White Noise is My Colour of Choice

In my blog entitled Health Care Trends I Am Watching in the New Decade from my February 2020 Newsletter, I mentioned that I believe that one of the greatest health trends to continue in to this new decade will be the ongoing study of both the quality and quantity of sleep and its impact on our overall health.

To reiterate from earlier writings, beneficial habits to incorporate when working towards good sleep hygiene include:

  • Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine
  • Turning all electronics off 1 hour before bedtime
  • Not eating 3 hours before bedtime
  • Sleeping in a cool room
  • Sleeping in darkness
  • Removing electronics from your bedroom, or at the very least, keeping them 2 feet away from your bed
  • Trying to get to be around 10pm

 

Something New!

I wanted to let you in on another tool that I have added to my arsenal of sleep strategies.

White noise.

Let’s set the stage here of my reality.

My hearing seems to be the only one of my senses that continues to increase in sensitivity as time goes by.

I wake to children roaming, doors closing and dogs snoring.  Darkness, coolness and time of retiring to my room just don’t stand up to the sound challenges that I face nightly.

I needed another bullet so I gave listening to white noise a try and it works like a charm.

What is white noise you ask?

White noise is a fuzzy sound. It’s like all of possible the sounds that you could hear melding in to one peaceful sssssss.  To be a bit more scientific though, white noise is a combination of all of the different frequencies of sound.

And this beautiful consistent noise masks other sounds that cause me anxiety at night.

 

Different Colour Noises  

White noise isn’t the only ‘colour’ noise.

There is pink noise, brown noise, blue noise and green noise just to name a few.

Basically each differs in frequencies.

Additional Benefits of White Noise

Using white noise for achieving better sleep is only one of the many benefits that people like me have noted by listening to it.

Other benefits reported include:

  1. Better concentration
  2. Better meditation
  3. Lessening of anxiety
  4. Reducing tinnitus
  5. Better sleep for babies

White noise has been a godsend for me.

“Alexa play white noise” is my new night time mantra.

 

 

 

 

 

Does Sleeping in on the Weekend Make Up for Lack of Sleep During the Week?

Sleep is our reward at the end of the day that allows our body to regroup, repair and restore.  But what happens if we don’t get enough sleep?

In the short term the effects of not getting adequate sleep can include:

  • Lack of alertness
  • Impaired memory
  • Moodiness

Chronic lack of sleep can have a severe impact on your health leading to serious health issues such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • heart issues
  • obesity
  • depression

And research has shown that long-term sleep disruptions may raise the risk of some cancers including prostate cancers and breast cancers.

https://www.cathybiase.com/sleeping-cancer-fighting-powerhouse/

So now that we know, in broad sweeps, the importance of getting adequate sleep,  how much sleep is enough sleep?

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), along with a multi-disciplinary expert panel recommends that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.

So let’s do the math.  If we take the average of required sleep time to be 8 hours per night then multiply that number by 7 days a week, that works out to 56 hours of sleep a week to hit the desired target.  And when we get less than our needed amount of nightly sleep, this results in what scientists call a ‘sleep debt’.

So here is the question, if we fall short of the average 7-9 hours of sleep during the week, can we repay this sleep debt by sleeping in on the weekend?  Many of us assume yes but research suggests otherwise.

In this study researchers enlisted 36 healthy adults age 18 to 39 to stay for two weeks in a laboratory.  Their food intake, light exposure and sleep were monitored.

Volunteers were divided into groups. One group was allowed to sleep 9 hours each night for 9 nights. The second was allowed 5 hours per night over that same 9 day period. The third group slept no more than 5 hours nightly for 5 days followed by a weekend when they could sleep as much as they liked before returning to 2 days of restricted sleep.

Both of the sleep-restricted groups snacked more at night, gained weight and saw declines in insulin sensitivity during the study period. While those in the weekend recovery group saw mild improvements (including reduced nighttime snacking) during the weekend, those benefits went away when the sleep-restricted workweek resumed.  According to Christopher Depner, lead author of the study

In the end, we didn’t see any benefit in any metabolic outcome in the people who got to sleep in on the weekend

Getting a good sleep on a nightly basis is something many of us need to work on.

Here are some tips to help the Sandman come your way.

Tips for better sleep:

  1. Turn all electronics off 1 hour before bedtime
  2. Do not eat 3 hours before bedtime
  3. Sleep in a cool, dark room
  4. If you must have electronics in your room, keep them 2 feet away from your bed
  5. Be consistent with your bed time aiming to go to bed around 10pm

Sleep well friends!

Here is a very interesting and informative interview that I did with Dr. Garcia-Rill entitled “Why Do We Sleep?”

Have a listen:)

 

References:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times

https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30098-3

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/5/872

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763417301628

 

 

 

6 Health Habits to Learn Before Turning 60 by Dr. Patsi Krakoff

By Dr. Patsi Krakoff, author War on Aging

Dr. Patsi Krakoff is a retired psychologist with 30 years’ experience in behaviour modification and health and wellness coaching. She is a life-long writer having been published in Paris, France where she lived for 20 years. She founded Content for Coaches, a writing service providing leadership articles for executive coaches. War on Aging was written with her husband Robert Krakoff to help healthy seniors live longer through better exercise and nutrition. 

6 Health Habits to Learn Before Turning 60

In my 70s, I have become a health nut. I’m always talking about better health habits for seniors. While others my age are remodeling kitchens and becoming gourmet cooks, I talk about the latest trends in diets, cardio workouts and high intensity interval training.

