Are Cheeseburgers Killing My Sleep?

Yes. They are. Ugh. Life is a suck. In one of my earlier blog posts about “Circadian Rhythms” AKA our body clock, I mentioned that they also control our hormones and metabolism. Which basically means this.

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Several studies have been conducted all over the world to understand the very complex relationship between food and sleep. They are connected, yes. They have an effect on each other, yes. Some people claim to know how this works (atleast partially), others are still speculating. The point is, that when you are sleep deprived you tend to eat rubbish and as a result of the rubbish eating, you don’t sleep well. And this cycle of agony, my friends, is my life. 🙃

Using MRI scans, scientists observed the neurological activity of sleep-deprived and well-rested people as they viewed pictures of a range of healthful and unhealthful foods. The scans revealed that the reward centre of the brain responded more strongly to images of high-calorie foods among the sleep-deprived group than the well-rested group. The MRI scans also showed that sleep deprivation decreased activity in the area of the brain that regulates behaviour control. This study suggests that insufficient sleep has a two-fold effect on eating—not sleeping enough makes us more inclined to eat poorly, and at the same time less able to exert control over our impulses to eat those not-good-for-us foods.

So, hooray for me! High calorie food is all I have to make me happy, thanks a lot science. new-doc-2017-10-18_5.jpg

Double Date In Italia

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A psychiatrist by the name of  Serge Brand from the University of Basel, Switzerland decided one day, to research the whole sleepless and lovesick Shakespearean mumbo jumbo. He wanted to see how much truth was in there. Turns out Shakespeare knew his shit.

Compared to single and settled-down participants, those madly-in-love “needed significantly less sleep, felt more energetic and more active, were more self-confident, spent more money, were more interested in sex, were more flirtatious or sexually more active and had a more positive mood or were more optimistic.”

Whatever dude. I am not in love, and I desperately need my sleep. My dreams are clearly the only place where I am even remotely close to all this crap. I would like to experience them more often. Or atleast feel awake and alive more often. Why should only lovelorn schmucks get to feel good about themselves?

Researchers have compared lovelorn behavior to symptoms of a cocaine high: elation and energy without much appetite or need for sleep.

Ughh. Stupid energetic love addicts.

Link:https://vanwinkles.com/falling-in-love-and-sleeping

Headaches And Weird Dreams

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15th October, 2017. I had a super weird dream. What is up with my brain? Geez. How does she manage to sleep without waking up in the middle of the night. UGH. Other weird things I do while I am sleeping. Let’s make a list:

  1. Wake up randomly for no reason.
  2. Sleeptalk about Chris Evans. God that man is good looking.
  3. Wake up with random red marks around my neck and shoulders. What is that about?
  4. Lucid dream text/yell at people I am currently annoyed with.
  5. Dream about weird churches and countries.
  6. Dream about people I have never met.
  7. Die in super depressing ways in my dreams.
  8. Dream about my funeral post dying in super depressing ways.
  9. My best ideas come to me in my sleep. This is how I solve most of my problems.

Parasomnias, AKA Sleep Quirks

Parasomnia is a category of disruptive sleep disorders that usually occur during arousal from REM or partial arousal from NREM sleep. There are a bunch of them and each one is crazier than the next. Here you go:

  • New Doc 2017-10-18_3.jpgNightmares: We all have those. When you wake up because of a nightmare, you are alert and can describe is perfectly. These occur during REM sleep. They are caused because of anxiety, fear or a reaction to some medication.
  • Night terrors: These lead to abrupt awakening in a confused and terrified state. Typically, you are unable to communicate for 15 minutes post an episode. These are genetic or caused by strong emotions and drug/alcohol abuse.
  • Sleepwalking: Occurs during NREM, so early in the night or in REM early morning. These too, are genetic.
  • Sleeptalking: Totally harmless, except if you blurt out something scandalous (LIKE MOI🙃). You will have no memory of your bungling in the morning, so be careful what you say. It occurs due to fear (WHAT AM I SCARED OF?, emotional stress (AM I EMOTIONALLY STRESSED?) or other sleep disorders (OHHH).
  • Sleep Paralysis: This can be a bit scary for people experiencing it for the first time. Your REM muscle paralysis gets carried into waking up. So, for a fe minutes you can’t move your muscles. Fortunately, it ends with a sound or a touch. And of course, this one too, is genetic. THANKS A LOT ANCESTORS.
  • Confusional Arousals: AKA Excessive Sleep inertia or Sleep Drunkenness (LOL). This happens when you wake up from deep sleep directly. You are slower than a sloth during one of these.

