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Online Therapy Helps Insomniacs

Posted By NWI, Monday, December 5, 2016

The cause of many people’s insomnia may now also be the cure. According to the new study release by JAMA Psychiatry, an online insomnia intervention called SHUTi has been shown to significantly improve the symptoms of insomnia sufferers.


SHUTi uses internet-based cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) to change insomnia sufferers’ attitudes and beliefs toward insomnia, as well as normalizing their circadian rhythm.  The major advantage of SHUTi over traditional face-to-face CBT-I treatment is that the internet-based distribution of the treatment makes the process more affordable and available to a much wider set of patients than in the past.


The SHUTi system was tested against a control group off insomnia sufferers who receive other online insomnia education materials.  56.6% of the patients who received the SHUTi treatment were in remittance from insomnia one year after the trial, compared to 27.3% of the control group.


To learn more about the SHUTi system trials, read the published research on the JAMA website.

Tags:  Insomnia  Online Therapy  Sleep  Sleep Science  Therapy  Virtual Therapy 

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Daylight Saving Time Could Cause Stroke

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 7, 2016

Finnish researcher Dr. Jori Ruuskanen of the University of Turku has a reason to dislike Daylight Saving Time even more than the rest of us. His research has found that people have an 8% higher likelihood of having a stroke in the two days following the time change. They studied 3,000 people hospitalized with strokes in Finland in the week after the start of Daylight Saving Time, and compared their data with 12,000 others hospitalized with strokes in the two weeks before and two weeks after the time switch.

The higher risk is primarily associated with cancer patients and the elderly – two groups who are already more predisposed to stroke risk than the general population. 

Dr. Ruuskanen emphasized that the major finding of this study has as much to do with sleep disturbance as it does stroke risk. Researchers are just beginning to understand the important role sleep has on our health, and, as this study indicates, it is hard to predict all the ways disturbance in our sleep effects us.

Tags:  Brain health  Daylight Saving Time  Sleep  Spring  Stroke 

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Wake up! You need more sleep!

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sleep doesn’t just make you less cranky, it has important effects on your health. According to a recent poll by the Gallup organization, a full 40 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.

Lack of sleep can cause cognitive impairment and health problems. If that isn’t enough for you, lack of sleep can also cause you to gain weight, or prevent you from losing weight.

This study by NCBI found that men who had their sleep protracted consumed 22 percent more calories than when they received 8 hours of sleep, and that adults and children who slept less than the recommended amount were more prone to obesity and even Type 2 Diabetes.

Tags:  Health  Sleep  Wellness 

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Wake up! Sleep Issues are Affecting Worker Productivity.

Posted By NWI, Monday, August 3, 2015

More than three quarters of workers feel tired many days of the week. This startling finding comes from a study of 1,139 workers conducted by Virgin Pulse and vielife. In addition, 30% of workers felt unhappy or very unhappy with the quality or quantity of their sleep, and more than one in eight workers “dozed” off at work at least once per week.

Lack of proper sleep has bee linked to issues like cardiovascular disease, weakened immune systems, and reduced memory and cognitive function. Aside from effecting the afflicted workers, employers are seeing a real loss in profitability and productivity from their workforce, to the tune of nearly $2,000 per worker per year.

Unsurprisingly, the reasons many workers report being tired at their job is due to insufficient sleep at night, either by quantity or quality. The reasons for this poor sleep were partially due to forces the employer could effect, such as shift work or international travel, and partially due to forces outside the employer’s control, such as television habits before bed, drinking caffeinated drinks, and excess alcohol consumption.

Employers who wish to make a positive impact on their workers’ sleep patterns can encourage employees to make positive changes to their environment and lifestyle. Changes such as wearing earplugs, running a fan for white noise, and decreasing extra light (primarily from electronic devices) had influence of study participants’ sleep, as did changes to behavior such as increasing exercise overall, but decreasing exercise close to bedtime.

