About sleep

This page represents our effort to provide you with all the information you could possibly desire about the subject of sleep – what it is, and how to get more of it.

In fact, you may get so tired (or bored) with the volume of information we offer here that you may feel your head nodding, your eyelids becoming heavy, yourr…..zzzzzz

So here goes: over the years of working with the Dreamhelmet we have developed some of our own approaches to sleeping and how to promote it. We have also found many useful articles written by scientists and others that may shed light on this fascinating, but imperfectly understood, natural phenomenon.

We humbly present our findings to you here, in the sincere hope they may be of some use to you in your own life situation.

A Personal Note:

Hi! My name is Joe Hart. I’m part of the management team here at Dreamcloud Productions. I am also an enthusiastic user of our sleep masks; during the time I have been here I have used all the Dreamhelmets, as well as the Nap Star. I use a Dreamhelmet every single night to enhance my sleep and have difficulty sleeping without it. I suffer from sleep apnea, a serious condition which is characterized by snoring and waking up often – leading to a poor night’s sleep and the tiredness and health problems that go with it.

I was able to conquer my sleep problem by being diagnosed with sleep apnea and getting a prescription for a continuous positive air pressure machine (CPAP). Using the CPAP in combination with the Dreamhelmet has totally changed my sleep life, and increased my well-being and waking activity by at least 100%. Better sleep has enabled me to lose weight now and I look and feel alive and full of energy!

If you have a sleep problem, feel free to call and ask for me personally at our private office number: (800) 400-7708 or send an e-mail to Joe@Dreamhelmet.com; I will be glad to help out if I can!

To Sleep Better

PREPARING TO SLEEP

  • Have a warm bath.
  • Read a book. While in school I discovered reading anything having to do with learning knocked me out almost immediately.
  • The room may (preferably) be cool, but make sure you have enough blankets (or clothing) that you are warm and snug.
  • Keep water, nasal spray, tissues, and calcium antacid tablets handy at your bedside. This should cover most sleep emergencies.
  • Wear your Dreamhelmet to cut down light, sound, and to have your own soft, familiar pillow to sleep with.
  • Use the best mattresses for your personal style of sleeping that you can afford. Your mattress is a place where you will spend much your life, so it is not an item to skimp on.

FOOD

  • Avoid anything with caffeine less than several hours before bedtime.
  • A glass of wine or a beer may help you relax, but a glass of milk is better.
  • Don’t eat greasy or spicy food, sweets, or chocolate before retiring.
  • Don’t eat so much you feel stuffed; you might toss and turn all night – or have nightmares.


MEDICATIONS

  • Generally speaking, don’t take them unless your doctor tells you to. If you are so wired you can’t relax, some people have had good luck with an over- the- counter antihistamine like Benadryl (maybe only 1/2 tab) about 45 minutes before bedtime. You may sleep deeper, but may also still be drowsy the next day – ask your doctor!
  • Melatonin is a natural chemical produced by the body that induces sleep. Artificial Melatonin supplements have been advertised and sold as a sleep aid, but questions about safety and dosage still remain.

NAPPING

It is important to keep a regular sleep schedule. However, if you cannot get enough sleep or feel drowsy, we recommend short naps. Daytime “power naps” can maintain or improve alertness, performance and mood. Some people say they can’t nap because they feel groggy or sleepier afterward. Our experience is that these feelings usually go away in a short while, but the benefits of the nap last for hours. After such a nap, the body often needs of fluids; drink water, juice, or soda, or even a small coffee, if you intend to be awake for several hours. The motorist can use the “power nap” to improve the chances of making it safely to his destination if he is feeling tired. The Dreamhelmet was made for this purpose.

THE CIRCADIAN CLOCK

All animals need to sleep – even plants appear to have a rest schedule. The human body naturally follows a 24-hour period of wakefulness and sleepiness that is regulated by a sort of internal clock. This so-called circadian clock is, somehow, linked to nature’s cycle of light and darkness. The clock regulates cycles in body temperature, hormones, heart rate, and other body functions. It takes a few days to reset one’s circadian clock.

