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Posts Tagged "sleep"

Top Tips For Keeping Healthy This Year: Part 2

3. Diet (continued). Foods that can give you energy and help your circulation include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and goods oils such as olive oil, flax seed, fish oils and coconut oil. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and lentils in your diet will also help you to lose some extra weight and benefit your immune system. Red meat and fats from fried and junk food also produce free radicals in our body. These free radicals have been linked with causing a number of diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Cutting down on fizzy drinks is also a must in your new health plan. These drinks are full of sugar and regular intake can be harmful to general health. The sugar free versions of these drinks are actually more harmful, as the artificial sweeteners have been linked with a host of illnesses such as osteoporosis and digestive problems. Water has many health benefits. You should aim for 8 glasses a day (1-1.5 litres). It is important to remember that water is also present in fruit juices, salads and certain fruits. Fluid intake is a must for a healthy body. A good way to start you day is to have hot water with lemon and ginger. This healthy drink has the benefit of boosting immunity and stimulating your liver to kick start the detox process. 4. Health Supplements. You can easily include some health supplements as part of your daily routine to improve your immunity and general health.  The number one supplement that I would recommend is a good quality probiotic. This will provide you with essential good bacteria, which is required for a healthy digestive system. Probiotics also help to support and boost the immune system. You can take the probiotics throughout the winter months to aide digestion as well as help fight the winter bugs. Essential fatty acids from either fish oils or flax seed oil is another food supplement that will help your general health. These essential oils are required for a healthy cardiovascular system, brain function and they are excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. These fatty acids also help to maintain healthy joints. Antioxidants are required to “mop up” the free radicals that...

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Sleep Boosts Brain Function

Sleep Boosts Brain Function

Did you know that sleep can boost brain function? New research has found that sleep increases the reproduction of cells that form myelin, which is essential for optimal brain function. These findings could lead to new developments about the link between sleep and brain repair. This connection could also lead to future developments regarding the understanding of multiple sclerosis, which is caused by damage to myelin. The study, which was published in the The Journal of Neuroscience could one day lead to more information about the connection between sleep and brain growth and repair. It has been known for years that genes are turned on and off during periods of sleep and wakefulness. What was not known was how sleep affects specific cells such as oligodendrocytes. These cells make myelin in a healthy brain in response to injury.   What is Myelin? Myelin is an insulating layer that wraps around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. It is made up of protein and fatty substances. Myelin is essential in allowing nerve signals to be transmitted quickly and efficiently. Damage to the myelin can cause diseases such as multiple sclerosis.   This study which was led by Chiara Cirelli, MD, PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, measured gene activity in oligodendrocytes from mice that slept and those who were forced to stay awake. The results found the genes promoting myelin were turned on during sleep, and the genes causing cell were turned on when the mice stayed awake. “For a long time, sleep researchers focused on how the activity of nerve cells differs when animals are awake versus when they are asleep,” Cirelli said. “Now it is clear that the way other supporting cells in the nervous system operate also changes significantly depending on whether the animal is asleep or awake.” Further analysis showed that the production of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) (cells that become oligodendrocytes) doubles during sleep, especially during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The researchers suggest that extreme or persistent sleep loss could potentially aggravate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Cirelli did however say that future experiments may confirm whether or not a link exists between sleep patterns and multiple sclerosis...

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Not Getting Enough Sleep? Your Memory is at Risk!

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Your Memory is at Risk!

Young people who can cope with minimal sleep may be risking their future health. According to research which will be published at the American Academy of Neurology 64th annual meeting, a lack of sleep can affect your memory in later life. The study was conducted by Yo-El Ju, MD,from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. The researchers tested the sleep patterns of 100 people aged between 45 and 80. Half of the volunteers had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep was measured by a device which was placed on each volunteer, who also had to fill in questionnaires and sleep diaries. “Disrupted sleep appears to be associated with the build-up of amyloid plaques, a hallmark marker of Alzheimer’s disease, in the brains of people without memory problems,”said Yo-El Ju, MD. The results of the study found that 25 percent of the participants had evidence of amyloid plaques, which are an early indication of Alzheimer’s disease.  The average sleep time was 6.5 hours out of 8 hours that was spent in bed. The amyloid plaques were more likely to affect people who woke up more than 5 times per hour, than people who had a better quality sleep. The amount of time that people spend sleeping in bed has a major impact of the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. People that spent less than 85 per cent of their in bed sleeping were more likely to have markers of this disease, than those who spent more than 85per cent of their time actually sleeping. “The association between disrupted sleep and amyloid plaques is intriguing, but the information from this studycan’t determine a cause-effect relationship or the direction of this relationship. We need longer-term studies, following individuals’ sleep over years, to determine whether disrupted sleep leads to amyloid plaques, orwhether brain changes in early Alzheimer’s disease lead to changes insleep,” Ju...

