How Holiday Stress Affects Sleep

There are countless things we need to get done during the holidays. In our minds, we are constantly checking off items on our lists and thinking about future tasks to tackle.  Often our stress levels increase as a result of trying to juggle it all.

Elevated stress levels can have a negative effect on our health, specifically our quality of sleep. Stress causes many people to lose hours of much-needed rest, as they lie in bed worrying. Lack of sleep, in the short term, can affect concentration, mood, and increases the risk of serious accidents and injury. Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Getting a good night’s sleep can reduce the effects of stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage holiday stress and get some rest:

  • Eat a healthy diet- During the holidays we tend to indulge in foods that are unhealthy. Foods that are rich in fat and sugar can make us feel lethargic and make our bodies less capable of combatting stress. Additionally, what you eat during the day can affect how you sleep at night. High- fat and high-sugar meals can lead to indigestion and a night of tossing and turning.
  • Delegate responsibilities- Sometimes our holiday to-do lists are overwhelming. Ask friends and family to help you by taking some of your responsibilities off your plate.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques- Practicing techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help you to relax and improve sleep.
  • Exercise- All forms of exercise help the brain to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins which can help combat stress.  Studies have shown that exercise also improves sleep.

The holidays are a busy time of year; however, it is highly advised that you carve out time to get adequate sleep.  Getting your daily recommended amount of sleep not only helps you to reduce stress but also benefits your overall health.  If a lack of sleep is affecting your health, you should speak with your doctor. To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-5916.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

If you work outside of normal daytime hours such as evening shifts, night shifts, rotating shifts or swing shifts, you may be at greater risk for developing shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).

SWSD is a sleep disorder that disrupts the circadian rhythm of an individual.

Your circadian rhythm is often called a “body clock.” It is a cycle that lets our bodies know when to rise, sleep, and eat.

More than 15 million people in the United States work various types of shifts. Some are better able than others to adjust to working irregular hours, but for those that are unable to adjust, SWSD can become a major factor in lessening their quality of life.

Some symptoms of sleep shift disorder are:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Increase risk of making mistakes and having accidents

SWSD can also have adverse effects on your health. Chronic sleep shift disorder can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive issues and depression.

If you are a shift worker with irregular hours there are some treatment measures that can help:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Keep a healthy diet
  • Keep your sleep area dark with black out drapes or use a sleep mask
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least three hours before bedtime
  • Put away digital devices. The light from your device can play tricks on your brain, making it think it is daylight
  • If possible, take a 10-20 min nap during your shift

If none of the above treatment options seem to help you adjust to your irregular work schedules, you might want to consider contacting a sleep clinic. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s has a state-of-the-art Sleep Center. Call 718-206-5916 for more information or to make an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You Need More Or Less Sleep As You Get Older?

Research indicates that as you get older, you will need less sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following hours for each age group:

• Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

• Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

• Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

• Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours

• School-age children (6-13): to 9-11 hours

• Teenagers (14-17): to 8-10 hours

• Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

• Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

• Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

It was also found that adults tend to take longer to doze off, sleep more lightly and wake up more often during the night than children and adolescents.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jet Lag and Sleep

jet lag Jet lag can profoundly affect sleep and alertness.  This sleep disorder occurs when your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythms), which tells you when to sleep, becomes imbalanced after traveling to different time zones.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, when a person travels to a new time zone their “circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night.”

Jet lag can lead to daytime fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, mood changes, a general unwell feeling, headaches, mild depression, insomnia and difficulty staying alert and concentrating.   These symptoms generally appear within a day or two of travel and can worsen the longer you travel and the more time zones you cross.

There are several ways to combat or minimize the effects of jet lag.  Here are a few you can try:

  • Avoid alcohol the day before your flight and during your flight.
  • Get plenty of rest before you fly.
  • Avoid caffeine or other caffeinated beverages before or while traveling.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Wear sunglasses during your flight.
  • Move around the plane on long flights.
  • Adapt immediately to the schedule of your destination. While it may be tempting to sleep during the day after your arrival, it is advised that you stay up and active and expose your body to sunlight.
  • Avoid heavy meals upon arrival to your destination.

Symptoms of jet lag are mostly temporary and typically last a few days; however, if you are a frequent flyer they may become more severe. You can speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist who may recommend treatments such as light therapy, melatonin supplements or prescription medication.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Immune System?

Hispanic girl lying on her mother's lap

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, but how? Studies show that people that don’t get quality sleep or enough hours of sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus like the flu. The recovery time from a cold is also prolonged as a result of not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of the amount of infection-fighting antibodies and cells that strengthen the immune system. Essentially our bodies need sleep to fight infectious diseases and recover faster from common cold viruses.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

It’s very common to be told to get some rest when fighting off a cold or infection. Now we know why. As we move through cold and flu season, the key to staying healthy might just be getting a good night’s sleep.