Sleep helps restore and rejuvenate the brain and organ systems so that they function properly. Chronic lack of sleep harms a person’s health, task performance and safety, memory and mood.

SAFETY ON THE JOB AND BEHIND THE WHEEL

If you have tried to get enough sleep, but without success, you may need to seek professional help. If the problem is persistent, talk to your doctor.

When you are not getting the sleep you need, you are a risk to yourself and those around you. Inadequate sleep increases your chances of falling asleep at the wheel, having accidents at work, and problems at home. Your doctor can help identify the causes, which may be successfully treated or managed.

In a recent American study, 65% of people reported that they do not get enough sleep. When deprived of sleep, people think, move, and react more slowly; they make more mistakes, and have difficulty remembering things. They often become grumpy and unsociable.

Here’s a recent report on driving while tired/sleepy. It is a very serious road safety problem! As simple a remedy as using a Dreamhelmet to take a short nap can be a start toward solving the problem and saving lives. Annually, we are talking about at least 100,000 preventable vehicle crashes nationwide!!

The National Sleep Foundation’s State of the States Report on
Drowsy Driving Finds Fatigued Driving to be

Under-Recognized and Underreported

NSF initiates “Call to Action” to all 50 States and D.C to do more to prevent
drowsy driving and fall-asleep crashes as part of
Drowsy Driving Prevention WeekTM

WASHINGTON, DC, November 5, 2007 – A new report by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) confirms that motor vehicle crashes caused by drowsy driving continue to be underrecognized due to a lack of uniformity in crash reporting among states. The first-ever annual State of the States Report on Drowsy Driving found that while significant progress has been made on various fronts in the battle against drowsy driving, much remains to be accomplished.

The report also indicates that police officers are not receiving adequate training on the impact of fatigue on driving performance. Both the lack of uniform codes and proper training for law enforcement have created a situation where only very conservative statistics exist. NSF also found that many drivers licensing manuals contain false and misleading information about sleep and countermeasures to prevent sleep-related crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 police-reported crashes and kills more than 1,550 Americans each year.

“NSF will use this report to work toward establishing standard language that states may use to code sleep-related crashes on police crash report forms and to address the impact of sleep loss in police training programs,” says NSF Acting CEO Darrel Drobnich. “This will lead to more accurate statistics that will allow us to better recognize and better address this national tragedy.”

SLEEP AND THE TRAVELER

“Jet Lag”

Jet lag happens when a person travels over several time zones by air. The body takes time to adjust to the new time zone of the destination and the traveler may experience tiredness, fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite and insomnia. It usually takes around three days to get over the effects of jet lag, but there are some things a traveler can do to minimize them.

  • Try to avoid excessive eating and alcohol while traveling and instead eat lightly and drink water, juice, or non-cola soft drinks.
  • Choose a flight that arrives early evening so that you can go to sleep soon after you arrive. Get plenty of rest the day before you take your flight, and select flight schedules which minimize sleep deprivation. Do your best plan ahead, to avoid to panicky last minute dashing about, which leaves you tense and upset.
  • Wear a Dreamhelmet while on the flight to help you sleep.

In fact, a Dreamhelmet can be used to rest on any form of transport if you are sleepy. In some places, however, make sure your possessions are safe from thieves while you are dozing. The Dreamhelmet helps you do this by providing secret pockets near your temples to hide money and valuables.

The Traveler on Business

Business travelers may have another problem with jet lag. They may not perform to their top potential if they haven’t had enough time to adjust to their new time zone. If possible, business people should allow at least 48 hours to acclimatize to the new time zone before entering into important meetings or negotiations. The Dreamhelmet can help them awake on time for meetings; just place an alarm watch in the secret pocket, set with the exact time to get up.

HOW LACK OF SLEEP CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN

Do you need to lose weight? Then, turn off the television or computer an hour earlier and go to bed. In general, people don’t get enough sleep, experts warn.

Too much sitting instead of being active is clearly part of why overweight is now so common.

