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Stroke And Insomnia: The Silent Killer

While many of the risk factors for hypertension and stroke are well-known obesity, smoking, stress, etc. there is one that has thus far largely slipped under the radar: Insomnia.





This risk factor is, however, one of the most important to pay attention to when trying to prevent stroke, as it was found the risk is particularly elevated for young adults (i.e. if you miss out on sleep partying or studying while young, it translates into a higher risk of stroke in later life). Ergo, this may be one of the earliest preventable causes of stroke present in many people's lives, as damage from smoking and obesity tends to be more cumulative throughout a person's 30s and 40s.



The aforementioned was discovered by an extensive Taiwanese study, wherein researchers found that insomnia appeared to raise the likelihood that a person will be hospitalized due to stroke by 54 percent, with the highest risk group being those between the ages of 18 and 34.  The study analyzed randomly selected health records from over 21,000 people with insomnia and 64,000 without insomnia, all of whom lacked an existing diagnosis of stroke or sleep apnea. After eliminating other possible risk factors, the researchers found that those with insomnia did indeed show an increased stroke risk compared with those who slept well.



Dr. Demetrius Lopes, director of the Interventional Cerebrovascular Center at Rush University in Chicago and a spokesman for the American Heart Association, hopes to raise better awareness of this issue in the United States: "We pay a lot of attention to high blood pressure, to obesity, to issues related to cholesterol. Those are known risk factors, but I think what is underrated is if you don't have a good sleep routine, how much it can harm you, especially at a young age."



While studies have not been able to conclusively prove cause and effect in this matter, it's clear that insomnia is not only associated with an increased risk of stroke, but also with other risk factors that can lead to stroke, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.



"We've seen that people who have sleep issues have other health factors that increase their risk for stroke," explains Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City. "This one behavioural issue, insomnia, has all these multiple factors associated with it that lead to an increased risk of stroke."



While the complex relationship between sleep deprivation, stroke, and other risk factors is still being evaluated, it's likely that insomnia's effect on our appetite hormones (causing an increase in appetite and a preference for carbohydrates and junk foods) and our stress hormones plays a direct role. Likewise, lifestyle choices probably contribute a certain percentage of those with chronic sleep deprivation choose to forgo sleep in favour of other activities, and it's likely that these people are prone to making unhealthy choices in other areas of their lives as well.



Best Ways To Sleep, When You Are Expecting

As an expecting mom, you would want to believe that there are some sleeping positions that are not healthy for you during pregnancy. Studies have it that some sleeping positions improve blood flow to the placenta which benefits your baby by providing nutrients. There are also some positions that are believed to make the blood pressure drop causing some expecting moms to experience dizziness and other ailments.




During pregnancy, you need to sleep for quite a good number of hours daily to enable you stay fit and healthy, but as good as this sounds, studies reveal that sleeping with your back during this period is not ideal. This is because doing so may press the enlarged uterus against the vein that returns blood from the lower body to the heart (the inferior vena cava) and this would lead to an increase in your blood pressure which may also cause you to feel dizzy, experience poor kidney conditions and hypertension, etc.


As a matter of fact, it is not good either to sleep on your stomach especially after the fifth month. Sleeping on your stomach can cause you to have breathing difficulties and some other problems.


What then is the best sleeping position for expecting moms?


Well the answer is “the left side”. Sleeping on your left side is the best sleeping position. Why? The reasons are many; it allows for maximum blood flow; it doesn’t cause you pain like sleeping on your back or stomach; it makes you more comfortable as your abdomen grows; it also improves the circulation of blood so far it pave an easier route for blood from your heart to the placenta.


Why not the right side? What’s wrong about it?


Nothing is wrong. Sleeping on both sides is good, but sleeping on the left is the best because of the aforementioned. Experts recommend lying on your left side so that you can enjoy all the benefits mentioned above. Whether the right or left is better, but left is the best position as an expecting mom.


7 Weirdest Places People Have Tried To Sleep

While humans have set some astounding records when it comes to staying awake for extended periods of time (the current record is held by Randy Gardner, a 17-year-old high school student who, in 1965, set this record period of wakefulness during a science fair), most of us have bodies which will force a shut-down if we try to stay awake for more than 48 hours or so. Likewise, many people today are dealing with a chronic sleep debt, due to long hours, shift work, and generally busy lifestyles. Eventually it all adds up, which is perhaps what happened to these unfortunate souls, found sleeping in some very odd places:



1. Man found sleeping in a duck pen.



He must really trust these ducks; personally, I'd be more than a bit nervous to sleep surrounded by so many. If nothing else, just imagine the mess. 