However sleep does not always come easy to everyone. If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble with their sleep patterns, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Sleep Center is available to treat you. This state-of-the-art Sleep Center is a 4-bed unit that features comfortable, homelike rooms with sound proof walls for total privacy. For more information please call, 718-206-5916.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sleep Paralysis

Hsleeping -468235702ave you ever woken up and found that you were unable to move or speak?  Believe it or not, over the centuries some have attributed this symptom to evil or supernatural presences especially when accompanied by hallucinations or a chest-crushing sensation.  However, there is a medical explanation and name for this phenomenon. This frightening but perfectly natural occurrence is called sleep paralysis. It is estimated that up four out of every ten people have experienced symptoms associated with the disorder. Studies suggest that as many as fifty percent will experience sleep paralysis at least once in their lifetime.

Sleep paralysis is a term used to describe a variety of symptoms which occur when your body is not moving smoothly through the stages of sleep. It has been found that sleep paralysis most often happens during the REM (rapid eye movement), the phase where your brain is active and vivid dreams occur but your muscles are relaxed or turned off.  The state of paralysis happens when a person wakes up before REM is completed. The brain is still actively dreaming but as a response to keep the body from acting out dreams and harming ourselves or others; our voluntary muscles become paralyzed.

According to medicinenet.com, “Sleep paralysis usually occurs at one of two times. If it occurs while you are falling asleep, it’s called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it happens as you are waking up, it’s called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis.”

Symptoms of sleep paralysis may differ from person to person and may include:

  • The inability to move or speak immediately after waking up.
  • Hallucinations- which occur because the brain is still in a state of dreaming.
  • Chest pressure- which can occur as a result of panicking

Causes of sleep paralysis can be attributed to:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Sleep position- It is believed that people who sleep on their backs are more inclined to have symptoms
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Use of certain medication
  • Narcolepsy
  • Stress
  • Mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder

Although sleep paralysis is a relatively harmless health condition it is recommended that you consult your physician or a sleep specialist if symptoms are prevalent and disrupting daily activities or the ability to function normally. To schedule an appointment with the Sleep Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Social Media Making Me Fat?

Have you ever wondered why when you see postings of food on social media that are pleasing to your eyes, you immediately begin to desire that food or think, “Gee, I’m hungry?

The human mind is divided into two parts, the conscious and subconscious mind.  The conscious mind works while we are awake, while the subconscious mind is always activated.  The subconscious mind regulates everything in our body, our character, our speech and receives and processes information. The food and beverage postings on social media speak directly to our conscious and subconscious mind.

According to researchers, 70 percent of household meals in America are influenced by digital media.  Pictures of food and beverages show up on news feeds 63 percent of the time.  One popular social media site noted that a widely used food hashtag marked photos of snacks and meals 54 million times on their site alone.

In addition to subliminally causing you to want to eat more food, studies have shown that people who spent two hours or more using a device with LED display, such as a smart phone or tablet, had a corresponding dip in melatonin levels.  Melatonin is the chemical that prepares your body for sleep. When we lose sleep, we can pack on extra pounds because there is a link between sleep loss and weight gain.  If you are awake for longer periods of time, you may be more inclined to reach for a late night snack or bag of chips.

Some steps you can take to curb your hunger and promote good health are:

  • Choose fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Prepare your meals at home and limit dining out and processed on-the-go meals.
  • Try to avoid being distracted by TV, work, driving or surfing on your computer, phone or tablet while eating.
  • Regulate your social media feed, especially if the pictures of food and beverages make your stomach moan.

Obesity is on the rise because many factors, but keep in mind that you are in control and can make healthy choices to live a healthy life. It’s better to eat with your stomach and not with your eyes.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Does Your Child Have Night Terrors?

ThinkstockPhotos-485146134 Most parents have comforted their child after the occasional nightmare. But if your child has ever experienced what’s known as a night terror (or sleep terror), his or her fear was likely inconsolable, no matter what you tried.

Unlike nightmares, which a child can usually remember, night terrors are not memorable and the child will not recall experiencing that horror the night before. Night terrors occur when a child is in a deep sleep and there are no mental images to remember.

A night terror is a sleep disruption that seems similar to a nightmare, but with a far more dramatic presentation. Though night terrors can be alarming for parents who witness them, they’re not usually cause for concern or a sign of a deeper medical issue. The sleep disorder of night terrors typically occurs in children aged three to twelve years, with a peak onset in children aged three and a half years.

Night terrors usually occur about two or three hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. During a night terror, a child might suddenly sit upright in bed and shout out or scream in distress. The child’s breathing and heartbeat might be faster, he or she might sweat, thrash around, and act upset and scared. After a few minutes, or sometimes longer, a child simply calms down and returns to sleep.