Studies suggest that a lack of sleep may make weight loss and weight control more of a challenge by altering our metabolism, as well as our eating and activity patterns.

Some research has directly tested the idea that sleep deprivation leads to weight problems. For instance, in a Japanese study of six-and seven-year olds, children who slept nine to ten hours a night were compared to those who only slept eight to nine hours.

The latter group was almost twice as likely to be overweight. Children sleeping less than eight hours a night were almost three times as likely to be overweight.

Changes in hormone levels have been linked to sleep deprivation in several studies. One hormone, cortisol, regulates
metabolism of sugar, protein, fat, minerals and water. Physical or emotional stress raises cortisol levels. Lack of sleep may also raise levels at certain times of the day. Second, higher levels of insulin, a condition known as insulin resistance, have also been linked to a shortage of sleep in several studies. Excess cortisol could be the link. Since insulin not only controls blood sugar, but also promotes fat storage, extra insulin makes weight loss more difficult.

University of Chicago researchers reported in the December 7 (2004) issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine that insufficient sleep causes changes in levels of hormones that regulate hunger, making a person crave fattening foods, The study is believed to be the first one to show that sleep is a major regulator of the hormones ghrelin, which triggers hunger, and leptin, which tells the brain when it’s had enough food.

Further research needs to validate the hormonal changes observed, but even without any hormonal impact, sleep deprivation can promote weight gain by affecting our behavior.

When people low on sleep find their energy dropping throughout the day, many turn to food for a pickup. The short-term rise in blood sugar gives a more energetic feeling, but often the extra calories are not needed by the body and must be stored as body fat.

Furthermore, the most appealing foods when we feel low on energy are often sweets or refined carbohydrates with low nutrient density. If sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance, eating too much of these types of carbohydrates may be especially problematic.

Not only is it easy to take in excess calories when sleep deprived. For many people, calorie burning decreases. If your extra waking hours are spent in sedentary activities at a desk or computer or in front of the TV, you are not burning many more calories than when asleep.

When sleep deprived, people are often too tired to exercise. If they do manage to exercise, they work out less intensely than usual. For example, a rested person may walk two miles in a half-hour, while someone more fatigued may go much less distance in that time. The tired person would burn fewer calories, despite walking just as long.

Sleep experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep a night for most adults. Yet Americans average just under seven hours during the work week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, a third of adults reportedly sleep no more than six-and-a-half hours nightly.

Shutting off the TV an hour earlier means an hour less munching time. It could also shift your metabolism to make weight control easier. It could even leave you with more energy to exercise.

SLEEP APNEA – SNORING AND RELATED SYNDROMES

The following article explains the problem of sleep apnea in everyday terms. Can a Dreamhelmet help you sleep if you have this problem? The answer is yes, but you will probably still snore. As far as we know, wearing a Dreamhelmet will help you sleep sounder, but probably will not cure sleep apnea.

Lifelong Health: Treatment of Sleep Apnea Is Key to Good Rest and Health

By Dr. David Lipschitz

Like many people, I am not a very good sleeper — I snore, move around, wake in the middle of the night and generally drive my wife crazy.

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning only to find that my wife abandoned me in the middle of the night, seeking respite in our spare bed. I know I have a problem, but like many physicians, I treat myself last. My greatest concern is that I, like 18 million other Americans, have developed sleep apnea.

There are two forms of sleep apnea. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs in 12 million Americans. This presents with loud snoring because the throat and tongue become too relaxed during sleep, allowing less air to enter the lungs. Obstructive sleep apnea typically is caused by markedly enlarged tonsils and adenoids, being significantly overweight or having a very large neck size — greater than 17 inches in men and 16 inches in women.

Central apnea, however, is much rarer and usually occurs in individuals with a significant brain problem. Here, the brain is unable to regulate breathing during sleep. Central sleep apnea typically is not associated with snoring.

