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  1. How to Sleep When the World Is Falling Apart It's not easy to relax in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. But there are some simple tips and techniques that can help you get some shut-eye. Photograph: Susanne Walstrom/Getty Images Life in the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on some unpleasant and unexpected contours. Time has lost all meaning. Dreams have become assailingly vivid. That is, if you’re able to sleep at all, which many people cannot. At least, not as well as they did before it felt like everything was unraveling, all of the time, with no end in sight. “I am seeing a significant spike in insomnia at this time during the pandemic,” says Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago. It might be useful to nail down our terms here. Insomnia isn’t just staying up late. It’s the inability to sleep—or to fall back asleep if you wake in the middle of the night—with no obvious impediments to explain it. Implicit in the definition, too, is that the deprivation negatively impacts your ability to function the next day. It’s acute when it lasts a few days or weeks; if it extends longer than a month, it’s considered chronic. If this sounds like you, know first that you’re going through the same thing as a lot of people. And also know there are a few simple strategies you can deploy to get yourself back on track. Who Needs Sleep? It is extremely understandable if you have cut yourself some slack during these sheltered-in-place times. Maybe your diet has gone a little snack-heavy. Maybe you shifted your work hours to make way for childcare or self-care. Maybe you stopped flossing. Only natural. But sleep is something worth preserving—even though that’s harder than it may sound. “During times of increased stress, sleep is often the first biological system to malfunction,” says Candice Alfano, director of the University of Houston’s Sleep and Anxiety Center. A pandemic is stressful like magma is hot. In a recent online survey conducted by Alfano and her research team, the rate of respondents reporting “severe to very severe problems” either falling or staying asleep was double what they normally see. That tossing and turning has real health implications. As neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker detailed in a 2019 TED Talk, sleep deprivation makes your brain slower, weakens your immune system, and increases the likelihood of all kinds of mental and physical woes as you age. “Sleep loss will leak down into every nook and cranny of your physiology,” Walker said in his viral presentation. “Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity. It is your life support system.” Unfortunately, life amid Covid-19 disrupts that sleep in any number of ways. There’s the anxiety, sure, not just about the disease itself but about financial security, childcare, and all the other ancillary effects of a society in suspended animation. “If you’re not tackling those problems head-on during the day, then when it’s just you and your brain at night and there’s no distractions, all of those problems, all those worries, all those stressers are going to come bubbling to the surface,” says Medalie. “The thoughts are going to produce emotional responses, the emotional responses are going to produce more thoughts, and the realization that time has passed and you’re not sleeping produces anxiety.” It gets worse. “The relationship actually runs in both directions,” says Alfano. “Even during times of low stress, sleep loss elevates next-day anxiety, potentially creating a vicious cycle.” While stress contributes greatly to sleep woes, it’s not the only factor in play. Staying mostly at home makes for a more sedentary lifestyle than your body might be accustomed to, which can make falling asleep harder. You may be looking at your screen even more than usual, pulling to refresh for the latest Covid-19 tolls or mind-smoothing TikTok loops late into the night. While you do, the blue-spectrum light emanating from your phone tells your brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. And while bedtime gets much of the focus when it comes to sleep problems, a morning without routine—there’s no office to report to, after all—can be just as detrimental. “A lot of people don’t realize that the wake-up time and getting out of bed and exposure to light is probably the most important thing that regulates our circadian rhythm,” says Jason Ong, a neurologist who focuses on sleep medicine at Northwestern University, referring to the biological process. “Your brain is confused about what time zone it’s supposed to be in.” The circumstances wrought by Covid-19, in other words, seem almost specifically engineered to interfere with your sleep cycles. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to reclaim your shut-eye. Night Sweats Let’s start with that looming existential dread, since it’s probably the most pandemic-specific contributor to your tossing and turning. The bad news is, you’re probably stuck with it, at least until a vaccine arrives. You can still take steps to manage it, though, especially as night falls. And it starts with not doing anything at all. “Make sure you have a scheduled hour of ‘me time,’” particularly if you’re sheltering in place with others,” says Medalie. “Everybody needs at least one hour by themselves.” How you spend that time is up to you. But as you get closer to bedtime, make sure it’s genuinely relaxing. ”Instead of watching or reading the news—most content is repetitive anyway—engage in quiet, calming activities under dim lighting, such as reading, talking with family or friends, or listening to music,” says Alfano. This all might sound easier said than done. But small adjustments can make a big difference. Don’t bring your smartphone into the bedroom, for starters, or tablets or laptops or any screens at all. If you have a TV in there, consider jettisoning it. Alfanso suggests putting all your charging cords in the kitchen, and setting a reminder for an hour before bedtime to plug in all your electronics and bid them adieu until the morning. Old-school alarm clocks still exist! And some even have built-in light functions designed to help you sleep and wake up on a regular schedule. (WIRED recommends the Homelabs Sunrise Alarm Clock, but you’ve got no shortage of options.) Northwestern’s Ong also researches how mindfulness techniques can improve sleep, especially for those with chronic insomnia. “It can be a potential tool to help reduce that vigilance, give your brain some signals that it doesn’t need to go into that fight-or-flight mode, or that if it does, here are some tools to help decompress, so that you have a more fair chance for your sleep system to help you fall asleep and stay asleep,” he says. A simple way to start is to think of yourself as a trainspotter. (Presumably not one from the 1996 Danny Boyle film.) Much like a trainspotter observes railcars passing by from a distance, try to observe what’s happening in your mind without directly engaging with it. If you do find yourself boarding at some point, just get off at the next station. “As you do that, you will start to train yourself that it’s OK to focus on this present moment,” says Ong. Apps also offer an entry point to anxiety-quashing meditation, although that complicates the whole “remove the phone from the bedroom” scenario. WIRED contributors have had some success with Calm, which offers a range of soothing sessions. Even Swiss Army workout app Peloton has a sleep meditation section, including at least one class specifically designed for the 3 am wake-up. A to Zzzzz Getting good sleep involves more than just clearing your head. The experts WIRED spoke with all agree that clearing your bedroom is just as important. “The bedroom should just be a bedroom. Just a room for your bed, and maybe your dresser, and nothing else in there,” says Medalie. “Sleep and sex are the only two things that should happen in the bedroom.” To cut all the way down on distractions, consider blackout curtains or shades; you can get both from IKEA or any blinds shop. They help keep your room dark and cozy no matter what the moon or streetlights are doing outside your window. Building an association between a sound machine and sleep can help you conk out consistently; our favorite is the LectroFan Classic, but there’s a wide range of prices and features to choose from. And lowering the temperature helps cue your body that it’s time to snooze. “We sleep best when our bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool,” says Alfano. “Blackout curtains, eye mask, ear plugs, white noise machines, an overhead fan, and lowered thermostat settings can all