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Top Tips for a Better Nights Sleep

As March is National Bed Month, the following tips can help to improve the quality of sleep that we get. A healthy sleep has many health benefits, ranging from a better level of general health, improved concentration as well as the cosmetic benefits of looking younger and healthier. Follow our tips and you can benefit from a better nights sleep: You should ideally leave a gap of around four hours between having your last caffeinated drink of the day and bedtime. Leave a gap of at least two to three hours after eating a heavy meal before bedtime. The process of digestion can affect sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or broken sleep. Foods such as cheese, chocolate, bacon, sausages, wine and tomatoes contain the amino acid Tyramine. Tyramine causes a release of the norepinephrine, which is a brain stimulant that can keep you awake. Regular exercise is an excellent way to relax and results in a more relaxed sleep. This has the added benefit of feeling energised the following day. You should try and make exercise a part of your daily routine. This can range from walking, running, strength training, playing sports or exercises such as yoga or pilates....

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The Art of Sleep

The Art of Sleep

OK, so you know about the importance of diet and exercise to a healthy lifestyle – but have you thought about your sleeping habits? “A lot of people are very focussed on the eating and exercise aspects of healthy living,” says sleep expert Professor Chris Idzikowski, “yet the importance of sleep is often overlooked – despite the fact we’re doing it for up to a third of each day!.” We need a good night’s sleep to give us the energy and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday living – yet, just as we can get into bad driving habits over time without knowing it, so, too, we can get into bad sleep habits which affect our sleep quality and prevent us from firing on all cylinders. The consequences are not just lack of energy or general tiredness – which is bad enough: it can be life threatening. Recent research has revealed that a significant proportion of car accidents are caused by people falling asleep at the wheel. The occasional night without enough sleep can fairly easily be rectified.  But if sleep deprivation (through poor sleep quality as well as lack of quantity) mounts up, you’ll find it more difficult to make decisions, you’ll make more mistakes, be more short tempered, more easily depressed, have slower reflexes, be more susceptible to minor illnesses – the list is considerable. Many people complain of lack of sleep or insomnia. Often the solution is quite simply achieved through adjusting your sleep environment and sleep habits. In fact people are often getting more sleep than they think – it’s just not the restful, quality sleep they need. Sometimes sleep problems can be caused by exterior factors which need to be dealt with in their own right. These might be emotional or psychological (severe stress, bereavement, depression, anxiety) or physical (due to illness, medical conditions such as asthma or back problems, medication, etc). A few people suffer from specific sleep illnesses – the two most common are sleep apnea, which is a breathing problem associated with snoring, and narcolepsy which causes people to fall asleep uncontrollably. Both require expert attention but are treatable. But for most of us it’s back to the drawing board...

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Sleep Well for a Healthy Heart!

Sleep Well for a Healthy Heart!

Late nights, disrupted sleep, and lack of good quality sleep are some of the known causes of heart problems such as heart attacks and strokes.  A study carried out the Warwick Medical School found that sleep deprivation is a big health risk. Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the medical school said, “If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you stand a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke”. The professor also suggested that the trend of late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health. It is important to act now to reduce the risk of developing these life-threatening health conditions. The study was conducted on more than 470,000 people from eight countries including the U.K, Japan, Sweden and the U.S.A. The results from this research indicate that we all need to evaluate our work/life balance. In many cases, people are working longer hours and getting less sleep. This pattern, compounded by the increased stress levels that we live with is a dangerous combination. Dr Milchelle Miller, from the University of Warwick said, “Chronic short sleep produces hormones and chemicals in the body which increase the risk of developing heart disease and strokes, and other conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity”. The opposite also applies too. Having more than nine hours sleep a night may also cause illnesses such as cardiovascular disease. Professor Cappuccio said that by having about seven hours sleep a night will help you to protect your future health, and reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses. In conclusion, the results from this study clearly indicate that it is vital to get a good night’s sleep to stay healthy and live longer. We hope you found our article “sleep well for a healthy heart” useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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Top Tips for a Healthy Sleep

There are many life style changes that we can incorporate into our daily routines to help promote a good quality sleep. A healthy sleep has many health benefits, ranging from a better level of general health, improved concentration, increased energy, improved mood as well as the cosmetic benefits of looking younger and healthier. Caffeine is a well known stimulant and the simple measure of avoiding caffeinated drinks such as coffee, fizzy drinks and tea can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. You should ideally leave a gap of around four hours between having your last caffeinated drink of the day and bedtime. Leave a gap of at least two to three hours after eating a heavy meal before bedtime. The process of digestion can affect sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or broken sleep. Eating late at night can also contribute to other digestive problems such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Certain foods can also act as a stimulant and should not be eaten close to bedtime. Foods such as cheese, chocolate, bacon, sausages, wine and tomatoes contain the amino acid Tyramine. Tyramine causes a release of the norepinephrine, which is a brain stimulant that can keep you awake. Regular exercise is an excellent way to relax and results in a more relaxed sleep. This has the added benefit of feeling energised the following day. You should try and make exercise a part of your daily routine. This can range from walking, running, strength training, playing sports or exercises such as yoga or pilates. Some medications can actually alter and interfere with sleeping patterns. If you are starting treatment with a new medication it is very important to read the patient information leaflet to check the side effects. Over the counter flu medications that contain decongestants, such as pseudoephredrine, can cause increased alertness and stimulation. If you are taking these medications you should leave a gap of three to four hours before bedtime. Other medications that can affect sleep are antidepressants, antihistamines and some slimming medications. Please consult your G.P or pharmacist if you have any concerns about your medications. Conventional sleep medications can affect your sleep patterns and make it very difficult to fall asleep naturally. This...

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