One final finding of the study is that many of the employees afflicted with poor sleep would not have made any changes without intervention. If their employer had not assisted them in finding remedies for their poor sleep, they would have continued trying to cope with it as they had been doing previously.

To read the full report, click here.

Tags:  NWI  Sleep  Wellness  Worksite Wellness 

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Mindfulness: The Next “Big Thing” for a Restful Sleep

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Published last month (February 2015) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a new study shows mindfulness meditation practices have a significant ability to aide sleep.

Mindfulness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” In the case of sleep, an individual might work on being aware of all of the sensations in their body as they are lying in bed. They might consciously work to notice their breathing, the rise and fall of their chest, the feeling of the skin against the bedding, muscles relaxing and so forth. As their mind begins to wander, the practice of mindfulness is to bring the mind back to all of the immediate feelings associated with resting and being present in the restful moment.

According to this most recent study, mindfulness practice helped older adults who had moderate sleep difficulties. According to the study’s authors, sleep disturbances are a medical and public health concern with 50 percent of individuals 55 years and older experiencing some sort of sleep problem. These disturbances are tied to fatigue, disturbed mood, depression, and a decreased quality of life.

The study compared individuals who practiced mindfulness with a group that practiced sleep hygiene techniques (going to bed at a set time, avoiding stimulants after a certain hour, using the bed only for sleep and not watching T.V., etc). The mindfulness group showed greater improvement compared to those in the sleep hygiene group. In addition, the mindfulness group showed less of the associated symptoms of insomnia, depression, and fatigue symptoms.

 For more resources on mindfulness visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoLQ3qkh0w0

For more information on sleep Awareness visit: National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.

 Black, D.S. Mindfulness meditation appears to help improve sleep quality. Retrieved February 16 from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/tjnj-mma021215.php

Tags:  Emotional  March 2015  Mindfulness  Physical  Sleep  Spiritual 

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Your Body-Clock and Wellness…

Posted By NWI, Monday, September 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New research (July 2014) shows that certain types of artificial light can help humans to regulate their internal body clocks or circadian rhythms.

According to the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, circadian rhythms are our bodies’ physical, mental, and behavioral cycles and are impacted by light and darkness. Circadian rhythms can influence our sleep, hormones, and body temperature among other bodily functions. Circadian rhythms that are off have been linked to sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Individuals who have trouble sleeping at night, sleep during the day, live in a region with longer days and nights, work in spaces with no windows, and/or who travel and experience jet-lag, are at larger risk of throwing off their circadian rhythms.

This new research from INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) suggests that dimly lit working environments with specific types of artificial light can help to reset the internal clocks of those who spend times in those environments. The application for this research, the report suggests, could lead to specific light design strategies for businesses and individuals whose exposure to natural light is not sufficient.

Specifically, light that included blue wavelengths (white light enriched with blue…full blue lights were not needed to achieve these results) helped the bodies in the study to regulate circadian rhythms more so than light with only white wavelengths. Further, the white light enriched with blue light can be dim and the individual only has to be exposed to this type of light between 30 minutes and two hours to have positive impact. And finally, the positive impact of this type of lighting did not appear to diminish over time.

So what should you do for your overall wellness if you think your circadian rhythms are consistently impacted? Get more daytime exposure to artificial blue-enriched white light.

National Institutes of Health. (2014) Circadian Rhythm Fact Sheet. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

Raymond P. Najjar, Luzian Wolf, Jacques Taillard, Luc J. M. Schlangen, Alex Salam, Christian Cajochen, Claude Gronfier. Chronic Artificial Blue-Enriched White Light Is an Effective Countermeasure to Delayed Circadian Phase and Neurobehavioral Decrements. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e102827 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102827

Tags:  Circadian  Occupational  Physical  September 2014  Sleep 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Facts About Sleep

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 3, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wellness in 10 is inspired by National Sleep Awareness Week (March 2–9, 2014), sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org).

1. We need different amounts of sleep at different ages. As adults, we need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Make sure to adjust your schedule so you can be fully rested.

