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Need a New Idea? Wake up Groggy, Not Alert

Do you wake up groggy and in a bit of a daze, hoping for more sleep? Do you live with someone who wakes up bright-eyed and perky, frequently calling you lazy or grumpy in the mornings?

Tomorrow morning let them know- you aren’t lazy, you are creative! According to several recent studies, the typical morning routine is counterproductive to the way scientists and psychologists believe we should act to promote creative thinking.

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In a study published in the journal Thinking and Reasoning last year, researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks reported that imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused. The mental processes that block our creative thinking are at their lowest during times that we are not yet completely focused. So, you are much more likely to stumble upon a new idea when you lay in bed for a few minutes after turning off your alarm, rather than jumping straight up. Why? Your groggy mind allows a more passive state- you aren’t making mental lists in your head just yet of what you need to do or remember for the day ahead.

If you consider yourself one of those elusive morning people, don’t even bother trying to open your mind in the morning. As soon as that alarm goes off, your mind is focused and ready to go. Instead, your best time for creative thinking comes in the early evening as you wind down.

According to the studies, there is one thing we are doing right- drinking caffeine in the morning. Caffeine makes us more alert and increases dopamine levels- which heightens our levels of motivation and reward when we find a creative solution to a problem or dream up a new idea.

To unlock your creative mind, spend a few extra minutes in bed and allow your mind to freely flow from one thought to the next. Keep something near your bed (a pen and paper, an iPhone, etc.) to record any ideas that come to you first thing in the morning. 

You may just come to work with a problem already solved or a new idea for the company before your boss even arrives. Take that, morning people!

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Parent of a Type 1 Diabetic? What You Need to Know About Sleep

describe the imageAs the parent of a type 1 diabetic, you know what’s important- counting carbs, monitoring blood sugar, keeping a close eye on the school lunch menu. What you may be overlooking, however, is the importance of a quality night’s sleep.

New research shows that children with diabetes are not sleeping as deeply as their peers without diabetes. Additionally, this lighter sleep was linked to poor performance in school and higher blood sugar levels.

While diabetic children and parents work hard to maintain a healthy routine, sleep is often one of the most overlooked components of a healthy life. Even with a controlled diet, the study found that the lighter sleep continued to influence blood sugar levels.

Researchers also found that about one-third of the children with type 1 diabetes had sleep apnea, irrespective of their weight. What’s more, those who had sleep apnea also had much higher blood sugar levels.

The investigators noted that sleep apnea is a condition that has previously been associated with type 2 diabetes (which typically affects adults). The findings among these study participants may mean that it is also an issue among younger diabetes patients.

While the research may be frightening to parents, sleep and sleep patterns are easy to modify. Sleep apnea can also be controlled without surgery using breathing appartuses called CPAPs.

How do you keep your children on schedule for a good night’s sleep?

 

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Sleep Apnea- Not Just for Men

mature woman resized 600When we think of loud snoring, images of our fathers spring to mind. Or maybe you see your mother, sighing and pulling a pillow over her head to combat the roars your dad emitted while sleeping.

However, sleep apnea and snoring are not just for men. While sleep apnea still affects many more men than women, up to 3% of women do suffer from the sleep disorder. Moreover, a new study found that women who suffer from untreated sleep apnea increase their risk of dying from heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases by more than 10% compared to women who do not suffer from sleep apnea.

The study is published in the Jan. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The research also found that CPAP treatment in women with severe sleep apnea reduces the risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease. 

The research followed over 1100 women, divided into groups by the severity of their sleep apnea, spanning more than 7 years. At the end of the study, about 4% of the women had died from cardiovascular complications and another 3% percent had died of other causes.

Of the 41 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 18 were in the group with severe and untreated apnea, while 8 of those with severe but treated apnea died of cardiovascular problems during the follow-up.

For more information about sleep apnea, visit our sleep disorders page.

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Is Your School Bus Driver a Risk to Your Children?

Does your child ride the school bus? Check out Dr. Rosenberg’s latest article with the Huffington Post to find out how sleep impacts drivers each day:

imgSchoolBus resized 600Over 480,000 school buses travel the nation’s roads every day. Twenty-six million children, more than half the nation’s school-aged population, rely on the bus to transport them to and from school. Drivers must be patient, focused, and alert to safely transport children each day.

