase the amount of deep sleep you get, you’ll need to get more sleep in general.

Humans sleep through the four cycles of sleep and go through them a few times before waking up, so if you don’t sleep enough you won’t get enough of some types of sleep.

Sleeping more allows you to get through more sleep cycles, which makes it possible to have more deep sleep.

If you always wake up feeling groggy but slept for at least eight hours, you probably haven’t got enough deep sleep.

Exercising early in the day, eating fewer carbs at night, and having a warm bath before bed might help you to get more sleep, which could lead to more deep sleep.

Have you ever heard of pink noise? Well, numerous studies have shown that pink noise (a random low-frequency sound like white noise) can enhance a person’s deep sleep state.

You should also try avoiding blue light screens such as smartphones, computers and televisions before bedtime, avoiding caffeine later in the day, reducing your stress levels, and setting an earlier bedtime.

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Diabetes type 2: High blood sugars affect the body which in turn affects sleep

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

Diabetes type 2: High blood sugars affect the body which in turn affects sleep
Blood sugar – the main type of sugar you get from eating food – supplies the body’s cells with energy. However, consistently high levels can unleash destruction on the body. If you have type 2 diabetes, you are prone to high blood sugar levels because the main regulating force – insulin production – is impaired. This in turn can affect a person’s sleeping habits in a number of ways.

It is natural to get thirsty at various times during the day and adequate daily intake of water is very important as water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating body temperature and removing waste.

However, if you feel thirsty all the time or your thirst is stronger than usual and continues even after you drink, it can be a sign that not all is well inside your body.

Diabetes.co.uk explains: “Increased thirst in people with diabetes can sometimes be, but certainly not always, an indication of higher-than-normal blood glucose levels.”

Having an increased thirst and drinking more water will naturally affect a person’s bedtime habits with the need to go to the toilet especially when consuming before bedtime.

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In uncontrolled diabetes where blood glucose levels remain abnormally high, glucose from the blood cannot enter the cells due to either a lack of insulin or insulin resistance so the body can’t convert the food you eat into energy.

This lack of energy causes an increase in hunger.

This sensation will also have an impact on a person’s sleeping habits as hunger is often felt later in the evening due to blood sugars naturally becoming lower in the evening.

What to do

The first step is to contact your GP if you recognise the symptoms of high blood sugar because it may result in a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, says the NHS.

“You’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery,” explains the health body.

If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ll be recommended to overhaul aspects of your lifestyle that may be contributing to high blood sugar.

There are two key components to blood sugar control including diet and exercise which can have a major effect on lowering blood sugars.

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