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5 Sleep Myths Busted

It accounts for a third of your life and a big chunk of your health and longevity. So why aren't you sleeping enough?

By Jim Gorman, Men's Health
What a night. The woman of your dreams appeared. Your pulse raced. Heavy breathing ensued. You do remember it, right? Oh, wait, you were asleep. And that's not all you missed. Under cover of night, sleep floods your veins with age-defying human growth hormone. Sleep raises an army of T cells and sends them into battle against colds and infection. Sleep resets the appetite controls that tell you to not hit the turn signal when you pass a McDonald's. And, of course, sleep helps you above the neck as well as below the belt.

"It stabilizes your waking brain, makes you more alert, and allows you to process information faster," says David Dinges, Ph.D., who studies shut-eye at the University of Pennsylvania. "It helps you remember things and consolidate those memories." You won't get that from a Red Bull. So then why are we engaged in a society-wide experiment in sleep deprivation? Average nightly sleep time during the workweek in the United States is down nearly 20 minutes in the last decade, to six hours and 40 minutes. And men ages 30 to 44 are the worst offenders: Thirty percent of them say they log less than six hours of sleep at night, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The price you pay for this sleep deficit is more than just lost productivity—your health can suffer too. So wake up! It's time to shed some light on this dark territory.

Successful, driven guys should be good to go on five hours a night: MYTH

True, Napoleon slept four to five hours a night, and Thomas Edison got by on four. But world domination and the lightbulb might have been mere warm-ups had these guys slept more. Sleep scientists estimate that only 10 percent of adults are hardwired to need appreciably less (or more) sleep than the recommended seven to eight hours. And by cheating on sleep, you're limping through life with the cranial equivalent of a torn calf muscle.

Scarier still, people who are sleep-deprived often don't even know they've turned into zombies. After dividing 48 volunteers into four sleep regimens—eight, six, four and zero hours a night (a.k.a. torture)—University of Pennsylvania researchers found that the six-hours-a-night group fared as poorly on measures of alertness and memory after two weeks as the no-sleep crew did after 24 hours. But participants in the six-hour group didn't feel very sleepy even when they were performing at their worst.

Accumulating a sleep deficit also leads to "microsleeps" while you're awake. "Your brain becomes unstable and will go 'off-line' for half a second," Dinges says. The more sleep-deprived you are, the more frequent and longer the lapses.

Snooze strategy: If you didn't sleep seven to eight hours every night this past week, go to bed this weekend at your regular weekday time, but don't set your alarm clock. Did you rise on Saturday and Sunday at the same time you would have on, say, a Tuesday? Then you may be one of those few people who can sleep less yet remain healthy.

The rest of us mere mortals can begin to repay our sleep debt by dozing 10 hours a night on weekends and then sticking to seven to eight hours during the week. Your brain will use this strategy whenever you accumulate a sleep debt, says Ruth Benca, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Wisconsin Sleep Center. Otherwise, you want to stay consistent with your sleeping.

Frequently needing to pee in the middle of the night might indicate a health problem: TRUTH

That first stumble to the bathroom in the dark can be chalked up to the beer you drank watching the Knicks game. The second one can spell trouble. "If you habitually take two or more bathroom trips a night, you probably have obstructive sleep apnea," says Alex Chediak, M.D., medical director of the Miami Sleep Disorders Center. With sleep apnea, the soft tissue at the back of your throat blocks your upper airway during sleep, stopping your breathing for anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute or even longer. This can occur hundreds of times in a night, depriving you of restorative deep sleep and starving your vital organs of oxygen. No wonder sleep apnea has been linked to heart disease, hypertension, and mood disorders.

But why does it wake you up to pee? Because those mini-suffocations result in lower circulating oxygen levels, your heart pumps harder, raising your blood pressure. As excess fluid builds up in your veins, a feedback loop triggers the release of a pressure-relieving diuretic, making you need to pee. An enlarged prostate and high blood sugar can also prompt middle-of-the-night bowl breaks. But with those conditions, says Dr. Chediak, you'll pee a lot day and night.

Snooze strategy: Raising the pillow end of your bed by a few inches can help prevent that tissue from blocking your throat. Snoring could also be waking you in the middle of the night, and one major cause is nasal obstruction. Wash out mucus and irritants by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of table salt in 2 cups of warm water and flushing your nose twice a day using a medical or bulb syringe.

Japanese researchers found that people with nasal obstruction were twice as likely to experience daytime fatigue as people with clear passageways. For video instruction on the technique, visit mayoclinic.com and search "nasal irrigation." If the peeing persists around the clock, schedule a prostate exam and have your blood-sugar level checked by your doctor after an overnight fast.