2. Sometimes insomnia is caused by stress, but sometimes it can be caused by an underlying medical condition. If you have a prolonged bout of sleeplessness, visit your healthcare provider to make sure there isn’t something more serious occurring.

3. Studies have found a relationship between the quantity and quality of one's sleep and many health problems such as obesity. It may be easier for you to get a good night’s sleep if you make it a priority.

4. According to the Sleep Foundation, three 8 oz. cups of coffee (250 milligrams of caffeine) per day is considered a moderate amount of caffeine. At a moderate intake level, it takes about 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated. Think about your sleep when you order a cup of coffee or energy drink late in the day.

5. Gastrointestinal reflux (GERD) is a common ailment that can cause sleep disruptions. If you are having trouble sleeping, one of the following could be the culprit: fats, onions, chocolate, spicy foods, large meals late in the day (2-3 hours before you lay down), your head and shoulders are not elevated enough, you are sleeping on your right side (sleeping on your left side could reduce symptoms), you consumed alcohol, or you smoke.

6. According to the National Institute’s of Health (NIH) (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf), we need sleep, not to rest our brains, but to re-charge our brains. Sleep helps us to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories.

7. Sleep helps us grow. The NIH reports that deep sleep releases more of the growth hormone that triggers growth in children and boosts muscle mass and the repair of cells and tissues in children and adults.

8. Sticking to a schedule can help you improve your sleep so you are not constantly re-setting your biological clock.

9. Relaxing before bed can help promote sleep. Meditate, listen to soft music, read, take a hot bath, etc.

10. According to NIH sleep researchers, if you are lying in bed awake for more than 20 minutes, it might be best to get up and take part in a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy again. Watching the clock may increase anxiety and actually prevent sleep.

Tags:  Emotional  Intellectual  March 2014  Physical  Sleep  Social 

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Wellness in 10: Facts about Drowsy Driving

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Drowsy DrivingThis month’s Wellness in 10 is dedicated to drowsy driving education. Do you know the facts?

Drowsy Driving Top 10:

1. Sleep-related crashes are most common in young people (those aged 25 and younger account for approximately 55% of all drowsy driving crashes).

2. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at least 100,000 police-reported crashes each year are the direct result of driver fatigue.

3. Each year, drowsy driving crashes result in at least 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. (NHTSA)

4. Approximately 11 million drivers admit they have had a crash or near crash because they dozed off or were too tired to drive. (2005 Sleep in America poll)

5. According to National Sleep Foundation (NSF) surveys, half of Americans consistently report that they have driven drowsy and approximately 20% admit they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous year.

6. Many people do not realize how sleepy they are, but driving requires a set of skills that are significantly reduced when you are sleep deprived, according to the NSF. Studies show that drowsiness can cause:

a. slower reaction time

b. impaired judgment and vision

c. decline in attention to important signs, road changes, and the actions of other vehicles

d. decreased alertness, preventing you from seeing an obstacle and avoiding a crash

e. increased moodiness and aggressive behavior

f. problems with processing information and short-term memory

g. microsleeps—brief 2/3 second sleep episodes

7. Like alcohol and drugs, sleep loss or fatigue impairs driving skills such as hand-eye coordination, reaction time, vision, awareness of surroundings, decision-making, judgment, and inhibition. The NSF reports the following drowsy driving/alcohol impairment equivalents:

a. 17 hours of sustained wakefulness produces performance impairment equal to 0.05% blood alcohol concentration (BAC); after 24 hours, impairment is equal to 0.10% BAC. A BAC of 0.08% is considered legally drunk in every state.

b. People with mild to moderate untreated sleep apnea performed worse than those with a 0.06% BAC.

c. Just like drinking on an empty stomach, there is an interaction between sleep deprivation and alcohol and sedating medications. In fact, on four hours of sleep, one beer can have the impact of a six-pack.

8. Several states are considering legislation that would allow police to charge drowsy drivers with criminal negligence if they injure or kill someone while driving.

