Jan 30, 2019 ISS Comments (0)
There is a close relationship between mental health and sleep. Poor sleep can be both a symptom and a cause of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Therefore living with a mental health condition can affect the quality and quantity of sleep, which in turn can have a negative impact on your mental health.
The vicious cycle of lack of sleep leads to one being tired throughout the day, making it difficult to cope with day-to-day life. The inability to cope lowers one’s self-esteem, increasing stress and again leading to lack of sleep.
Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are often experienced by those suffering from mental health conditions. Insomniacs sleep less overall and do not spend adequate time in the deeper parts of sleep, including REM. The REM stage of sleep is a restorative part of our sleep cycle, providing emotional and cognitive benefits. REM sleep allows us to regulate our emotions, maintain our memory capability and make good judgments. Without REM sleep, we tend to be moodier & irrational, suffer from memory lapses and are more inclined to make poor decisions. It’s easy to see how important REM sleep is, particularly for those suffering from mental health conditions.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a type of medication that is most commonly used to combat depression and anxiety and essentially increase serotonin in the brain. A recent study on those who take SSRIs has shown that the medication is more effective on people who are early risers compared to night owls. It is believed that night owls tend to have more irregular schedules and are also exposed to less light in the morning and more in the evening, resulting in out of sync circadian rhythms. SSRIs boost how the body clock responds to light. Therefore, irregular schedules and light exposure would make SSRIs less effective. Along with seeking professional medical support and making lifestyle changes, we would suggest ensuring morning natural light exposure where possible, as well as keeping a more consistent schedule where possible.
Jan 23, 2019 ISS Comments (0)
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding teeth and/or clenching one's jaw unconsciously. Grinding or clenching can occur both when awake or asleep. However, sleep bruxism is generally a more significant health concern.
Those with sleep bruxism may not know they’re grinding or clenching, meaning the disorder can easily be left untreated and can lead to broken or damaged teeth, headaches, jaw pain, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The constant tensing of muscles does not allow the body to relax, ultimately affecting sleep quality.
The exact causes of bruxism are unknown, but risk factors include:
Lifestyle modifications can help reduce symptoms and improve sleep quality for people experiencing bruxism. These include:
Dental devices such as occlusal guards and splits can also help prevent further damage to the teeth and jaw.
Jan 16, 2019 ISS Comments (0)
Back before the days of digital televisions or radios, you may remember quickly turning the volume down when that awful noise came blaring through the speakers, signifying there was no signal.
So, how is it that white noise can actually help us sleep?
White noise gets its name from ‘white light’ - all frequencies of colour in combination. White noise is a mix of every audible frequency at the same amplitude. The sound of white noise we hear as humans is the sound of all the frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz.
White noise can mask louder or unwanted noises such as traffic, housemates or neighbours, etc. The white noise will engage your brain, however, will not stimulate or arouse the brain, allowing one to relax and sleep.
Jan 09, 2019 ISS Comments (0)
For many of us, the end-of-year festive season is a busy time, catching up with friends and family, indulging in over-eating and attempting to get some much needed quality sleep! However, despite possibly sleeping more than usual, holidays can still leave you feeling tired. This is especially the case during the demanding festive season.
Aspects of the festive sleep that can affect your sleep include:
Additionally, with all the changes in sleep, alcohol and nutrition, the end of holidays marks the end of pleasant and enjoyable activities that would not usually be part of the average routine day. There could definitely be a link to how we spent our holidays, to how we cope with returning to work, and how quickly the benefits of holidays fade away.
Dec 19, 2018 ISS Comments (0)
As 2018 draws to a close I wanted to send out a personal thank you.
Along with the rest of the Integrated Safety Support team, I appreciate your ongoing interest in our work, which this year has again taken us far and wide to places including Vietnam, India, Singapore, Brazil, Columbia, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom as well as Australia & New Zealand.
As automation and other technologies change how workforces are best used and kept safe, our most sought-after offerings range from basics (e.g. online training courses) to complex strategic advice on how to manage human risks within change programs.
If there are any 2019+ priorities that you would like to talk with us about please contact me.
Yours sincerely, Dr Adam Fletcher & the team from Integrated Safety Support.
Dec 12, 2018 ISS Comments (0)
Humans are diurnal, meaning we are normally programmed to sleep during the night and are active during the day (unlike our koala friends). Our circadian rhythm is regulated through our optic nerves. Our bodies are signalled to stay awake when light enters our eyes and triggers communication via our optic nerves. When light wanes and we enter darkness, our brains are prompted to produce and release the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Without darkness, our body doesn’t know when to produce/release melatonin.
So what happens when you're exposed to constant light?
The summer solstice in Australia is fast approaching. However, unlike our clients and friends in the northern hemisphere, we don't get to experience perpetual daylight during summer! In places like Scandinavia, their summer break allows for fun and excitement after long, cold and dark winters. But being exposed to light when one should normally be experiencing a nocturnal period, can lead to sleep deprivation and other sleep-related health issues. This seems to be more of an issue for us as visitors than it is for the locals. We can definitely vouch that the lack of darkness completely threw our sense of time out the window. If it wasn’t for block-out curtains, eye masks and melatonin there is no doubt a zombie transformation would have occurred!
For those in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your summer downtime! And for our friends in the north, your time in the sun will come (in precisely 6 months!).
For more information on light and circadian rhythms, read our previous blog posts here: