My sleep gets light before I am ready to wakeup. Luckily a couple upstairs gets up about when I do about 9 AM or so. I go to sleep after 1 AM the night before so it seems to be almost enough. Normally I do not need coffee when I get about 9 hours of sleep, a sleep time which use to be the normal for Americans in the past before the Internet era and other modern apps.
Bjornstad is a medical doctor who writes articles time to time for the Register Guard in Eugene. Dr Oz writes a column every Monday which can only be accessed on this improved website by searching for Oz.
Even with the NY Times website, it is not always easy to find articles you might be interested in reading because it is pushed into the background of a very large newspaper. That is why I subscribe.
The new Kindle from www.amazon.com is the best selling product in the world now! It is great and may get more people to read and keep authors and book reviewers solvent!
Jim Kawakami, Dec 27, 2010, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com
THERE’S AN APP FOR SLEEPING?
New gadget called WakeMate works with a smartphone to track your sleep patterns
Published: Monday, Dec 27, 2010 05:00AM
http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/sevendays/25697332-35/sleep-cycle-wakemate-hours-alarm.csp Undoubtedly many children found it hard to sleep Friday night, as the popular song goes, because after all, Santa was on his way with lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.
But in the aftermath of the holiday, with visions of sugar plums no longer dancing in their heads, to borrow from another Christmas classic, most kids are probably back to their regular slumber schedule.
If only many adults could join them, but unfortunately, the alarm clock interrupts the sleep state at the wrong time for many people, who drag themselves out of bed every morning feeling as if they’d never even been there.
Not surprisingly — since most humans spend up to one-third of their lives under the covers — there’s been a lot of scientific research on what disrupts a good night’s sleep and tips for making it more rejuvenating.
And even less surprisingly, in the an-app-for-everything computer age, there are multiple gadgets on the market to help make that happen.
One of the most intriguing choices is called WakeMate, which figures out where you are in your sleep cycle around the time you need to get up and then wakes you at the moment of lightest sleep within a 20-minute time window to give you a chance for a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed start to the day.
The WakeMate does it, according to wakemate.com, by using a special electronic band around the wearer’s nondominant wrist to monitor peaks and troughs in the sleep cycle through a 20-year-old method called “actigraphy.” It sends data from the bracelet to its owner’s smartphone, which issues the wake-up call in the form of an alarm tone or even music.
The application also allows the data to be accumulated by the smartphone to compare nightly “sleep scores” and devise schedules that will lead to more efficient and high-quality sleep.
However, good sleep can be had even by those who don’t carry smartphones, through an understanding of sleep cycles and when best to intercept them.
Modern sleep researchers have known for years that sleep happens in several stages: falling asleep, light sleep, deep sleep and rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, during which dreams occur.
The cycle repeats several times throughout the night, although many researchers say that the dream stage doesn’t happen as often as the others. Instead, the sleep cycle goes from light to deep and back again before hitting REM sleep and then starting over. And, they say, the deepest sleep of the night happens in the first two repetitions of the sleep cycle.
Nor do we dream as often as we might think. The dream, or REM, phase happens only about every hour and a half, lasting at first only about 10 to 20 minutes but lengthening during the night with each cycle. On average, we spend from a fifth to a quarter of the night’s sleep dreaming.
Before the invention of the electroencephalogram in 1929, scientists thought sleep meant the brain was inactive, according to a Harvard Medical School article on sleep patterns. But from then on, it became obvious that the brain remains highly active during sleep — sometimes even more active than when we’re awake.
Different things go on during the different stages of sleep, which is why it matters when a person wakes up. Some parts of the sleep cycle are important for physical regeneration of the body; others help to fix memories and new learning in the brain.
In humans, sleep is determined by a combination of circadian rhythm, the physical and mental need for sleep and the alarm clock. It’s usually the alarm clock that throws things off by interrupting the physical and mental functions controlled by the other two, internal timing devices.
Hence the effort to develop gadgetry such as WakeMate that don’t just cause awakening at a specific moment but try to correlate it with what the body is doing naturally.
British researchers offer additional reasons not only for getting enough sleep but for fine-tuning sleep to correlate with the body’s natural wake-sleep rhythms. Lack of sleep can double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, they say, as well as create a risk for weight gain, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
On the mental side, poor sleep patterns are associated with depression, alcoholism and bipolar disorder.
For those reasons, the researchers recommend that children up to 3 years old should sleep as much as 15 hours per day or more; preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours of sleep, while elementary-age children should get nine to 11 hours of sleep daily. Adolescents need as much as 10 hours of sleep, and mature adults should have seven to eight hours or more each day.
Clearly, that doesn’t happen in most people’s frenetic daily schedules, giving rise to electronic aids to try to recapture some of the naturalness of the sleep cycle.
But for those who prefer a less technological approach, the Harvard Medical School’s sleep staff offers some other tips for sleep:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other chemicals that interfere with sleep four to six hours before bedtime.
Keep the bedroom dark, cool and quiet and well-ventilated, using blackout shades, earplugs or a “white noise” producer if necessary.
Establish a presleep routine that promotes relaxation, such as a warm bath, reading, watching television or doing relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful activities or discussions.
If still awake 20 minutes after going to bed, get up, go to another room and resume relaxing activities until sleepy.
Don’t watch the clock during the night, because being awake and observing the passage of time can be stressful and prevent sleep.
Let natural light into the room first thing in the morning to promote a healthy sleep-waking cycle.
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day to help set the body’s internal clock, including on weekends.
Nap, if at all, early in the afternoon and for only a short time, no longer than 30 minutes.
Eat dinner several hours before bedtime and don’t snack before going to bed; if hungry, eat a small amount of fruit or dairy food to avoid causing insomnia or indigestion.
Drink enough fluid before bed to keep from waking up thirsty but not so much as to cause need for urination during the night.
Finish daily exercise at least three hours before bedtime.