Woman with headphones on the bed

Add Pink Noise To Your Bedroom Routine

Let’s face it, everything is better in pink. If there are two cupcakes, one with white icing and one with pink, which one do you pick? Hostess snowballs? Definitely better in pink. If your Mom bought you and your sister notebooks, she had better have made sure both or neither were pink. Party dresses? Don’t even go there.

If you are familiar with white noise, you know it to be that pleasant buzzing that often occurs when the radio loses reception. It is often used in healthcare to block out noise caused by hearing impairments or as a sleep aid, but did you know about pink noise? Although it may sound like the latest psychedelic rock movement, pink noise is more accurately the latest proposed solution to sleep interruption. And, according to a recent study, it may actually help to improve memory as well.

Sound Stimulation and Sleep
According to recent research done at Northwestern University, when gentle sound stimulation is synced up to the rhythm of brain waves, it can not only lead to a better sleep in older adults, but can also improve their ability to remember specific words.

Why Deep Sleep Is important
Memory loss typically occurs throughout the process of aging; so does the gradual decrease in deep sleep. Scientists suspect a connection. Because deep sleep is a critical component in the consolidation of memory, it is believed that a reduction in one may be responsible for a reduction in the other. Therefore, scientists believe that using sound stimulation to induce deep sleep may be the solution to memory loss.

During deep sleep, brainwave production is reduced to a rate of one per second, quite a bit slower than the 10 oscillations that happen during the seconds when one is awake. Giovanni Santstasi, co-author of the study was able to create an algorithm capable of transmitting audio during the rising of slow wave oscillations, to boost the synchronization of neural activity.

Woman sleeping

The Study
The study was comprised of 13 individuals aged 60 and up recruited from Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. It targeted individuals suffering from low levels of sleep and memory loss.

The aim of the study was to monitor brain waves in individuals using a breakthrough audio system that can lock in audio stimulation at the moment when specific neuron communication occurs during deep sleep.

Participants were exposed to a night of acoustic stimulation followed by a night of false stimulation. The two stimulations were identical, except for the fact that the individuals did not hear noise in the false stimulation. Upon awakening, the subjects were given memory tests, with another set given the following morning.

Results
The study found that while memory recall ability rose by a couple of percentage points following the false stimulation, those who listened to the pink noise showed a vast increase in memory recall. In fact, those who were subjected to the acoustic stimulation showed three times as much improvement as their counterparts. These finding suggest that slow wave sleep can indeed have a significant impact on memory.

What Does This Mean?
For those suffering memory loss, the new is good. It suggests that there might be a way to safely improve memory without the use of expensive, side effect inducing medicine. “Pink noise” may offer a completely safe and simple alternative.

What do you think about the latest findings? Is pink the new white? Let us know!

Woman can't sleep

Don't Let Stress Disrupt Your Sleep

Sleep and stress, they may just cancel each other out. How can we expect our nervous systems to shut down when we’re a bundle of nerves? We need sleep. It keeps us healthy, it keeps us sane, it keeps us focused, it keeps our weight down. By that logic, lack of sleep is going to turn us into sick, obese, insane people with attention deficits. That certainly is not going to relax you. So what do you do to keep stress from disrupting your sleep? Read on for a few ideas.

Stress and Sleep
Not only does stress prevent sleep, it decreases its quality. In fact, according to a “Stress in America” survey, 42 % of adults report a low or fair quality sleep when affected by stress. To make matters worth, stress may not only deprive you of a good night’s sleep, it may have a more lasting effect. Recent research published in the SLEEP journal reveals that individuals who suffer from chronic stress are more susceptible to insomnia, with each stressor increasing the risk of insomnia by 19 percent.

Woman clutching head

Stress and Your Brain
Not only does stress interfere with the quality of sleep and increase the risk of insomnia, it also places the nervous system in a physical state inconsistent with sleep. When you sleep, your body switches from the active sympathetic nervous system to the more relaxed parasympathetic nervous system. When the body experiences high stress levels, the parasympathetic nervous system fails to kick in, keeping your brain in a state of hyperactivity, according to David Spiegel MD.

