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 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:
Dec 05, 2018 ISS Comments (0)
Our bodies are all different, and the same rings true for our circadian rhythms. Some of us tend to be morning people, able to be wide awake and functioning at the crack of dawn. Whereas some of us tend to be night owls, able to stay up until the late hours of the night (or early morning!). However, when it comes to how much sleep one actually requires to optimally function, the range is not as big.
When calculating what time to go to bed, it really comes down to your circadian rhythm. Individual’s circadian rhythm could differentiate by hours. If two people were to both go to bed at the same time, one could be sleeping at the perfect biological time and the other at an adverse biological time. Unfortunately, the easiest and best way to measure this is by testing melatonin levels through blood or saliva samples. The quality of your sleep heavily depends on the timing of sleep relative to your circadian rhythm. If you sleep at the right biological time, you'll get optimal recovery sleep. However, when you are sleeping at a non-optimal time, the quality of sleep reduces. An extreme example of this is when the circadian rhythm is disrupted, for example when jet lagged or working shift.
Our bodies respond well to routine. If you manage to find a bedtime that works best for you and achieve the amount of sleep your body requires, you might just find yourself waking up a couple of minutes before your alarm is scheduled to go off!
Nov 28, 2018 ISS Comments (0)
Summer is knocking on our door down here in Australia, meaning cherry season is upon us! Cherries are one of the few natural foods that contain melatonin
- the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. Research shows that consuming foods containing melatonin increases the levels of the hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brains.
So how many cherries should we be eating to aid a good night’s sleep?
Several studies have been conducted within the last two decades that have shown cherries (including juice) contain moderate to significant amounts of melatonin, helping those who suffer from insomnia or who are jet lagged.
Try a handful of cherries for an evening dessert and let us know if it works for you.
Nov 14, 2018 ISS Comments (0)
The use of scents to aid sleep goes back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt things such as henna, frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon & cypress were burned to help induce sleep and enhance dreams. In Rome, the use of chamomile was common to help one relax. Fast forward a couple thousand years, and we are seeing growing research exploring the ability of odours to promote sleep.
Thus far, research has mostly focused on lavender, with studies suggesting that exposure to it prior to sleep can:
Scents that are scientifically proven to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality include: