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Eight Sleep becomes Barry’s Official Sleep Fitness PartnerThe Rest

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We are incredibly excited to announce that Eight Sleep has become Barry’s Official Sleep Fitness Partner. The active Barry’s community can now level up their health and wellness, not only through fitness, but also through Eight Sleep’s advanced sleep technology.

When you are pushing your body to it’s limit in Barry’s workouts, you need to properly recover and refuel. Eight Sleep’s technology is designed to aid in recovery and recharge you to peak energy levels – critical for any highly-active individual.

As part of this collaboration, the Barry’s community will gain access to exclusive pricing on Eight Sleep products and unlock their maximum potential through sleep optimization. Eight Sleep members will also have access to an exclusive Barry’s X package.

The Eight Sleep and Barrry’s communities are both focused on bettering their everyday lives through health, fitness, and sleep. This partnership brings both communities greater access and education to the latest technologies and fitness regimes to elevate their health.

Read more on the announcement here.



The Pandemic Has Created a Nation of Insomniacs

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Vox: Sleep deprivation has become one of the many side effects of the pandemic. It’s one that’s often invisible — a lot of people have no choice but to muddle through their day no matter how tired they are — but one that’s slowly wearing us down.

For some, lack of sleep is about lack of time. “I get up now hours before my kids to get a few hours of writing and work done,” Courtney Boen, a professor of sociology and demography at the University of Pennsylvania, told Vox. “I know I’m not alone.”

But for others, scheduling isn’t necessarily to blame. When the pandemic hit, rates of insomnia spiked around the world, driven by everything from the stress of living during an international public health crisis to the changes in daily life wrought by lockdowns. “People had additional responsibilities, new challenges, much more uncertainty,” Lauren Hale, a professor of family, population, and preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, told Vox.

And as the delta variant continues to spread around the country, that uncertainty and its effects on sleep may not have abated. Some people have just gotten used to disrupted cycles and 3 am anxiety spirals; it’s how life is now. As Jennifer Martin, a clinical psychologist who serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told Vox, “There are some people who are still experiencing a lot of disruption.”

Get the full story at vox.com.

How Do You Know if You Slept Well? 5 Tips for Great Sleep

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How do you know if you slept well last night? Maybe you got your full hours of rest, woke up feeling rested, or maybe even both. But what does it actually mean to sleep well and to get quality sleep?

A good night’s sleep isn’t as simple as just getting the recommended 7-9 hours each night. In fact, it’s important to pay attention to your sleep quality in conjunction with how many hours you sleep each night. So if you’re getting a full night’s sleep and you’re still waking up feeling groggy and out of sorts, then there’s probably another issue contributing to your poor sleep quality.

Thankfully, many of these issues can be treated with some simple lifestyle changes so you can return to getting the great night’s sleep you deserve. Before we get into that though, let’s take a look at why good sleep quality— and not just sleep quantity— is so important to our health.

Quality vs. Quantity: Why You Need Both

Sleep quantity is how much sleep you get each night, while sleep quality is how well you sleep. Both are vital to getting adequate sleep and feeling your best during the day.

In today’s world though, sometimes that’s much easier said than done. In fact, the newest State of America’s Sleep found that most Americans slept either poorly or excellently, with very few people in between reporting average sleep. This has been exacerbated directly and indirectly by the ongoing pandemic— where some notable trends have arisen from people who reported sleeping poorly.

  • Nearly 50 percent reported declines in their mental health
  • 40 percent reported struggling with their financial health
  • Declining physical health is more common in those who sleep poorly

People who reported excellent sleep have been experiencing the opposite, and have noted good physical health, mental health, and financial stability.

Healthy sleep patterns can help improve memory, mood, and help you feel energized to take on the day, whereas negative sleep patterns make your brain feel foggy, your body sluggish, and can even put you at increased risk of injury or accidents. Even one night of sleep deprivation can contribute to an increasing sleep debt that can take ages to recover from.

What May Cause Poor Sleep Quality

There’s a lot in our lives that can contribute to subpar rest. If you’re not sleeping well, keep an eye out for any of these factors— these are some of the most common culprits for poor sleep.

  • Poor sleep hygiene or bad sleep habits
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Certain health conditions, including acid reflux, chronic pain, or lung disease
  • An undiagnosed sleep disorder, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Consuming caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime
  • A snoring bed partner

It’s especially important to know whether or not your poor sleep quality is caused by an underlying sleep disorder. Many treatments that are normally effective will not solve the problem if a sleep disorder is the cause— you’ll have to address that separately. (More on that later)

Signs of Poor Sleep Quality

It’s easy to tell that you’re not getting the restful sleep you need each night if you’re feeling run-down and lethargic during the day. Your sleep pattern each night may be pretty revealing too. Here are some sure signs that your sleep quality is on the poorer side:

  • You feel tired and unfocused during the day
  • You have dark circles or bags under your eyes, or your eyes are puffy or red
  • You’re feeling more stressed out and irritable
  • You take 30 minutes or more to fall asleep each night
  • You wake up during the night, sometimes more than once, and lie awake in bed for several minutes

Don’t Remember Your Dreams? That’s Good!

Another interesting sign that you’re not sleeping well is that you remember your dreams. In short, the less you remember your dreams, the better you slept that night.