be helpful.” Otherwise, remember all those things that make it harder to sleep? Do the opposite! If you for some reason have no choice but to look at your smartphone or tablet, at least use a setting that filters out the blue light to give your brain a break. On iOS, head to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. From there you can set a nightly schedule for your device to switch over to a softer color palette, or manually enable it until the next day. On Android it’ll vary slightly depending on your device, but you should be able to find it from Settings > Display > Night Light. (Some manufacturers have their own name for it, like Night Mode or Blue Light Filter, but it should be easy enough to spot.) And while it’s tempting in these times to ramp up the alcohol and caffeine intake, both will get in the way of a good night’s rest. Coffee and soda will rile you up, while booze will hamper the quality of sleep you get. “Alcohol may indeed reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, but it also reliably reduces total sleep time, because it results in lighter sleep and more awakenings during the second half of the night,” says Alfano. When morning comes around, make sure you’re waking up at the same time no matter what, says Ong. Not only that, but get out of bed and start your day. Your circadian rhythm will thank you. Besides, the more you use for bed for lounging rather than sleeping, the less your body and mind associate it with flipping the off switch. It can feel impossible to sleep when the world is in turmoil. Why dream when you can fret deep into the night? But you owe it to yourself to get as much as you can. And with a little structure and a few new habits, you might find that it’s easier than you thought. Source: How to Sleep When the World Is Falling Apart (Wired)
  2. The Best Weighted Blankets to Soothe Your Anxiety These accessories might not cure your anxiety or insomnia, but they can feel like a hug when you really need one. Touch, like getting a hug, releases oxytocin in your brain. This hormone contributes to our overall well-being and ability to handle stress. It's why Thundershirts help anxious pets, and it's one of the reasons we swaddle newborns. We don't always have someone to squeeze us, especially nowadays, and that's where weighted blankets come in. These blankets use deep pressure to simulate the feeling of being gently held. Pressure has been touted as a way to help with insomnia and anxiety—the Hug Box for example, invented by Temple Grandin, uses pressure to calm those on the autism spectrum. (There isn't a lot of science-backed research, so you should discuss using one with your doctor.) A weighted blanket isn't a cure for anything, but it could make you feel better. My colleague Jess Grey and I both suffer from anxiety disorders, and these blankets have been rewarding, helping us manage our anxiety. We've tested several—here are the best. Be sure to check out our other guides, including our roundup of products to help people go to sleep, and the Best Sunrise Alarm Clocks. If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. Learn more. Photograph: Yaasa Before You Buy How to choose the right weight The general advice you'll see from companies is that the weight of the blanket should be around 10 percent of your body weight. So if you're 150 pounds, that would be a 15-pound blanket. We didn't find that to be accurate for ourselves, as we wanted the heaviest option possible that still allowed us to move around underneath. As Yaasa's website points out, the 10 percent rule is just a guide—you can pick whatever you think will be best. Do you like to be tightly cuddled while you sleep? You probably can go with a heavier blanket. Photograph: Yaasa Best Overall Yaasa The Yaasa is the best weighted blanket I (Medea) tried. It's sufficiently heavy, cooling, and pretty to look at. At 45 inches wide, the 20 pounder is just shy of covering the top of a full-size bed. It feels heavier than other blankets that actually weigh more, because its weight is evenly distributed. (There's no filling inside that can pool to one area.) The open-knit design allows air to circulate, so you shouldn't feel like you're heating up. And unlike other blankets, it doesn't look messy hanging off the back of a couch or in the background of your Zoom meetings. Unfortunately, you can't return this item, so there's no way to try before committing to it, and it can only be dry-cleaned—though I was able to spot clean it easily enough. Available in 15 or 20 pounds $269 at Yaasa Photograph: Amy Fronczkiewicz/Bearaby Runner-Up Bearaby Tree Napper The Bearaby Tree Napper and the Yaasa blanket are similar in design, featuring the same open-knit style that allows for better air circulation. The Bearaby comes in much more beautiful colors and is biodegradable, being made from plant-based Tencel. It's machine washable, a huge plus over the Yaasa, but it didn't take the top spot because the thicker Yaasa feels more weighty at 20 pounds than the 25-pound Tree Napper. I would sleep under 60 pounds if it was possible, but if you don't need the heaviest blanket, go with the Tree Napper. Available in 15, 20, or 25 pounds $259 at Bearaby $279 at West Elm Photograph: Casper A Traditional-Looking Blanket Casper If you don't like the open-knit design of the two options above, consider this traditional-looking one. It's my (Jess) favorite. About the size of a throw blanket, the Casper is dense enough that even the lightest model gives you that comfortably squished feeling, while the heaviest is like a Thundershirt for humans. Seriously, the 20-pound blanket has been a lifesaver during quarantine. It's not cheap, but it's more affordable than the Yaasa and Bearaby. Available in 10, 15, or 20 pounds $189 at Amazon $170 at Casper Photograph: Luna Best Budget Blanket (and Good for Kids) Luna I wouldn't normally call $80 (for the full-size 20 pound blanket) cheap, but it's a bargain when it comes to weighted blankets. I bought a slightly cheaper blanket from Target, and it just wasn't worth the money saved—the filling pooled to one side, pulling it off my bed, and the cover quickly ripped. I (Medea) didn't have that issue with Luna's blanket. The Luna is made of a crisp cotton and has more weight options and sizes than any of the blankets we looked at, not to mention nice colors and designs. It's also the only one we tried that has kid-specific options. It can be machine washed, but there are also separate covers you can take off and wash instead. Available in 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 22, 25, or 30 pounds and many sizes $73 at Amazon $79 at Luna Photograph: Gravity Blanket If You're Always Cold Gravity Blanket Though weighted blankets were a thing before the Gravity Blanket was announced on Kickstarter in 2017, its success quickly made it the face of the category. WIRED writer Arielle Pardes tried it in 2018 and compared it to being "wrapped up in a toasty tortilla like a human burrito." She also said she didn't need to spend the money to fully refine her sleep. The Gravity Blanket has gone down in price since then. While I (Medea) still think the Yaasa is the best overall, this thick blanket is a great option if you're perpetually cold. Available in 15, 20, or 25 pounds $189 at Amazon $189 at Gravity Photograph: Layla A Blanket for Two Layla OK, what if you're like me (Jess) and you want to snuggle up with someone in the confined comfort of a weighted blanket? Most options are only big enough for one person. Well, the Layla weighted blanket comes in twin (15-pound), queen (20-pound), and king (25-pound) models. That way you get full bed coverage, and even if you’re in that king-size bed by yourself, sometimes it’s nice to burrito up in all that extra blanket and let the outside world melt away. Available in 15, 20, or 25 pounds $159 $129 at Layla Photograph: Purple An Upgrade for Sharers Purple + Gravity This 35-pound blanket from Purple is the heaviest we tried. The weight is distributed across the large, queen/king size, so it doesn't feel like what you'd expect 35 pounds to feel like on top of you—that will either be good or bad, depending on your preferences. I (Medea) was hoping it would feel heavier, because I want to feel enveloped in bed and all that pressure to magically cure my ailments. If you don't mind it not feeling as heavy, this is a soft and cozy blanket that will comfortably cover you and a partner. Available in 35 pounds $299 $239 at Purple Photograph: Brian Mundt/Hug Sleep If Weighted Blankets Won't Do Hug Sleep Sleep Pod If you've ever looked at a swaddled baby and felt jealous, the Sleep Pod is for you. It takes the idea of a weighted blanket—using deep-touch pressure therapy to comfort you—without the actual weight and heat associated with them. Instead, the stretchy material comfortably clings to you like a soft hug. It's machine washable, and because it's not as bulky and heavy as a blanket, you can take it with you when traveling. I (Medea) really enjoyed sleeping fully cocooned inside—it's very soothing. The fabric did quickly start to pill where my feet rubbed against it, which is disappointing, though I think sizing up might eliminate that issue. Jess says it's too constricting for her. If you move around a lot at night, this may not be the option for you. The company does offer a 30-day return policy if you want to try it before committing. $110 $100 at Hug Sleep Source: The Best Weighted Blankets to Soothe Your Anxiety (Wired)
