We hear a lot about there being two different kinds of sleepers — early risers and night owls — but researchers from the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences have identified two new groups to add to the mix. And, perhaps not surprisingly, one of them includes people who feel tired all day long. Want to know if you fall into one of these new categories? These are the different types:
1. Early Risers
Dubbed “larks” by researchers, these individuals prefer getting up and going to sleep early over late nights. And they show higher energy levels between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
2. Late Risers
These sleepers, also known as “night owls,” prefer to wake up late and are more alert in the evenings, and likely have a hard time functioning very early in the day. They show higher energy levels between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.
3. High Energetic
Sticking with the study’s bird themes, we’ve dubbed this group “hummingbirds” — they have energy the entire day (lucky!), and also snoozed about 30 minutes less overall than the other three groups. And even though they averaged about 7.5 hours a night, they still felt sprightly in the morning and night.
4. Always Tired
This group feels lethargic all day no matter how much shut-eye they get. Researchers didn’t have a bird name for this one — and frankly, they sound more like the koala (who sleeps approximately 18 to 22 hours a day).
What You Probably Didn’t Know About Sleep
a. Alcohol impacts your REM sleep.
Booze is a snooze-inducing depressant that puts you to sleep, but also lightens your sleep, says pharmacist Keith T. Veltri, clinical pharmacy manager of Montefiore Medical Center. You may still remember dreams, though, since the alcohol causes increased arousals — and you can only recall a dream when you wake up during it.
b. Some medicines interfere with your sleep.
Benadryl (or diphenhydramine), a common allergy medicine, may result in shortened REM and fewer dreams, says Veltri. Prescription drugs that can cause nightmares include beta-blockers, which are usually prescribed for high blood pressure, the Parkinson’s disease drug, Sinemet, and the smoking-cessation medication, Chantix. Some drugs, such as antidepressants and barbiturates, also reduce REM sleep.
Chronic lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health, so you can’t skimp on sleep on weekdays, thinking you’ll “catch up” over the weekend. You need consistency. Generally speaking, adults need between six and eight hours of sleep every night. There are plenty of exceptions though. Some people might need as little as five hours a night, while others cannot function optimally unless they get nine or 10 hours.
My strong recommendation and advice is quite simply to listen to your body. If you feel tired when you wake up, you probably need more sleep. Frequent yawning throughout the day is another dead giveaway that you need more shut-eye. Personally, I find that when I am reading during the day, if my eyes close and I tend to doze off, I know I did not get enough sleep the night before. However, above all, should insomnia strike, don’t make the mistake of reaching for a sleeping pill.
Not only do sleeping pills not address any of the underlying causes of insomnia, researchers have repeatedly shown that sleeping pills don’t work, but your brain is being tricked into thinking they do… One analysis found that, on average, sleeping pills help people fall asleep approximately 10 minutes sooner, and increase total sleep time by a mere 15-20 minutes. They also discovered that while most sleeping pills caused poor, fragmented sleep, they induced amnesia, so upon waking, the participants could not recall how poorly they’d actually slept!
In terms of health consequences, this could end up being worse than not sleeping and being aware of that fact. At least then you’d be encouraged to find and address the root cause of your sleeplessness. Besides not working as advertised, sleeping pills have also been linked to significant adverse health effects, including a nearly four-fold increase in the risk of death, and a 35 percent increased risk of cancer.
There is considerable controversy involving the efficacy of antidepressant medications.
The controversy also involves the risk/benefit analyses of currently approved interventions For example, Time magazine recently cited Kirsch’s meta-analysis in PLoS Medicine that found little benefit of antidepressants for most patients as well as Dr. John Krystal’s findings that about 25% of patients did worse on antidepressants than on placebo”.
There are also many non-pharmacologic interventions for reducing anxiety. Some of these include dietary supplements, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and exercise. These interventions, however, are not employed by a large segment of society that suffers from anxiety.
These persons instead seek medication from their physician to alleviate their suffering. Typical classes of medications for anxiety include the SSRI’s, benzodiazepines as well as the off label use of antihistamines and atypical antipsychotic medications and antiepileptic medications.