2. Man found sleeping on a bed, on the back of a pickup truck.



This photo opens up all kinds of questions: Does the truck, and bed on it, actually belong to this man, or was someone driving home their new bed, parked, and he simply seized the opportunity to get some shut-eye? However, if the latter is the case, where did he get the blanket and pillow? 




3. Man found sleeping in a restroom.



Can you even imagine the pain in the neck he must have had upon waking? Ouch...



4. Girl found sleeping in a library cubicle desk.



Well, if you need a quiet place to nap, the library at least makes logical sense.




5. Policeman found sleeping in the trunk of his car.



Sleeping in a car isn't the weirdest idea in the world, but choosing the trunk seems far less logical and comfortable than just curling up in the backseat, especially if you happen to have a roomy police cruiser! Not to mention, sleeping inside the car, away from prying eyes, might have preserved at least some of this officer's professional reputation:




6. Man found sleeping half on, half off, a bench.



Buddy, you're doing it wrong...




7. Man found sleeping sprawled out on the floor of a subway train.



Have you ever had a workday so awful and so stressful that by the end of it, you just gave up on basically everything? This guy probably did:



What To Wear To Bed To Get The Best Sleep

It is no more news that what you wear to bed can positively or negatively influence the quality of your sleep. Studies have it that a number of wears worn to bed are capable of reducing your sleep quality as well as causing other problems such as breast soreness, irritations, etc.





Though, no two individuals are the same when it comes to what to wear to bed. While some prefer to sleep without any clothes on, some cannot even gum their eyelids without wearing something. A few women prefer wearing bra to bed while some complain that it causes breast irritation.


But for the sake of clarity, there are some wears that we believe would enable you have good quality sleep.


From studies carried out in the US by some notable health experts, it is believed that wearing heavy clothes to bed may lead to sleepless nights or at least affect the quality of your sleep. The studies also reveal that people who sleep wearing soft clothes sleep more soundly than those who wear a pair of jeans to bed.


Another point worthy of notice is the color of wears worn to bed. Few of the studies claim that wearing your favorite color to bed could help you sleep more comfortably and peacefully, while wearing other colors could affect your sleep. People with Asperger’s syndrome don’t like to see yellow and wearing yellow gown may not give them the best of sleep.


Silks and fabrics are a good type of clothing materials and wearing clothes made of them can help you have good quality sleep. If you find out that you haven’t been sleeping for as long as you like, then it’s the time you stop putting all the blame on stress. The truth is that, it may not be stress; what you wear to bed can affect the quality of your sleep.

Can The Sound Of Your Alarm Affect Your Morning?

Can the sound your alarm makes really affect your morning? Yes, it can especially if you don’t wake up. It is important to pick an alarm alert that you can actually hear. A soothing water or piano solo is likely to aid in keeping you asleep. If you want to wake up it is best to have a horn of some sort. You want something that is annoying and loud enough to hear without giving you a migraine for the next two hours.





Some sounds can be bad for your health. For example if you are peacefully asleep and are jolted awake by a loud noise it can make your heart race. This can cause health problems and can disrupt your morning behavior. If you are scared and your heart is racing you may lack appetite and skip breakfast that you would normally eat. You also might take longer to get out of bed because let’s face it if your chest is hurting you are not likely to get right out of bed. You are probably going to spend the next five minutes wondering why you set such a loud and obnoxious wake up call.


Some sounds can just put you in a bad mood. Think about how mad you would be if someone woke you up when you were having the best dream. Yes, you choose what sounds to wake up to by choosing the alert noise on your alarm however your mind may change without warning. Say you set a loud horn alert to wake you up. You are having a wonderful dream and feel like you are on cloud 9. All of a sudden there’s a loud horn and you are removed from your little piece of heaven. How mad would you be? You would probably spend part of the morning wishing you set the alarm for just a few minutes later or wondering how the dream finished.


Now let’s say you set a song to wake up to. This could be your most favorite song in the world but today it is the song that woke you up. You could be listening to the radio later that day and when that song comes on you may feel anger everything you hear this song because it is the one that woke you up.


In reality it doesn’t matter whether we choose a simple sound or a full length song to wake up to. The fact is this is something that woke us up. We will either not recognize this as negative or part of our day will be less pleasant when we are reminded of the wakeup call. And often times when we hear something first thing in the morning it sticks with us through the day or at least part. This means that loud horn or cricket noise has the opportunity to repeat in our heads like a broken record. So, it is best to choose a sound that you don’t mind thinking about after the alarm has gone off.


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