  3. Stop Obsessing Over Sleep—Your Brain Will Thank You Worrying about sleep is perhaps the most counterproductive thing you can do, no matter how many gadgets try to tell you otherwise. Maiken Nedergaard considers herself a pragmatic woman. She’s got kids, a career, and she knows she feels better after a solid night of shut-eye. She’s also a neuroscientist at the forefront of research showing the biological value of sleep. In studies she coauthored in 2013 and 2019, she documented how during sleep, fluid washes over our brains, clearing out toxins like beta amyloid, which is linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Suddenly sleep became a tonic: an Alzheimer’s wonder drug available, for free, every evening. For Nedergaard, the results made her anxious about her own bedtime priorities. Now, she says, “I take sleep very seriously.” For the rest of us, who don’t have labs full of equipment to study the inner workings of the brain, there’s a growing suite of gadgets offering the illusion of science: nightly reports full of numbers and charts purporting to show just how well we’re performing while conked out. Fitbit kicked off this trend when it released the first tracker in 2009. Little more than a glorified pedometer at the time, the Fitbit couldn’t monitor your heart rate, pay for anything, or even tell you the time. (It even shorted a WIRED reviewer’s run by 0.6 mile: “Not cool!”) But it did include a sleep tracker that measured the duration and quality of your slumber, producing a “sleep efficiency” score. Since then, obsession with sleep optimization has only grown. The global sleep-tracking market topped $1 billion in 2016. It’s expected to increase by another 18 percent by 2024. Sleep, once no more glamorous than taking a shower, is now perched at the pinnacle of the well-being-as-a-lifestyle trend. The irony is that by agonizing over sleep, it’s also turning into a source of anxiety—the kind of thing that keeps people up at night. Fears over bad sleep are getting the TED treatment and topping best-seller lists. In his semi-pop-science distillation of research, Why We Sleep, UC Berkeley psychologist Matthew Walker warns that sleep loss is an epidemic that could have dire consequences. Our chronically overtired brains make our bodies more susceptible to diabetes, cancer, and other diseases, he argued. Getting a good 40 winks, on the other hand, would improve memory and mood, and even make us feel and look younger. “Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity,” Walker proclaimed in his 2019 TED talk. “It is your life support system. And it is Mother Nature’s best attempt at immortality.” Who among us would scoff at immortality? And so we’ve slipped Oura rings onto fingers and wrapped Fitbits and Apple Watches around wrists. Beneath sheets and mattresses we’ve concealed Beddits and Emfits, sensors that promise to monitor heart rates and sleep cycles from their discreet hiding places. We track our REM and non-REM cycles, scrutinizing the length, quality, and depth of our rest on Reddit forums like r/sleep and r/Biohackers, where users write about the benefits of cold showers and question the need for pillows. All this measuring, rating, tracking, and comparing now amounts to a new sleep disorder that some scientists are calling orthosomnia. A coinage of Greek origin that merges "straight" or "correct" with "sleep," orthosomnia is a condition where anxiety over proper sleep metrics actually induces insomnia. “The patients' inferred correlation between sleep tracker data and daytime fatigue may become a perfectionistic quest,” wrote the researchers from Northwestern and Rush universities who came up with the term after observing three cases of people who relied more on their sleep-tracking data than on the advice of experts. In one case, a 27-year-old woman insisted she wasn’t getting enough deep sleep and underwent a full examination in the lab. The test concluded she slept normally, but she remained unconvinced. “Then why does my Fitbit say I am sleeping poorly?” she asked. Sleep has become one more thing to feel guilty about, even when the data we’re consulting is often flawed or incomplete. It’s one more number we didn’t hit, one more goal we didn’t achieve. Pangs of guilt follow every new study reminding us of this magical panacea, if we would just turn off Netflix, forget our social lives, emails, and all the dishes in the sink, and just climb into bed. Sleep may be a biological necessity, but our stress over it is a choice. So let’s put the issue to bed. Hit the snooze button on this one! All the wide-eyed worry over shut-eye is the thing that’s actually cheating us of immortality, or at the very least, stealing the promise of a delicious, relaxing, no-pressure night of sleep. Source: Stop Obsessing Over Sleep—Your Brain Will Thank You (Wired)
  4. A neuroscientist captivates the audience at TED 2019. Enlarge / (GERMANY OUT) Schlaflosigkeit, Frau mit Wecker (Photo by Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty Images) Ullstein Bild | Getty Images The whole world is exhausted. And it's killing us. But particularly me. As I write this, I'm at TED 2019 in Vancouver, which is a weeklong marathon of talks and workshops and coffee meetings and experiences and demos and late-night trivia contests and networking, networking, networking. Meanwhile, I'm sick as a dog with a virus I caught from my 3-year-old, I'm on deadline for what feels like a bazillion stories, and I'm pregnant, which means I need coffee but can't have too much, and need sleep but can only lay on my left side, and can't breathe without sitting propped up with a pillow anyway, since I can't safely take any cold medication. According to neuroscientist Matthew Walker, I'm doing serious damage to my health—and life—by not sleeping enough. "The decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, even the safety and education of our children. It's a silent sleep-loss epidemic. It's fast becoming one of the greatest challenges we face in the 21st century," Walker, an expert in sleep at UC Berkeley and author of the best-selling book , told a rapt TED audience on Thursday. After a morning of bleak talks on climate change and the harm of viral misinformation online—punctuated by frequent exclamations of "Well, that was alarming" by TED science curator David Biello and stolen glances at Twitter for updates on the Mueller report and the happenings in the outside world—Walker's talk felt like a jolt of caffeine to a weary system. (A comparison Walker might hate. He warns, in the strongest possible terms, about the harms of that particular stimulant.) He ran down all the ways in which sleep deprivation hurts people: it makes you dumber, more forgetful, unable to learn new things, more vulnerable to dementia, more likely to die of a heart attack, less able to fend off sickness with a strong immune system, and more likely to get cancer, and it makes your body literally hurt more. Lack of sleep distorts your genes and increases your risk of death generally, he said. It disrupts the creation of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and it leads to premature aging. Apparently, men who only sleep five hours a night have markedly smaller testicles than men who sleep more than seven. "Sleep loss will leak down into every nook and cranny of your physiology," he said. "Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity. It is your life-support system." Of all the TED Talks I've heard this week, this one felt aimed right at me. At my heart. And my withered and overworked hippocampus, my brain's "information inbox," as Walker calls it. At my swollen, dark-ringed eyes. Yes, OK, maybe it's because I'm so tired and was so primed to hear it. But I wasn't alone. Everyone is obsessed with sleep. And they know they're not getting enough—hence the growing demand for sleeping pills, the emergence of sleep-tracking devices (Walker wears an Oura Ring to track his), smart beds, Alexa integrations to put you to sleep, and mindfulness sleep apps. Arianna Huffington famously left journalism to found a company devoted to sleep and wellness. Tell us what to do After Walker's talk, he was mobbed by acolytes in the conference center desperate to tell him how much his book—which covers the same topic as his TED talk—changed their lives and how they'd given up caffeine and alcohol and stopped feeling bad for leaving parties early to get sleep or refusing to look at work emails in bed. As the next session of TED talks was starting up, Walker kept trying to escape so he could watch, but people wouldn't let him pass. They wanted to know what to eat, when to sleep, how to dream. His answers? Don't drink caffeine or alcohol. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (even on the weekends). Sleep in a cool room. If you are lying awake in bed, listening to the litany of worries your brain is churning through, get up, go into a different room, and do an activity, then return to bed when you're ready. "You wouldn't sit at the dinner table waiting to get hungry, so why lay in bed waiting to get tired?" he told a TED attendee who'd asked for advice. Meditate to calm your nervous system and your mind. Don't default to sleeping pills, which are "blunt instruments that do not produce naturalistic sleep," he said. Eventually, he said, he may be able to offer an "affordable, portable" brain-stimulating device that would use transcranial direct-current stimulation to help people have deeper sleep. (Walker has just started a company called Stim Science, with backing from Khosla Ventures, to make such a product, he told WIRED.) People listened hard. They took notes during his talk (which is uncommon at TED, to my surprise) and as he spoke to the crowd afterward. His message came across as a rebuke of the idea that sleep deprivation and success somehow go hand in hand. Tim Cook reportedly wakes up at 3:45am to start work. Barack Obama said he only sleeps about five hours. He's a "night guy." Donald Trump and Elon Musk both have said they sleep only a few hours a night. But Musk has also admitted to The New York Times that his work schedule was taking a toll on his mental health and whole life. Walker argued that it's time to stop thinking that needing sleep is a sign of weakness or laziness. In fact, it's the opposite. Sleep makes us better at everything "The disruption of deep sleep is contributing to cognitive decline," Walker says—in aging patients at risk of or already experiencing dementia, and even in healthy people. "You need sleep after learning, to essentially hit the save button on those new memories so you don't forget. But recently we've discovered that you also need sleep before learning, almost like a dry sponge to suck up new information. Without sleep, the brain becomes essentially waterlogged." That sounds about right. Yesterday, I heard approximately 18 different TED Talks. But I had barely slept the night before, and I barely slept last night. When asked this morning which talk had been my favorite of the day before, it took me a full 30 seconds to remember a single one. I'm determined to remember this one. In fact, I retreated to one of TED's "sleep rooms" afterward and attempted a five-minute nap before writing this article in an effort to commit the talk to memory. I put on a sleep mask and let the white noise machine and a Pure essential oil diffuser lull me into a moment of calm. In the eerie quiet of this manufactured zen zone inside a behemoth conference center at the foothills of the North Shore Mountains, I almost forgot about the news cycle, about my head cold, about the Mueller report. But then I remembered my deadline, bolted upright, unplugged the diffuser, plugged in my computer, and typed these words. Here's hoping they help you, and me, get a little sleep tonight. This story originally appeared on WIRED. Source: You’re not getting enough sleep—and it’s killing you (Ars Technica)
  5. Van Geiklswijk et al describe supplemental melatonin as “a chronobiotic drug with hypnotic properties”. Using it as a pure hypnotic – a sleeping pill – is like using an AK-47 as a club to bash your enemies’ heads in. It might work, but you’re failing to appreciate the full power and subtlety available to you. Melatonin is a neurohormone produced by the pineal gland. In a normal circadian cycle, it’s lowest (undetectable, less than 1 pg/ml of blood) around the time you wake up, and stays low throughout the day. Around fifteen hours after waking, your melatonin suddenly shoots up to 10 pg/ml – a process called “dim light melatonin onset”. For the next few hours, melatonin continues to increase, maybe as high as 60 or 70 pg/ml, making you sleepier and sleepier, and presumably at some point you go to bed. Melatonin peaks around 3 AM, then declines until it’s undetectably low again around early morning. Is this what makes you sleepy? Yes and no. Sleepiness is a combination of the circadian cycle and the so-called “Process S”. This is an unnecessarily sinister-sounding name for the fact that the longer you’ve been awake, the sleepier you’ll be. It seems to be partly regulated by a molecule called adenosine. While you’re awake, the body produces adenosine, which makes you tired; as you sleep, the body clears adenosine away, making you feel well-rested again. In healthy people these processes work together. Circadian rhythm tells you to feel sleepy at night and awake during the day. Process S tells you to feel awake when you’ve just risen from sleep (naturally the morning), and tired when you haven’t slept in a long time (naturally the night). Both processes agree that you should feel awake during the day and tired at night, so you do. When these processes disagree for some reason – night shifts, jet lag, drugs, genetics, playing Civilization until 5 AM – the system fails. One process tells you to go to sleep, the other to wake up. You’re never quite awake enough to feel energized, or quite tired enough to get restful sleep. You find yourself lying in bed tossing and turning, or waking up while it’s still dark and not being able to get back to sleep. Melatonin works on both systems. It has a weak “hypnotic” effect on Process S, making you immediately sleepier when you take it. It also has a stronger “chronobiotic” effect on the circadian rhythm, shifting what time of day your body considers sleep to be a good idea. Effective use of melatonin comes from understanding both these effects and using each where appropriate. 1. Is melatonin an effective hypnotic? Yes. That is, taking melatonin just before you want to get to sleep, does help you get to sleep. The evidence on this is pretty unanimous. For primary insomnia, two meta-analyses – one by Brzezinski in 2005 and another by Ferracioli-Oda in 2013 – both find it safe and effective. For jet lag, a meta-analysis by the usually-skeptical Cochrane Collaboration pronounces melatonin “remarkably effective”. For a wide range of primary and secondary sleep disorders, Buscemi et al say in their abstract that it doesn’t work, but a quick glance at the study shows it absolutely does and they are incorrectly under-reporting their own results. The Psychiatric Times agrees with me on this: “Results from another study reported as negative actually demonstrated a statistically significant positive result of a decrease in sleep latency by an average of 7.2 minutes for melatonin”. Expert consensus generally follows the meta-analyses: melatonin works. I find cautious endorsements by the Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins less impressive than its less-than-completely-negative review on Science-Based Medicine, a blog I can usually count on for a hit job on any dietary supplement. The consensus stresses that melatonin is a very weak hypnotic. The Buscemi meta-analysis cites this as their reason for declaring negative results despite a statistically significant effect – the supplement only made people get to sleep about ten minutes faster. “Ten minutes” sounds pretty pathetic, but we need to think of this in context. Even the strongest sleep medications, like Ambien, only show up in studies as getting you to sleep ten or twenty minutes faster; this New York Times article says that “viewed as a group, [newer sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata] reduced the average time to go to sleep 12.8 minutes compared with fake pills, and increased total sleep time 11.4 minutes.” I don’t know of any statistically-principled comparison between melatonin and Ambien, but the difference is hardly (pun not intended) day and night. Rather than say “melatonin is crap”, I would argue that all sleeping pills have measurable effects that vastly underperform