In addition to the inherent problems with SSRI’s, there are also serious problems with the other classes of medications. A serious side effect of benzodiazepines includes their potential for inducing physical and psychological dependence. In addition, withdrawal symptoms can prove life threatening, especially with the shorter acting benzodiazepines like alprazolam. When taken as directed, which is often not the case; this class can result in compromised coordination and slowed reaction, falls, disinhibition, delirium, and anterograde amnesia.
It is not uncommon to see suicide attempts using a combination of a benzodiazepine together with alcohol and/or another sedative hypnotic. While buspirone is relatively well tolerated, it has poor efficacy for many anxiety disorders and 3 to 4 week lag time to effect often leads to premature discontinuation.
Medications such as gabapentin are used off label for anxiety disorders but there is no research to support its efficacy. Unfortunately, physicians have begun using the atypical antipsychotic medications to treat anxiety. This class of medications has a large and increasing number of very serious side effects. Recent attention has been focused on their causing metabolic syndrome.
They frequently cause extra pyramidal side effects, sedation, elevated prolactin levels and drug/drug interactions. All of these medications should be avoided during pregnancy and used with caution in the elderly. In short, the side effect profile of current pharmacologic treatments for anxiety limits their safe use. CES is a safe, initial alternative to such medications.
Many patients benefit from improving sleep hygiene as a treatment for insomnia. Others may improve using a sleep phase changes or treating the underlying problem such as sleep apnea, medical conditions, alcohol abuse, etc.
For many others, recent pharmacologic treatments prove effective and have minimal side effects. Targeting melatonin receptors is a novel and promising approach. For many persons, however, existing treatments are ineffective, too expensive, result in side effects or conflict with their desire to avoid medications.
Some side effects from medications are very disturbing, such as sleep associated behaviors that result in harm to self or others. For others, there is morning sedation, drug/drug interactions or rebound insomnia. When behavioral interventions are not effective, CES could be considered prior to initiating medications.
By Jason Worchel, M.D., a noted psychiatrist and Director of the Hilo Mental Health Center in Hilo, HI. This post is from a paper written by Dr. Worchel in his testimony before the F.D.A. concerning the effectiveness and safety of CES from the perspective of a practicing psychiatrist.
Ok, maybe your grandparents probably slept like you. And your great, great-grandparents. But once you go back before the 1800s, sleep starts to look a lot different. Your ancestors slept in a way that modern sleepers would find bizarre – they slept twice. And so can you.
The existence of our sleeping twice per night was first uncovered by Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech. He
published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
Roger Ekirch says this 1595 engraving by Jan Saenredam is evidence of activity at night
His book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern – in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer’s Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.
Much like the experience of Wehr’s subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
“It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,” Ekirch says.
During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.
And these hours weren’t entirely solitary – people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.
Should We Revive Two Sleeps?
Although history shows that two sleeping was common, and science indicates that it is (in some conditions) natural, there is no indication that it is better. Two sleeps may leave you feeling more rested, but this could simply be because you are intentionally giving yourself more time to rest, relax, and sleep. Giving the same respect to the single, eight-hour sleep should be just as effective.
Note too that two sleeping needs a lot of darkness – darkness that is only possible naturally during the winter months. The greater levels of daylight during summer and other seasons would make two sleeping difficult, or even impossible.
Perhaps two sleeping is merely a coping mechanism to get through the long, cold, boring nights of the winter. Today, we don’t need to cope. So long as we give our sleep the time and respect it needs, getting the “standard” eight hours of sleep should be fine.
But next time you wake up at 2 AM and can’t sleep, just remember your great, great, great, great, great grandfather. He did the same thing every night.
Or use CES Ultra, Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation – it will help to sleep, no medicine needed….
Have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions:
Why don’t my sleep medications help me sleep anymore, or help me go to sleep when I take them?
Is there anything I can use to help me sleep better without causing side effects that impact my waking life?
Is there anything besides drugs that I can use to help me to sleep?
Military personnel experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms from trauma faced in the line of duty often go many years without seeking treatment. Sgt. Dwayne Sawyer suffered from PTSD symptoms for five years before he sought help, while Leading Aircraftsman J. Smith (name changed to protect identity) suffered from the late 1950s until four years ago. Even with medical assistance, some may not experience relief from their symptoms, while others won’t seek help because of the stigma attached to the diagnosis of PTSD.
