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The Benefits Of Adaptogens For Improving Sleep And Reducing Stress

Deadlines are constantly bearing down on you, your friends are having meltdowns, the neighbors seem to be having a party every night, and, oh, you’re out of toilet paper. Meanwhile, your heart’s racing and you can’t focus even if your life depended on it. It seems like stress and sleeplessness are now constant companions. Before you reach for a comfort cronut or guzzle that fourth cup of coffee, there’s another way to deal with the pressure — adaptogens.

Adaptogens can help your body adapt to life’s most stressful times. These supplements contain herbs that aid the body in reacting to or recovering from both short- and long-term physical or mental stress. Some also boost immunity and overall well-being. Research shows adaptogens can combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, reduce depression and anxiety, and help you thrive rather than just struggle along.

How do adaptogens suppress stress?

stress suppression Dealing with large amounts of stress on a daily basis can adversely affect your health. Photo: Pixabay

Adaptogens are like mini stress vaccines. They increase the body’s resistance to stress, they decrease your proclivity to gain weight and they can hold off exhaustion. Here’s how they work:

When we face a stressor, whether physical or mental, our bodies go through what’s called general adaptation syndrome (GAS). GAS is a three-stage response: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Adaptogens help us stay in the resistance phase longer, via a stimulating effect that holds off the exhaustion. Instead of crashing in the midst of a stressful moment, task, or event, you can soldier on for much longer rather than folding into the exhaustion phase.

Adaptogenic stress supplements that use astralagus have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a myriad of illnesses, one of which is chronic fatigue syndrome. Eliminating stress can also lead to a healthier complexion. Say goodbye to feeling like you’re always running on empty and start facing each day on a full battery!

Adaptogen for stress Fight stress by taking astrogens fortified with astragalus. Photo: peakandvalley.co

Adaptogens for sleep

Cortisol is the stress hormone. Adaptogens can help regulate the release of cortisol. They can help prevent this normal and necessary hormone from doing long-term damage. However, circadian rhythms the amount of cortisol coursing through your veins are closely interwoven. To clarify, your circadian rhythm is basically your internal body clock. If your clock is running smoothly, your body knows when it’s time to sleep. If not, then you probably know what that feels like. 

WIthania somnifera, or ashwagandha, is an herb whose main effect is, well, actually in its name. Somnifera means “sleep-inducing” in Latin. This adaptogenic herb may be effective at doing lots of things, but sleep is right up near the top. Ashwagandha may help with sleep in many different, multilayered ways. For instance, a proposed study would look at those suffering from non-restorative sleep, or NRS. Adaptogenic supplements that contain ashwagandha have been known to suppress cortisol production during sleep, allowing for longer, more restorative sleep cycles which mean more productivity and less

Want To Sleep Like a Log? 5 Reasons To Switch to a Low Bed Frame Now

Getting good sleep at night is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. If that’s a problem, you may have toyed with the idea of buying a new mattress or pillow, but what about taking your mattress closer to the ground?

“Research shows that just changing your sleep system, whether this be your mattress, foundation, bed frame, or bedding, can also improve your quality of sleep and lower stress levels,” says McKenzie Hyde, a certified sleep science coach at Amerisleep.com. “If you have been resting on a higher bed for some time, you may benefit from lowering it or replacing the foundation with a low-profile design.”

Of course, we’re not talking about putting your mattress directly on the floor. Experts advise against this to avoid dust, creepy crawlies, and buildup of mold and mildew (gross). Instead, use a low platform bed to support your mattress, yet allow air to move underneath it.

If you’re tired of restless nights, here are some of the benefits of switching to a low bed frame.


1. Sleep cooler

Photo by MASHstudios

If you get hot while sleeping, being closer to the ground can have you resting in slightly cooler temps.

“Heat rises, as it is less dense than cool air, and the higher up or closer to the roof or ceiling of a closed room you get, the warmer the air,” says Richard Morse. He runs InsideBedroom and works in mattress and bedding sales.

Hyde says the floors in our homes tend to stay cool to the touch, even as the temperature of the air fluctuates.

“When we rest in a cooler, more comfortable position, we are more likely to slip into deep sleep and REM sleep, the two most restorative stages of rest,” says Hyde.

2. Feel more cozy

Photo by Aker Interiors

Sleeping closer to the ground can make you feel more comfortable and cozy in your bed.

“When we are closer to the ground, we tend to feel more connected—not isolated—to our surroundings. This creates a calming, more serene environment that can help us fall asleep quicker and rest peacefully throughout the night,” says Hyde. “Therefore, a low-profile bed may feel cozier and promote more relaxation.”

Your kids and pets will love it, too, since a low-profile bed frame is more accessible—they can jump right in with you. Plus, being closer to the ground means you never have to worry about falling out of bed.

