When You Sleep Could Explain Your Eating and Workout Habits

It’s estimated that 50-70 million people in the U.S. have sleep or wakefulness disorders, resulting in poor quality sleep. We’ve already learned that a lack of sleep can lead to packing on some pounds due to an increased fast food craving, but scientists have recently found that what time you go to bed also can have the same negative effect. 

The study included 96 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 who were healthy and slept 6.5 hours or more at night. For seven days, the participants wore actigraphs to monitor their rest and activity cycles and track their food intake and physical activity. 

When researchers analyzed the information from the actigraphs with circadian rhythms and participants’ body fat, they found that those who went to bed later ate more unhealthy food, less vegetables, and worked out less. Despite this, later sleep times were also linked to a lower body mass index. 

"Our results help us further understand how sleep timing in addition to duration may affect obesity risk," lead investigator Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron, of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, said in a statement. "It is possible that poor dietary behaviors may predispose individuals with late sleep to increased risk of weight gain." 

Researchers hypothesize that circadian rhythms and our sleep-wake cycle could be associated with metabolism, and that disrupting them could lead to obesity. Poor sleep has long been linked to health issues, such as diabetes, mental health problems, and heart problems.

Information from:

Fight Sleep Apnea with Aerobic Exercise

Fight Sleep Apnea with Aerobic Exercise For over 18 million Americans, sleep apnea causes problems falling and staying asleep, leading to groggy mornings and a lack of alertness during the workday. What if you could help lessen its negative effects?

Dr. Paul Pagley of The Sleep Disorders Center at Heart Hospital of Austin suggests that exercise can help people with sleep apnea sleep better.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that makes you stop breathing in your sleep, causing you to wake up and breathe normally. Breathing pauses can last for a few seconds all the way up to a few minutes, and more than 30 breathing pauses can occur in the course of an hour. These constant sleep interruptions lead to lower quality sleep.

Dr. Pagley says that several studies have found that people with sleep apnea who participate in regular aerobic exercise decreased the severity of their sleep apnea. They woke up fewer times during the night during breathing pauses and they also felt that their sleep quality improved as a whole. Exercising also reduces complications with sleep apnea, such as heart and lung issues.

Suggested aerobic activities to lessen the effects of sleep apnea are walking, jogging, or pilates, exercises where your heart is pumping.

Dr. Pagley added that regular exercise helps with sleep quality even if you don’t have sleep apnea, as you will fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

Caffeine Proves Ineffective After Three Days’ Use

Most of us are reliant on our morning coffee to wake us up and get us ready for the day ahead, but is it really working? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine investigated just how effective our daily cup of Joe is at keeping us alert and awake after multiple low-sleep nights.

48 participants limited their sleep to five hours over the course of five nights. Half of the participants were given 400mg of caffeine (the equivalent of four cups of coffee) and the other half was given a placebo every morning during the five days.

After receiving their pills, the participants underwent a variety of tests to look at their mood, sleepiness, vigilance, and cognitive ability.

During the first two days, the participants with the caffeine supplement overwhelmingly performed better than the control group. However, three days of not getting enough sleep later, the caffeine supplement had no effect on boosting the performance of the participants, and the control group was performing just as well as the test group was.

"These results are important, because caffeine is a stimulant widely used to counteract performance decline following periods of restricted sleep,” said lead author Tracy Jill Doty, PhD of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. “The data from this study suggests that the same effective daily dose of caffeine is not sufficient to prevent performance decline over multiple days of restricted sleep."

In short, coffee can be a quick fix for one day of less sleep, but it is not a longterm solution.

Information from: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/201606/aaoschl061316.php

Should We Be Sleeping Twice a Day?

Struggling to get a full 8 hours in at night? There may be a scientific reason behind your restlessness.

Scientists have found that split sleeping, or sleeping for two shorter periods rather than a solid span of time, used to be how humans got shuteye.

Dr. Melinda Jackson of RMIT University in the UK says that our notion of a “good night’s sleep” is a rather new idea for humans. This may explain why around a third of the population has trouble sleeping. These problems could be biological results of our old sleeping habits, and our bodies are just trying to wake us up in the middle of our two sleep periods.

Why did our ancestors choose this sleep pattern? For one, the split sleeping may increase our awareness during the day. It also allows for greater flexibility for daily tasks. Since there was no set bedtime, they were able to finish what was needed, sleep when they were tired, and resume the cycle once more, finally awakening for the day around dawn.