During sleep, we move through several stages of non-REM sleep, followed by a stage of REM sleep. This is when your body processes memories, and also when you dream. Your blood pressure and heart rate also increase during this stage. Generally, the more time you spend dreaming in REM sleep, the less time you spend in the most restful stages of your sleep. This contributes to you feeling more tired and less refreshed overall.

Signs of Good Sleep Quality

On the other side of the coin, here are some indicators that you have a healthy, restful sleep pattern.

  • You wake up feeling refreshed in the morning
  • You feel energized during the day
  • You’re focused, clear-headed, and in a great mood

No pun intended, but the difference between good and bad sleep quality is like night and day! You don’t have to live with bad sleep. So what can you do to improve your sleep quality and sleep better at night?

How to Improve Sleep Quality

Improving your sleep quality and feeling properly rested can be as easy as making some simple changes to your lifestyle. Check out a few of my recommendations to help you boost your sleep quality and get better sleep each night.

1. Follow a Consistent Sleep Schedule

A consistent bedtime is one of the easiest changes you can make to ensure you get the restful sleep you need. To do this, you just need to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. In doing this, you essentially train your body to be ready for sleep at bedtime, and then ready to wake up in the morning. But what if you aren’t sure what time you should be going to bed?

One of the best ways to find your ideal bedtime is to do it according to your chronotype. Your chronotype is your body’s natural disposition to be awake or asleep at certain times. It’s closely related to your circadian rhythm, which controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Because of how their chronotype functions, some people are naturally inclined to be more productive during the morning, while others are more productive at night. Think “early birds” versus “night owls.”

If you’re consistently sleeping poorly despite getting a full night’s rest, then it’s possible you’re working against your chronotype and going to bed at a time when your internal clock is trying to keep you awake! Once you know your chronotype though, it’ll be much easier to adapt to your body’s unique schedule.

To find your chronotype and start learning about your body’s ideal sleep schedule, check out my chronoquiz.

2. Make Sure Your Bedroom is Conducive to Sleep

You may not believe it, but your bedroom could be a reason why you wake up feeling tired. You want your bedroom to be the perfect environment for getting the rejuvenating, deep sleep that’ll help you be at your best. Thankfully, there are some easy changes you can make to ensure this.

  • Install blackout curtains on your windows if you’re sensitive to light— or if work requires you to sleep during the day.
  • Consider using a white noise sound machine to provide peaceful ambiance, or to cover any intrusive sounds that can keep you awake, including snoring partners or pets.
  • If you prefer no sound while falling asleep, earplugs are a very inexpensive and widely accessible option. If you want to block background noise and listen to soothing sounds then the Bose Sleepbuds II are the perfect solution.

3. Put Away your Electronic Devices

I always tell my patients that light is medicine, and in order to stay healthy, you need to consume the right types of light. Blue and white light from the sun are vital to your mood, mental acuity and in regulating your sleep cycle.

However, artificial blue light from electronic devices— including smartphones, computer screens, televisions, and even LED lights— is a major contributor to sleep deprivation. This is bad news, especially so close to bedtime. Overexposure to artificial blue light before bed inhibits your natural melatonin production and prevents you from falling asleep on time or sleeping through the night.

This can be prevented though! The best thing you can do to ensure your devices don’t harm your sleep is to stop using them at least 60 minutes, but preferably 90 minutes, before bed. This gives your brain adequate time to produce the melatonin it needs to help you sleep. Alternatively, you can use blue light blocking glasses to safely view your devices before bed— I highly recommend them! Just make sure they have amber lenses for maximum effectiveness.

4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Good sleep hygiene is very important to getting a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t just consist of personal hygiene before bed, though that is a key part. Sleep hygiene consists of all habits before bed, including what we do each evening to unwind before we go to sleep. The right habits can make all the difference between excellent sleep and another restless night.

Give some of these a try if you’re not sure where to start:

  • Take a warm bath or shower 1 or 2 hours before bed
  • Write your thoughts down in a sleep journal, which can help you decompress and relieve stress
  • Add some relaxation techniques to your schedule, such as breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga

5. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

Because of its stimulating properties, caffeine is the most common pick-me-up when you’re feeling tired and sluggish during the day. Be careful about that last cup of joe during your 2:00 slump though— consuming caffeine within six hours of your bedtime can actually reduce your total sleep time by over forty minutes! 

If you enjoy caffeinated beverages during the day, be sure to stop drinking them at least six hours before bedtime. Alternatively, you can try caffeine-free alternatives to your favorite coffees, teas, or sodas if you enjoy them during the afternoon and evening.

Alcohol may not keep you awake like caffeine does, but it can sabotage your sleep quality in some sneaky ways. Alcohol consumption is often associated with sleep disorders like short sleep duration, insomnia, and circadian rhythm abnormalities. Alcohol can also cause or worsen snoring by relaxing the soft tissues in your throat, causing them to obstruct your airways.

When to Seek Help

Remember when I said above that an undiagnosed sleep disorder can contribute to poor sleep quality? Positive lifestyle changes can definitely help you sleep better, but they won’t solve the problem if a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or insomnia is the main cause. If you’re constantly feeling bedraggled, exhausted, and groggy, a simple consultation or a sleep study can be the right start to get you back on the path of great sleep.