9. There are resources to find out about drowsy driving. Visit www.sleepfoundation.org

10. November 11-17 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Share these facts with someone you love.

For more information visit: National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.orgor www.drowsydriving.org

Tags:  Intellectual  November 2013  Physical  Sleep  Wellness In 10 

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Wellness in 10: Fitness Trackers

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fitness TrackersPro: There are some really cool gadgets out there to help you track your fitness and provide motivating data.

Con: Some devices are pricey and the truth is, the trackers won’t get you to a goal, they’ll just provide information that will help you get to the goal--if you choose.

A few things to note:

1. Most of these products are water resistant, but not suitable for swimming. If you are a swimmer, see the Timex Health Tracker.

2. The battery life on these products varies.

3. Some of the products only work with Apple products, some will sync with other devices.

So here are 10 of the most popular options, in no particular order:

Jawbone UP

o MSRP: $129.99

o Worn: As a bracelet

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; up to 10 days of battery life. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks sleep (total hours, light versus deep, and length of time to fall asleep), activity (steps, distance, calories burned, time spent active versus idle), and individuals can log nutritional info and workouts. Can also connect through social network with other users. Free mobile app required. User must sync band with an iOS or Android device.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: https://jawbone.com/


o Worn: As a bracelet

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; up to 48 hours of battery life. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks movement (active, exercise, calories burned, and distance) and sleep(tracking, alarms, and reminders). Offers coaching based on your rhythms and norms. Band automatically syncs with an iOS device.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: N/A

o Company Website: http://lark.com/

Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex

o MSRP: $99.95

o Worn: One is carried in a pocket, or clipped to a belt or bra. Flex is worn as a bracelet.

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; up to 5-7 days of battery life. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Monitors how long and how well you sleep. Wakes you (and not your partner) with a silent alarm. Syncs automatically to your computer or select mobile devices via Bluetooth 4.0/Bluetooth Smart. Allows user to set goals, view progress with charts and graphs, and earn badges. Share and compete with friends throughout the day. Free iPhone and Android Apps. Log food, weight and more on Fitbit's website or apps. Sweat-, rain-, and splash proof.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.fitbit.com

Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

o MSRP: $59.95

o Worn: Wear in pocket, on belt or bra

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; interchangeable battery 4-6 months. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned – and syncs those stats to your computer and select smartphones. Can also social network with other users. Free mobile app required. User must sync band with i device.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 4.4out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.fitbit.com

LifeSpan MyStride Activity Tracker

o MSRP:$79.99 $20 (pricing on company website is higher)

o Worn: Clips to apparel

o Product Details: Lithium battery lasts for 7 days. Only saves seven days worth of data. The MyStride Activity Tracker is a pedometer, movement tracker, calories tracker, exercise logging device and distance traveled monitor. It has an integrated flip USB to sync your activity progress with your LifeSpan Fitness Club account.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.lifespanfitness.com/accessories/lifespan-pedometer.html

Nike+ FuelBand

o MSRP: $149.00

o Worn: Bracelet

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7, battery life of 1-4 days. Activity through a sport-tested accelerometer, then translates every move into NikeFuel. It's also functions as a watch. Nike+ FuelBand tracks running, walking, dancing, basketball and dozens of everyday activities. Allows goal setting. Wirelessly sync your Nike+ FuelBand to visualize your results. Or plug it directly into your computer's USB port to sync. Free app required.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://nikeplus.nike.com

BodyMedia FIT Wireless LINK Armband

o MSRP: $149.99

o Worn: Armband

o Product Details: Battery life of 5-7 days. Measures calories burned, steps taken, activity levels and sleep quality. Communicates directly with the free BodyMedia FIT app on your smartphone using Bluetooth to give you real time data. Log food using the online tool or mobile app. Import nutritional data from apps such as MyFitnessPal. Receive personalized feedback via the BodyMedia FIT coach. Compatible with iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices. Subscription required after 3-month trial.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.bodymedia.com/the_interface.html?whence=

