Archive for Sleep Issues

Anxiety, Tourettes, Sleep Issues, Addictions and Dizziness All Targeted In Today In Brain Training: June 21, 2010

Utilizing our brain wave optimization technology, we at the Brain Training Centers of Florida, are helping nine different people with their difficulties. Their difficulties include anxiety, panic attacks, tourettes, addictions and sleep issues. We are open 8Am to 10PM seven days a week to facility the daily need for brain wave optimization. By combining brain wave optimization with cognitive behavioral therapy, we have been very successful at helping people with the issues listed above.

Posted in: Anxiety, Brain Wave Optimization, Sleep Issues, Tourettes Syndrome

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You Can’t Catch Up on Sleep

At the risk of sounding like your mother, “Turn out the light. Turn off the iPod and the computer. Stop text messaging or I’m going to take that cell phone away from you. And, go to bed! And, no! You can’t catch-up on your sleep over the weekend.”

In summary, that appears to be summary recommendation from the journal Science Translational Medicine and researcher Dr. Daniel Cohen of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

And, hey, if it’s good enough for the National Basketball Association, it sure ought to be good enough for you. On the road, NBA players frequently don’t hit the sack until two or three in the a.m. and must be in the gym for weight training and practice by nine – forcing players to function on far less than the seven to nine hours of sleep recommended by the National Institutes of Health.

In recent weeks, Boston Celtic’s head coach Doc Rivers has eliminated the almost 40 year old tradition of early morning “shoot-arounds.” His players report that they feel fresher and more alert – especially when traveling. And, it doesn’t hurt that his team is leading the league. The San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers have followed suit and other teams are experimenting with the idea.

And there is science behind Rivers’ bold move. Players – and anyone else – who go three, four or five days in a row with less than six hours of sleep have reaction times comparable to someone who is has consumed alcohol beyond the legal limit to drive. In a sport that depends on tenths of a second, that can make the difference between winning and losing.

In part, sleep serves to restore neurons – brain cells – in a process that is critical for learning, mastering and processing information. A good night’s sleep after practice or a couple of hours in the library allows players and student the opportunity to more effectively process the practiced/studied material; too little sleep and that opportunity can be lost.

In a new (January 2010) report, Cohen and his associates report that staying awake 24 hours in a row impairs performance and an “all-nighter” on top of chronic sleep deprivation can result in a “tenfold” deterioration of performance.

Regular sleep deprivation can result in an increased risk of health problems, including memory impairment and a weakened immune system. As noted, too little sleep affects reaction time and may contribute to car crashes and other accidents.

Significantly, Cohen also found that when his sleep deprived volunteers’ reaction times were tested every few hours their performance continued to deteriorate through the course of the day when compared to those of volunteers getting a normal amount of sleep. In addition, it appears that the effects of chronic sleep deprivation were not eliminated by attempting to bank up or catch-up on sleep over the weekend.

Parents of high schoolers should also understand that the National Sleep Foundation recommends that school-age children and adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep a night – even though a 2006 survey revealed that only 20 percent of American students get that many. Nearly half of the students survey reported sleeping less than eight hours on school nights and 28 percent reported falling asleep in school at least once a week. It is probably that – given the rise in texting and social networks – the problem has worsened in the past four years.

So parents – of students and student-athletes – who want to see their children’s classroom and on-the-field performance improve should begin to sound like parents: Turn out the light. Turn off the iPod and the computer. Stop text messaging or I’m going to take that cell phone away from you. And, go to bed! And, no! You can’t catch-up on your sleep over the weekend.”

Since opening in January 2008, the staff of the Miami-based Brain Training Centers of Florida has served more than 200 clients, more than 60 percent of whom presented with some degree of sleep deprivation or the inability to enjoy a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. “By assisting clients to achieve a health balance of their brainwave activity, we have been able to restore optimal sleep health to virtually every client, most often within five days,” noted BTCF executive director Francis J. Flynn, Psy. D., CAP. “Sleep problems are often the result of a wide range of factors, including day-to-day stress and early life trauma with the restoration of healthy sleep, individuals are able to address those problems with renewed vigor and well-based hope.”

Posted in: Brain Training, Sleep Issues

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Testimonial: Treating Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Anger

Treat Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Snoring, Anger with Brain State ConditioningWe have successfully helped a growing number of patients improve their lives and solve specific problems through our state-of-the-art brain state conditioning techniques. This is a testimonial sent to us by one of our patients, Jim Sarakinis, who overcame anxiety, panic attacks, anger management and sleep issues (he stopped snoring!) through brain state conditioning.