As if it isn’t enough that stress causes lack of sleep, it turns out lack of sleep can cause more stress. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that nearly three quarters of adults credit sleep problems with a general increase of anxiety in their daily lives.

What Can You Do?
Wondering how you can prevent high stress from robbing you of precious sleep? Here are a few ideas:

Lavender
Studies show that lavender can be a very relaxing component of insomnia relief.

Woman doing yoga

Relaxation Techniques
There are a number of techniques that may be helpful in decreasing stress. Yoga poses, mediation, and progressive relaxation are all examples of methods of relaxation that may make sleep come more readily.

Stop Distracting Thoughts
Research shows that you can clear your mind of distressing thoughts by writing them down on a piece of paper and literally throwing the paper away. Skeptical? Worth a try!

Deep Breaths
The rhythm of inhalation and exhalation activates the body’s natural parasympathetic system. Try taking a few deep breaths in and out before hitting the sack.

See A Specialist
If all else fails, consider seeing a professional. He or she may be able to provide insights or recommend techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy to address sleeplessness.

How do you prevent stress from disrupting your nightly sleep? Let us know.

Woman sleeping soundly

Suggestions For Distraction-Free Sleep

So you’ve just gotten back from partying for 6 days in the desert and, boy, are you tired. You are going to sleep, but this will not be a regular sleep; this will be an epic sleep. You are going to sleep like the dead and pity the person or thing that dares to interrupt you. But a sleep like this will take careful planning. You need to make sure this sleep is totally free of distractions. If you can just stay awake a few more minutes, you should do the following to ensure your sleep is the blissful one you are anticipating.

Turn Off Electronics
In order to fall asleep, your body increases sleep hormone levels as it gets darker outside. In turn, your body begins to associate darkness with sleep. Exposure to light from electronics, like laptops and cell phones, inhibit the formation of these hormones. For a good night’s sleep, turn off all brightly screened electronic devises at least on hour prior to turning in.

Studies show that people who play computer games more than seven hours per week do not sleep as well as those who refrain from such activity. Also, social media outlets can raise stress and anxiety levels.

Cool Off
Heat can be a major sleep distraction. The best combination for a good night’s sleep is a cool room and hot skin. Set the thermostat to 65 or lower to induce sleepiness and prevent night sweats.

Woman sleeping with book

Keep It Dark
Bright lights are not conducive to good sleep. They trick the body into thinking it is daytime, and prevent sleep hormones from forming. Turn off night lights, overheads, and table lamps. Close your blinds and consider investing in light blocking curtain for extra relaxation.

If you chose to read or write before turning in, try a small book light as opposed to a desktop or overhead light source. if you own a bright clock, check out the dimmer option to lower brightness and face it away from you to avoid obsessive time checks.

Reduce Unwanted Noise
White noise generators are available, as are recordings of natural sounds. These rhythmic sounds can drown out noises which can interfere with sleep. You may also want to listen to some soft music. You can do an online search to find specific pieces of music recommended to aid sleep. Experiment with different types until you find which works best for you. It may be classical or modern ambient.

Use earplugs to keep out background noises and annoying sounds, like car alarms or barking dogs.

Woman with headphones

Avoid falling asleep with head phones on, as they may become uncomfortable. Play music with a self timer, so you don’t need to worry about shutting it off after a certain time.

Take A Supplement
Herbal and mineral supplements have been used as sleep aids since time immemorial. Try taking 600 mg of calcium with 200mg magnesium as a sleep aid.

Hops are also great for helping with insomnia and relieving anxiety. 30 -120 mg should send you off to sleep nicely.

Wild lettuce tablets can also help to reduce sleep anxiety. Take a recommended 30-120 mg nightly.