The post-lunch bonk can't be avoided: MYTH

Many Europeans scarf down a carb-loaded lunch and then shut down from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. But with unemployment soaring, let's assume a three-hour nap won't play well at the office.

If you find yourself entering what amounts to a food coma after lunch, you're probably eating too many carbohydrates in the morning. And what you're not getting enough of is making it worse. "A postlunch crash is a telltale sign of poor nighttime sleep, as is dozing in meetings, theater performances, or similar environments," says Dr. Benca.

Not sure if you're experiencing a modest dip or a true crash? Take a minute or two to fill out the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This online questionnaire is the same one sleep docs use on their new patients.

Snooze strategy: Along with improving your nightly sleep pattern, eat three small meals spaced two hours apart in the morning. Try a protein shake at 7 a.m., two eggs and a small cup of oatmeal at 9, and an apple and a handful of almonds at 11. You'll consume fewer carbohydrates, and you won't be as likely to overeat at lunchtime. In fact, a salad with grilled chicken and avocado on top should be enough to keep your mind focused and your head off the desk all afternoon, says Keith Berkowitz, M. D., medical director of the Center for Balanced Health in New York City.

Waking up at 4 a. m. every day just means I'm an early riser: MYTH

More likely, you—along with 60 million other Americans—have insomnia, an inability to fall or stay asleep. "Insomniacs wake at the slightest disturbance and feel unrefreshed in the morning," says Dr. Benca. Insufficient sleep exposes the sufferer to a litany of performance and health problems. In a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, researchers found insomniacs were more than twice as likely as normal sleepers to call in sick for long periods.

Snooze strategy: Let's assume that you've already cut back on caffeine. What you want to do is make your sleep more efficient, says W. Christopher Winter, M.D., medical director of the sleep medicine center at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Dr. Winter likens poor sleep to a bookcase missing a few volumes, representing gaps in your sleep. By going to bed an hour or so later, those gaps won't be as long as or frequent. Soon enough, you should be waking up after the roosters, not before them.

A tiring workout before bed will help me sleep more soundly: MYTH

Regular exercise is one of the best sleep-promoting remedies, but working out late at night risks leaving you wide-eyed in bed. "It's easiest to fall asleep when your core body temperature goes relatively quickly from very warm to very cold," says Dr. Chediak. "After exercise, that cooling process takes four to six hours." It's better to take a hot bath or sauna session close to bedtime. "Anything that raises core body temperature will help get you started on sleep," says Dr. Chediak. He says the cooldown period into the sleep zone following a bath takes just two hours—half that of an exercise session.

Snooze strategy: Work out—but do it first thing in the morning for all-day energy and a quick drift into deep, restful sleep. Studies show that exercise improves sleep as effectively as a class of sleeping pills that includes Restoril and Halcion.

Alcohol can help me sleep at night: MYTH

Only if you equate a good night's sleep with passing out drunk on your girlfriend's sofa. Alcohol messes with the normal sleep cycle, especially the back end of the cycle. "Four hours into sleep, alcohol wears off and leaves you in an excitable state," says Dr. Chediak. You'll sleep lighter, wake more easily, and be hung over when you do wake. After three nights of intoxicated slumber, even the initial knockout punch begins to wane.

Dr. Chediak warns of another drawback to using a six-pack as a sleep aid. "Being a muscle relaxant as well as sedative, alcohol can even create sleep apnea symptoms in snorers who don't otherwise have the condition," he says. Unfortunately, liquor is a go-to therapy for many sheep counters, used as often as over-the-counter sleeping pills and more often than prescription sleep meds.

Snooze strategy: Be consistent with your overall schedule and you won't need booze. "Your internal clock is a structure in your brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus," says Dr. Winter. "To set this clock, eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at exactly the same time every day for a week."

Find more about getting better sleep on MSN Health & Fitness:
Provided by Men's Health

Your result for The 3 Variable Funny Test...

the Ham
your humor style:

Your style's goofy, innocent and feel-good.
Perfect for parties and for the dads who chaperone them.
You can actually get away with corny jokes,
and I bet your sense of humor is a guilty pleasure for your friends.
People of your type are often the most approachable and popular people in their circle.
Your simple & silly good-naturedness is immediately recognizable,
and it sets you apart in this sarcastic world.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Will Ferrell - Will Smith


The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -

Take The 3 Variable Funny Test
at HelloQuizzy


Your result for Basic Knowledge of Linguistics Test...
Linguist in Training
You would have passed a linguistics final easily, may know a second language or two and probably have a strong interest in language.

The answers
I’ve gotten requests for an answer key, so I’ve decided to include the answers and an explanation to the answers. ....




Your result for The Social Persona Test (What kind of man/woman are you?)...

