Tag Archives: sleep

Sleep, There’s a Time for Everything

Healthy sleepJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Many of us may think of our circadian rhythms only in relation to the ever important sleep/wake cycle. While it is known that this cycle is directly influenced by light and darkness, circadian rhythms are innate timing devices guided by biological processes within all bodily cells. These rhythms are 24-hour physiological patterns that most organisms follow each day. Just as the moon influences the tides, and the sun generates photosynthesis in plants, the human body’s integral biological clocks produce circadian rhythms that regulate the timing and govern the behavior of hormone levels, body temperature, metabolism and of course, sleep.

Located in a region of the hypothalamus, the body’s master clock, or suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) comprises thousands of cells that control behavioral rhythm. Tasked with coordinating all the biological clocks to maintain balance or homeostasis, the SCN receives information directly from the eyes’ optic nerves, which is why light and darkness are central to the regulation of melatonin production. When there is less light, such as after sunset, the SCN directs the pineal gland within the brain to decrease body temperature and increase production of melatonin, the hormone that brings on drowsiness to prepare the body for sleep. Melatonin levels peak in the middle of the night and gradually decrease by morning, as the body begins to prepare for waking and activity.

There are many factors that can interfere with the sleep/wake cycle, including natural aging, stress, medications, sleep environment, food and drinks, as well as genes that control the excitability of neurons or influence the circadian rhythms and timing of sleep. Perhaps the greatest negative influence on sleep patterns is exposure to artificial light at night from smart phones, computers, televisions and light bulbs, which suppress the production of melatonin more than natural daylight. As melatonin levels begin to rise several hours before bedtime, creating optimal conditions such as turning off devices and keeping the lights low for two hours before retiring for the night, as well as getting some daytime exposure to sunlight will help to assist melatonin production.

Insomnia, occasional sleeplessness or interrupted sleep are common conditions in today’s high-stress world. As a natural hormone and powerful antioxidant, therapeutic use of melatonin for occasional sleepless nights is widely acknowledged to safely induce restful sleep. As well, taking small to moderate doses of melatonin does not appear to reduce the body’s own natural production of melatonin. Melatonin that is manufactured synthetically or extracted from plants is chemically identical to the melatonin produced by the body. For difficulty falling asleep melatonin should be taken thirty to sixty minutes before bedtime. For night owls wishing to get to sleep earlier, take melatonin two hours before desired bedtime. For those who have trouble staying asleep, a time-release formula may be best. Experts suggest starting with the lowest possible effective dose to improve sleep.

Melatonin is nonhabit-forming and is considered quite safe. Short-term use of melatonin is well tolerated and does not appear to cause adverse effects. Research suggests that very low dose melatonin may be applicable for jet lag, delayed sleep, and sleep problems related to shift work and circadian rhythm disorders. While a complex and necessary process, the need for sleep is still largely undetermined. We do know however, that quality sleep at the right time is as essential to healthy function as nourishment is to survival. Sleep affects most bodily systems including the cardiovascular, respiratory and immune systems. Scientists have implicated a lack of sleep, as well as the consequent disruption of circadian rhythms, in the development of obesity, depression, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Scientific research shows that melatonin supplements may help to strengthen and improve sleep/wake cycles, making it possible to adhere to more healthful sleep patterns. The maintenance of consistent healthy circadian rhythms improves daily physiological and psychological function and provides long-term benefits for health span as well as lifespan.

Professional Supplement Center offers high quality products to support safe restful sleep: 

Sleep BalanceSleep Balance by Diamond Formulations: Sleep Balance is formulated to promote and maintain restful sleep. Specific ingredients encourage normal, healthy restorative sleep, as well as discourage sleep disruption. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and artificial preservatives. Non-GMO kosher formulation.

Melatonin 3 mgMelatonin 3 mg by Vital Nutrients: Melatonin 3 mg supports the onset of sleep, balanced sleep/wake cycles and better quality more restful sleep in support of mental, physical and emotional health. Free of gluten, wheat, daily, soy, eggs and sugar.