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    Put yo’ hands up! Woo Woo!
  • REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder: The muscleparalysis that generally takes place when you are dreaming in REM sleep, does not occur. So, you end up acting out your dreams. This is caused by degenerative neurological conditions, alcohol/drug withdrawal and antidepressants.
  • Rhythmic Movement Disorder: AKA Head Banging Disorder. Only kids under the age of 1 suffer from this. They bang their heads against the pillow or move their knees rhythmically before falling asleep.
  • Arrhythmia: Irregular heart rhythms, typically in Coronary Heart Disease patients.
  • Nocturnal Leg Cramps: LOL. My dad has these. Literally leg cramps that last for between a few seconds to 10 minutes. Caused by dehydration, obesity, overexertion or structural defects.
  • Nocturnal Paroxysmal Dystonia: They think it’s a form of epilepsy. Causes seizures.
  • Sleep Enuresis AKA Bed Wetting: Characterised by inability to control your bladder. There are two types- Primary (You never had control over it) and Secondary (You had control, but lost it). Caused by Diabetes, UTIs, Sleep Apnea or psychiatric disorders.
  • Sleep  Bruxism AKA Teeth Grinding: SO GODDAMN RANDOM. WHAT IS GOING ON? There is literally nothing to explain here.
  • Impaired Sleep Related Erections: …….When men’s penile erection is not sufficiently rigid in REM sleep. May indicate Erectile dysfunction. What even?
  • Sleep Related Painful Erections: Okay, seriously? It’s very rare. It’s painful. It causes you to wake up. Good to know, I guess?

The Plethora of Sleep Disorders

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Some helpful sleep disorders

Okay, there are a lot of these. And none are helpful at all. What a shame. Let’s start with the best known and most common disorder:

 

  • Insomnia: This disorder is defined by difficulty is falling or staying asleep. This also includes waking up in the night and having trouble falling back to sleep. There are 4 types of Insomnia: Primary, Secondary, Acute and Chronic.
  • Sleep Apnea: Defined by difficulty in breathing while sleeping. There are 2 types: Obstructive and Central. These are mostly caused due to obesity.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder: Characterized by rhythmic movements of the limbs. They typically involve legs and last for anything between a few minutes to several hours. Geez. The cause of this one is unknown, though it has some links with Narcolepsy, Parkinson’s and the use of antidepressants.
  • Hypersomnia: Excessive daytime sleepiness, or excessive time spent sleeping during the day. 40% people have this problem from time to time. It is caused due to Narcolepsy, obesity, sleep apnea, drug/alcohol abuse, head injuries or you inherit it.
  • Narcolepsy: This is a neurological disorder. The symptoms include extreme sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis and cataplexy. Let me explain:                    1. Hallucinations: Abnormal, stressful and extremely vivid.                                            2.  Sleep Paralysis: loss of muscle control while you are awake, because of early           REM onset.
  •  3. Cataplexy: Sudden muscle weakness caused by strong emotion. For example, head dropping or knees buckling. In severe conditions, you can even collapse. The disorder is marked by frequent blackouts or seizures.
  • Parasomnia deserves it’s own blog post. So stay tuned.
  • Click here to learn about Circadian disorders.

Sleep Journal

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A comparison of sleep journals: Mine (Left) and, let’s call her, the woman who sleeps (Right)

“Dreamt about deep fried donuts, I was probably having a craving. Don’t dream usually though, strange for me.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha I think that dream is a reflection of our friendship. My high calorie influence🙃. The purpose of this exercise is to see how a person who doesn’t sleep well (me) fairs in the day as compares to a one who sleeps soundly (my friend). It’s pretty interesting. We both have headaches as the day progresses, the difference is that I wake up with mine and she develops it sometime in the afternoon. This one of the very few times she has mentioned a dream in our 8 years association. Generally I am the dreamer.🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩

Brains Are Weird.

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Brains are a big question mark in my brain. What is up with them? What is their deal? Why do zombies eat them? Why do they look so slimy and slippery? Shudder Shudder. They freak me out. The kind of stuff they make up and control blows my mind. Alas, this project is not about zombies and their brain eating antics (Sad🙃). It’s about sleep.

What roles do different parts of our brain play in our sleep, you ask?

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  1. The Brain Stem (Pons): Secretes Serotonin and Acetylcholine. These two neurotransmitters increase and decrease REM sleep respectively. Surgical destruction of this part of the brain would eliminate REM sleep completely. Bye bye dreams.
  2. Hypothalamus: Houses the SCN- Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. This is where cells receive information about light exposure from the retina. Affects the Sleep-Wake cycle.
  3. Pineal Gland: Secretes the Melatonin hormone that makes us sleepy, after dark.
  4. Thalamus: Connects senses to the Cerebral Cortex. The Cerebral Cortex is responsible for the transition of information into memory. The Thalamus is only active during REM sleep, sending the cortex a bank of images, sounds and other sensations that fill our dreams.
  5. Basal Forebrain: The front and bottom of the brain. It promotes sleep and wakefulness by releasing Adenosine. Adenosine supports your sleep drive.
  6. Amygdala: Processes emotions during REM sleep.
  7. Midbrain: Acts as the arousal system.

Fun Fact: Caffeine blocks Adenosine, thus waking us up.

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