their subjective effects. The linked article speculates on one reason this might be: people have low awareness around the time they get to sleep, and a lot of people’s perception of whether they’re insomniac or not is more anxiety (or sometimes literally dream) than reality. This is possible, but I also think of this in terms of antidepressant studies, which find similarly weak objective effects despite patients (and doctors) who swear by them and say they changed their lives. If I had to guess, I would say that the studies include an awkward combination of sick and less-sick people and confuse responders and non-responders. Maybe this is special pleading. I don’t know. But if you think any sleeping pill works well, melatonin doesn’t necessarily work much worse than that. Sleep latency statistics are hard to compare to one another because they’re so dependent on the study population. If your subjects take an hour to fall asleep, perhaps melatonin could shave off thirty-four minutes. But if your subjects take twenty minutes to fall asleep, then no sleeping pill will ever take off thirty-four minutes, and even an amazing sleeping pill might struggle to make fifteen. I cannot directly compare the people who say melatonin gives back ten minutes to the people who say melatonin gives back thirty-four minutes to the people who say Ambien gives back twelve, but my totally unprincipled guess is that melatonin is about a third as strong as Ambien. It also has about a hundred times fewer side effects, so there’s definitely a place for it in sleep medicine. 2. What is the right dose of melatonin? 0.3 mg. “But my local drugstore sells 10 mg pills! When I asked if they had anything lower, they looked through their stockroom and were eventually able to find 3 mg pills! And you’re saying the correct dose is a third of a milligram?!” Yes. Most existing melatonin tablets are around ten to thirty times the correct dose. Many early studies were done on elderly people, who produce less endogenous melatonin than young people and so are considered especially responsive to the drug. Several lines of evidence determined that 0.3 mg was the best dose for this population. Elderly people given doses around 0.3 mg slept better than those given 3 mg or more and had fewer side effects (Zhdanova et al 2001). A meta-analysis of dose-response relationships concurred, finding a plateau effect around 0.3 mg, with doses after that having no more efficacy, but worse side effects (Brzezinski et al, 2005). And doses around 0.3 mg cause blood melatonin spikes most similar in magnitude and duration to the spikes seen in healthy young people with normal sleep (Vural et al, 2014). Other studies were done on blind people, who are especially sensitive to melatonin since they lack light cues to entrain their circadian rhythms. This is a little bit of a different indication, since it’s being used more as a chronobiotic than a sleeping pill, but the results were very similar: lower doses worked better than higher doses. For example, in Lewy et al 2002, nightly doses of 0.5 mg worked to get a blind subject sleeping normally at night; doses of 20 mg didn’t. They reasonably conclude that the 20 mg is such a high dose that it stays in their body all day, defeating the point of a hormone whose job is to signal nighttime. Other studies on the blind have generally confirmed that doses of around 0.3 to 0.5 mg are optimal. There have been disappointingly few studies on sighted young people. One such, Attenburrow et al 1996 finds that 1 mg works but 0.3 mg doesn’t, suggesting these people may need slightly higher doses, but this study is a bit of an outlier. Another Zhdanova study on 25 year olds found both to work equally. And Pires et al studying 22-24 year olds found that 0.3 mg worked better than 1.0. I am less interested in judging the 0.3 mg vs. 1.0 mg debate than in pointing out that both numbers are much lower than the 3 – 10 mg doses found in the melatonin tablets sold in drugstores. UpToDate, the gold standard research database used by doctors, agrees with these low doses. “We suggest the use of low, physiologic doses (0.1 to 0.5 mg) for insomnia or jet lag (Grade 2B). High-dose preparations raise plasma melatonin concentrations to a supraphysiologic level and alter normal day/night melatonin rhythms.” Mayo Clinic makes a similar recommendation: they recommend 0.5 mg. John Hopkins’ experts almost agree: they say “less is more” but end up chickening out and recommending 1 to 3 mg, which is well above what the studies would suggest. Based on a bunch of studies that either favor the lower dose or show no difference between doses, plus clear evidence that 0.3 mg produces an effect closest to natural melatonin spikes in healthy people, plus UpToDate usually having the best recommendations, I’m in favor of the 0.3 mg number. I think you could make an argument for anything up to 1 mg. Anything beyond that and you’re definitely too high. Excess melatonin isn’t grossly dangerous, but tends to produce tolerance and might mess up your chronobiology in other ways. Based on anecdotal reports and the implausibility of becoming tolerant to a natural hormone at the dose you naturally have it, I would guess sufficiently low doses are safe and effective long term, but this is just a guess, and most guidelines are cautious in saying anything after three months or so. 3. What are circadian rhythm disorders? How do I use melatonin for them? Circadian rhythm disorders are when your circadian rhythm doesn’t match the normal cycle where you want to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. The most popular circadian rhythm disorder is “being a teenager”. Teenagers’ melatonin cycle is naturally shifted later, so that they don’t want to go to bed until midnight or later, and don’t want to wake up until eight or later. This is an obvious mismatch with school starting times, leading to teenagers either not getting enough sleep, or getting their sleep at times their body doesn’t want to be asleep and isn’t able to use it properly. This is why every reputable sleep scientist and relevant scientific body keeps telling the public school system to start later. When a this kind of late sleep schedule persists into adulthood or becomes too distressing, we call it Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. People with DSPD don’t get tired until very late, and will naturally sleep late if given the chance. The weak version of this is “being a night owl” or “not being a morning person”. The strong version just looks like insomnia: you go to bed at 11 PM, toss and turn until 2 AM, wake up when your alarm goes off at 7, and complain you “can’t sleep”. But if you can sleep at 2 AM, consistently, regardless of when you wake up, and you would fall asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow if you first got into bed at 2, then this isn’t insomnia – it’s DSPD. The opposite of this pattern is Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder. This is most common in the elderly, and I remember my grandfather having this. He would get tired around 6 PM, go to bed by 7, wake around 1 or 2 AM, and start his day feeling fresh and alert. But the weak version of this is the person who wakes up at 5 each morning even though their alarm doesn’t go off until 8 and they could really use the extra two hours’ sleep. These people would probably do fine if they just went to bed at 8 or 9, but the demands of work and a social life make them feel like they “ought” to stay up as late as everyone else. So they go to bed at 11, wake up at 5, and complain of “terminal insomnia”. Finally, there’s Non-24-Hour-Sleep Disorder, where somehow your biological clock ended up deeply and unshakeably convinced that days on Earth are twenty-five (or whatever) hours long, and decides this is the hill it wants to die on. So if you naturally sleep 11 – 7 one night, you’ll naturally sleep 12 – 8 the next night, 1 to 9 the night after that, and so on until either you make a complete 24-hour cycle or (more likely) you get so tired and confused that you stay up 24+ hours and break the cycle. This is most common in blind people, who don’t have the visual cues they need to remind themselves of the 24 hour day, but it happens in a few sighted people also; Eliezer Yudkowsky has written about his struggles with this condition. Melatonin effectively treats these conditions, but you’ve got to use it right. The general heuristic is that melatonin drags your sleep time towards the direction of when you take the melatonin. So if you want to go to sleep (and wake up) earlier, you want to take melatonin early in the day. How early? Van Geijlswijk et al sums up the research as saying it is most effective “5 hours prior to both