Contact your doctor or a sleep specialist to get yourself tested and to figure out any potential courses of treatment. The sooner you identify any underlying problems, the sooner you can start recovering. To find an accredited sleep expert or sleep center near you, I recommend this tool by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, you need to balance quality and quantity. You need enough hours of good quality sleep to feel rested and rejuvenated. It’s easy to tell when we’re not sleeping well, though finding a definitive cause can be more difficult. Give some of my suggestions a try— you may be surprised at how much your sleep quality can improve!

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD, D, ABSM; FAASM

The Sleep Doctor

Michael Breus, Ph.D – The Sleep Doctor is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan and Good Night!



Can Sleep Issues Cause Weight Gain?

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Over the past few decades, the amount of time that people spend sleeping has steadily decreased, and so has the self-reported quality of that sleep. For almost the same period, the average body mass index (BMI) of people has also increased, reflecting a trend toward higher body weights and elevated rates of obesity. 

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Baby’s Brain and Personality? | by Susan Miller

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Susan Miller

A leading researcher on temperament in infants and young children once said in despair, “When I raised my first child, I believed behavioral theories claiming that what I do as a parent molds my child’s character.

With my second child, I was already a geneticist and believed that a child is born with characteristics that are passed on through heredity and that environmental influence is minimal. I barely knew my third child at all…”

This analysis was, of course, exaggerated, but it demonstrates the ongoing quest of parents and scientists to answer this question: what determines the personality and personal characteristics of the child?

The question of heredity (“She got her shyness from her dad’s family”) versus environment (“If his mother were more strict with him, he would be calmer”) underlies parents’ attempts to understand the range of influence they have in molding their child.

Up-to-date research points to a complex picture: the influence of heredity and environment on the child. Much evidence suggests that the baby is born with genetic baggage that not only determines how he looks, the color of his eyes, and his chances of suffering from various diseases but also significantly influences the character traits that he or she will develop.

Physical activity level, shyness or sociability, openness to new situations, and anxiety are among the traits that are related to the genetic predisposition with which babies enter the world. Many parents discover that their child has traits that are undesirable to them — especially if they remind them of qualities they dislike about their parents, their spouses, or themselves.

Parents frequently try to fight these traits, but they often discover that it is a losing battle.

It seems that the most important variable that influences the quality of the relationship between parents and children is the “goodness of fit” between the child’s traits and the parents’ expectations.

A very active child, for example, may be adored by a father who appreciates and identifies with this trait but merely tolerated by a father who expects a calmer child.

On the other hand, a quiet, calm child may be considered depressive or lifeless by the first father, while the second father sees her as perfect.

Incompatibility between parental expectations and the child’s traits may lead to frustration and stress in the relationship, particularly if the parents try to “correct” the child to conform to their expectations.

The Relationship Between Temperament And Sleep

Every parent is familiar with the situation in which her child demonstrates by his behavior that he “is up past his bedtime.”

When scientists asked parents to describe this situation, some said that the child calms down, seems sleepy, falls asleep on his own, or asks directly or indirectly to go to bed. Other parents said that their child in this situation “climbs the walls,” “is a crybaby,” “is nervous and unhappy with everything,” “doesn’t respond to what he’s told,” or “simply does annoying things.”

Clearly, young children react to tiredness in significantly different ways.
A state of fatigue is not necessarily expressed by decreased activity and obvious sleepiness.

Sometimes the symptoms can be just the opposite.

Some of the typical “negative” behaviors of the tired child are compatible with general patterns that characterize behavior disorders.

Much evidence points to a strong correlation between sleep and the development of the child’s personality traits.

Studies have shown that a baby who suffers from sleep disorders (difficulty falling asleep, for example, or many awakenings during the night) tends to be “more difficult” in other behavioral domains.

In a study conducted in several sleep laboratories, scientists compared a group of nine- to twenty-four-month-old babies whose parents had come for a consultation about their children’s sleep problems with a control group of babies without sleep disorder — not surprisingly, what they found is significant differences in the traits that the mothers attributed to babies.

The mothers completed a temperament questionnaire, which is a sort of “personality” test for young children.

The mothers rated their degree of agreement with such sentences as “The child agrees to be dressed and undressed without protesting,” “The child responds strongly (screams, yells) when frustrated,” and “The child sits quietly when waiting to eat.”

In general, the mothers of babies with sleep problems described them as more demanding, complaining, annoying, negatively sensitive to different stimuli, and difficult to adapt to different situations, as compared with babies without sleep problems.

One of the traits measured in the temperament questionnaire is the degree of sensitivity or responsivity of the baby to different sensory stimuli (noise, temperature, taste, smell).

Some babies are very sensitive to any kind of sensory stimulus, and others are sensitive only to a specific type of sensation — for example, those who recoil from skin contact.

A wide range of babies do not respond in an outstanding way to sensory stimuli.

One of the hypotheses that the researcher William Carey examined in 1974 was that babies who suffer from hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli would tend to develop sleep difficulties.

Carey’s findings supported the hypothesis, and he claimed that the heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli is hereditary.

In order to fall asleep, the baby has to disassociate himself from the external environment and stop responding to people, noise, light, and temperature, and to disassociate from internal signals as well, such as pain, discomfort, and hunger. This ability to disassociate is most critical for maintaining uninterrupted sleep and for preventing awakenings in response to various stimuli.