 

Melatonin PR 3 mg...Melatonin PR 3 mg Prolonged Release by Douglas Laboratories®: Melatonin PR 3 mg provides pure grade melatonin in a prolonged release tablet in support of healthy uninterrupted sleep and overall health. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy protein, milk/dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch, artificial coloring and artificial preservatives. Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Melatonin LiposomalMelatonin Liposomal by Quicksilver Scientific: This fast-acting, long-lasting liposomal liquid formula supports the body’s natural melatonin production for healthy sleep. An easy dosing, highly bioavailable and absorbable liquid formulation provides 1 mg of melatonin per serving in support of establishing normal healthy sleep patterns.

References:
The Complete Guide to the Science of Circadian Rhythms. https://endpoints.elysiumhealth.com/the-complete-guide-to-the-science-of-circadian-rhythms-7b78581cbffa
Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep
How Blue LEDs Affect Sleep. https://www.livescience.com/53874-blue-light-sleep.html

Can Alzheimer’s Be Prevented?

AlzheimersPreventedJacquie Eubanks RN BSNPresently, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) tops five million. Unless an effective treatment is developed that number is expected to increase exponentially as the population ages. Increasing age is still the primary risk factor, and according to statistics, by the age of 82, the prevalence rises to 42 percent. Signs of late-onset AD often appear in a person’s mid-60’s, although researchers believe that damage to brain heath begins years earlier. AD is characterized by the accumulation of two types of protein in the brain, known as tangles, or tau, and amyloid-beta plaques. As well, there is also a loss of connections between brain nerve cells, known as neurons, that transmit messages within the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs.

With AD, once healthy neurons stop functioning, brains cells begin to die off, and eventually the brain shrinks in size. While tangles and plaques are closely associated with AD, family history, genetics, inflammation, and vascular disease, as well as environmental and lifestyle factors may contribute. As with other chronic debilitating diseases, lifestyle habits are seen to play a major role in both contribution and prevention. Are there healthy lifestyle habits you can adopt to stave off or ameliorate Alzheimer’s Disease? Although science has yet to discover the cause or cure for AD, the National Institutes of Health suggests that modifiable risk factors may help protect cognition and mental activity.

Modifiable risk factors that appear to protect against AD are many and varied. These include mental activity to increase cognitive reserve, lifelong learning, physical activity, social engagement, wellness activities, healthy sleep, nutritious diet, omega-3 intake, mindfulness, optimism, and purpose in life. Risk factor prevention should target diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome; as well as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and coronary heart and renal disease. Additional factors include systemic inflammation, sleep-disordered breathing, traumatic brain injury, and alcohol or tobacco use.

Sleep – Since many of us don’t prioritize sleep, most of us are just not getting enough of it. The perfect amount of sleep varies with age and by individual. However, seven to eight hours of sleep nightly appears to be sufficient to wake refreshed and energetic. Insufficient sleep is linked to chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and cognitive decline. A recent study by Washington University researchers showed an association between disrupted sleep and higher levels of two AD associated proteins. Researchers found that just one night of disturbed sleep led to a 10 percent increase in amyloid beta. A full week of insufficient sleep showed an increase in the tau protein. While no one can confirm that regular quality sleep reduces AD risks, it does appear that those who are chronically sleep deprived may have increased levels of proteins associated with AD. The good news is that the negative effects of an occasional night of restless sleep may be reversed with good sleep habits.

Exercise – Convincing evidence shows that 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise three to four days each week may help prevent AD, or slow the progression in people who have symptoms. According to a recent UW-Madison study, those at a high genetic risk of AD who perform moderate-intensity activity, such as a brisk walk or run, are more likely to have healthy patterns of brain glucose metabolism. Dependent upon the type of exercise and its intensity, physical activity may lower AD risk by up to 65 percent by addressing underlying mechanisms, such as improved pulmonary function, increased cell survival and a proper inflammatory response.

Diet – While the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet are often recommended for overall good health, a low carb, high fat, no sugar, no starch ketogenic diet has been shown to be of benefit in neurodegenerative disorders. A ketogenic diet, along with consumption of ketone-producing medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), fights brain insulin resistance (type 3 diabetes) by helping to control blood glucose, calming inflammation, and enhancing insulin sensitivity. The diet helps to maintain energy levels by fueling the brain with ketones, a more concentrated and efficient energy source.