L-theanine is a another supplement know to improve not only quality of sleep, but also alertness upon waking. Green tea also contains trace amounts of the amino acid.

Valerian roots supplements are another cure for insomnia. Two hundred to eight hundred mg whole help you fall asleep quickly and easily.

How do you keep your sleep distraction-free? Let us know how you keep your bedroom a sanctuary.

Healthy lifestyle

Setting Personal Goals For Healthy Living

Being unhealthy is not just a part of your life; it’s a part of your identity. And now you’ve decided to make the change. But you’re uneasy. What are your buddies going to think when you beg off a trip to the bar in order to go to the gym? What are they going to say when you pass on the midnight donut run? When you get the spinach pizza instead of the meat lovers?

Setting personal health goals can be difficult, especially when you’re accustomed to a less than Jack Lalanne approved lifestyle, but it can be done. Here are some tips on doing just that.

To-Do List for Healthy Living
Go see your doctor. Even if you’re feeling great, it’s always a good idea to make sure everything is running smoothly. Get yourself screened and immunized and get the answers to all of the nagging questions that may be on your mind.

Keep tabs on your height and weight and make sure you are getting in enough physical activity. The CDC recommends that adults get a minimum of two and a half hour of moderate aerobic activity and 15 minutes of more intense aerobic activity each week, plus muscle training exercises at least two days a week.

Nutritionist Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD tells you to, “Keep track of what your eating–all of it. The idea is to write it down without judgment. You can’t change what you’re not aware of or don’t acknowledge.”

Check your relationships and evaluate your mood and energy levels. Make sure you’re surrounded by people that enrich your life; get adequate sleep, and monitor yourself for signs of depression.

Food

Improve Your Diet
Its all about taking back the power over food. Says Williams, ” Instead of,’I should be eating more fruits and vegetables,’ it’s, ‘I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,’ or, ‘ I choose not to, It shows your in control, you’re making the choice. Stock the kitchen with healthy foods, so you have a healthy strategy for when cravings hit. Slow down and enjoy your food. According to Williams, “You’re much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied,'” and shoot forgive to nine servings of varied vegetables and fruits per day.

Exercise More
Not the exercise type? No such thing! Dr. Williams says there’s no need to stick with the dreaded cardio: find something you enjoy and keep track of what you’re doing. Put big X’s on the calendar on days when you exercise. A visual record will Keep you motivated. Set weekly goals rather than daily ones, so you have greater day-to-day freedom. That way, you can forgive yourself if you miss a day, so long as you make it up before the weekend

Cut Down On Stress
When it comes to handling stress, Williams has two suggestions. Routine maintenance entails the development of coping skills, like meditation or yoga to keep your stress level down. You can also breakthrough stress, by finding ways to handle stressful situations when they pop up. For example, you might run up and down the stairs to quell aggravation after a stressful encounter.

Woman sleeping

Sleep More Soundly
If sound sleep is a problem for you, Lisa Shives, MD has a few tips. The doctor advises avoiding the stimulation of computer and tv two hours before bedtime and recommends a light reading lamp that doesn’t shine into your eyes directly. She warns against vigorous exercise near bedtime and taking a hot bath to relax yourself mentally. Shives also stresses the importance of maintaining a regular sleep schedule and making good sleep a priority saying sleep is, “just as important as diet and exercise.”

Sound doable to you? Of course it does! Let us know how you’re getting a handle on your health. We love to hear it!

Woman with insomnia

Foods That Fight Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you may look back nostalgically on Thanksgiving nights falling asleep in front of the TV with the taste of sweet potato casserole still lingering on your tongue. While it’s easy to understand how the concept of self-induced food coma may seem tempting to the sleep deprived, it may not be the best health option, and there is only so much leftover turkey one can take.

However, that is not to say there is not a link between eating and sleeping. There is scientific proof that certain foods are more conducive to sleep than others. But before you establish running credit at the deli counter, you may want to know your options.