A baby who is sensitive from birth to any internal or external stimulus will have trouble disassociating from environmental stimuli, which will interfere with his ability to relax and fall asleep easily and will cause him to awaken easily and frequently over the course of the night.

This correlation between sleep and behavior continues throughout later childhood.

Studies that examined school-aged children found a correlation between sleep disorders and problems with behavior and more general adaptation.
Actually, sleep disorders serve as a sensitive barometer of general adaptation problems among children and adults.

Sleep disorders are a prominent sign of stress and anxiety, depression, and adaptation problems. Sleep problems are so prevalent in some behavior or emotional disorders that they have been included in diagnostic criteria.
One factor that strengthens a diagnosis of anxiety disorders in a child, for example, is the presence of a sleep disorder.

The close correlation between sleep disorders and behavior problems in children can be explained in a number of ways.

Perhaps a child born with a tendency toward problematic behavior develops sleep problems as well, as a result. At the same time, it is reasonable to believe that significant sleep problems will lead to insufficient sleep or sleep deprivation, which may cause the child to be nervous, impatient, and harder to manage.

In addition, a third cause, such as incompatible parenting patterns, may provoke or aggravate both behavior problems and sleep difficulties.
In treatment centers, scientists frequently come across babies or young children who are described by their parents as hyperactive.

The parents use this term casually, but professionals use it to diagnose a condition — the professional term is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — that occurs only in older children.

These babies are described as especially active and restless and are said to demand attention and seek stimuli constantly.

Often parents associate their child’s sleep difficulties with his wakeful restlessness. Occasionally a parent says something like, “This boy has a turbo engine and he cannot shut it down at bedtime,” or “He is like the Energizer bunny; he keeps going and going and going.”

Although hyperactivity is diagnosed at a later age, there is evidence that most hyperactive children were overactive, restless babies, with difficult temperaments.

Again, we face a chicken-or-egg question: are these babies unable to sleep like “normal” babies because they are unusually active, or does their sleep problem underlie their “hyperactivity”?

In many cases sleep disruption appears to lead to “hyperactive” behavior patterns, even though no research has directly confirmed this fact.
More and more evidence demonstrates that lack of sleep may bring on behavior that resembles that of a hyperactive child.

From an intuitive perspective we can all recall methods we use to keep ourselves awake when we are tired.

These methods include increasing our activity, fidgeting, fiddling with our hands or our facial muscles, and similar strategies.

This pattern contradicts the expectation that the tired child will relax and slow down.

The clinical literature has documented certain cases in which significant sleep problems have been found to lead to “hyperactive” behavior patterns and later to a wrong diagnosis and treatment.

It is of utmost importance to examine the possibility that the sleep disorder is the source and not the outcome of the “hyperactivity.”

In the event that a sleep disorder exists, it should be treated before treating the disorders that result from it.

In some cases treating the sleep disorder may spare the child from receiving unnecessary medication like Ritalin, which is the most prescribed chemical response to children’s behavioral problems.

An erroneous interpretation of a child’s behavior can also result when she responds to a sleep disorder with heightened tiredness, indifference, and lack of interest in the environment. This pattern may be interpreted as depression, and sleep difficulties can be seen as the result of that condition.

As the professional literature reveals, such an erroneous diagnosis can result in a failure to detect and treat a primary sleep disorder, as well as mistaken treatment for depression.

Case studies have shown that when the problem is diagnosed correctly as a primary sleep disorder and treated accordingly, there is a parallel improvement in sleep and disappearance of the “depressive” symptoms.

Intellectual Development

Assessing intelligence in infancy is a very complex task.
Tests used on infants to assess early mental abilities that could be considered components of intelligence have generally failed to predict intelligence or cognitive abilities and achievements in later ages.

The research on the relation between sleep and intellectual development has been hampered by our limited capacity to assess intelligence in infants.
Efforts to study this issue have failed to provide a clear picture of the situation, and we need to call upon additional studies on older children and adults to help us consider the issue more systematically.

Scientists from the University of Connecticut in Evelyn Thoman’s group, which has contributed significantly to the field of the study of infant sleep, examined this question. They followed sleep of newborns over the course of their first two days of life and examined their development at the age of six months.

Special recording devices documented the babies’ sleep in hospital bassinets after birth.
The scientists then tested the mental, motor, and perceptual abilities of the babies at the age of six months, using the Bayley Test.

They found a correlation between sleep measures of the newborns on their first day of life and their development six months later.
Some scientists found a correlation between sleep disorders in infancy, especially those that are caused by respiratory problems, and possible shortfalls in intellectual development and academic achievements at a later age.

Other studies, however, found no comprehensible correlation between sleep and later mental function.

Studies on older children and adults have shown that sleep disorders or insufficient sleep primarily interfere with cognitive abilities associated with attention and concentration.

That is to say that the ability to focus on certain stimuli for extended time deteriorates.

People who don’t get enough sleep react more slowly and make more mistakes on tasks that demand attention and continuous concentration. Although the question of sleep and attention has not been directly studied in infants, some support for their correlation comes from indirect approaches.

For example, mothers described their babies (aged nine to twenty-four months) who suffered from sleep problems as having trouble concentrating on play or a particular activity for an extended length of time, and as easily distracted by other stimuli.

In another recent study, sleep scientists examined the relationship between sleep patterns and learning skills, concentration, and attention among school-aged children.