In either form of sleep apnea, breathing ceases completely or becomes shallow for 10-20 seconds. This can occur as frequently as 30-40 times per hour, leading to a lowering of the oxygen concentration in the blood and sending an urgent signal to the brain — breathe! Even though you do not wake up immediately, you start breathing again. As a consequence, your sleep is extremely disrupted, and you never get a good night’s sleep. In turn, patients afflicted with sleep apnea typically have profound fatigue throughout the day.

Beyond disturbing your evening, sleep apnea increases the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, irregular heart attacks and strokes. The chronic fatigue also can precipitate severe depression. In addition, sleep apnea is a well-recognized cause of memory loss that can mimic Alzheimer’s disease.

In order to diagnose sleep apnea, doctors will conduct a sleep study to monitor the frequency of apnea, blood-oxygen levels, brain waves and muscle and eye movements during sleep. They also will monitor your heart using an electrocardiogram and record how loudly and how frequently you snore.

If you have sleep apnea, there are many options for controlling this condition. As always, you should begin by altering any lifestyle habits that could affect your illness. Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, avoid sleeping on your back and refrain from using alcohol or sleeping pills.

For a vast majority of patients, the best treatment is to use a continuous positive airway pressure machine. The patient sleeps with a mask, and an air pump forces air through the airway. This prevents the airway from collapsing, effectively ending sleep apnea.

Sadly, many of my patients hate the CPAP machine, however, I always urge that they keep trying. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are enormous. In addition, a recent study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine clearly shows that patients who use the CPAP machines are less likely to develop coronary artery disease than those who do not. Using CPAP dramatically reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and depression. Perhaps most importantly, it can contribute to improved memory.

If you cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, surgery may be a promising possibility. Surgery may involve removing your tonsils and adenoids, removing excess soft tissue in the back of the throat, reducing the size of the palate and uvula or correcting deformities in the nose. On occasion, surgery on the jaw may be performed if you have a small mandible or a significant overbite.

In some individuals, a dental prosthesis may help sleep apnea. Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of an implant in the palate that prevents the palate from excessive vibrating during sleep; this may prevent snoring and sleep apnea.

If you are concerned that you have a sleep disorder, discuss it with your doctor immediately. Have the necessary tests to diagnose your disorder, and do everything you can to stop sleep apnea. It certainly will improve the quality and quantity of your life.

THIS IS AN EXCELLENT EXPLANATION OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SNORING AND SLEEP APNEA – From the BodySense Blog:

Is it snoring — or sleep apnea?

If your bed partner’s nightly “snorefests” have you contemplating bodily harm, hold off. The snoring itself might exact a price.

Garden-variety snoring, although annoying to a bedmate and often disruptive to the snorer’s sleep, isn’t potentially lethal. But sleep apnea – which can sound a lot like snoring but has more serious implications – can, if left untreated, do a body harm and raise one’s risk of stroke, coronary artery disease, hypertension and perhaps diabetes. How do you tell the 2 conditions apart?

What’s the difference?

Snoring happens when tissues at the back of the throat become flaccid and flap as you breathe. The resulting vibrations make noise. Mark Sanders, M.D., spokesman for the National Sleep Foundation, professor of medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and director of its sleep center, notes that snoring is not benign. It can disrupt both the snorer’s and the bed partner’s sleep as well as contribute to marital stress.

Apnea – or temporary cessation of breathing – occurs when those relaxed tissues (which can include the uvula, tonsils and the back of the tongue) settle into the throat and partially or fully obstruct the airway. Blood oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide builds up. Your brain responds by waking you up long enough to make the tissue taut, leading to that familiar head-snapping startle (known as a resuscitative snort, according to Sanders).

Are snoring and apnea mutually exclusive?

Snorers can have occasional episodes of apnea without having full-blown sleep apnea, says Edward Grandi, M.D., executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association. But almost all people with sleep apnea snore, he adds.

How can I tell whether I’m just snoring or having sleep apnea?

One common signal of apnea: frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. “You feel this incredible urge to go to the bathroom,” Grandi explains. “The brain is saying, ‘Please, I know that if you get up you’ll start breathing!’ ”

Some people with apnea often wake up in the morning with a sore throat.

