The Israel institute of technology at Technion University is making great strides in understanding the qualitative effect of sleep on health ,and on how to get the best quality sleep. The university has been successful in finding many practical applications from their research to improve sleep quality while making some controversial conclusions about sleep.
Some interesting new developments are the studies that investigate the differences in the sleep of holocaust survivors, from the well adjusted to poorly adjusted; Then, evaluate the differences in their sleep quality.
Technion researcher's found that the well adjusted survivors were suppressing their dreams. When woken in REM sleep they claimed to not dream at allor have dreams devoid of emotion. This research has been bore out in follow up studies with 9/11 victims and victims of severe car accidents.
These kind of studies have led to advancement in how to study sleep in patients. Technion has developed the WatchPat. “This is a novel FDA-approved device that identifies breathing cessations during sleep as well as arousals from sleep and the onset and duration of REM sleep by tracking changes in the blood flow through the finger. This device simplifies the diagnosis of sleep apnea, and can be done in the patient’s home. More than 100,000 sleep studies have been conducted with the Watch PAT in the US so far.” (www.ats.org)
With this new technology complex problems sleep problems like sleep apnea have been found to increase the likelihood of heart disease and dying from a heart attack by ten fold in the ages of 20-39. One of the most controversial findings concerned the sleep apnea in the over 50 age group. In these cases, the sleep apnea helped to strengthen the hearts ability to repair itself after an attack. This new insight has led cardiologists like Dr. Stephan Steiner and his colleagues from the cardiology department in Heinrich Heine University to hypothesize that inducing sleep apnea in a limited way for recent heart attack patients may speed up their recovery. Tests are soon to begin on animals.
What every test and study has shown is that good quality sleep is a prerequisite for ideal health. For the best quality sleep researches have shown that simple strategies can greatly improve your sleep quality and thus your health. Institute of Technology President Lavie says clearly, “No one should take a good night’s sleep for granted. Sleep has to be respected and sleep hygiene is crucial. Here are some suggestions:
1. Do not smoke, exercise or eat heavy meals before going to bed.
2. Keep your sleep/wake schedule constant.
3. Create a good sleep environment. Shade out morning sun and shut off ticking clocks.”
How much sleep do you need ? According to the National Sleep Foundation Adults need 8-9 hours a night, with a drop reported around middle age, to 7-8 hours a night. Studies conclusively showed the prolonged sleep restriction shortened life spans by increasing overall inflammation in the body, a large factor in serious disease.
The Israel institute of Technology is continuing its sleep research at the Lloyd Rigler Laboratory for Sleep Apnea Research at the Technion Faculty of Medicine.
Lily Aronin, CHHC, made aliyah 7 years ago, runs health empowerment programs for Jewish women in person and online, such as family friendly cooking workshop, pre/postnatal health and confidence workshop, Jewish Holidays the Healthy way workshops, as well coaching clients. She has been featured on TLV1 Radio station as a health expert and is a resident blogger at skinnymom.com. Lily is working to create a model for schools to improve the food kids eat at a cost schools can afford. Visit her at www.lilyaronin.com