The sleep patterns of the children were examined objectively by using sleep watches, and their learning functions were examined by computerized tests.
Similar to the results in studies of adults, they found that children whose quality of sleep deteriorated (as manifested by many or lengthy awakenings from sleep during the night) also had decreased attention abilities.

These findings support the assumption that these critical functions for learning and academic achievement are adversely affected by sleep disorders among children.

Furthermore, recent studies have shown that if “normal” children are requested to shorten their sleep for experimental purposes, they suffer negative consequences, and their learning and attention abilities are significantly compromised.

On the basis of what we have learned about older children and adults and from the limited information on infants, it is fair to conclude that the intellectual abilities of infants are challenged by disrupted or insufficient sleep.

EP 055: Dreams: the next frontier for advertising? – Dr Sara C. Mednick | Podcast

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Imagine if corporations could place adverts for their products inside your dreams. It may sound like far-fetched science fiction, but amazingly, science and technology has reached the point where this possibility may be around the corner.

Earlier this year, the beer company Molson-Coors tried an experiment based on cutting edge research known as ‘targeted dream activation’. Amazingly participants reported dreaming more of Coors beer after consuming audio and video content specifically designed to ‘induce’ images of beer into the participant’s dreams.

Concerned about the possibilities of dreams becoming the playground for unscrupulous marketers, or even as a means of societal manipulation, a group of sleep and dream researchers recently published an open letter, describing the ethical issues at stake, if we longer have sovereign control of our own dreams.

This episode’s guest:

Sara C Mednick

Dr Sara C. Mednick is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California, Irvine and author of the book, Take a Nap! Change your life. . She is passionate about understanding how the brain works through her research into sleep and cognition. Dr. Mednick’s seven-bedroom sleep lab at UCI works literally around-the-clock to discover methods for boosting cognition through a range of different interventions including napping, brain stimulation with electricity, sound and light, as well as pharmacological interventions. Her research findings have been published in such leading scientific journals as Nature Neuroscience and The Proceedings from the National Academy of Science, and covered by all major media outlets. She received a PhD in Psychology from Harvard University, and then completed a postdoc at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UC San Diego.

Links

Website: http://www.saramednick.com/

Other resources:

MIT Dream Engineering group: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/theme-engineering-dreams/overview/

Coors beer promotion: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jul/05/advertisers-targeted-dream-incubation

Open letter: https://dxe.pubpub.org/pub/dreamadvertising/release/1

Google Nest 2: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56416578

Amazon sleep tracker: https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/amazon-gets-waiver-from-fcc-to-monitor-sleep-with-a-radar-sensor/

Episode Homepage: https://sleepjunkies.com/dreams-and-advertising/

How to Help Your Baby with Gas Pain

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When your baby has gas, how can you help them work through the pain? In this blog post and video guide, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips to help relieve baby’s gas pains day OR night!

Isn’t it amazing what kind of questions you Google or YouTube when you become a parent? For example, you probably never thought you would Google how to help your baby with gas or how to help relieve your newborn’s gas pain. But here you are: I’m so glad you found this video because that is exactly what we’re going to teach you today!

Why do babies get gas?

Almost all babies get gas. Gas happens when air is trapped within the digestive tract and common causes include the following:

Swallowing air

Babies may swallow air while bottle or breastfeeding in certain positions, crying, babbling, and sucking on a pacifier.

Digestive problems

It’s common for babies to experience constipation and/or reflux, both of which may cause gas.

Immature gastrointestinal tract

A baby’s body is learning how to digest food, so it’s common for them to experience more gas than adults.

Baby’s diet

Breastfed babies may experience sensitivities to food found in their mother’s breast milk. Bottle-fed babies may experience gas due to the mixing of formula creating excessive air bubbles or from a nipple size that is too fast. Older babies that have started eating solids may experience gas when trying new foods and develop new food sensitivities.

Gastrointestinal virus

Diarrhea and vomiting, along with gas, are common symptoms of a “stomach bug” caused by a virus.

What are the symptoms of Gas Pain?

When air is trapped in your baby’s tummy, you may notice the following:

From a pediatric RN perspective, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about helping your child deal with gas pains and belly discomfort.

The number one excuse when it comes to why a baby is not sleeping or not napping is usually blamed on teething. And the second reason? Gas pain.

If you’re anything like me, when my infant was screaming from gas pain, I ran straight to Target to the aisle with all the gas drops thinking that these would be my savior. Unfortunately, the gas drops didn’t help. So, I asked Kate Morris, our sleep support specialist and resident pediatric RN, for help. She used to work at a pediatric ER at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Kate has a wealth of knowledge and she also has a little one who was very gracious enough to let us practice some maneuvers on how to help your baby deal with gas. So here’s Kate to teach you about how to help your little one work through gas pains.

Gas Pain Exercises for your Baby

From Kate:

I’m going to show you a cool technique that you can use on your baby if you feel like they’re suffering. The first thing you’re going to do is lay your baby down on a flat surface. Then, gently try massaging your baby’s tummy in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

This treatment will move air through their tummy. The other step that you can try is to gently bicycling their legs. You don’t need to apply too much pressure, just move at your own speed.

And then the last thing that you can try is some knee hugs where you’ll just press their knees into their tummy. You can try one knee at a time and then moving to the other knee through all of those different positions.