3. Upgrade style to minimalism and modern

Photo by Viesso

By trading your standard bed frame and headboard for a low platform, you’ll be getting a style upgrade to a modern, chic look.

“In terms of decor, a low-profile bed is less bulky and gives a smaller space a more open feel,” says Hyde. “Plus, lower beds have a contemporary, minimalistic look that has become popular over the last several years.”

And you don’t even need a box spring if you get a solid base.

“Platform beds are compatible

Sleep Apnea Aid Eases Heart Problems in People With Prediabetes | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Continuous positive airway pressure treatment, commonly known as CPAP, can lower heart disease risk in people with prediabetes, according to a new study.

In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are above normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. CPAP is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. A CPAP machine uses a mask to deliver steady air pressure into a person’s airway.

This new study found that, among people with prediabetes and sleep apnea, those who used CPAP for two weeks saw their resting heart rate fall by four to five beats per minute, compared to those who didn’t use CPAP.

With optimal CPAP treatment, heart rates were not only lower at night but also during the day, according to the report published Oct. 1 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“That’s significant,” said study author Dr. Esra Tasali, director of sleep research at University of Chicago Medicine.

Even a drop of one beat per minute in resting heart rate can lower the future risk of heart disease and death, she noted in a university news release.

“A four- to five-beat-per-minute drop in heart rate that we observed is comparable to what you would get from regular exercise,” Tasali said. “Our breakthrough finding is the carryover of the lowered resting heart rate into the daytime and the cardiovascular benefit of that.”

About one billion people worldwide have obstructive sleep apnea, and more than 60% of them have prediabetes or diabetes. About 80% of people with apnea are undiagnosed, the researchers noted.

The findings are especially timely because people with diabetes or heart problems are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, the study authors pointed out.

“Any way we can improve cardiovascular health is more important than ever these days,” Tasali said.

The findings show the need for people who have prediabetes, diabetes or sleeping problems to be screened for sleep apnea, said study author Dr. Sushmita Pamidi, a sleep physician-scientist at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on prediabetes.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Troubling Sleep Disorder in Athletes a Sign of CTE?

Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is surprisingly common in athletes and may signal chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by brainstem tau and Lewy body pathologies, new research suggests.

CTE is a neurodegenerative disorder linked to years of repetitive head impacts from playing professional football and other contact sports.

“Repetitive head impacts may damage sleep-relevant brainstem nuclei and lead to REM sleep behavior disorder,” senior author Thor Stein, MD, PhD, neuropathologist at VA Boston Healthcare in Massachusetts, said in a webinar hosted by the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

“This is something both athletes and their doctors need to be aware of,” added Stein, who is an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

The findings were published online September 17 in Acta Neuropathologica.

Surprising Findings

In RBD, the paralysis that normally occurs during REM sleep is incomplete or absent, causing people to act out their dreams by talking, flailing their arms and legs, punching, kicking and other behaviors while asleep. 

“The disorder often comes to medical attention when there is an injury or potential for injury to the individual or the individual’s bed partner,” Stein noted.

To investigate ties between CTE and RBD, the researchers analyzed the brains of 247 deceased male athletes who played contact sports; the brains were donated to the Veterans Affairs-Boston University-Concussion Legacy Foundation (VA-BU-CLF) Brain Bank.

The athletes died at a mean age of 63 years. They all had a neuropathological diagnosis of CTE. Their relatives provided information on sleep.

Nearly one third of these athletes (n = 80, 32%) with CTE displayed symptoms characteristic of RBD when they were alive. “That really surprised us,” said Stein. “This is about 30 times more than what’s reported in the general population, where it has been estimated to be present in about 1% of people,” he noted.

In addition, there was a clear dose-response effect. Athletes with CTE and RBD had played contact sports for significantly more years than their peers without RBD (18.3 vs 15.1 years; P = .02). 

“The odds of reporting RBD symptoms increased about 4% per year of play,” first author Jason Adams, an MD/PhD student now at the University of California San Diego, said in a statement.

New Insight

The results also point to a potential cause for RBD.

Compared with athletes who had CTE and no RBD, those with CTE and RBD were four times more likely to have tau pathology within brainstem nuclei involved in REM sleep (odds ratio [OR], 3.96; 95% CI, 1.43 – 10.96; P = .008). Athletes with CTE and RBD were also more likely to have Lewy body pathology (OR, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.18 – 4.72; P = .02).

“Contrary to our expectations, tau pathology in the raphe nuclei was more strongly associated with RBD than Lewy body pathology, suggesting that tau pathology is more likely to lead to sleep dysfunction in CTE,” Stein said.

Christopher John Nowinski, PhD, cofounder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, said this study