Sanders cautions against relying on bedmates’ descriptions of your snoring behavior. They’re “not terribly accurate,” he says. “It’s the middle of the night. People aren’t taking notes.”

Still, if your bed partner tells you that you snore exceptionally loudly or stop breathing when you sleep, if you often wake with a choking sound or gasping for breath, if you are frequently fatigued, or if you unintentionally fall asleep during the day, you should see your doctor. He or she will most likely refer you to an accredited sleep center to be assessed and diagnosed.

Some sleep centers require an overnight stay during which details such as respiration, blood oxygen levels and brain activity are monitored as you sleep. Others send patients home with a device to measure their heart rates and blood oxygen levels during sleep. Sleep studies cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Many insurers cover the cost of such tests.

Because it’s affected by so many variables – from body weight and age to alcohol use and even the thickness of your neck – sleep apnea is complicated to diagnose.

Is there anything I can do to stop snoring or prevent apnea?

Both snoring and apnea are exacerbated by alcohol consumption and being overweight, so quitting drinking and losing weight are good places to start. Many people find that they only snore or experience apnea when sleeping on their backs. One suggestion is to stick a tennis ball in a sock and sew it to the back of a nightshirt or T-shirt. The discomfort of the ball will soon teach you not to roll onto your back. Nostril-spreading adhesive strips might curb snoring if it’s caused by congestion, but they won’t fix back-of-the-throat snoring or apnea.

What if none of that helps?

Folks experiencing lots of apnea incidents – extreme cases feature as many as 100 episodes an hour, according to Grandi – should consider 1 of 2 medical devices to help keep their airways open. A dentist can craft an oral appliance consisting of 2 retainers that extend the lower jaw forward. This stiffens the tissues and makes them less inclined to collapse. Some people, including children whose tonsils block their airways when sleeping, may require surgery to remove obstructive tissue.

But the most common apnea treatment is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. It features a mask that covers your mouth and nose. While you sleep, it forces air inward through your nose, and the pressure pushes your tongue forward and out of your throat. The treatment is very effective. But many patients find the paraphernalia and strap uncomfortable, so compliance can be low. CPAP devices can cost between about $350 and $800. Insurance often covers the cost.

Revolution Health Group

Sleeplessness and Depression

(These comments were largely drawn from the website sleeplessinamerica.org)

How much sleep do we need?

Everyone needs sleep. Infants sleep for up to 16 hours per day. Teenagers need nine hours per day, and adults need between five and ten hours, though seven or eight hours are ideal. Older adults need seven or eight hours, but they may be less able to sleep continuously and deeply.

What causes sleep loss?

Sleeplessness, frequent nighttime waking, or sleeping too much can be symptoms of depression. Clinical depression is more than passing sadness. It’s not something a person can snap out of. It is a real, treatable imbalance in brain chemicals. In addition to changes in sleep patterns, people with depression have a sad, low mood that lasts more than two weeks. They lose interest in things they once enjoyed. They may feel worthless, hopeless or excessively guilty. Their eating habits and weight may change. They may also be tearful, restless, exhausted and unable to concentrate. Thoughts of death or suicide may enter their minds. There are many different treatment options for depression, including talk therapy, medication and support from people who understand. Seeking treatment is nothing to be ashamed of. It is the first step toward getting back into the swing of life and feeling good about who you are. Don’t let fear or embarrassment stand in the way of talking honestly with your health care providers about depression.

Sleeplessness and Bipolar Disorder2

Sleeplessness can also be a symptom of bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). People with bipolar disorder have alternating periods of high and low mood. During the low periods, they have the symptoms of depression described above. During the high periods they may feel extremely self-confident and goal-directed. They might have racing thoughts and be unable to stay on one topic. They may overspend, have a lot of sex or engage in other risky behavior. They might be extremely energetic, talkative or irritable. And they may go for days without sleep and not miss it. They might spend their nights writing, working, or making phone calls.

With illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder, getting the right amount of sleep can make a significant difference in your health.

Do you:

  • Have trouble getting enough sleep?
  • Wake up feeling tired?
  • Fall asleep while reading or watching TV, whether you want to or not?
  • Have trouble paying attention?
  • Feel moody, easily annoyed, quick to anger?

Physical illness can be a cause of sleep loss. Two illnesses that often interfere with sleep are sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome (RLS). With sleep apnea, a person wakes frequently during the night because his or her breathing stops for a moment.

With restless legs syndrome, a person is awakened by tingling sensations in his or her legs. Sleep apnea is most often associated with snoring. Both illnesses are often treatable.

Sleep loss may also be caused by a person’s mental state. Insomnia can sometimes be a temporary response to stress. But if your stress and sleep trouble last for more than two weeks and interfere with your life, they may be signs of something more serious.

If you have any of these symptoms make an appointment to see your health care provider as soon as possible.

Lifestyle changes can help you improve your sleep.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Getting your body used to a schedule can help regulate your sleep cycle. Avoid sleeping late on weekends to keep your schedule consistent and make it easier to wake up on Mondays.

Relax before bed.

A warm bath, reading, listening to soft music, or meditation can help you unwind from the day and get ready for sleep. If it bothers you to leave work undone at the end of the day, make a to-do-tomorrow list before you go to bed.

Use natural or artificial light to help you.

Avoid bright lights before going to sleep. Wake up with the sun if possible. Spend some time in natural sunlight (not necessarily direct) during waking hours. If you can’t wake up with the sun, turn bright lights on when you get up.

Get active earlier.

Try to exercise or do some type of physical activity for 20-30 minutes each day. But don’t do it too close to bedtime. Three to six hours before going to bed is ideal.

Do something.

Don’t lie in bed awake for more than 15 minutes. This can make you anxious and worsen insomnia. Read or do another quiet activity until you feel tired.

Keep your bedroom comfortable.

If the temperature in your bedroom is too hot or too cold, it can disrupt your sleep. Limit noise as much as you can – use earplugs if necessary. Be sure your bedroom is dark enough. You may need heavier curtains or a good sleep mask. If a pet or a partner keeps you awake, do what you can to help change his or her habits, or have them sleep elsewhere.

Take inventory.

Keep track of your sleep – how much you get, how long it takes you to get to sleep, when you wake up, and other things that are happening in your life. See if you notice patterns. Discuss them with your health care provider.

Try not to nap during the day.

If you do, try to keep your naps under 30 minutes. (Editor’s note: If you get enough sleep at night you won’t need a nap, but if you become tired, don’t force yourself to stay awake – take a power nap!).

Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy.

Choose someplace other than your bed to watch TV, eat, do paperwork, and talk on the telephone.

Things that can keep you awake:

  • Excessive fluids and heavy, spicy meals close to bedtime can interfere with sleep.
  • Caffeine – Try to stop your caffeine intake (including chocolate, colas and some teas) by afternoon or earlier for the best chance of easy sleep.
  • Alcohol may seem like a sleep aid because it slows you down and can make it easier to fall asleep. But alcohol affects the depth and restfulness of your sleep by disrupting normal sleep patterns.
  • Nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant. It can keep you up if you smoke before bed. It is also addictive and can cause you to wake up too early because of your body’s craving for its nicotine fix (withdrawal symptoms).
  • Over-the-counter cold or sinus medications can keep you awake or make your sleep less restful. Antihistamines, on the other hand, can put you into a deep sleep very rapidly and for a long time, and so should be used with care, following medical advice and taking label warnings seriously.
  • Herbal energy boosters may also keep you awake. Read labels carefully and discuss any supplement you take with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you.
  • Too much light in a room can keep you awake. Any light source, natural or manmade, can disturb your sleep. Make sure you have the proper blinds or curtains to regulate the amount of light entering your room, especially if you need to sleep during the day. You may need to replace your window coverings to achieve this, and can find discount blinds online that will help you create the perfect sleep environment for you.