the traditionally determined [dim light melatonin onset] (circadian time 9)”. If you don’t know your own melatonin cycle, your best bet is to take it 9 hours after you wake up (which is presumably about seven hours before you go to sleep). What if you want to go to sleep (and wake up) later? Our understanding of the melatonin cycle strongly suggests melatonin taken first thing upon waking up would work for this, but as far as I know this has never been formally investigated. The best I can find is researchers saying that they think it would happen and being confused why no other researcher has investigated this. And what about non-24-hour sleep disorders? I think the goal in treatment here is to advance your phase each day by taking melatonin at the same time, so that your sleep schedule is more dependent on your own supplemental melatonin than your (screwed up) natural melatonin. I see conflicting advice about how to do this, with some people saying to use melatonin as a hypnotic (ie just before you go to bed) and others saying to use it on a typical phase advance schedule (ie nine hours after waking and seven before sleeping, plausibly about 5 PM). I think this one might be complicated, and a qualified sleep doctor who understands your personal rhythm might be able to tell you which schedule is best for you. Eliezer says the latter regimen had very impressive effects for him (search “Last but not least” here). I’m interested in hearing from the MetaMed researcher who gave him that recommendation on how they knew he needed a phase advance schedule. Does melatonin used this way cause drowsiness (eg at 5 PM)? I think it might, but probably such a minimal amount compared to the non-sleep-conduciveness of the hour that it doesn’t register. Melatonin isn’t the only way to advance or delay sleep phase. Here is a handy cheat sheet of research findings and theoretical predictions: TO TREAT DELAYED PHASE SLEEP DISORDER (ie you go to bed too late and wake up too late, and you want it to be earlier) – Take melatonin 9 hours after wake and 7 before sleep, eg 5 PM – Block blue light (eg with blue-blocker sunglasses or f.lux) after sunset – Expose yourself to bright blue light (sunlight if possible, dawn simulator or light boxes if not) early in the morning – Get early morning exercise – Beta-blockers early in the morning (not generally recommended, but if you’re taking beta-blockers, take them in the morning) TO TREAT ADVANCED PHASE SLEEP DISORDER (ie you go to bed too early and wake up too early, and you want it to be later) – Take melatonin immediately after waking – Block blue light (eg with blue-blocker sunglasses or f.lux) early in the morning – Expose yourself to bright blue light (sunlight if possible, light boxes if not) in the evening. – Get late evening exercise – Beta-blockers in the evening (not generally recommended, but if you’re taking beta-blockers, take them in the evening) These don’t “cure” the condition permanently; you have to keep doing them every day, or your circadian rhythm will snap back to its natural pattern. What is the correct dose for these indications? Here there is a lot more controversy than the hypnotic dose. Of the nine studies van Geijlswijk describes, seven have doses of 5 mg, which suggests this is something of a standard for this purpose. But the only study to compare different doses directly (Mundey et al 2005) found no difference between a 0.3 and 3.0 mg dose. The Cochrane Review on jet lag, which we’ll see is the same process, similarly finds no difference between 0.5 and 5.0. Van Geijlswijk makes the important point that if you take 0.3 mg seven hours before bedtime, none of it is going to be remaining in your system at bedtime, so it’s unclear how this even works. But – well, it is pretty unclear how this works. In particular, I don’t think there’s a great well-understood physiological explanation for how taking melatonin early in the day shifts your circadian rhythm seven hours later. So I think the evidence points to 0.3 mg being a pretty good dose here too, but I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to try taking more. 4. How do I use melatonin for jet lag? Most studies say to take a dose of 0.3 mg just before (your new time zone’s) bedtime. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It seems like you should be able to model jet lag as a circadian rhythm disorder. That is, if you move to a time zone that’s five hours earlier, you’re in the exact same position as a teenager whose circadian rhythm is set five hours later than the rest of the world’s. This suggests you should use DSPD protocol of taking melatonin nine hours after waking / five hours before DLMO / seven hours before sleep. My guess is for most people, their new time zone bedtime is a couple of hours before their old bedtime, so you’re getting most of the effect, plus the hypnotic effect. But I’m not sure. Maybe taking it earlier would work better. But given that the new light schedule is already working in your favor, I think most people find that taking it at bedtime is more than good enough for them. 5. I try to use melatonin for sleep, but it just gives me weird dreams and makes me wake up very early This is my experience too. When I use melatonin, I find I wake the next morning with a jolt of energy. Although I usually have to grudgingly pull myself out of bed, melatonin makes me wake up bright-eyed, smiling, and ready to face the day ahead of me… …at 4 AM, invariably. This is why despite my interest in this substance I never take melatonin myself anymore. There are many people like me. What’s going on with us, and can we find a way to make melatonin work for us? This bro-science site has an uncited theory. Melatonin is known to suppress cortisol production. And cortisol is inversely correlated with adrenaline. So if you’re naturally very low cortisol, melatonin spikes your adrenaline too high, producing the “wake with a jolt” phenomenon that I and some other people experience. I like the way these people think. They understand individual variability, their model is biologically plausible, and it makes sense. It’s also probably wrong; it has too many steps, and nothing in biology is ever this elegant or sensible. I think a more parsimonious theory would have to involve circadian rhythm in some way. Even an 0.3 mg dose of melatonin gives your body the absolute maximum amount of melatonin it would ever have during a natural circadian cycle. So suppose I want to go to bed at 11, and take 0.3 mg melatonin. Now my body has a melatonin peak (usually associated with the very middle of the night, like 3 AM) at 11. If it assumes that means it’s really 3 AM, then it might decide to wake up 5 hours later, at what it thinks is 8 AM, but which is actually 4. I think I have a much weaker circadian rhythm than most people – at least, I take a lot of naps during the day, and fall asleep about equally well whenever. If that’s true, maybe melatonin acts as a superstimulus for me. The normal tendency to wake up feeling refreshed and alert gets exaggerated into a sudden irresistable jolt of awakeness. I don’t know if this is any closer to the truth than the adrenaline theory, but it at least fits what we know about circadian rhythms. I’m going to try to put some questions about melatonin response on the SSC survey this year, so start trying melatonin now so you can provide useful data. What about the weird dreams? From a HuffPo article: Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a Stanford University professor of sleep medicine, said he doesn’t think melatonin causes vivid dreams on its own. “Who takes melatonin? Someone who’s having trouble sleeping. And once you take anything for your sleep, once you start sleeping more or better, you have what’s called ‘REM rebound,’” he said. This means your body “catches up” on the sleep phase known as rapid eye movement, which is characterized by high levels of brain-wave activity. Normal subjects who take melatonin supplements in the controlled setting of a sleep lab do not spend more time dreaming or in REM sleep, Pelayo added. This suggests that there is no inherent property of melatonin that leads to more or weirder dreams. Okay, but I usually have normal sleep. I take melatonin sometimes because I like experimenting with psychotropic substances. And I still get some really weird dreams. A Slate journalist says he’s been taking melatonin for nine years and still gets crazy dreams. We know that REM sleep is most common towards the end of sleep in the early morning. And we know that some parts of sleep structure are responsive to melatonin directly. There’s a lot of debate over exactly what melatonin does to REM sleep, but given all the reports of altered dreaming, I