Walnuts
No only do walnuts contain heart-healthy fats, they also have been found to contain melatonin, a bodily hormone that plays a role in regulating sleep cycle. Dr. Erin Palinski Wade, RD, CDE says, “Try snacking on a small handful about 20 minutes before bed to help you relax and reach a deeper state of restful sleep.”

Walnuts

Bananas
In addition to having high levels of serotonin and melatonin, bananas are also packed with magnesium. Magnesium promotes sleep by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone know to interrupt sleep patterns. Although eating the fruit itself has its calming benefits, most of the sleep-inducing power is in the peel. The daring may consider sprinkling banana peels with cinnamon to make them more palatable.

Tart Cherry Juice
A study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology tracked the effectiveness of tart cherry juice, which contains melatonin, on older adult insomniacs. The participants who were given 8 oz of tart cherry juice twice a day slept an average of 87 minutes longer each night than those who received a placebo. Nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD, explains, “Other study data has shown a significant elevation in melatonin in groups consuming cherry juice.”

Basil
Palinski Wade says, ” The plant contains sedative properties, which can help you fall and stay asleep. And as a bonus, it not only helps promote sleep, but is great for reducing indigestion,” a further sleep interrupter. She continues, “Research on this shows the sedative properties come mostly form the hydroalcoholic extract and essential oil of O. basilicum.” She points out that liquid basil extracts are available at the market and can “be used to flavor food, as a supplement, or as an essential oil.

Basil

Milk
It seems the common beliefs about the sleep-promoting abilities of milk are not without merit. “Milk may control melatonin production since it is a great source of calcium, ” Palinski-Wade explains. “Milk is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which has a calming effect on the body.”

Vitamin B6
According to Mary Hartley, RD, ” When we fall asleep, levels of serotonin rise and adrenaline levels fall. Serotonin, the relaxing hormone, is partly made from the amino acid, tryptophan, which is activated by Vitamin B6.” Fortunately, B6 can be found in a wide variety of foods, such as potatoes, fortified breakfast cereal, chicken, fish, peanut butter, fish, bananas, and several vegetables, so deficiencies are uncommon.

Do you go to the fridge when insomnia strikes? Tell us about it. And let us know how the cinnamon banana peels turned out!

Woman sleeping on desk

Causes of Daytime Fatigue

“Work hard – nap hard.” That’s Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty’s tag line, referring to the frequent naps he takes while he’s supposed to be working in the Duck Commander Warehouse, The condition, which he charmingly refers to as “redneckolepsy” or “the tendency to fall asleep while working” has often been a trope for television comedy. “MASH’s” Sgt. Rizzo was often seen under the carriage of a jeep, more likely sleeping than working and “Seinfeld’s.” George Costanza even had his desk tailored to provide ideal work time napping conditions.

However, for some of us daytime fatigue is not so easily solvable and even detrimental to our daily activities. If you’re plagued by daytime fatigue, here are some probable causes and possible solutions.

Hypersomnia
According to the National Sleep foundation, up to 40 % of the population have suffered symptoms of hypersomnia in their lives. Hypersomnia can be characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day or unusually long amounts of time spent sleeping. The condition often results in difficulty staying awake, and can lead to instances of falling asleep at work or while driving, Other symptoms include lack of energy and the inability to think clearly.

Causes of Daytime Sleepiness
Hypersomnia can be attributed to sleep disorders including narcolepsy, or daytime sleepiness, and sleep apnea, which is the interruption of breathing during periods of sleep. Other causes include sleep deprivation and obesity. Overweight individuals tend to suffer from the condition, as do those with head injuries and neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Use of prescription drugs, such as antihistamines and tranquilizers can induce daytime sleepiness and abuse of drugs and alcohol can also lead to hypersomnia. The condition can also be a result of genetics or depression.