Here is Jim’s story, which he wanted us to share with you:

“As a client of the Brain Training Centers of Florida, it is with pleasure that I recommend their Brain State Conditioning program. The program has positively changed my life. My reactions to daily circumstances have completely changed since undergoing the program. Before I began the program, I struggled with panic attacks, stress, anger management, sleeping difficulties and hyperactivity all due to the pressures, challenges and obstacles that come about in both work and personal life. Since undergoing training, I feel a more peaceful state of being and am able to handle situations without stress or anger. Also, I am now able to sleep better by sleeping throughout the entire night. Tension has decreased and I now stay focused and calm throughout the day. Not only do I feel a difference in myself, but friends and family have noticed a difference in me as well.

I have had an overall wonderful experience with the program and I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Francis (Skip) Flynn and Geoff Cole for their assistance, knowledge, and service throughout my training. The program has certainly improved my way of life and I highly recommend it to anyone who faces similar obstacles.”

~ Jim Sarakinis, Florida

Posted in: Anger, Brain Training, Panic Attacks, Sleep Issues

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The Word From Sleep 2009 Regarding Overweight and Obese Adolsecents

There’s important news out for parents and teens concerned about overweight and obese adolescents and physical fitness: Cut down on the technology and caffeine and get more sleep.      

            That appears to be the word from Sleep 2009, the 23rd Annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.  Reductions in adolescent sleep could be related to higher caffeine levels, more hours of technology use – from text messaging and/or tweeting to Facebook and YouTube, and these could cause increased symptoms of other types of sleep disorders (such as snoring).

            The report by lead author Amy Drescher, PhD., research specialist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, reflect data gathered from 320 children who completed detailed dietary and physical activity questionnaires. The research indicated that children who slept less consumed more caffeine and had more hours of screen time – television, Internet, computer and video games. A higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with shorter sleep duration; more hours of screen time were also associated with higher caffeine consumption.

            For more information, see: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609072707.htm

 Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.
7740 Southwest 52 Avenue
Miami, Florida 33143
(305) 271-0973

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Sleep Apnea May Cause Brain Damage

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – one of the most common of all sleep disorders – can cause brain damage. That’s the word from a French study of 16 adults, each recently diagnosed with sleep apnea.

The study, published in the March 2009 issue of The Journal of Sleep research, found a loss of “gray matter” – brain tissues that contains nerve fibers and nerve cell bodies – in apnea patients. There was also a decrease in brain metabolism. The authors suggest that these changes may explain some of the impairments that occur in people with sleep apnea.

Moreover, a report from a UCLA research team and published in the June 2008 Neuroscience Letters reported that people with sleep apnea have tissue loss in the “mammillary bodis” – regions of the brain involved in memory storage. The UCLA study included 41 individuals with moderate to severe sleep apnea and 69 control subjects matched by age. Subjects with sleep apnea showed extensive alterations in “white matter” nerve tissue in the brain that contains fivers insulated with myelin – a white, fatty sheath.

The structural changes appear in brain regions involved in mood control and memory, areas that also play a role in adjusting blood pressure. The authors suggest that sleep apnea, which involves breathing pauses that can occur hundreds of times during a night of sleep, causes dramatic reduction in blood and oxygen levels in the brain

For more information, see the Web site of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine: www.Sleepeducation.com

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.
7740 Southwest 52 Avenue
Miami, Florida 33143
(305) 271-0973

Posted in: Featured, Sleep Issues, Uncategorized

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The Importance of Sleeping for Academic, Athletic Performance

importance of sleeping - sleep and academic performance, sleep and athletic performance(Note: This article was originally published elsewhere, but the content is obviously relevant to our discussions here at the Train Your Brain Blog. Thus, we are re-posting.)

Parents and coaches of students and athletes concerned about improving academic and athletic performance may be missing one of the most important factors, according to one of the co-founders of the Miami-based Brain Training Centers of Florida.

“Sleep may be the most over-looked component of academic and athletic success,” reports Francis J. Flynn, Psy. D., CAP, whose firm helps clients achieve brain balance and homeostasis. “Researchers are constantly pointing to the importance of sleep. The scientific evidence indicates that too many people, especially students, are suffering from various levels of sleep deprivation and their performance is suffering because of it.”