think you could pull together a case that it has some role in sleep architecture that promotes or intensifies REM. 6. Does this relate to any other psychiatric conditions? Probably, but this is all still speculative. Seasonal affective disorder is the clearest suspect. We know that the seasonal mood changes don’t have anything to do with temperature; they seem to be based entirely on winter having shorter (vs. summer having longer) days. There’s some evidence that there are two separate kinds of winter depression. In one, the late sunrises train people to a late circadian rhythm and they end up phase-delayed. In the other, the early sunsets train people to an early circadian rhythm and they end up phase-advanced. Plausibly SAD also involves some combination of the two where the circadian rhythm doesn’t know what it’s doing. In either case, this can make sleep non-circadian-rhythm-congruent and so less effective at doing whatever it is sleep does, which causes mood problems. How does sunrise time affect the average person, who is rarely awake for the sunrise anyway and usually sleeps in a dark room? I think your brain subconsciously “notices” the time of the dawn even if you are asleep. There are some weird pathways leading from the eyes to the nucleus governing circadian rhythm that seem independent of any other kind of vision; these might be keeping tabs on the sunrise if even a little outside light is able to leak into your room. I’m basing this also on the claim that dawn simulators work even if you sleep through them. I don’t know if people get seasonal affective disorder if they sleep in a completely enclosed spot (eg underground) where there’s no conceivable way for them to monitor sunrise times. Bright light is the standard treatment for SAD for the same reason it’s the standard treatment for any other circadian phase delay, but shouldn’t melatonin work also? Yes, and there are some preliminary studies (paper, article) showing it does. You have to be a bit careful, because some people are phase-delayed and others phase-advanced, and if you use melatonin the wrong way it will make things worse. But for the standard phase-delay type of SAD, normal phase advancing melatonin protocol seems to go well with bright light as an additional treatment. This model also explains the otherwise confusing tendency of some SAD sufferers to get depressed in the summer. The problem isn’t amount of light, it’s circadian rhythm disruption – which summer can do just as well as winter can. I’m also very suspicious there’s a strong circadian component to depression, based on a few lines of evidence. First, one of the most classic symptoms of depression is awakening in the very early morning and not being able to get back to sleep. This is confusing for depressed people, who usually think of themselves as very tired and needing to sleep more, but it definitely happens. This fits the profile for a circadian rhythm issue. Second, agomelatine, a melatonin analogue, is an effective (ish) antidepressant. Third, for some reason staying awake for 24+ hours is a very effective depression treatment (albeit temporary; you’ll go back to normal after sleeping). This seems to sort of be a way of telling your circadian rhythm “You can’t fire me, I quit”, and there are some complicated sleep deprivation / circadian shift protocols that try to leverage it into a longer-lasting cure. I don’t know anything about this, but it seems pretty interesting. Fourth, we checked and depressed people definitely have weird circadian rhythms. Last of all, bipolar has a very strong circadian component. There aren’t a whole lot of lifestyle changes that really work for preventing bipolar mood episodes, but one of the big ones is keeping a steady bed and wake time. Social rhythms therapy, a rare effective psychotherapy for bipolar disorder, revolves around training bipolar people to control their circadian rhythms. Theories of why circadian rhythms matter so much revolve either around the idea of pro-circadian sleep – that sleep is more restorative and effective when it matches the circadian cycle – or the idea of multiple circadian rhythms, with the body functioning better when all of them are in sync. 7. How can I know what the best melatonin supplement is? Labdoor has done purity tests on various brands and has ranked them for you. All the ones they highlight are still ten to thirty times the appropriate dose (also, stop calling them things like “Triple Strength!” You don’t want your medications to be too strong!). As usual, I trust NootropicsDepot for things like this – and sure enough their melatonin (available on Amazon) is exactly 0.3 mg. God bless them. < Here >
  6. Understanding sleep has become increasingly important in modern society, where chronic loss of sleep has become rampant and pervasive. As evidence mounts for a correlation between lack of sleep and negative health effects, the core function of sleep remains a mystery. But in a new study publishing 12 July in the open access journal PLOS Biology, Vanessa Hill, Mimi Shirasu-Hiza and colleagues at Columbia University, New York, found that short-sleeping fruit fly mutants shared the common defect of sensitivity to acute oxidative stress, and thus that sleep supports antioxidant processes. Understanding this ancient bi-directional relationship between sleep and oxidative stress in the humble fruit fly could provide much-needed insight into modern human diseases such as sleep disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Why do we sleep? During sleep, animals are vulnerable, immobile, and less responsive to their environments; they are unable to forage for food, mate, or run from predators. Despite the cost of sleep behavior, almost all animals sleep, suggesting that sleep fulfills an essential and evolutionarily conserved function from humans to fruit flies. The researchers reasoned that if sleep is required for a core function of health, animals that sleep significantly less than usual should all share a defect in that core function. For this study, they used a diverse group of short-sleeping Drosophila (fruit fly) mutants. They found that these short-sleeping mutants do indeed share a common defect: they are all sensitive to acute oxidative stress. Oxidative stress results from excess free radicals that can damage cells and lead to organ dysfunction. Toxic free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, build up in cells from normal metabolism and environmental damage. If the function of sleep is to defend against oxidative stress, then increasing sleep should increase resistance to oxidative stress. Hill and co-workers used both pharmacological and genetic methods to show that this is true. Finally, the authors proposed, if sleep has antioxidant effects, then surely oxidative stress might regulate sleep itself. Consistent with this hypothesis, they found that reducing oxidative stress in the brain by overexpressing antioxidant genes also reduced the amount of sleep. Taken together, these results point to a bi-directional relationship between sleep and oxidative stress—that is, sleep functions to defend the body against oxidative stress and oxidative stress in turn helps to induce sleep. This work is relevant to human health because sleep disorders are correlated with many diseases that are also associated with oxidative stress, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. Sleep loss could make individuals more sensitive to oxidative stress and subsequent disease; conversely, pathological disruption of the antioxidant response could also lead to loss of sleep and associated disease pathologies. < Here >
  7. LeeSmithG

    [fix] screensaver

    Hello wasssuuup! Well yesterday I reinstalled (repair) of Windows Pro due to homegroup services becoming corrupt. After reboot I did the usual tidy up and I found two things that are wrong. First I get an error Screensaver isn't working error 5 please reboot. I got that logged off logged back in and it worked, however I don't want to see that again, so any suggestions? If you noticed previous text, it was to do with this: So help not needed. Regards!
  8. I am sure some know already, however sleep function seems to have been modified in the newest Windows Ten (10) version, 1709. Before, I would put P.C. into sleep, then when I wanted it out of sleep, I depress the touch space bar (or another key) and my desktop would appear after sign in. However, it now goes through a modified boot sequence avoiding for example the screen for Macrium Reflect that offers to restore or boot into windows and then desktop appears quickly and all startup items are there ready. Anyone else found this has happened and is there a way to stop the new sleep mode?