Woman rubbing eyes

Diagnosis
If drowsiness is interfering with your daily activities, talk to a doctor. Expect to be asked about how much sleep you get per night, whether or not you wake up at night, whether you fall asleep during the day, and your personal sleeping habits. You may also be questioned about drug intake and emotional problems.

Medical testing for hypersomnia may include, blood test, CT scans, and sleep tests called polysomnolgraphies. EEGs may also be ordered to measure the electrical activity of your brain.

Treatment
The most common treatment for hypersomnia is prescription drugs. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, stimulants, or other medications. If sleep apnea is determined, your doctor may suggest a CPAP, which is a machine that delivers air flow to the nostrils while sleeping to keep airways open and involves wearing a mask over the nose during sleep. Doctors will also recommend avoiding medication that may cause drowsiness and may suggest the elimination of alcohol and caffeine.

If daytime sleepiness is affecting your ability to function, consult a doctor. There may be relief in sight. And, as always, keep us in the loop. We love to hear from you!

Woman exercising

Get A Handle On Your Health

When it comes to health, are you a Felix or an Oscar? Maybe you remember an episode of the original Odd Couple where the two protagonists order room service. Oscar, the wild man, typically orders a rare steak with a baked potato and fried onions, while the mild-mannered Felix opts for sand dabs, cottage cheese, and weak tea. Where do you fall in? Are you the one drinking a smoothie and wielding a yoga mat headed for the nearest gym, or the one at the donut shop peering out from your stained napkin.

If you are the Oscar, you might be noticing a proliferance of healthy people out there and you may even be starting to feel that you are in danger of being run over by the relentless human race. But, buck up, you too can get a handle on your health by taking some simple steps.

To Do List for Healthy Living
Go see your doctor. Even if you’re feeling great, its always a good idea to make sure everything is running smoothly. Get yourself screened and immunized and get the answers to all of the nagging questions that may be on your mind.

Keep tabs on your height and weight and make sure you are getting in enough physical activity. The CDC recommends that adults get a minimum of two and a half hour of moderate aerobic activity and 15 minutes of more intense aerobic activity each week, plus muscle training exercises at least two days a week.

Nutririonist Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD tells you to, “Keep track of what your eating – all of it. The idea is to write it down without judgement. You can’t change what you’re not aware of or don’t acknowledge.”

Check your relationships and evaluate your mood and energy levels. Make sure your surrounded with people that enrich your life; get adequate sleep, and monitor yourself for signs of depression.

Exercise More
Not the exercise type? No such thing! Dr. Williams says there’s no need to stick with the dreaded cardio: find something you enjoy and keep track of what you’re doing. Put big Xes on the calendar on days when you exercise. A visual record will Keep you motivated. Set weekly goals rather than daily ones, so you have greater day to day freedom. That way, you can forgive yourself if you miss a day, so long as you make it up before the weekend.

Improve Your Diet
It’s all about taking back the power over food. Says Williams, ” Instead of,’I should be eating more fruits and vegetables,’ it’s, ‘I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,’ or, ‘ I choose not to, It shows your in control, you’re making the choice. Stock the kitchen with healthy foods, so you have a healthy strategy for when cravings hit. Slow down and enjoy your food. According to Williams, “You’re much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied,'” and shoot forgive to nine servings of varied vegetables and fruits per day.

Cut Down On Stress
When it comes to handling stress, Williams has two suggestions. Routine maintenance entails the development of coping skills, like meditation or yoga to keep your stress level down. You can also breakthrough stress, by finding ways to handle stressful situations when they pop up. For example, you might run up and down the stairs to quell aggravation after a stressful encounter.

Sleep More Soundly
If sound sleep is a problem for you, Lisa Shives. MD has a few tips. The doctor advises avoiding the stimulation of computer and tv two hours before bedtime and recommends a light reading lamp that doesn’t shine into your eyes directly. She warns against vigorous exercise near bedtime and taking a hot bath to relax yourself mentally. Shives also stresses the importance of maintaining a regular sleep schedule and making good sleep a priority saying sleep is, “just as important as diet and exercise.”