Researchers say that there are many references made to two distinct sleep periods in ancient texts, but don’t let that confuse you: Split sleeping is not a thing of ancient history. It’s known that preindustrial societies in Europe used split sleeping, normally allowing for 13 hours between sleeping periods. Historian A. Roger Ekirch found that first and second sleep, as it was called, began to die out in Europe in the late 17 th century and took the next 200 to do so in the rest of the world. Around this same time came the idea of sleep maintenance, or the importance of sleeping throughout the entire night. This extra pressure may have added to preexisting anxiety about sleep and ended up making things worse.

To determine what sleeping pattern humans gravitate to naturally, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in the 1990s. His subjects were left in total darkness for 14 hours every day, instead of the 8 hours that we are accustomed to in everyday life. This prolonged darkness occurred for a month. Although it did take some time for sleep patterns to emerge, by the fourth week there were clearly two phases of sleep. The first sleep was for around four hours, and then subjects woke up for one to three hours. They fell asleep for another four hours shortly after. This research suggests that our internal clocks are pushing for two sleep periods and the issues we face with sleeping are a result of our fight against our bodies.

Biphasic sleeping, an evolution of split sleeping, is still common today. Spaniards still use a form of split sleeping with their “siesta.” You may also be familiar with the “postlunch dip” that is a physical side effect of our body’s internal clocks and causes a decrease in alertness.

Information from: DailyMail.co.uk



Studies show how sleeplessness has a destructive impact on mood and depression. 

Researchers suspect lack of sleep causes disruptions in neurological that affect a mood, depression and thinking.  Sleeplessness acts like rocket fuel for depression and moodiness.  

GABA Explained

GABA Explained

GABA’s job is keep your electrical signals from over-firing.  It does this by neutralizing other stress-causing chemicals.  Thus resulting in a calming effect on the nervous system.



Chicago, IL – Whether it’s stressing over work, dealing with jet lag or just being a light sleeper, travelers are often missing out on valuable sleep.  In fact, 65% of respondents in a recent survey say they have trouble falling asleep at least once a week, while 54 percent claim not to be getting quality sleep multiple nights a week.  The numbers are suspected to be even higher for guests in hotels. 



After years of an on again, off again relationship with coffee, I finally kicked the habit for good.  Here’s how I did it in 4 simple steps.  



Studies show getting the proper amount of sleep has a huge impact on physical performance.  Here are four reasons why getting the appropriate number of zzz's is critical to optimizing your workout regimen.  

Sleepyhead - Our Story

Sleepyhead - Our Story

Our story is a rocky one.  It's the quintessential start-up story (this time it's ok to fall asleep).

Get Your Sleepyhead 7

Get Your Sleepyhead 7

According to a recent study published in the scientific journal SLEEP, you should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night for optimal heart health.

Getting only 5 hours of sleep doubles your risk of suffering from angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke compared to people who get 7 hours of sleep.

Sleeping in doesn’t help either though (sorry if you were looking for an excuse). Sleeping 9 hours of more results in an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.

The article continues by saying, “the amount of time you sleep affects endocrine and metabolic functions, and lack of sleep can lead to improper glucose tolerance, reduced insulin sensitivity and elevated blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of hardening the arteries.

In sum, GET YOUR 7 HOURS OF SLEEP!!! If you’re not, sleepyhead might be the ticket to helping you fall asleep faster and getting your 7 hours.

"I Can't Sleep." - Oh Yes You Can.  Here's How.

"I Can't Sleep." - Oh Yes You Can. Here's How.

"I can't sleep."  64% of Americans are saying this, but few are doing anything about it.  Here are a few practical things to start doing so you can stop saying "I can't sleep."

How To Prevent Being Wide Awake and Sleepless at Late Hours

How To Prevent Being Wide Awake and Sleepless at Late Hours

Sometimes your internal clock is completely screwed up.  There are a million reasons why.  Everyone has their own.  

Regardless of how you got here, you're here.  Now here are a couple things you can do to  to help your body relax and fall asleep faster.  Here are four techniques to put and end to your sleeplessness.  

1. Muscle Relaxation - If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you might be familiar with this. While lying in your bed, flex the muscles in your toes… then relax them. Next your calves, then your thighs, and so on to the top of your head. This should create a sense of calm and relaxation by the time you’re done… perfect for falling asleep.

2. Aroma Therapy - Certain scents have been shown to have a calming effect on the body. Lavender is a good scent to test out first, but go with whatever scent helps you relax and fall asleep.

3. Focus on Your Breathing - Try taking slow deep breaths. Focus on the air running through your nose. It should calm your body down and put you in the right frame of mind for sleep.

