WISE UP ABOUT SLEEP LOSS (excerpt from WebMD)

You know lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy. You may not know what it can do to your sex life, memory, health, looks, and even ability to lose weight. Here are 10 surprising — and serious — effects of sleep loss.

1. Sleepiness Causes Accidents:   Sleep deprivation was a factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history: the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and others.  But sleep loss is also a big public safety hazard every day on the road. Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk.  The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old. Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents on the job.

2. Sleep Loss Dumbs You Down:  Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.  Second, if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.

3. Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Serious Health Problems:  Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:  Heart disease, Heart attack, Heart failure, Irregular heartbeat, High blood pressure, Stroke, Diabetes.  According to some estimates, 90% of people with insomnia — a sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling and staying asleep — also have another health condition.

4. Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive:  Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame. For men with sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep, there may be another factor in the sexual slump.

5. Sleepiness Is Depressing:  Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to the symptoms of depression. In a recent poll, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night. Insomnia, has the strongest link to depression.

6. Lack of Sleep Ages Your Skin:  Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.  When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

7. Sleepiness Makes You Forgetful:  Trying to keep your memory sharp? Try getting plenty of sleep. Researchers determined that brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory.  Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.

8. Losing Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight:   Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.

Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite.  Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin, which signals satiety to the brain.

9. Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Death:  In a British study which  looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of a large number of people over two decades. The results showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night, nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

10. Sleep Loss Impairs Judgment, Especially About Sleep:  Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially prone to poor judgment when it comes to assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them. In our increasingly fast-paced world, functioning on less sleep has become a kind of badge of honor. But sleep specialists say if you think you’re doing fine on less sleep, you’re probably wrong.

Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation — they’ve gotten used to it. But if you look at how they actually do on tests of mental alertness and performance, they continue to go downhill. So there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.”

PFTL NOW TAKES CREDIT CARDS   

Several clients have requested to pay their bills by credit card, so starting this year clients will be able to make payments by Visa or Mastercard.  There will be a 2.5% “convenience fee” for using this option.  Julie can take your card number in person, swipe your card, or you can write it on your invoice and mail it back, or phone the number in to Julie.  We hope this will satisfy those clients who prefer this method of payment.

EXERCISE AS EFFECTIVE AS DRUGS (from IDEAfit.com)

A study of more than 300 trials has found that physical activity was better than medication in helping patients recovering from strokes – and just as good as drugs in protecting against diabetes and in stopping heart disease worsening.  The research, published in the British Medical Journal, analyzed data about studies on 340,000 patients diagnosed with one of four diseases: heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke or diabetes.

Researchers said the findings suggested that regular exercise could be “quite potent” in improving survival chances, but said that until more studies are done, patients should not stop taking their tablets without taking medical advice.

The landmark research compared the mortality rates of those who were prescribed medication for common serious health conditions, with those who were instead enrolled on exercise programs. The research found that while medication worked best for those who had suffered heart failure, in all the other groups of patients, exercise was at least as effective as the drugs which are normally prescribed.

People with heart disease who exercised but did not use commonly prescribed medications, including statins, and drugs given to reduce blood clots had the same risk of dying as patients taking the medication. Similarly, people with borderline diabetes who exercised had the same survival chances as those taking the most commonly prescribed drugs.

One conclusion is that exercise should be considered as a viable alternative to, or alongside, drug therapy. Only the patients who were recovering from heart failure fared best when prescribed drugs. Researchers stressed that they were not suggesting that anyone should stop taking medications they had been prescribed, but suggested patients should think “long and hard” about their lifestyles, and talk to their doctors about incorporating more exercise into their daily routines.

NEW CLASSES IN 2014

We plan to offer more small group classes (maximum of 4 participants) in the near future.  The classes may include core conditioning, posture improvement, high intensity interval training, cardio/resistance workouts, and others.  Several trainers are working on program design for the classes.  We will announce them soon.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!