Sound doable to you? Of course it does! Let us know how you’re getting a handle on your health in the New Year. We love to hear it!

Woman up at night

What Makes One A Morning Person Vs. A Night Person

Night people never get respect. Day people are productive. Night people are lazy. Day people have jobs and families and drive nice cars. Night people live with their parents. Day people eat well and see the doctor regularly. Night people miss the breakfast special and sleep through doctor’s appointments. If you are a night person and feel you have been judged unfairly, take heart. There are plenty of great night people out there who have done very well for themselves, and are now even living on their own! However, if you are wondering what you might have done to become the heathen that you are, here is some valuable insight.

Sleep Patterns
Each person has their own cicadian rhythm. Katherine Sharkey, MD, PhD, at Brown University says, ” The human clock is about 24 hours, thanks to earth’s 24- hour light-dark cycle. But some people have a slightly longer natural cycle and some are slightly shorter.” Those with a longer circadian rhythm tend to be night owls, while shorter circadian rhythms are more common in early risers. However, your circadian rhythm is not necessarily set for life. While school -age children tend to get up early, teenagers favor the night. Adults, on the other hand, usually transition back into being morning people.

Night Owls Vs. Morning People
Aside from having to hold down a day job, there are other problems a night person may encounter, According to Sharkey, “night owls tend to be more depressed, have a higher dependence on caffeine, and use alcohol more.” However, a recent study in Belgium found that night people are able to maintain more focus as the day goes on than their early rising counterparts. Of course, morning people get points for other reasons. “Larks generally sleep better, have more regular sleep patterns and have more flexible personalities,” explains Sharkey. A study from the university of Toronto shows that they also feel happier and healthier than late risers.

Different Brains
Researchers at Germany’s Aschen University found structural differences between people with different sleep tendencies. They found that night owls had a diminished integrity of white matter in the brain; white matter being the fatty tissue responsible for communication of nerve cells. Reduced white matter has been known to lead to depression and disruption of cognitive function. Other research has uncovered an “alarm clock” gene that starts the biological clock in the body after its nightly sleep and other studies using twins have shown genetic links to aspects of sleep.

What Can We Do?
If studies show that our likelihood of being a day or night person is genetic or biological, is there any hope of change for the wayward night owl? Studies show that limiting nocturnal exposure to light and increasing exposure to sunlight can help to modify sleep-wake patterns. It is also a good idea to be mindful about the consumption of alcohol before you sleep and to try and maintain a regular sleep schedule. Also, make sure you are sleeping in a dark room free of electronic gadgets for a peaceful rest.

If you are a night person, let us know how you feel! Does society need to become more flexible or do you need to start waking up earlier? Let us know what you think!

Woman napping

Fight Fatigue With Power Naps

If you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode entitled “The Nap,” you may know that no one knows the power of a good nap quite like George Constanza. When a glass window in his office prevents him from daytime slumber, George asks Jerry’s contractor to trick out the area underneath his desk with all the creature comforts required for a stress-free, uninterrupted nap, including a shelf for his alarm clock and a cup holder. Although this set up predictably backfires on George, one cannot fault him for his dogged pursuit of a good nap. Napping is a great way to fight fatigue and stay on top of things and research finds that they can also effectively reduce stress and risk of heart disease.

Naps Combat Sleep Deprivation
Sara C. Mednick, author of “Take A Nap! Change Your Life” says, “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.” You also want to consider the length of your nap and the role it plays in its effect on the brain. A 20 minute nap, also referred to as the stage 2 nap, is recommended for remaining alert and sharpening motor learning skills like playing an instrument or typing. Longer naps help aid memory and improve creativity. Thirty to sixty minute naps-slow-wave sleep- enhance skills dealing with decision making and memorization of vocabulary or directions. REM sleep, which usually comes after 60 to 90 minutes of napping, helps the brain to form connections and solve creative problems.