Timex Mid-Size Health Tracker Watch

o MSRP: $42

o Worn: Watch

o Product Details: Interchangeable battery. Automatically records steps, distance, calories, and active time each day. Discretely stores number of calories or units consumed each meal. Displays cumulative daily activity; alarm sounds when you're halfway to goal. 7-day activity log; countdown timer; water-resistant to 50 meters.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.timex.com/collections/health-tracker

Philips Activa Workout/Fitness Monitor #ACT101M/17

o MSRP: $129.99

o Worn: Clips to body or armband.

o Product Details: Battery life of 20 hrs when using music plus monitoring. Tracks movement, plays music, and gives vocal feedback to help with your workout. Includes headphones. Sync to a computer via a USB.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.usa.philips.com/c/workout-monitors/activa-act101m_17/prd/


o MSRP: $199

o Worn: Bracelet

o Product Details: Battery life of 4 days and Bluetooth enabled for syncing. Tracks steps taken, calories burned and sleep quality as well as resting heart rate.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.mybasis.com/basis-fitness-tracker-product-tour/

Tags:  August 2013  Exercise  Nutrition  Physical  Sleep 

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Decrease Cardiovascular Disease Risk by Getting Enough Sleep

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Have you been getting enough sleep? If not, you may be harming blood vessel function and your breathing. Researchers from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom suggest a possible connection between sleep loss and cardiovascular disease (April 18, 2013).

Participants included eight healthy volunteers between the ages 20 and 35. The individuals began with two normal nights of eight hours of sleep. The following three nights were restricted to four hours of sleep. Researchers measured breathing and blood vessel function after two restricted nights of sleep and noticed vascular function decreased. Measurements for the third restricted night showed breathing and blood vessels return to normal. Normal levels on the third day may be due to the body’s ability to adapt to change. Subjects were also exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide to determine the effects on sleep-deprived bodies. Carbon dioxide increased the rate of breathing in sleep-deprived individuals. When participants received 10 hours of sleep, breathing and blood vessel function improved.

While the body generally adapts to change, transitioning between sleep deprivation and normal sleep for an extended period of time can be damaging to the system. While further research is necessary, this study provides insight into to how sleep loss affects the body and potentially leads to cardiovascular disease.

Receiving adequate sleep each night is difficult for many individuals. Use the following tips to sleep better:

· Keep a regular sleep schedule. To wake up every morning feeling refreshed, go to bed at the same time every night. If you need to alter the time you go to bed, change it by 15-minute increments each night to help your body adjust. Waking up at the same time every morning is equally as important as bedtime. While it may be difficult for some, try to maintain this schedule on weekends as well.

· Spend quality time in the sun during the day and avoid bright lights in the evening and at night. Light exposure helps you to stay energized and can affect your ability to rest. Avoid bright lights before bed such as computers, televisions, cell phones, and e-readers. These bright devices can stimulate the mind and keep you awake at night.

· Indulge in relaxing activities before bed. Relaxing before bed can help you unwind and prepare your body for sleep. Ideas for relaxing activities include a warm bath, reading a book in soft light, enjoying a relaxing favorite hobby, or listening to peaceful music.

· Receive adequate exercise and nutrition. Exercise is commonly viewed as a stress relief tool. Properly managing stress with exercise makes it easier to receive proper sleep, just try to plan your exercise for a time well before going to bed. Try to avoid large meals before bed as your body will have to focus more on digesting food rather than preparing you for sleep.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor


American Physiological Society. (April 22, 2013). Cutting Back on Sleep Harms Blood Vessel Function and Breathing Control. Newswise. Retrieved on April 23, 2013, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/cutting-back-on-sleep-harms-blood-vessel-function-and-breathing-control

Smith, M., Robinson, L., and Segal, R. (April 2013). How to Sleep Better. Helpguide. Retrieved on April 23, 2013, from http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleep_tips.htm

Tags:  Emotional  May 2013  Physical  Sleep 

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