Did that help give your child relief? I hope this was helpful for you. So you can test out these moves on your little one and let us know what works and what your favorite remedies are to try it at home as well.

I hope you guys enjoyed this video.

Looking for more sleep strategies and tips for your little one? You can join our Sleep Society membership with access to a large library of videos and support for your child as they grow.

See you next time!

*Disclaimer: The content provided by the Little Z team is not intended, nor recommended, to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your healthcare provider for medical conditions and questions.*

Babies in Their Own Room at 4-months Sleep Longer? Not necessarily.

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You may have seen headlines about a study that found that babies in their own room sleep longer and better. The study published in the June 2017 issue of Pediatrics reported that “room-sharing at ages 4 and 9 months is associated with less nighttime sleep, shorter sleep stretches, and unsafe sleep practices previously associated with sleep-related death” (Paul et al., 2017, p. 1).

Many parents might read this headline and panic a little. Current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations say that infants should room-share until at least 6-months for SIDS prevention, and longer if mothers continue to feed at night. Parents who carefully AAP recommendations may read a headline like this and have a tiny little parent anxiety attack. A closer, critical look at the study and how it was conducted shows that this finding (and the headlines that resulted from it) are overblown.

Babies in Their Own RoomA Closer Look at “Mother-Infant Room-Sharing and Sleep Outcomes in the INSIGHT Study”

This study looked at the impact of room-sharing (having a crib in the parents’ room) on nighttime sleep duration. Participants included 247 moms (mostly white, middle-class, and all from one maternity ward). The study asked the moms about the quantity of sleep their babies got at 4-, 9-, and 12-months, and then asked them again at 30-months. Researchers separated them into three groups based on when and where the baby slept: early independent sleepers (own room <4-months), later independent sleepers (own room between 4- and 9-months), and room sharers at 9-months.

Want to know more about cosleeping?
Read: Co-Sleeping and Room Sharing – Tips for Sleeping Safely

Results Not Significant in Real World Terms

It’s important to understand that what’s “significant” from a statistical standpoint is not always significant in practical terms.

The Study Found

Babies in their own rooms at 4-months had one longer single stretch of sleep and fewer night feedings

There was no difference in overall sleep at 4-months and no difference in nightwaking. The in-their-own-room babies had one stretch that was 45-minutes longer. This could simply have been because moms could not hear briefer awakenings that happened in another room. The difference in feeds was only 0.3. That’s 1/3 of one feed. In real world terms, these differences are really, really small.

The Study Found

By 9-months, babies in their own room were sleeping “significantly” longer.

The actual difference was only about 20 minutes and by 12-months, any differences between groups disappeared. There were also no differences in nightwakings or night feeds between the groups.

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Problems With the Study Setup

Study results are always dependent on how the study was set up and how results were interpreted. This study has some big problems on both fronts:

Groups Weren’t Randomly Assigned

Researchers asked moms where their babies were already sleeping, and then measured sleep behavior. This is a research no-no. To be able to test the effect of sleep location, you need to randomly assign participants to groups, not use groups that already exist.

In research, this is called a natural group. Natural groups are problematic because there can be a lot of additional factors at play besides just where the baby is sleeping. For example, the authors admitted that there were significant demographic differences between the groups. The room-sharing moms were significantly less affluent than the independent groups. They may not have had an extra room for the baby to sleep in or they may have had higher levels of stress that affected their baby’s sleep. Moms who are stressed also have more problems with their own sleep. These moms may simply have been more awake and heard their babies more frequently.

The groups were also completely different sizes. The in-their-own-room group was much larger than the room-sharing group (62% versus 11%). To really draw statistical conclusions, groups need to be randomly assigned and comparable. When they’re not, you can’t establish cause and effect between location and sleep behaviors.

Researchers Asked Mothers to Estimate the Baby’s Sleep

Instead of objectively measuring how much sleep babies actually got (e.g., with a video camera or other monitoring device), researchers just asked moms to estimate their baby’s sleep amounts “over the past week,” or on a “typical” night. How do you summarize a week’s worth of sleep behavior with one number? Given that the actual differences in sleep between groups were pretty small, it could simply have been that there were slight errors in the mothers’ estimates.

It’s also very possible that moms whose babies were in their own room may have thought the baby slept more than they actually did —simply because they couldn’t hear the baby as easily as moms with the crib close by.

Cosleeping Risks Were Exaggerated

The researchers suggested that the roomsharing moms were more likely to bring their child into bed, which was then interpreted as an “unsafe sleep practice previously associated with sleep-related death.” There was no data about what the unsafe context was or whether the moms took appropriate safety precautions—only that they sometimes brought the baby into bed. In fact, other research has found that when cosleeping is intentional or routine (i.e., not done in a pinch), there is no increased risk of SIDS.

It is not difficult for parents to prepare the bedroom so that the baby has their own safe space and moms can easily breastfeed. Cosleepers or sidecar-ing the crib are ways to have the baby nearby, but in a safe, obstruction-free zone (i.e., no pillows, covers, toys, or crib bumpers. Click here for an article on safe sleep). With good safety information, parents can make decisions that work for them and are safe for their baby.

Safety is the most important factor.
Read: Safe Cosleeping: Creating a Safe Environment for your Baby

babies in their own room
The researchers’ advice to move babies into another room by 4-months, goes against what we know about SIDS risk

And Another Thing…

SIDS prevention.