Naps or Coffee
Who needs naps when you’ve got caffeine, right? Well, maybe not. Though a cup of java may improve alertness, caffeine can decrease your memory’s performance making you more likely to make mistakes and leave you cranky and unfocused.

Napping Tips
You may not put George Costanza- like strategy in planning your daily nap, but there are some tips to make the experience a little more beneficial.

Consistency
Schedule your naps. The best time for most people is in the middle of the day, between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m.

Speed
If you are not lucky enough to have a built in space for your alarm clock in your napping area, you can set your cell phone alarm clock to wake you up in 30 minutes or less. This will ensure you don’t wake up groggy.

Darkness
If you can’t nap in a dark room, you may want to wear an eye mask. Blocking light out will help you fall asleep more quickly.

Warmth
Body temperature drops when you sleep, so make sure you have a blanket handy if a snooze is on the agenda.

If you are a proud napper, we would love to hear all about your experiences. What is your favorite place to nap and what are your suggestions for a great nap? Let us know!

Woman trying to sleep

The Daily Challenges Of Night Owls

If one is really interested in the daily challenges of “night owls,” perhaps they should ask Gene Simmons. After all, it is he who is responsible for writing the iconic lyrics to Kiss’ 1970’s hit single, “Rock n Roll All Night,” the song responsible for turning the conservative world on its head. If it weren’t rebellious enough to wear six-inch platforms and model lewd facial expressions, Kiss added insult to injury by daring to challenge to concept of a 9-5 time schedule. As if by just staying up late, you too would gain rock star status and cause your parents to lose as much sleep as you. But, as with everything else that’s fun to do, staying up late does come with downsides.

It Starts with Chronotypes
Chronotype is the term researchers use to describe differences in when we prefer to be active. As a whole, we tend toward “morningness” in our early years, move toward “eveningness” in adolescence and then shift back toward “morningness” in later years. A study published in Pediatrics, polled 7th to 12th graders about alertness, sleepiness, planning and task completion. The study found that having the evening chronotype and greater daytime tiredness had a large impact on the child’s behavioral and emotional well being. It also found that the eveningness chronotype was more often associated with risk- taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, and was also associated with health risks, like diabetes and mood disorders.

Can We Change This?
Even though we may have variations in the way our bodily clocks are set, the settings are not inalterable. Studies show that the body’s clock can be affected by its reaction to light and that light therapy and limiting and scheduling exposure to light can be very effective.

How?

Morning Sun
First thing in the morning is the best time to grab you some bright sunlight. Natural light early in the day can reset your circadian rhythm and get you in sync with the movements of the sun.

No Blue Light After Dinner
It may seem to be beyond possible to eliminate all artificial light from your nightly habitat, but studies show that even very brief exposure to blue light in the evening can lead to up to 30 minutes of sleep delay. Exposure to artificial light delays the body’s natural release of melatonin and also limits the supply to the body throughout the night, making us more susceptible to interrupted sleep. What can you do to prevent this without eliminating all activity after 6 pm? Sunglasses with orange lenses effectively filter our blue light, and look really cool as well. Could that be Bono’s secret?

No Electronic Devices After Dinner
A 2014 National Sleep Poll showed that electronic devices account for 50% of sleep disorders. Can’t resist the urge to check for that late night booty call? Use glasses designed to filter blue light or consider downloading apps which are designed to shield against blue light from iPads, computers, and smart phones.

Natural and Bright Light During the Day
If you don’t have the good fortune of working in a brightly lit space, try taking a walk during your lunch break to make sure your body maintains a healthy rhythm and gets some Vitamin D exposure. You can also purchase a blue light device for your office or place of employment.

Although Gene Simmons doesn’t seem to have lost any sleep over the issue, (pun intended) you may want to work on regulating your bodily clock. Let us know if you have made any attempts to do so and what works for you (or doesn’t.) We love to hear from all you insomniacs and otherwise.

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