WHAT IS SLEEP PARALYSIS?

People with narcolepsy often experience a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. These episodes are usually brief — lasting one or two minutes — but can be frightening. You may be aware of the condition and have no difficulty recalling it afterward, even if you had no control over what was happening to you.
This sleep paralysis mimics the type of temporary paralysis that normally occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the period of sleep during which most dreaming occurs. This temporary immobility during REM sleep may prevent your body from acting out dream activity.
Not everyone with sleep paralysis has narcolepsy, however. Many people without narcolepsy experience some episodes of sleep paralysis, especially in young adulthood.
Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, the condition can usually be managed with medication.
A number of lifestyle adjustments may also help, including:
-taking frequent brief naps during the day
-sticking to a strict bedtime routine where you go to bed at the same time each night
-ensuring you get at least eight hours of sleep every night
-avoiding stressful situations, eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking regular exercise (but not too close to bedtime)






THE SCARY REM BEHAVIOR DISORDER

This troubling sleep disorder is a condition called REM behavior disorder. This disorder causes the sleepers to physically act out their dreams by kicking, screaming and even falling out of bed. Unfortunately, this disorder is usually not noticed until it causes an injury either to themselves or others.
Dr. Nabeela Nasir, MD, sleep specialist, assistant professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center, would like to raise awareness of this disorder because those who endure this condition can be treated successfully with medications.
“I don’t think we have a clear idea how prevalent it is.” “Patients don’t report it, and doctors don’t ask about it,” says Dr. Nasir in a news release.
Sleep involves transitions between three different states; wakefulness, REM sleep (rapid eye movement associated to dreaming) and N-REM sleep (non-rapid eye movement).
Normally muscles do not move during REM but this temporary paralysis does not occur in patients with REM behavior disorder. The patients will physically act out their vivid dreams they are having, for example, running, fighting and warding off attackers.
REM behavior disorder belongs to a class of sleep disorders called parasomnias, which include the sleep disorders of sleep walking and sleep related eating disorder (person eats while asleep).
This disorder affects an estimated one in every 200 adults with nine out of ten men suffering from this disorder with the vast majority being over 50 years. Many patients eventually develop Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.







Mayo Clinic researchers found that people with REM sleep behavior disorder have twice the risk for developing mild cognitive impairment or Parkinson’s disease. Their study appeared online January 12, 2012 in Annals of Neurology.
Many patients are treated with Clonazepam, which is in a class of medicines called benzodiazepines, which curtails or eliminates the disorder 90% of the time. Melatonin a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles is used for insomnia and being looked at for as a treatment for REM behavior disorder.
Dr. Nasir recommends to safe-proofing the bedroom such as clear the room of furniture and objects that could cause injury and sleep alone if necessary.
The main symptom of REM sleep behavior disorder is dream-enacting behaviors. At times they can be violent causing self-injury or injury to the bed partner. These behaviors can include punching or jumping out of bed while still asleep. Other actions of REM behavior disorder include; kicking, grabbing and sitting up in bed.
If any of these behaviors occur during sleep seek medical attention.

LACK OF SLEEP MAKES YOU SICK!

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.
How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
But more sleep isn’t always better. For adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.






Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome

Sudden unexpected death syndrome, or Sudden unexpected nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS), or Sudden Unknown Death Syndrome, or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome is sudden unexpected death of adolescents and adults, often during sleep.
Sudden unexplained death syndrome was first noted in 1977 among Hmong refugees in the US.The disease was again noted in Singapore, when a retrospective survey of records showed that 230 otherwise healthy Thai men died suddenly of unexplained causes between 1982 and 1990: In the Philippines, where it is referred to in the vernacular as bangungot, SUNDS affects 43 per 100,000 per year among young Filipinos. Most of the victims are young males.
SUNDS has been cloaked in superstition. Many Filipinos believe ingesting high levels of carbohydrates just before sleeping causes bangungot.
It has only been recently that the scientific world has begun to understand this syndrome. Victims of bangungot have not been found to have any organic heart diseases or structural heart problems.
However, cardiac activity during SUNDS episodes indicates irregular heart rhythms and ventricular fibrillation. The victim survives this episode if the heart’s rhythm goes back to normal. Older Filipinos recommend wiggling the big toe of people experiencing this to encourage their heart to snap back to normal.






