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Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • Innovative Product Provides Better Sleep for Travellers

    If you have ever tried to fall asleep while traveling, whether in a car, an airplane or train, then you probably know that it can be difficult, painful, or both. It is a challenge to fall asleep in a cramped, often-uncomfortable seat, especially if you are situated between two other travelers, and if you do manage to fall asleep you often run the risk of either waking up with your head on a stranger’s shoulder or of finding yourself suffering from an extremely painful neck. Now a group of entrepreneurs from Norway have come up with a solution to this ubiquitous problem. They have invented a product called the “relax ALLY.” Continue reading

  • Britain Has Its Own Sleep Deprivation Epidemic

    It was early in 2014 that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its dramatic statement calling insufficient sleep a public health epidemic, and apparently, the citizens of America are not alone. That same epidemic is sweeping the United Kingdom and other countries as well, with a recent poll showing that the tendency to sleep less than seven hours per night is on the rise. Continue reading

  • Senator Urges Expansion of Sleep Apnea Program

    The tragic 2013 Metro-North derailment caused a great deal of heartache, and has also created a great deal of change within the transportation industry. Though the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending that railroads and other forms of transportation require testing and treatment of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, many of these industries have ignored their entreaties. However, since the accident, which killed four people, the MTA has taken steps towards the development of a pilot project that will screen and provide treatment for any Metro-North engineers that are diagnosed with sleep disorders. Now U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat representing the state of New York, is urging the organization to expand that program to include sleep apnea evaluation to the engineers working for the Long Island Railroad as well.

    This is not the first time that the transit system in New York has responded to an accident with action. In 2008, an accident on the Boston subway system spurred the New York City Transit system to begin screening and treating their subway train operators for obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that blocks the airway when its victims are sleeping, causing immense stress on the cardiovascular system and interrupting sleep to the point of creating extreme daytime drowsiness. Now Senator Schumer is urging the MTA, through a letter to its chairman, Thomas Prendergrast, to forego waiting for another accident to happen. He wants the transit authority to provide a similar program for the LIRR engineers, which would include screening and treatment in order to protect the safety of both the workers and the passengers who ride on the trains. Schumer cited concern for up to 300,000 innocent riders who put their trust in the safety of the trains each day.

    Schumer was not alone in his plea. His letter was strengthened by the voices of Dr. Michael Weinstein, director of the Winthrop Hospital Sleep disorder Center, and Mark Epstein, chair of the LIRR Commuter Council. In a press release, Schumer and his colleagues stated, “A light rail crash in Boston prompted the MTA to start testing New York City’s subway engineers for dangerous sleep disorders and then, a Metro-North crash prompted the testing of Metro-North engineers; it shouldn’t take a Long Island Rail Road crash for the MTA to test and treat LIRR engineers for sleep disorders, like sleep apnea. Time and again, NTSB has made common-sense recommendations that transit agencies have taken far too long to implement in a comprehensive way. There should be no delay in starting a pilot program for testing LIRR engineers who may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, which could put thousands of daily commuters at risk if undetected.”

    Epstein added, “It is widely recognized that sleep disorders are an important risk factor in rail accidents throughout the country. We join with Senator Schumer in urging that the MTA expand the practice of testing and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that is being put in place on Metro-North railroad to the Long Island Rail Road. When a safety issue affects one branch of the MTA, it affects all branches of the MTA and all its users.”

  • Just How Far Can Placebo Sleep Go?

    A recent study by sleep researchers put forth the notion that if you have a positive sense of how you slept, it will boost your cognitive performance, even if you actually slept poorly. The idea captured the imagination of many, who wondered whether they could somehow garner that same type of benefit for themselves by simply thinking happy thoughts about their sleep quantity and quality following a rough night. The idea has come to be known as placebo sleep, and though the study’s authors did find evidence of it existing and working, the truth is that sooner or later people who are sleep deprived are going to hit a wall, and that’s because sleep is more than just a mental process – it is a necessary physiological act, and skipping it is going to catch up with you eventually. Continue reading

  • Actor and Singer Jeff Bridges Releases Sleep-Aiding Album

    Having a tough time falling asleep these days? Lying in bed staring at the ceiling and wishing for a solution? If so, actor Jeff Bridges’ newly released album, eponymously named “Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes” may just be the answer you’re looking for. Continue reading

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