I’m not sure anybody listens anymore, and I don’t mind, as long as they keep inviting me to lunch. I try not to talk too much about nutrition when they do.

I wasn’t always this way. Like other women my age, I spent a lot of my life indulging on junk food and desserts, then yo-yo dieting to keep the weight off. My idea of working out was shopping all three floors of Nordstrom’s with a credit card.

Genes Aren’t Everything

I was lucky in some ways. I was blessed with small bones and a thin frame, meaning I could pass for healthy even when carrying 20 unnecessary pounds. It wasn’t until I turned 50 that I realized I was aging. I woke up in pain with a collapsed disk and an irregular heart rhythm.

The doctors prescribed medications and surgery. They explained, “You’re just getting old. Not to worry.”

I was angry and wanted to prove them wrong, only they were right. A hard look at my family history ruined it: everyone in my immediate family ̶ mother, father, sister ̶ died in their 50s and 60s. I was 64 at the time. It was time to tackle my health.

Behold, the Way Forward

I wasn’t on the Road to Damascus, but I imagined a shining white light pointing in the direction of the gym. I would go forth and sweat. I wasn’t ready to fast, but I’d throw out all junk food.

Today, at 74, I’ve settled into a life of exercise, good nutrition, and a commitment to healthy habits. I no longer struggle to keep these goals; it’s a way of life.

It didn’t happen overnight, it took persistence. I came to terms with aging and the fact that̶̶ like most seniors ̶I don’t have time left to get it right. Life and health are not a dress rehearsal.

Advice to a 50-Year-Old

The other day a friend asked me what she should tell her daughter ̶ who’s turning 50 ̶ and who isn’t taking good care of herself.

The midlife years are especially hard for working parents who are perpetually out of time and energy. But here’s what health habits I wish I had learned earlier in my own life.

  1. Eat for health. Good eating habits will ensure you avoid some of the diseases of aging, or at least slow them down (heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and dementia.) Starting in midlife, your cells don’t perform as well, meaning they become sensitive to the wrong foods and need more of the good stuff: vitamins, proteins and minerals. Cut down on portions and lose excess weight for good. It’s easier to attain a healthy weight in your 40s and 50s than in your 70s.
  2. Increase your exercise. Do more of what you love, be it sports, dance, yoga, Pilates, etc. Be consistent, never give up, even when sick or injured. The body can always do something while rehabbing. Include time for recovery and stretching and balance. The more you develop muscles at 40 and 50, the better you will look and feel at 70. And the easier an exercise habit will be as you turn 60 and 70.
  3. Don’t skimp on sleep. Remember to get 7-9 hours each night. Your brain needs it to preserve memory functions. Insomnia can lead to obesity, heart disease and dementia. The high rates of cognitive impairment in seniors can be diminished by attention to brain health in your 50s and 60s.
  4. Manage stress and emotions: Pay attention to moods and reach out to friends and others when needed. Nearly every 50-year-old has stress from family, relationships, work, and money periodically. Without stress management tools, it’s easy to let anger or sadness take a hold of you. Those tools will be essential to meeting the challenges of old age.
  5. Maintain good relationships and social connections. Stay in touch with loved ones and cultivate close friends. You’ll need them more than ever as you age. Social relationships contribute to good health and mental acuity.
  6. Find a sense of purpose. Don’t let others dictate what you ‘should’ be doing. Find your passion and focus time and energy doing what you love. While we can’t ignore the pressures of making a living and working, cultivate what you enjoy most. Prepare for the day when you will have more time for what you love.

You are never too young to get healthy. Start now in midlife, and you’ll be ahead of the game as you become a senior. You will look and feel ten years younger, and truly enjoy those golden years.

 

This Week on The Health Hub…Why Do We Sleep? with Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill

Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill is Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience, a NIH-funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, a Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal in 1973. After postdoctoral training at the Department of Anatomy at the University of California at Los Angeles and the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA he joined the faculty at UAMS in 1978.  Dr. Garcia-Rill has been continuously funded for his research for almost 40 years.  His interests include the control of voluntary movement and locomotion, which involves the study of spinal cord injury as well as motor disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.  He does research on the control of arousal and sleep-wake cycles, recently describing a novel mechanism for sleep-wake control, outlined in his 2015 book, “Waking and the Reticular Activating System in Health and Disease”.

He is the co-inventor on six patents and collaborates with Law School faculty on a series of six law reviews generally entitled, “The Law and the Brain: Using science to make legal decisions”.  Dr. Garcia-Rill has served on NIH review panels for 30 years, and was on the Board of Scientific Councilors for the National Institute for Drug Abuse and the National Center for Rehabilitation Research.

Learning points:

  • Why do we sleep?
  • What are the stages of sleep?
  • Are there disorders that manifest in sleep disregulation?

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Every Tuesday from 11am -12pm I host The Health Hub, an interactive, forward thinking talk show on Radio Maria Canada.   Call, tweet or email your questions as together we explore health issues that are relevant to you from new and innovative points of view.

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Tasty Spiced Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to make melatonin.  Melatonin is a hormone that is important for regulating our circadian rhythm, our body’s internal clock that sets our sleep-wake cycle.

Here is a quick, tasty recipe for Spiced Walnuts to help promote a good night’s sleep!

 

Tasty Spiced Walnuts