Sleep Terror Disorders

Also called “night terrors”, these episodes are characterized by extreme terror and a temporary inability to attain full consciousness. The person may abruptly exhibit behaviors of fear, panic, confusion, or an apparent desire to escape. There is no response to soothing from others. They may experience gasping, moaning or screaming. However, the person is not fully awake, and once the episode passes, often returns to normal sleep without ever fully waking up. In most cases, there is no recollection of the episode in the morning.
Like sleepwalking, night terror episodes usually occur during NREM delta (slow wave) sleep. They are most likely to occur during the first part of the night. The timing of the events helps differentiate the episodes from nightmares, which occur during the last third of the sleep period.
While sleep terrors are more common in children, they can occur at any age. Research has shown that a predisposition to night terrors may be hereditary. Emotional stress during the day, fatigue or an irregular routine are thought to trigger episodes. Ensuring a child has the proper amount of sleep, as well as addressing any daytime stresses, will help reduce terrors.






Sleeping Improves Memory and Quality of Life

Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).
“If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice,” says Dr. Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center. “But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.”
In other words if you’re trying to learn something new—whether it’s Spanish or a new tennis swing—you’ll perform better after sleeping.
Too much or too little sleep is associated with a shorter lifespan—although it’s not clear if it’s a cause or effect. (Illnesses may affect sleep patterns too.)
In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night. Sleep also affects quality of life.
“Many things that we take for granted are affected by sleep,” says Raymonde Jean, MD, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. “If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It’s pretty clear.”






Insomnia linked to higher Risk of Death

A new study of men by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, has found that some insomnia symptoms are linked to a higher risk of death.

In a recent online issue of Circulation, they describe how they found that among men experiencing specific sleep problems – such as non-restorative sleep and difficulty falling asleep – there is a modest increased risk of death from heart-related problems.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both, with the result that they do not get enough sleep and may not feel refreshed when they wake up.
Previous studies have concluded that sleep is important for heart health, and many have linked poor or insufficient sleep with increased risk factors for cardiovascular-related diseases.






Cottage Cheese to Sleep Better!

Your road to being able to sleep better could start with a simple half- to one cup of cottage cheese before you turn in for the night. Cottage cheese is a perfect source of protein before bed since it contains slow-digesting casein proteins that will distribute the amino acids to the muscle tissues for hours to come.
In addition to this, it’s really going to help improve your sleep as it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which will naturally induce sleep in the body and help you get a better night’s rest. Yes, the idea that turkey has enough tryptophan to knock you out is a little farfetched, but the amino acid does facilitate serotonin production and serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep.
Pair your cottage cheese with a tablespoon of natural almond butter to keep the body satisfied for the overnight fast to come.






The Benefits of Sleep

Every 90 minutes, a normal sleeper cycles between two major categories of sleep — although the length of time spent in one or the other changes as sleep progresses.
During “quiet” sleep, a person progresses through four stages of increasingly deep sleep. Body temperature drops, muscles relax, and heart rate and breathing slow. The deepest stage of quiet sleep produces physiological changes that help boost immune system functioning.
The other sleep category, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, is the period when people dream. Body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing increase to levels measured when people are awake. Studies report that REM sleep enhances learning and memory, and contributes to emotional health — in complex ways.
Although scientists are still trying to tease apart all the mechanisms, they’ve discovered that sleep disruption — which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, among other things — wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation. In this way, insomnia may amplify the effects of psychiatric disorders, and vice versa.






Sleep: The magic power of Wellness

The first domino to tumble in the insidious fall from the graces of good health is often the consistent lack of deep restorative sleep. Insomnia is one of the most common complaints in every doctor’s practice. If the Dr left this unchecked, sleep difficulties inevitably begin a negative spiral down a path of increasingly severe health problems. Insomnia begets fatigue, weight gain, irritability, ADD, depression, brain fog, fibromyalgia, cognitive impairment, memory loss, impaired judgment, hallucinations, impaired immune function, increased type 2 diabetes, increased risk of heart disease, tremors, and many more serious health problems. Likewise, it is unusual to find a patient suffering from conditions such as fatigue or fibromyalgia who also don’t also experience a chronic lack of quality sleep.
Sleep is a vital aspect of your foundation of wellness. If you are not getting a deep restorative sleep, it will eventually take its toll on your health. Work with your health care provider, and at the end of the day, adopt a “whatever it takes” policy toward getting a good night’s sleep. You cannot achieve true wellness, without getting a consistently good restorative sleep.