  9. Published time: January 20, 2014 22:05 Edited time: January 20, 2014 22:36 A new report describing the bizarre and dangerous side effects of the sleep aid Ambien has once again raised questions about one of the United States’ most popular prescription drugs. In a story by the Fix, Allison McCabe chronicled the numerous cases in which Ambien has caused individuals to commit unsafe, and sometimes deadly acts. In 2009, 45-year-old Robert Stewart was convicted on eight charges of second-degree murder after he killed eight people in a nursing home. He was originally charged with first-degree murder, but by claiming his tirade was Ambien-induced he was able to lessen the charges and sentenced to 142-179 years in prison. In a similar case, Thomas Chester Page of South Carolina was sentenced on five counts of attempted murder despite his claims that Ambien was the cause of a shootout with officers. He received 30 years of prison on each count, to be served concurrently. Although the Food and Drug Administration approved Ambien in 1992, its warning labels have changed significantly over the last two decades as evidence mounted documenting the drug’s ability to induce dangerous behavior. “After taking AMBIEN, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing,” the label currently reads. “The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night…Reported activities include: driving a car (“sleep-driving”), making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, sleep-walking.” In the courtroom, cases related to Ambien use have ranged from shootings to child molestation charges to car accidents. In one such case, flight attendant Julie Ann Bronson from Texas ran over three people – including an 18-month old who suffered from brain damage as a result. When Bronson woke up in jail the next morning, she could barely comprehend what she had done. “It was surreal. It was like a bad dream,” she said in May 2012. “I did the crime but I never intended to do it. I wouldn’t hurt a flea. And if I would have hit somebody, I would have stopped and helped. We’re trained in CPR.” Bronson pleaded guilty to the felony charges, but also received lesser charges by citing Ambien as the reason for her actions. While some drug companies work on sleep aids that do not induce the kind of unpredictable and risky behavior Ambien does, the popularity of the medication raises concern over America’s prescription drug culture. The market for sleeping pills is a billion-dollar industry, yet dangerous side effects continue to be reported. Last year, a report by the Department of Health and Human Services highlighted about 2,200 doctors for suspicious activities such as over-prescribing drugs. More than 700 Medicare doctors were also flagged for issuing what could be seen as “extreme” and potentially harmful prescriptions. Although the report noted that some prescriptions could have been effective, it added, “prescribing high amounts on any of these measures may indicate that a physician is prescribing drugs which are not medically necessary or that he or she has an inappropriate incentive, such as a kickback, to order certain drugs.” Soon after that report was issued, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that roughly 18 women a day are dying in the United States due to prescription drug overdose, namely from painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin. With women making up 40 percent of all overdose deaths in 2010, these numbers marked a 400 percent increase compared to data from 1999. The benefits of medication have also been placed under heavy scrutiny when it comes to other health issues, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In December 2013, RT reported that the authors of the primary study promoting medication over behavioral therapy in order to treat ADHD now have serious concerns over their original results. “I hope it didn’t do irreparable damage,” said one of the stud’s co-authors, Dr. Lilly Hechtman of Montreal’s McGill University. “The people who pay the price in the end is the kids. That’s the biggest tragedy in all of this.” http://rt.com/usa/popular-sleep-medication-linked-shooting-915
  10. Jan 13, 2014 Editors note: This is a guest post by Nick Meyer, who is currently working on the Napwell, the worlds first Napping Mask. The Mask is currently running a Kickstarter campaign here. It's popular these days to make the claim that napping is good for you. This author has even built an entire startup on the premise that we should nap more and better. But what data is this conclusion based on? One important study by NASA for the most part. In the 1980s and 1990s, NASA and the FAA were studying whether or not in-cockpit napping could improve the job performance and safety of pilots flying long haul routes. The results are somewhat technical, but almost all contemporary news articles citing a measurable increase in on-job performance due to napping are actually based on this data. In the study, NASA teams first picked out a group of commercial airline flight pilots flying a standard itinerary between Hawaii, Japan and Los Angeles. They then divided the pilots into two groups: A Rest Group (RG) that was allowed a 40 min cock-pit nap during the cruise portion of each flight and a No Rest Group (NRG) that was not allowed a mid-flight nap. Over the course of a six day study, the pilots flew four (4) flights during which NASA teams analyzed them for wakefulness before, during and after their flights. The teams even brought along EEG and EOG machines to measure the pilots brain activity during the tests to confirm whether or not the pilots sleeping, and how alert they were. The most interesting results were as follows: Reaction Time - Using a measure of reaction time called a "PVT Trial" the teams found that the naps helped pilots maintain their baseline reaction speed over the course of the flight. The data below show that over the course of a flight (from pre-flight to post-flight) the napping pilots maintained their reaction speed versus their non-napping colleagues, who tended to grow slower over the course of the flight. More importantly, the napping pilots maintained that reaction speed on subsequent flights, whereas the non-nappers pilots suffered accumulate fatigue from previous flights. Performance Lapses Using the same measure of reaction speed, the teams found that the number of performance lapses, was decreased following a nap. A lapse is a very slow reaction versus normal response time, and is basically the pilot freezing for a brief moment in the cockpit. The napping pilots showed 34% fewer performance lapses during later stages of the flight than their colleagues. Contextualizing this a bit more, a nap would basically help a pilot maintain their reaction speed and prevent overly slow responses during the later stages of a 7-9 hour flight, when fatigue would normally set in. Figure 16 Finally, using EEG and EOG devices to measure brain activity, the teams checked for sleepiness during the last 90 minutes of all flights, including the crucial period prior to landing a plane (TOD to Landing). Sleepiness is indicated by the number of microevents that occurbrief periods when brain activity changes, and the brain enters the first stages of falling asleep. There are 3 flavors of microevents: Theta, SEM and Alpha, depending on brain waves and eye movements. Across the board, the napping pilots had significantly fewer microevents, or were much more alert, than the non-napping pilots. A statistical analysis done by the team showed that the non-napping pilots were roughly twice as likely to register a microevent, or were ~100% sleepier than their napping colleagues. The NASA team concluded that naps provided a 34% increase in pilot performance and 100% increase in physiological alertness. These basic facts are often cited by health and wellness magazines as benefits of napping, but few actually dive into the details of where the metrics came from, and what they mean. Good data can generate tremendous value when put in the hands of consumers, companies and organizations to improve their decision making. A traditional government study can seem to be a bit of a throwback in todays highly digitized world, but such studies are often essential in underpinning our understanding of sleep, naps and in this case how napping can help sustain on-the-job performance. So, if you're looking for a justification for taking a nap, now you have it. This is a guest post by Nick Meyer, who is currently working on the Napwell, the worlds first Napping Mask. The Mask is currently running a Kickstarter campaign here. http://priceonomics.com/the-nasa-studies-on-napping Edit: Added videos
  11. Whenever I plug/unplug a device it wakes up my PC which is frustrating. Such as turning my dual HDD dock on/off or connecting/disconnecting my phone. I have unchecked all the "allow this device to wake the computer" I could even though my dock and phone don't have those options in Device Manager. I have done the same for mouse & keyboard, just in-case. I have even disabled 'wake timers' and 'USB selective suspend'. in the power options. I'm stumped....
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