4. Visualize Something Peaceful - The wise Adam Sandler said in Happy Gilmore, "Find a happy place."  Focus on something that is very calming to you… a setting, a certain memory. Focus on the details and wait for any anxiety to melt away.

5.  Use a Supplement - Kickstart your clock with a supplement.  Some people can't sleep because their bodies aren't getting/producing what they need to sleep.  A sleep supplement may fill in the gaps.  Something like Sleepyhead is contains a handful of natural sleep supplements, mainly melatonin, GABA, valerian root, calcium and magnesium.  

Couple these suggestions with a warm sleepyhead and you'll squash those pesky thoughts and get to sleep.  

Sleepyhead Tips for Falling Asleep

Sleepyhead Tips for Falling Asleep

Keep a Journal

This is a very basic, yet extremely effective way of helping your brain relax into a great night of sleep. If your mind races at night with the activities of the day and those of the following one… release it into a journal. Writing everything down is a great way of freeing it from your mind and clearing your head for a great night of sleep.


Avoid Snacking Before Bed.

This may elevate your blood sugar levels and prevent you from falling asleep. It also may cause a sleep disturbance as your blood sugar levels drop back down to normal. Aside from that, you’re also sending your body into “work mode” when it should be in a “relaxing and getting ready to sleep” mode.


White Noise

Sometimes while lying awake at night a person’s body will become more sensitive to random noises such as cars driving by, creaks in the floor, etc.. Introducing white noise such as a relaxing CD can give your senses something calming to focus on… as opposed to external jarring, surprising sounds.


Hot Shower 

Raising your body temperature in the evening means that it will eventually fall back to normal sometime shortly after… thus putting your body in a comfortable setting to fall asleep.


Avoid TV

We know this can sometimes be really hard to avoid before going to sleep… but it can mean the difference between lying awake for hours, and going to sleep! The TV is very stimulating to the brain (not to mention to your body if you’re watching a heart-pumping action movie). Watching TV at night keeps your mind active and alert when it should be shutting down and getting ready to sleep. Furthermore, the light from the TV can inhibit your pineal gland from secreting the correct amount of melatonin which helps you fall asleep.


Go Pee

Go to the bathroom before you lay down. If you are tired of waking up in the middle of the night… do your best to go before you lay down to sleep.
Put your alarm clock out of arm’s reach and remove any other clocks from sight. The only thing worse than lying awake at night is having a clock starring you in the face documenting the tragedy unfold. This adds worry and stress to the situation which only prevents you from relaxing and falling asleep.

5 Stages of Sleep Explained

5 Stages of Sleep Explained

Stage 1: Your eyes are closed and you’re just starting to drift to sleep. This is the stage where some experience small muscles spasms. If awoken (which is very easy at this stage) you’ll feel as if you didn’t really get any sleep.

Stage 2: Your heart rate and breathing are regular, your body temperature drops. You’re sleeping, but not deeply. At this stage your body is preparing to go into deep sleep. This stage lasts about 20 minutes.

Stage 3: Delta waves start to emerge in the brain signaling that you are entering a deeper sleep. Your breathing is slow and steady. At this stage it is hard to be woken up.

Stage 4: Delta waves are peaking now. This is the stage where you’re most likely to sleepwalk. It is also the stage where your body starts releasing hormones that repair and strengthen the body. This stage lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

Stage 5: (Some consider a subsection of stage 4): R.E.M. sleep. Your respiration rate and brain activity increase while at the same time your muscles become completely relaxed. You start dreaming and if awoken from this stage you should have memories of them. Your brain and body are becoming energized. Once asleep it takes roughly 90 minutes to reach this stage.

It should be noted that this isn’t one long process that takes an entire night. Depending on age, your body will go this cycle multiple times a night. As you get older its harder to reach the later stages of sleep where the body repairs itself. Some theorize this contributes to the aging process.

learn more about the ingredients in sleepyhead that can help you get quality sleep

15 Interesting Facts About Sleep

15 Interesting Facts About Sleep

sleepyhead fact 1…
- People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.

sleepyhead fact 2…
- The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep- deprivation played a role.

sleepyhead fact 3…
- We are not sure if other species dream.

sleepyhead fact 4…
- Having trouble sleeping because of your new baby? You’re not alone. A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year

sleepyhead fact 5…
-Scientists learned about REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep in 1953. Part of the reason it took so long is because the scientists who conducted the study were concerned about wasting such a large amount of paper.

sleepyhead fact 6…
- British Ministry of Defense researchers have been able to reset soldiers’ body clocks so they can go without sleep for up to 36 hrs. Tiny optical fibers embedded in special spectacles project a ring of bright white light (with a spectrum identical to a sunrise) around the edge of soldiers’ retinas, fooling them into thinking they have just woken up. The system was first used on US pilots during the bombing of Kosovo.