Diabetes – Those with diabetes and insulin resistance are at a higher risk of developing AD and other neurogenerative diseases. The relationship between diabetes and AD is so close that AD is now recognized as another form of diabetes referred to as type 3. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin to properly regulate blood glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can produce a normal amount of insulin, but the cells have become resistant or unresponsive to its action, resulting in insulin resistance. In type 3 diabetes, the brain has insulin deficiency, as in type 1, plus insulin resistance, as in type 2. Dysregulation of insulin results in an increased risk for cognitive impairment. The good news is that diabetes type 2 can often be reversed with weight loss, regular exercise and a proper diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Found in fish, algae, some plants, nut oils and supplements, omega-3’s play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Highly concentrated in the brain, research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and appear to be important for cognitive and behavioral function. Studies show an association between reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids and an increased risk of age-related cognitive decline or dementia.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine quality supplements to support brain and overall health:

Sleep AideSleep Aide by Vital Nutrients: This synergistic formula provides well-studied botanicals and melatonin to provide a safe, natural way to calm the central nervous system and encourage restful, restorative sleep. Independently tested to be gluten, wheat, soy, egg, sugar, heavy metal, and pesticide free.

 

M.C.T. Liquid ...M.C.T. Liquid by Douglas Laboratories®: This product supplies 100% structured lipids in a convenient liquid form. MCT oil aids in weight management and energy production. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy and artificial ingredient free formula.

 

Diabetter Advanced...Diabetter™ Advanced Glucose Support by Zahler: This product includes vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that work synergistically to help support and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Kosher formulation.

 

PGX DailyPGX® by Bioclinic Naturals: This clinically studied natural fiber complex supports healthy weight loss, reduces cravings, improves regularity, and helps to normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Gluten, wheat, and dairy free formulation.

 

Easy Swallow MinisEasy Swallow Minis by Wiley’s Finest™ Wild Alaskan Fish Oil: These easy swallow minis provide a concentrated and balanced dose of EPA and DHA omega-3 essential fatty acids. Manufactured at a family-owned and operated c-GMP facility, and sourced from sustainable Alaskan pollock or pacific whiting. Sugar, gluten, starch, yeast, wheat, dairy, artificial ingredients, nuts, shellfish, soy and corn free.

References:
Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/dont_underestimate_the_importance_of_sleep
Bad Sleep Found to Increase Alzheimer’s Related Brain Proteins. https://www.sciencealert.com/bad-sleep-may-increase-your-alzheimer-s-risk
Alzheimer’s disease study links brain health, physical activity. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170622103818.htm
What can you do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease? https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease
Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Summary of What We Know. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/884615
Ketones to combat Alzheimer’s disease. http://blogs.plos.org/neuro/2016/07/16/ketones-to-combat-alzheimers-disease/
Can omega-3 help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Brain SPECT imaging shows possible link. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170519124034.htm
Omega-3 fatty acids. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

 

 

For Long Term Health, Make Sleep a Priority

SleepPriorityJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

As it is estimated that 50 –70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, it’s safe to say that many of us know how exactly how it feels to lose a night or two of sleep. In the short term, inadequate sleep can impair judgment and mental clarity, and negatively affect efficiency, mood, and physical safety. In the long term, sleep loss and sleep disorders have a profound effect on human health. The price we pay for insufficient sleep is an increased risk of chronic disease, overall poor health, and even early mortality. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences, including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke.

Is there an amount of sleep that is considered ideal? While the general recommendation for adults is to strive for seven to eight hours nightly, sleep needs are individual and vary by age, lifestyle and state of health. In other words, infants, toddlers, children and teens require more sleep than adults and the elderly may require less. And then there are those who proclaim that the need for continuous seven to eight hour nightly sleep is a myth and that there are underexplored variations of daily sleep, such as shorter sleep/wake cycles with naps in between, similar to our how our ancestors lived before the advent of electricity. However, it’s believed that only about three percent of the population can get by with just a few hours of nightly sleep without experiencing ill effects. While it’s well documented that short naps are beneficial, many of us don’t have the luxury of time to indulge in them.