In early December, 17-year-old Emmanuel Williams had to rouse a snoozing 65-year-old bus driver during an afternoon commute in Tacoma Hills, Wa. From his view in the second row seat, Williams first noticed the driver slowly closing his eyes and nodding off before approaching turns. When the bus started heading off the road, Williams jumped from his seat to wake up the sleeping driver.

Read full article.

Follow all Dr. Rosenberg’s posts.

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Curious About Sleep? Get Answers!

describe the imageA team of 8 sleep experts, including ASMC CEO Dr. Russell Rosenberg, recently contributed to an Everyday Health panel discussing ten common questions about sleep.From the article: “Anyone who has struggled with sleep problems knows that they can lead to more than just a little fatigue — they can damage your health and affect your entire life. In this roundtable, sleep experts share their insights into how genetics, environment, and your habits may be keeping you from a good night’s sleep.”The experts covered a variety of topics, ranging from sleep and aging to curing your stress before bed.Check out the full panel here.

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Restless Legs Syndrome May Be Hereditary

describe the imageWhile most sleep physicians believe there is some link between RLS and genetics, researchers have not been able to definitively prove a link.

A new study, however, has discovered two faulty genes that cause restless leg syndrome. People who inherited the mutations are much more likely to develop restless leg syndrome

The discovery sheds light on the origins of one of the most common nerve disorders, and could pave the way for new drugs to help sufferers.

Around one in 10 adults experiences restless leg syndrome at some point in their life. Sufferers experience unpleasant sensations in their legs which can only be eased by moving, walking or jiggling.

The new study looked at the genetic make-up of 4,867 volunteers with RLS and compared them to more than 7,000 individuals without the syndrome. Scientists found two new areas on the genome which play a role. One area is within a gene involved in controlling brain activity called TOX3.

TOX3 is involved in protecting brain cells – but its link to restless leg syndrome is still unknown. However, the discoveries could lead to new treatments for the condition.

While the sleep disorder most commonly affects legs, it can also be experienced in the arms or torso. The constant need to move causes patterns of interrupted or restless sleep. More than 5 million Americans suffer from RLS.

The FusionSleep’s affiliate company, NeuroTrials Research, will soon be conducting a new research study on RLS. This research is groundbreaking as it involves an entirely new drug class for individuals suffering from RLS. For more information on the study, visit the study page.

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Is Your TV Silently Interrupting Your Sleep?

You’ve probably noticed your cell phone and computer give off an eerie blue color in the dark.

Dr. Russell Rosenberg, CEO of the FusionSleep®, sat down with Fox5 to discuss how something that small may be keeping you up at night.

“In that hour before bedtime, there are millions of Americans who are getting exposed to bright light, blue light from their computer screens or television screens,” said Dr. Rosenberg.

Watch the full interview below.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

FOX MEDICAL TEAM: Sleep Light: MyFoxATLANTA.com

 

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Still Dragging this Week? Learn More About the Time Change & Your Sleep

Dr. Russell Rosenberg spoke with Huffington Post reporter Laura Schocker to discuss the time change in detail. An excerpt is below:

At 2 a.m. Sunday morning, we finally recaptured that lost hour of sleep from last March as we marked the end of daylight saving time. And for the 47 million Americans who are sleep deprived, that extra hour is a chance to literally make up for lost time.

“This is one of those weekends we should really relish,” said HuffPost blogger Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D., CEO of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation. “The fact that Americans are so sleep deprived, it’s a nice reprieve from the busy lifestyles that we all lead.”

Rosenberg said this is the “good news story” of daylight saving time — the welcome counterpart to the hour of sleep we lose at the beginning of spring, which can take up to a week to adjust to and send those who are already sleep deprived over the threshold of “crashing and burning.” In fact, some studies have found a link between the spring-forward clock change and an increase in accidents and heart attacks.