Fortunately, there is an emerging technology that is non-addictive and has outstanding results, helping 85% of trauma sufferers who use the device regularly. There are several devices on the market, the most accessible being the Sleep Genie. It uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) technology to stimulate the relaxation centre of the brain, helping the user to sleep better, which in turn, alleviates some of the symptoms related to PTSD. According to Eileen Jones’ 2006 research paper Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, A Non-Drug Neuromedical Treatment, the device works by sending a low intensity microcurrent to the brain. The unit is designed for home use: the user fastens two clips behind the ears from a hand-held machine.
Several doctors in Canada are using CES as part of their therapy. In Barrie, Ontario Dr. Jonathan Douglas, (Ph.D., C.Psych) became aware of the technology in 1998. He looked into it for a number of years, analyzing the research before trying it as a part of his practice. He began using the Alpha- Stim in his office and then purchased several Sleep Genie units to lend out to his clients for home use. Dr. Douglas explains the deciding factors for using this technology: I use it based on the presentation of the client – do they have difficulty falling asleep? Are they anxious or depressed? Do
Sgt. Sawyer was experiencing sleeplessness due to flashbacks and nightmares; PTSD symptoms that resulted in sleep avoidance. I didn’t want to fall asleep because I didn’t want to relive the trauma, explained Sawyer. As a result, he was exhausted all the time and spending $75-100 per day on high dosage sleep medication. He wanted off the medication.
It’s a big thing for a lot of the guys. You don’t want to be medicated when you don’t have to be.When his therapist recommended CES therapy, Sawyer was skeptical at first, thinking there is no way this will work. He noticed results after just a week, and after six weeks he was getting a full night’s sleep and had more energy during the day. He uses the CES device for 20 minutes per week while he watches television. He still gets flashbacks and nightmares, but nothing to what it was before. Life is slowly coming back to normal again. I can keep my symptoms under control now. It saved my wife and kids.
Leading Aircraftsman Smith wasn’t skeptical about the CES device when his therapist recommended it. He was fed up with his symptoms. He explains, I’ll try anything to help. After three years of using the technology regularly, he still experiences his PTSD symptoms on and off, but they are not as severe as they were before.
Dr. Ken Welburn, Ph.D., C Psych, the clinical director of a trauma clinic in Ottawa, has been educating therapists for 20 years about the psychiatric symptoms of trauma. He explains that cranial electrotherapy stimulation is a widely researched area. Since the technology was invented in the 1950s in Russia for sleep problems, many scientific studies have been done and are very conclusive that it is an effective treatment of insomnia, anxiety, depression, and certain types of pain. He was impressed with the research on CES devices, especially that there are no serious side effects, so he purchased a unit and tried it on himself. He experienced better quality sleep and felt a calm focus during the day.
Dr. Welburn started a study with his clients, using the variables: sleep latency, numbers of hours spent asleep, disturbance in sleep, and sleep deprivation during the day. He evaluates his clients based on this criteria before they use the CES device and interviews them every week for the eight weeks using the device. There is a pronounced effect, a dramatic change in these variables. He explains that, to PTSD sufferers, sleep is a dangerous place so you try to avoid it. He finds that continued use of the CES unit helps his clients to better handle stress without overacting to change emotionally. Dr. Welburn notices the biggest changes in sleep quality, anxiety levels, and the improved ability to focus. It is a great tool for treating trauma and for helping manage the symptoms my clients are experiencing. It is not the whole therapy but part of it.
Both doctors believe that the use of medications for sleep, anxiety, and antidepressants can be drastically reduced with continued sessions. But they also say its important to keep in mind that changes occur over time and with continued use. As Dr. Douglas explains, there is never going to be a cookie cutter approach for any situation. Some people will not find relief in the technology. Dr. Welburn finds that approximately 85% of people respond positively to the treatment, while Dr. Douglas found that since his introduction of the CES device in 2006, only three patients have had a negative reaction.
The Sleep Genie (now the CES Ultra device) can be purchased directly from the company but it is recommended people use it in conjunction with therapy. It is not recommended that you use the device if you are pregnant or if you have a pacemaker. Dr. Welburn explains, there have never been any adverse side effects in these cases; it is just a precaution.