The Renaissance Faire Wench


Quirky Liberal Alpha Female


The hardest part about being the Renn. Faire Wench is that people often mistake you for a beta female. This is not so. You might be quite flirtatious, but you are hardly relient on men. You like to do things the mainstream would consider weird, (like dress in costume, perhaps?). Eat, drink, and be merry, but make sure whoever you date respects you and does not take advantage of your laid-back attitude. (BTW, you are likely the only type who can see That Creepy Guy (NLBM) for who he is, helping him to bring out the Manga Geek (QLBM) inside. This does not mean you have to date one, however. You are quite flexible and can enjoy the company of many of the types.)

You are more QUIRKY than NORMAL.

You are more LIBERAL than TRADITIONAL.

You are more DOMINANT than PASSIVE.

When picking a date, consider: The Lord of the Misfits (QLAM), The Fratt Boy (NLAM), The Snowball's Chance in Hell (QTBM), The Manga Geek (QLBM), or That Creepy Guy (NLBM).

(Image from http://www.buycostumes.com/Lock-Lace-Bodice-Navy-Renaissance-Collection-Adult/27296/ProductDetail.aspx)



Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...
Modern, Cool Nerd

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!



Click daily to help others:

Thank You!!

Your result for The Left or Right Brain Test...

Well Ballanced

Congratulations, you have well developed skills in both hemispheres.

You see an abundance of ideas and you can easily make plans without getting lost in possibilities.

Both the details and the bigger picture are obvious to you.

You can relate to almost anyone, and understand their perspective.

Undoubtedly you are good at anything you set your mind to.

It may also be possible to hypnotise you.

Take The Left or Right Brain Test
at HelloQuizzy

...but NOT safe for WORK...

... and NOT for those who are easily offended...

Here Comes DR.TRAN -- Everyone's Favorite Action Hero Returns!

And as a followup (this is not nearly as funny if you haven't seen the first one):

In the kiddie pool... After all, what is fame...

Thanks to AAA and those who introduced him to Dr. Tran...

Your Social Dysfunction:

You're a happy person -
you have a good amount of self-esteem,
and are socially healthy.
While this isn't a social dysfunction per se,
you're definitely not normal.
Consider yourself lucky:
you walk that fine line between 'normal'
and being outright narcissistic.
You're rare - which is something else to be happy about.



Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Please note that we aren't, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.

found quiz on akienm's journal.


From my comments in the conversation following my post
Perfectionism is In the Details:

Humans work on an "us" and "them" basis. As I said in a recent comment on a post that seems to have disappeared, I believe this to be "hardwired" into our systems, whereas WHO QUALIFIES as "us" and "not-us" (and therefore "them") is both socialized and situational.

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "Nothing unites like a common enemy." For at least the short term, a common "them" will serve to unite former "not-us" groups. The exciting thing about this is that COMMON PROBLEMS can serve as "a common enemy."

Unfortunately, this is trickier than it sounds, for two main reasons.

Whether it is cause or effect or a bit of both, each "us" group tends to have its own world view. Among the aspects of a world view is what is, and is not, viewed as a problem.

TWO: Another thing endemic to a world view is HOW ONE APPROACHES PROBLEMS. So, even if you get formerly opposed groups to focus on a problem-in-common, THEN there needs to be consensus on how to APPROACH it, and what a desirable SOLUTION will be. Just because two (people, organizations, groups, etc.) agree that something is a problem does NOT mean that they agree on what would be a solution!! ...much less what the steps between here and there are, and who should be in charge...

Which doesn't mean it isn't worth doing, just that it is trickier than it first seems.


Sometimes the way out of confusion is a letting go, rather than an adding in of more "details."

Often, it is figuring out the relative "weight" of the various factors -- just figuring out whether the Pro or Con list is longer, without realizing which factors count for more or less, doesn't work.

And there remains that people come from fundamentally differing world views, from differing senses of what the grounding is for what is Good, Right, and Proper behavior and actions.

Although one can say, "Just the facts, ma'am," just what facts are relevant is a matter of some dispute.

"I've been keeping tabs on you in my heart.
My heart is full of tabs."


A friend's post...

He gave me permission to post it in my journal.

Interesting thought.

I was watching a documentary about the head chef at Tasajara Community Center..he wrote the Tassajara Bread Book. He is a Buddhist monk and one of the lessons he repeated was..
You cannot make anyone happy.
If you try and make someone happy
it will only lead to pain and despair.

I thought about it for a bit, it was a shockingly simple statement, and not one I havn't really heard before, but the context and the simplicity were deafening. I was kind of shook up by it, because it's something that we know but seem to try and get around in our lives.

Any thoughts?

Some fabulous photographs




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