On the other hand, some of those same studies often suggest the opposite effect in the fall — a New England Journal of Medicine report found that heart attack rates decrease the Monday after the end of daylight saving time, Harvard Health Blog reports, while a Canadian study found a decrease in car accidents after the fall change, though Harvard Health Blog does point out that another study found an increase in accidents after both changes.

describe the imageThese time changes play out in our body a bit like jet lag might, explained Michael Decker, Ph.D., an associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Springing forward is like flying from west to east — say from California to Washington, D.C. — while falling back is like flying from east to west. And as frequent flyers can attest, the eastbound change is much harder to acclimate to than the westbound for most. “The adjustment is much milder in the fall than it is in the springtime,” Decker says. And that means we may be experiencing a collective, but mild, jet lag this Sunday, which will clear up in 24 hours or so.

Yet while the transition may be an easy one, for many falling back also signifies a shift into winter and the changing light patterns that come with it. And perhaps that’s the real health story behind the end of daylight saving time, stretching into winter long after that regained hour is forgotten.

For early birds and school children, the shift will mean it’s light instead of dark outside in the mornings, which is good news for our internal biological clocks. When light stimulates a certain part of the brain first thing in the morning, it can make us more vigilant throughout the day and boost moods in the long run, Decker explained. “Now that the sun is rising a little earlier, we really want to think about getting up, going outside,” he said. “Getting that bright light in the morning is absolutely key to health and performance and everything that goes with it.”

But getting sunlight earlier in the day also means it may already be dark by the time people are leaving work. “There’s always a psychological impact of it getting dark so early — feeling that the days are shorter, and that winter is coming,” Rosenberg explained.

Read more. 

 

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Prepare Your Sleep for the Time Change

time changeMost Americans will benefit from the extra hour of sleep gained when time “falls back” Saturday night. An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from some form of a sleep disorder. While the extra hour of sleep may have seemed luxurious, how does a sudden switch in time affect those seeking a healthy night’s sleep?

“When we fall back in autumn, our body’s circadian rhythm – what determines when we’re sleepy and when we’re alert – must reset itself,” said Dr. Russell Rosenberg, CEO of the FusionSleep®. An upset in the body’s internal clock results in an adjustment period.

The good news: the adjustment period only lasts around one day, so you should be ready to go for the work week- no blaming Monday sleepiness on the time change!

The bad news: you will also experience less exposure to one of the body’s most important internal regulators- natural light.

Shorter days means longer nights and less exposure to sunlight, and natural light plays an important role in the healthy sleep process. Most know that light signals to the brain it is time to wake up. But, light also helps regulate the body’s internal sleep/wake cycle. To help keep the body on track, “take a few moments to step outside and expose yourself to the early morning sunlight,” said Dr. Rosenberg, “The sunlight at dawn tends to suppress melatonin, so by getting out each morning and walking around, you can combat your sleepiness.”

A few more tips for healthy sleep on the new time shift:

  • Sleep in a dark, cool room. TVs and laptops should be off; the smallest light can interrupt and decrease the quality of your sleep.
  • Avoid naps. Allow yourself a few days to get adjusted to the time change, keep alert and active.
  • Don’t hit the snooze button, hit the floor. Use the time change to your benefit and set a more consistent schedule for yourself, even on weekends.
  • If you notice the time change has disrupted your sleep for more than a few weeks, visit a doctor or certified sleep specialist.

For more information on sleep disorders, tips, or treatment options, visit the FusionSleep® Atlanta North or check out our video on healthy sleep hygiene.

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Have a Snoring Toddler? It May Be Hurting Their Sleep

Does your snoring toddler seem overtired or irritable even after a full night’s rest?

childWhile only around 3 percent of children actually have sleep apnea– a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing- 15 percent of children do snore during sleep.

The sounds may be amusing to hear, but they could be damaging the quality of your child’s sleep.

Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne studied 172 children aged two to five and found differences in the brain waves of mild snorers compared to non-snorers.

The study found that children who are just mild snorers suffer the same lack of quality of sleep as the 3 percent actually diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Lead researchers of the study Sarah Briggs said “What we found was that in the children who are primary (mild) snorers the changes in their brain waves in their deep sleep are different to those in healthy children who don’t snore. Those children are going to bed sleepier than healthy children and they are not meeting their sleep needs over the night.”

While parents of children with sleep apnea usually seek medical attention, parents of children who only mildly snore may not know that their child’s sleep is affected.

If your child snores, even mildly, consult your family physician about techniques that could lead to a better night’s sleep.

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