Night terrors can be caused by fever, lack of sleep, stressful or traumatic life events or some medications that control the central nervous system. Parents may take some precautions at home to try and prevent night terrors:

  • Eliminate all sources of sleep disturbance like loud noises or excessive light in your child’s room.
  • Maintain a consistent bedtime routine and wake-up time.
  • Observe how many minutes the night terror occurs from your child’s bedtime.
  • Awaken your child 15 minutes before the expected night terror, and keep them awake and out of bed for five minutes.
  • You may want to take your child to the bathroom to see if they will urinate.

Continue this routine for a week. Also, make the child’s room safe to try to prevent the any injuries during an episode.

Unfortunately, no adequate treatment exists for night terrors. Management primarily consists of educating family members about the disorder and reassuring them that the episodes are not harmful. Night terror episodes are short-lived and usually occur over several weeks. Nearly all children outgrow night terrors by adolescence.

If the night terrors continue and appear to get worse consult your pediatrician immediately. The Sleep Center at Jamaica Hospital is open from 7:00pm to 7:00 am and available to diagnose and monitor sleeping patterns. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

5 Natural Sleep Aids

sleep-480568337The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults should receive between seven to eight hours of sleep each day.  However, the National Sleep Council reports that a staggering 48% of people living in the United States do not get enough sleep.  Additionally, one- third of our population states that they lay awake a few nights out of each week because they are unable to fall asleep.

These statistics clearly indicate that many of us are having problems falling asleep and getting adequate rest.  Without enough sleep, our bodies will not function properly. Sleep is needed to restore parts of the body such as the blood vessels and the heart. It is also needed to promote proper brain function and maintain a healthy balance in hormones.

Trying these natural sleep aids can help you combat sleeplessness and get the rest needed to revitalize your body:

  • Tart cherries or cherry juice-Tart cherries such as Montmorency cherries contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential in producing the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Increased levels of these hormones in the body can create the urge to sleep.
  • Valerian– Is a natural supplement that is commonly used to ease insomnia. Some studies suggest that it helps people fall asleep faster and improves the quality of sleep.
  • Hops– Hops are not only known for making beer, this herb is also known for promoting relaxation. Hops are typically boiled and steeped to make a tea.  Drinking this a few minutes before bed is said to help in achieving a restful night’s sleep.
  • Chamomile– This herb is usually ingested in the form of a tea. It contains several compounds such as apigenin and coumarin that are found to have a calming effect on the body.
  • Melatonin – Melatonin is naturally produced by the body but some people increase their levels by taking supplements. It can be used to help people with disruptive sleep cycles. Physicians recommend that you adhere to taking low dosages (speak to a doctor about which dose is right for you.) This is because taking too much melatonin can cause adverse reactions such as dizziness, headaches and hallucinations.

It is highly recommended that you consult a physician before trying these sleep aids. Although natural, there is the possibility that they can cause side effects.  Be certain to inform the doctor of all medications that you are taking, as mixing medications with certain herbs can be hazardous to your health.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Why Do We Snore?

hat do half of all Americans do, but very few admit to, partly because they are unaware that they are doing it? The answer is snore.

ThinkstockPhotos-502743167Snoring occurs when the flow of air is partially obstructed in some way while we sleep. As air flows past relaxed tissue in the throat, the resulting vibrating sound is snoring. Snoring can take place for a variety of reasons, including:

 

• The anatomy of your mouth – Having an elongated soft palate or uvula can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat

• Being overweight – Those who are overweight have extra, bulky throat tissue that may narrow the airways

• Obstructed nasal airways – Allergies, a nasal infection or a deviated septum can all contribute to snoring

• Alcohol consumption – Drinking alcohol before bed can relax muscles in the tongue and throat can obstruct the airways

• Sleep apnea – This is a serious condition when your throat tissues partially or completely block your airway, preventing your from breathing

Unless you have an upset spouse inform you that you are snoring, you may be unaware that you have a problem. Look out for the following symptoms if you suspect you are snoring:

• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Difficulty concentrating
• Sore throat
• Restless sleep
• Chest pain at night
• High blood pressure

To determine the cause of your snoring, your doctor will review your signs and symptoms, review your medical history, and perform an examination. Your doctor may request an x-ray or other imaging tests to check the structure of your airway. To determine is sleep apnea is the reason for your snoring, a sleep study to monitor brain waves, breathing and heart rate, and blood oxygen levels may also be ordered.

Lifestyle changes including losing weight, avoiding consuming alcohol before bed and changing your sleep position by either raising your head or sleeping on your side can reduce the liklihood of snoring. Other aids, such as nasal strips, form fitting mouth pieces, and short term decongestants for allergies or infections can also be helpful.

If these efforts prove unsuccessful, there are a variety of surgical and non-surgical interventions that your doctor could recommend. One of the most common therapies is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves wearing a pressurized mask that pumps air through your airways while you sleep.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.