sleepyhead fact 7…
- The National Roads and Motorists’ Association estimates fatigue plays a factor in one in six fatal accidents.

sleepyhead fact 8…
-Trouble falling asleep? The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported paranoia, hallucinations, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory lapses.

sleepyhead fact 9…
- REM sleep doesn’t occur just once per night. REM sleep occurs in bursts totaling about 2 hours a night, typically starting roughly 90 minutes after falling asleep.

sleepyhead fact 10…
- Specific types of eye movements during REM sleep correspond to certain eye movements in dreams, suggesting that part of the dreaming process is similar to watching a movie.

sleepyhead fact 11…
- The “natural alarm clock” which enables some people to wake up more or less when they want to is caused by a burst of the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. Researchers say this reflects an unconscious anticipation of the stress of waking up.

sleepyhead fact 12…
- Elephants lie down for REM sleep, and stand during non-REM sleep.

sleepyhead fact 13…
- There is a chance dreams don’t mean anything at all. They may simply be a byproduct of two evolutionary adaptations… sleep and consciousness.

sleepyhead fact 14…
- In 1998 scientists showed a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake. To this day they still can’t explain it.

sleepyhead fact 15…
- 17 hours without sleep leads to a decrease in performance in humans equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%

Don’t Snore SleepyHead

Don’t Snore SleepyHead

According to a recent article regarding trouble sleeping from northjersey.com, it’s not only the people that snore who are suffering the effects from a poor night sleep, but also the people in the house (or same bed) who can’t sleep because of the snorer. This has significant ramifications. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “drowsy driving has been identified as a contributing factor in 16.5% of fatal crashes in the U.S.”. The AAA also revealed that, “41% of drivers surveyed said they have fallen asleep or nodded off at the wheel at some point in their lives.” Staggering numbers to say the least.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect motorists though. The Air India jet that crashed last May killing 158 people was found to be the result of sleep deprivation. The cockpit recorder recorded the pilot snoring heavily prior to the crash.

The gist of the article can best be summarized by John Penek, MD, board certified in sleep medicine and medical director of the Sleep Health Institute at Chilton Hospital in Pequannock. “Snoring is not just a nuisance for those around us, but a warning signal that you are putting yourself and others at risk. Snoring is often an indicator of sleep apnea, which reduces air flow when you sleep. The human body goes into panic mode if it receives less oxygen. Blood pressure rises and the heart will become stressed.”

Get A Good Mattress SleepyHead

Get A Good Mattress SleepyHead

So you’ve reached the point in your day when it is finally time to power down the batteries, start to relax, and ultimately get some sleep. And that’s great! Not only is sleep incredibly important as it relates to your health, but it creates the mental break for you to get ready to tackle another day.

Here is the problem though (and maybe you can relate), we don’t always put ourselves in the best position to get the quality sleep that we need.

Many of us walk into a messy room, knock off whatever has accumulated on the bed over the day, turn on the TV, and lay on our old worn out mattress. We think it is comfortable enough so we don’t bother to invest in a new one. The other distractions created by the mess, lights from alarm clocks and TV are too common to even notice anymore, and the pillow you use is probably good enough to get the job done.

Without getting too far into it, that isn’t the way to get quality sleep. This is though:
Create a cave. Yes, a cave. No light, sound, or distractions allowed. TV’s: out. Black out blinds: In. You need to create an atmosphere void of elements that keep your brain active. The lack of light will help your body produce melatonin, a hormone that helps with the onset of sleep. A lack of sound will put your mind at ease.

Get a good mattress. By the time you’re 75 years old you will have spent about 25 years lying in your bed. That’s a long time! Get a mattress that firmly supports you (and your partner if needed). There are many options out there. Find one in your price range and don’t scrimp. Too much of your life is derived from the amount and quality of the sleep that you get.

Get a quality pillow. Don’t just grab the pillow that feels softest, or that’s on sale. Get one that can support your head and neck, while at the same time provide the level of comfort you need. If you sleep on your side, get a firm pillow. If you sleep on your back, get a moderately firm pillow. If you sleep on your stomach, get a soft pillow.

For both the mattress and pillow you have many quality options. One company doing some amazing things in this space is Technogel Sleeping. They have created a revolutionary line of high end mattresses and pillows designed to meet your sleeping needs.

Whatever the case, put yourself in the best position to get the quality sleep that your body needs. If you’re not in your bed, you’re out somewhere feeling the direct of the time you spent there