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Tag: Sleep

Some people may be genetically programmed to need less sleep

The common belief nowadays is that eight hours of sleep at night is the optimal level for most people, but other knowledge literature such as the Vedas claim that it depends on the type of body, which could result in more or less than eight hours. But now, a new research suggests that some people may be genetically programmed to need less sleep, and as a result are able to get by only six hours of sleep.

More about this in the video below by Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Breakthrough in how to treat insomnia

Persistent insomnia affects about 10% of adults, and the resulting fatigue can significantly impair how someone functions during the day. If left untreated, chronic insomnia may also increase the risk for major depression and hypertension. But now Quebec researchers have found that combining therapy and medication may help people with insomnia to sleep more soundly.

Charles Morin - a clinical psychologist at Laval University in Quebec City - and his colleagues reported that a psychological treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helped people with insomnia in the long term. They published their study in Wednesday’s issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included 160 adults who were randomly assigned to receive CBT alone or CBT plus the drug zolpidem for six weeks, followed by six months of therapy. After six weeks, Morin said that what the results showed is that it’s best to discontinue the medication and keep people in therapy with CBT. The therapy teaches people not to worry obsessively about their insomnia, since going to bed worried tends to perpetuate sleeplessness. According to Dr. Rhonda Low, stress is the most common problem that is stopping Canadians from sleeping well so relaxation therapy and meditation are other types of CBT.

More about this in the video below by Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Lucid Dreaming: take control over your dreams

I am sure many people may have experienced a lucid dream, as I did when I was a kid, or heard of the term at some point in their life, but I would like to introduce it anyhow to those who did not have the chance to know about it.

According to Wikipedia, a lucid dream is a dream in which the person is aware that they are dreaming while the dream is in progress, also known as a conscious dream. When the dreamer is lucid, they can actively participate in the imaginary experiences in the dream environment, and in an advanced stage, they can often control and manipulate them.

A lucid dream can begin in one of two ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes that they are dreaming, while a wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state with no apparent lapse in consciousness. Lucid dreamers regularly perform a reality check, which is a common method to determine whether or not they are dreaming. It involves performing an action with results that will be different if the tester is dreaming. By practicing these tests during waking life, one may eventually decide to perform such a test while dreaming, which may fail and let the dreamer realize that they are dreaming. Common reality checks include pinching any part of your body to check if you feel no pain, pinching your nose to check if you are able to breathe without using your mouth, flipping a light switch, and Looking at one’s digital watch (remembering the time), looking away, and then looking back.

The term lucid dreaming was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article “A Study of Dreams”. Even though it has only come to the attention of the general public in the last few decades, lucid dreaming is not a modern discovery. A letter written by St. Augustine of Hippo in 415 AD refers to lucid dreaming. In the eighth century, Tibetan Buddhists and Bonpo were practicing a form of Dream Yoga held to maintain full waking consciousness while in the dream state. Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys was probably the first person to argue that it is possible for anyone to learn to dream consciously. In 1867, he published his book Les Reves et les Moyens de Les Diriger; Observations Pratiques (Dreams and How to Guide them; Practical Observations), in which he documented more than twenty years of his own research into dreams.

Lucid dreaming has been researched scientifically, and its existence is well established. The first book on lucid dreams to recognize their scientific potential was Celia Green’s 1968 study Lucid Dreams. She predicted that they would turn out to be associated with rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). During the 1980s, further scientific evidence to confirm the existence of lucid dreaming was produced as lucid dreamers were able to demonstrate to researchers that they were consciously aware of being in a dream state using eye movement signals. Neuroscientist J. Allan Hobson has hypothesized what might be occurring in the brain while lucid. Research on techniques and effects of lucid dreaming continues at a number of universities and other centers, including LaBerge’s Lucidity Institute.

Over time, several techniques have been developed to achieve a lucid dreaming state intentionally. Perhaps the most important one is to remember the dreams as soon as you wake up, and write them down in a dream journal. Getting into the habit of doing reality checks is also very important. Lucid dreaming does not happen overnight, but with constant practice you can start having lucid dreams.

If you want to know more about Lucid Dreaming, The Babble Out is the best choice for your consideration. A detailed guide on how to Lucid Dream can be found on that page as well. Watch the video below about Lucid Dreaming on ABC News:

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Staying active throughout the day can help people with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. It affects three times more men than women. The individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Snoring and daily fatigue are the common symptoms of this disorder.

Toronto researchers suggest that people who sit for long periods of time, like working on a computer, accumulate fluids in their legs during the day. And that fluid moves from the legs to the neck when you lie down to sleep, making breathing very difficult. But staying active during the day, such as stretching, exercising, or even a short walk can help with the problem. It is unclear yet how much movement is needed and needs further studies.

More about this in the video below by Monica Matys from CTV Lifetime:

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Polyphasic Sleep: more free time with less sleep

We are all aware that we spend a third of our life sleeping, which is the average of eight hours of sleep per day. But what if we can decrease the number of sleeping hours and thus increase the waking hours, and still operate with the same and even more mental alertness and energy level. We can then use the extra time to study, finish our work, learn a new musical instrument, and accomplish endless opportunities that we used to dream of doing only if we had more time. Is is possible to do that?

The answer is yes. It’s called Polyphasic Sleep. I thought of introducing this concept since not too many people have heard of it. The term was first introduced in the early 20th century by the psychologist J.S. Szymanski. It refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period totaling an average of 3 hours of sleep per day. Most people are monophasic (having one block of sleep), while a big - yet decreasing - number of people are biphasic (having one block of sleep with an added nap). Hence, polyphasic sleeping occurs when people use multiple (more than two) ultra-short naps during the day. Polyphasic sleepers gain the most of their sleep time, while coming out from their naps in a highly alert state.

There are many patterns of polyphasic sleep such as Everyman, Uberman, and Dymaxion. They basically differ in the amount and duration of the naps. Everyman consists of a core nap of no more than 3 hours, with three short naps of 20 minutes. Uberman sleep consists of 20 minute naps every four hours, round the clock. Dymaxion pattern, which was advocated by the famous architect and inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller in the 1940s, consists of 30 minute naps every six hours, round the clock.

There are claims that Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and many others used to be polyphasic sleepers, but they lack documentation. With the recent introduction of Blogs into the internet, many people have started to log their experiments with polyphasic sleep. From those logs, a lot of people quit the first couple of days because they found it hard to adapt. But those who bypassed the adaptation period, which is usually from a week to a month, said that they became highly energetic and alert, and enjoyed it to the extent that they did’t want to go back to monophasic sleep. The only reason that made most of them quit was because the world uses the monophasic pattern, and it was hard for them to cooperate and work with other people.

More information about this topic can be found on Wikipedia.
An extensive log of a polyphasic sleeper can be found on Steve Pavlina’s blog.
The archive article about Fuller’s Dymaxion Sleep, dating back from October 11th 1943, can be found on the Time Magazine website.
An up-to-date list of current polyphasic sleepers can be found on Jorel’s blog.

Comparison of sleep patterns - Jorel on Wikipedia

Comparison of sleep patterns - Jorel on Wikipedia