There’s no animal that doesn’t sleep. Even the dolphin – which some used to argue don’t sleep because they keep moving – seem to sleep with one eye closed and one half its brain showing the slow waves characteristic of deep sleep.

“At Brain Training Centers our programs of neuro-feedback allow clients to quickly improve the quality and quantity of their sleep and their moods and personal performance – academically, at work and in sports – quickly reflects the difference.”

In a study of six healthy members of the Stanford University men’s basketball team, athletes who got extra sleep were more likely to improve their performance in a game. The Stanford study, authored by Cheri Mah, found significant improvements in athletic performance, including faster sprint times and increased free throw percentages, when the student athletes were encouraged to obtain as much extra sleep as possible. The athletes also indicated an improvement in mood associated with increased sleep.

From researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, comes a report that sleep helps clear room in the brain for new learning. Synapses are the connecting points between brain cells; they’re the junctures where nerve cells communicate with each other. Scientists have long believed that the creation of new synapses is one of the most important ways the brain encodes or develops memories and learning.

Thanks to fruit flies, which mature very rapidly, have very short lives and have sleep similar to human sleep, scientists are able to track the creation of new synapses during learning experiences and show that sleep appears to allow synapses to strengthen or consolidate information learned during the day; during sleep these synapses associated with important information rest and stay health while synapses formed by inessential day-to-day experiences appear to drop off. It’s a complex process built around the action of specific proteins in the synapses. But the critical idea is that these synapses grow stronger while we are awake and learning and sleep refreshes the brain by bringing the synapses back to a lower level of strength. Sleep allows the brain to save energy, space and material and clear away useless or unnecessary “noise” from the previous day. As a result, the well-rested brain is ready to learn more the next morning.

It appears that even the most unimportant experiences of the day cause the formation of synapses. When we sleep, these unimportant synapses are discarded by the brain – making room for the next day’s new synapses.

Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health point out that sleep is strictly regulated by the brain, because sleep deprivation is followed by a rebound – we either sleep longer or spend more time in the deeper sleep characterized by large slow brain waves. They argue that sleep is critical to brain plasticity – the ability of the brain to continue to grow and change throughout our lives. Cirelli and Tononi believe that sleep allows the brain to regroup after a hard day of learning by giving the synapses, which increase in strength during the day, a chance to rest or damp down to baselines levels during sleep. Because the brain uses up to 80 percent of its energy to sustain synaptic activity, sleep is important in allowing the brain to renew itself.

At St. Lawrence University (Canton, N.Y.) associate professor of psychology Pamela Thacher studied 111 students and found that students who regularly pulled all-nighters had lower GPAs and, while procrastination is not associated with all-nighters, both practices – procrastination and all-nighters – were significantly correlated with lower GPAs.

At the University of North Texas, researcher Kendry Clay studied 824 undergraduates and found that “morning types” had higher GPAs than “evening types.” And, at the University of Minesota Boynton Health Service Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the director and chief health officer, reporting on the most comprehensive study of college students’ health in the nation, found a direct link between students’ health and their academic achievement. In the study of 9,931 students from 14 Minnesota colleges and universities, students who reported having fewer nights of adequate sleep had a mean GPA of 3.08 compared with a 3.27 mean GPA for students who did not report sleep deficiencies.

One solution for students who have a difficult time falling asleep: white noise. Central Michigan University psychology professor Carl Johnson and LeAnne Forquer, now a member of the psychology faculty at Delta State Univesity in Cleveland, Miss., found that the use of continuous white noise may help college students sleep better and was effective for students with self-reported sleep problems to decrease difficulty in falling asleep and night-wakings.

If you’re the parent or a relative of an otherwise healthy (not overweight or obese) teen who’s always tired, orthodontist and researcher Mark Hans, DDS, MSD of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland may have discovered the reason why he can never get enough sleep: Check the formation of his hyoid bone, which helps to support the tongue and serves as an attachment point for several muscles that help to elevate the larynx during swallowing and speech. Hans found that the same x-rays teens get before getting braces can help correctly identify 70 percent of teens with sleep apnea, a chronic condition that causes people to stop breathing during sleep – and often leaves them tired during the day.

Teens whose hyoid bones sit higher are not at risk for sleep apnea; the lower the bone, the greater the risk of the condition. Early and proper diagnosis can make early treatment – and the avoidance of many problems – possible. And, radiological evaluation is relatively inexpensive – about $100 – when compared to the $1000 or more it might cost for an evaluation in a sleep lab.

Posted in: Featured, Sleep Issues

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