History tells us that sleep patterns change, although our need for sleep does not. From the ancient Greeks and Romans who worshipped powerful sleep deities, to Aristotle who concluded that sleep was a time of physical renewal, to King Louis XIV who held court while reclining in one of his many beds, to Napoleon Bonaparte who prescribed “six hours of sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool,“ to the present day advice, sleep has been a necessary part of life since the dawn on time. While Aristotle may have believed the “seat of consciousness resided in the heart, and that sleep was a direct result of warm vapors rising from the stomach during digestion,” we now know that sleep is a highly active process during which the day’s events are processed, memories are stored, the body is rejuvenated and energy is restored.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, we have two internal systems that regulate when we sleep and when we are awake. These two systems work independently and under normal conditions produce consolidated periods of wakefulness and sleep, but they can become misaligned when we stay up past our usual bedtime, work shift work, are jet lagged, suffer from a sleep disorder, or are under a lot of stress. When we disconnect from the natural cycles of activity and sleep, chronic sleep deprivation can result. Despite the fact that sleep loss is considered by some to be a public health issue, the management and treatment of sleep is not often addressed. Those who struggle with insomnia, sleep apnea, chronic pain, restless leg syndrome and other sleep difficulties may want to seek a consultation with their health care provider or a sleep behavioral specialist. For those of us who don’t prioritize or can’t manage to get regular heathy sleep, the most effective treatment may be a simple understanding of proper sleep habits that enable us to get better rest. Just as we have bedtime routines for our children, establishing a regular and relaxing routine can be a very helpful way to transition into sleep.

Good sleep habits begin way before sundown. Experts recommend no caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime, no alcohol within 3 hours, no exercise or food within 2 -3 hours and no electronics during the last hour before bed. The following simple tips help to establish a routine to aid healthy sleep:

  • To improve your sleep patterns, establish a consistent bedtime routine, and as often as possible go to bed at the same time each night. Sleep is a behavior that can be reinforced positively or negatively. Learn to put yourself to sleep by following better sleep guidelines.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, limit naps to 20 minutes and take them early in the afternoon. Although there are differing opinions regarding the benefits of sleeping in on the weekends, if you are exhausted, sleep.
  • Allow time to transition from activity to sleep. Take the last 30-60 minutes before bed to unwind and relax. You can try reading, taking a bath, stretching, listening to music, meditating, enjoying a cup of herbal tea or anything else that works to calm your mind.
  • Avoid overstimulating activities including high intensity exercise, surfing the internet and late night television. In addition to stimulating the mind, light from devices can interfere with your internal body clock.
  • If you are stressed and worried about the next day’s activities, you won’t fall into a restful sleep. Writing down your thoughts or a plan for the next day’s activities, will help to put your mind at ease so you can rest.
  • Start dimming the lights at least 30 minutes before retiring to allow the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to control sleep/wake cycles. Optimize your light exposure during the day, especially first thing in the morning, and minimize light exposure after dark.
  • Once in bed, if you find you are still awake after 30 minutes, ease your frustration by getting up and repeating parts of your bedtime ritual. Keep lighting soft and go back to bed when feeling sleepy.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products to aid restorative sleep:

Kavinace Ultra PM by NeuroScienceKavinace Ultra PM by NeuroScience – This very popular proprietary blend is designed to support calming hormones and neurotransmitters to promote normal, healthy, restorative sleep and relieve symptoms of anxiousness, irritability and stress. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formula.

 

Sleep Aide by Vital NutrientsSleep Aide by Vital Nutrients – This botanical blend contains valerian and lemon balm, two of the most studied herbs shown to support occasional restless sleep. Additional ingredients and herbals relieve occasional tenseness and irritability, and provide safe, natural calming support for the central nervous system to encourage restful sleep. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

Melatonin PR 3 mg Prolonged-Release (83199-) by Douglas LaboratoriesMelatonin PR by Douglas Laboratories – One serving provides 3 mg of pharmaceutical grade, prolonged-release melatonin, a natural hormone that appears to regulate sleep/wake cycles, support normal immune function and provide free radical protection. Gluten and soy free, vegan formula.

 

5HTP Supreme by Designs for Health

5HTP Supreme by Designs for Health – As a precursor to serotonin production, 5HTP helps to naturally restore serotonin levels to promote healthy mood, reduce food cravings and aid health sleep.

 

References:
Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/
Consequences of Insufficient Sleep. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
Nightly 8-Hour Sleep Isn’t a Rule. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201403/nightly-8-hour-sleep-isnt-rule-its-myth
Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Sleep. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/history