The researchers’ advice to move babies into another room by 4-months, goes against what we know about SIDS risk. Room-sharing until 6-months is protective against SIDS. After 6-months, room-sharing is helpful for moms who are still nursing at night and need a safe place to put the baby after they have nursed.

The Sleep Lady Weighs In

There are many ways to get good sleep. Early independent sleep locations may be great for some babies and some parents. However, this study is not persuasive evidence that placing your baby in their own room at 4-months is a guarantee that they will sleep better or longer. Parents need to decide what works best for their baby and their family (as well as their living situation).

Talk to your own pediatrician, use safe sleeping practices, and know that whenever your baby moves to his own room, there are gentle and effective ways to teach them to sleep on their own!

Need help with baby sleep?
Read: The Sleep Lady Shuffle: How to Gently Sleep Train your Baby

Resources

Four-month Sleep Regression
Sleep Training at 4-months: Why it may be OK (or, possibly, better) to wait



Can Baby Sleep With a Pacifier? And, Should They?

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As a sleep consultant for over a decade, I can tell you that I talk to many parents every year. If you have a newborn, you might be asking ‘can baby sleep with a pacifier’? If you have an older baby or toddler, you might be asking ‘how to get baby sleeping without a pacifier’! Learn what you need to know about babies sleeping with a pacifier in this post.

Is it ok for baby to sleep with a pacifier? Is it safe?

This is one of the most common questions for parents of newborns to ask. Is it safe for a baby to sleep with a pacifier?

Yes, it is safe and ok for a baby to sleep with a pacifier.

Pacifiers are very safe for sleep and can even reduce the risk of SIDS. Please check all of our safe sleep tips for more information. The CPSC has strict guidelines about pacifier production.

Can a baby sleep with a pacifier all night?

Yes, a baby can sleep with a pacifier all night as long as there aren’t any clips or strings that could become a hazard. It’s perfectly safe as that fits into one of the guidelines set forth by the CPSC. You should not have to remove the pacifier when baby is sleeping.

The CPSC’s “structural integrity” tests are designed to simulate realistic use and abuse from a child. There are physical and mechanical tests for this to ensure the pacifier will not break apart and lead to a choking hazard. Pacifiers are also designed with a guard so they cannot enter a baby’s mouth and block his or her throat. There are some pacifiers who actively support baby’s physiological breathing, too.

Why Do Babies Like Pacifiers?

Babies like pacifiers because they have a strong sucking reflex that soothes them. This can be helpful during the witching hour when babies are fussy in the evening and in general. Pacifiers can sometimes work to calm babies with colic, too. And, finally, pacifiers can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep which is a major benefit for the entire family!

In addition, when a baby sucks on a pacifier, a hormone called Cholecystokinin (CCK) is released into the body. The CCK hormone helps aid digestion. For some babies, it seems to soothe their stomachs.

Are Pacifiers Bad For Breastfeeding?

No, pacifiers are not bad for breastfeeding, however, it’s VERY important not to introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding is fully established which is usually around 2-4 weeks old for babies without a latch issue. If your baby has a latch issue, be sure you wait until you resolve it.

The CCK hormone mentioned above also increases the sensation of short-term fullness so the body better digests food. So, if breastfeeding is not yet established, this can drastically, and negatively, impact your breast milk supply.

For formula-fed babies or babies getting breast milk solely from a bottle, you can start using a pacifier right away.

So, now that we’ve determined that your baby CAN use a pacifier. Does this mean all babies should use a pacifier? Just because a baby CAN sleep with a pacifier doesn’t mean they should. Or, should they?

Should Babies Sleep With Pacifiers?

Again, sleeping with a pacifier can reduce the risk of SIDS so for that reason alone, you might want to encourage a pacifier until at least 6 months old. In addition, pacifiers have been known to help babies with reflux.

However, while pacifiers are a God-send to some families since it helps a newborn sleep, they can cause a baby to wake up many times a night for you to put it back in. That can be exhausting for many parents!

Pacifiers become sleep associations which lead to baby waking at night and/or taking short naps.

In addition, pacifiers can cause teeth problems when used past the age of two years old though less than if they are finger- or thumb-suckers. When parents suck on a pacifier to “clean it,” it can also increase the chance of cavities so keep that in mind.

In an ideal world, if your baby has a strong need to suck and enjoys having a pacifier, you would teach them to find and replace it on their own. Obviously, newborns can’t do this until they can use their hands effectively. On average, in my experience, babies aren’t able to maneuver the pacifier on their own well enough until they are 5-8 months old. Some children never seem to do it even if they are fully capable. I’ve talked to some parents of toddlers who wake up at night and wait for their parents to pop the pacifier back in!

In the newborn days, you often “do what you gotta do” to get through the first 3-4 months of life. When your baby starts the 4 month sleep regression, this is a common time to consider stopping the use of the pacifier.

How to Stop Using a Pacifier

Once you start using a pacifier, unfortunately, it’s not always easy to stop using one. Babies become dependent on it, some more than others. I’ve worked with some babies who need the pacifier in 100% of the time when they’re sleeping. Some babies only use it for sleep and no other time. Still, others need it almost all day. And, finally, some babies only need it at the beginning of the night, spit it out in their sleep, and don’t need it anymore. Every baby is different.

If you are trying to stop using the pacifier, here are a couple of resources:

I hope this post has helped ease your fears about using a pacifier for sleep!

You May Also Be Interested In:


References:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.12402
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534204/
https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/cholecystokinin
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0415/p681.html
https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(16)30669-9/fulltext

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Healthy Sleep Habits to Improve Deep Sleep – Better Sleep Council

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Learn more about healthy sleep habits from Better Sleep Council

By now, you’ve likely heard of many good habits that help aid in getting a restful sleep, like tossing your phone to the side and turning over (literally). Beyond adopting these good sleep habits, the simple truth remains that you sleep how you eat. What’s on your plate truly matters when it comes to setting yourself up for success in bed – getting deep, revitalizing rest. From your brain to your gut, picking out the right bedtime snack, nightcap, or even humidity in your bedroom, can help improve rest and optimize your health. Add these refreshing sleep habits to your nightly routine for the deep sleep you deserve.

Sleep on Your Left Side

People often ask, “What side is better to sleep on, the left or the right?” The best sleep position for most people is to sleep on their left side. While this may be news today, the wisdom originally comes from Ayurveda, India’s 5,000-year-old Science of Life. The left and right sides of the body are very different from one another. For example, the lymphatic system is more dominant on the left side of the body. This is because most of the body’s lymphatic fluid drains into the thoracic duct, which then goes into the left side of the heart, left jugular vein, and left subclavian vein. So, it makes sense that sleeping on the left side benefits the lymphatic drainage system. The lymphatic system is our first line of detox in the body, so it is the first to become congested when overworked.

Sleeping on the left side is also good for the heart. The largest artery in the body is the aorta. The aorta goes from the top of the heart, arches to the left, then goes down to the abdomen. When we sleep on our left side, it is easier for the heart to pump blood downhill into the descending aorta.

For better digestion and elimination, sleeping on the left side is the way to go. The large intestine is situated so it goes up the right side of the stomach area, then across so it can deposit waste into the colon going down the left side. Gravity is once again our ally when we sleep on the left side. After sleeping well, the descending colon is ready for an easy and complete elimination of waste in the morning.

Sleep with a Humidifier

A cool-air humidifier helps bring moisture into a room, which benefits us in many ways. When the air we breathe is too dry, lacking humidity, we can experience respiratory problems such as sinus inflammation, bronchitis, asthma or nosebleeds. Dry air can also make us become dehydrated more quickly. When the body gets dried out, it is more susceptible to bacterial infections. We may experience a dry throat and dry eyes. We may notice dry skin, chapped lips or eczema. On the other hand, when the humidity in a room is at 45-55%, we breathe more easily and sleep more soundly. A humidifier helps to re-moisturize air that has been dried out from weather, or from air conditioning and heating systems, resulting in refreshing sleep that lasts.

Benefits of Sleeping with a Humidifier

Another upside to using a humidifier is you’re much less likely to snore! When you breathe in humid air, rather than dry air, the throat and nasal cavity are less likely to get dried out. The air is free to move through these channels as you breathe, so the snoring sounds don’t occur. If it’s your partner who snores, and you’re the one who is awake because of it, then a humidifier will benefit both of you.

Most newer humidifiers run very quietly, giving just a small amount of white noise, which can be an added benefit to sleep. If you prefer to run a humidifier during the day, then it will likely moisturize the air enough to get you through the night with the humidifier off.

Another way to incorporate humidity into your room is to run a hot shower or bath and let the steam moisturize the room. While you’re at it, a steamy shower will also help open up and moisturize your sinuses.

The Power of Spices

Eating spicy foods is another way to quickly relieve sinus pressure from dry air. If you’re up for it, then try having some hot salsa, jalapeno peppers or chili peppers. Even one bite can make your nose run and eyes water! Just make sure to avoid foods that hinder sleep, and eat your last meal at least 2-3 hours before going to bed to help with digestion.

Add an After-Dinner Drink to Your Bedtime Routine

We’ve all heard how warm milk can settle us into sleep – and it’s true! Ayurveda has an even better beverage for us, which is healthy in many other ways as well. It’s called “Moon Milk,” and it is fabulous! If you are vegan, or just avoiding dairy, then substitute unsweetened nut milk instead. Each ingredient has a purpose. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon helps to reduce blood clotting and is an antioxidant. Cardamom is known as the “Queen of Spices,” and it can calm heartburn and nausea. In addition, cardamom is a natural breath freshener! Nutmeg is a natural sleep aid. Ashwagandha soothes the nervous system. Ginger is great for digestion, and ghee is used as a carrier to get all the herbs where they need to go in the body. If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious nightcap, then Moon Milk is it!

Moon Milk Recipe for Better Sleep (1 serving)

1 cup milk (I prefer unsweetened almond milk, but use any kind of milk you like)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ashwagandha (easy to find online or in Indian grocery stores)

1 pinch of nutmeg

1 pinch of ground ginger


Learn more about the latest sleep habits for optimal health and healing from @BetterSleepOrg @CoffeyTalk

Sources:

This blog provides general information about sleep and sleep products. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. This blog should not be construed as medical advice or used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, then he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other healthcare professional. This blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health or the health of others. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or elsewhere on bettersleep.org. If you think you may have a medical emergency, then immediately call your doctor or dial 911.