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Yoga Nidra Practitioners Learn to Consciously Sleep While Calming Their Nerves

We all know get-rich-quick scams work about as well as weight loss from a pill. While these enticements are tempting for most people in this country, there is another camp of people who always seem to want to make things harder for themselves. Be it working, dieting, or exercising, the old adage “less is more” often takes a back seat to the preferred “no pain, no gain.”

For those of you who are tired of experiencing pain for your gain, an ancient yogic practice called Yoga Nidra may help loosen your fierce grip on your need to achieve your goals.

Yoga Nidra is essentially the yoga of sleep, but it is not the type of sleep we engage in while napping, or at night. It is a relaxation induced, conscious sleep.

The benefits of attaining a super-restful yet fully awake state of mind reach far beyond just putting your feet up and enjoying a cup of tea. Yoga Nidra settles the nervous system and slows brain waves for an overall feeling of euphoria and inner peace.

A typical Yoga Nidra class may involve some guided imagery, body scanning techniques, or gentle pranayama practice. To aid in relaxation, participants are instructed to lie comfortably with their eyes closed and listen to the teacher’s vocal directions.
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How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? New Research Points to a Magic Number

By Bob Greene for BestLifeDiet.com

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? If you answered seven (or right around there), then you’re in great shape—seven seems to be the magic number for sleep, according to new preliminary research.

You may already know that skimping on shuteye is associated with a number of problems. Your ability to focus and your reflexes are impaired, which can lead to accidents and decreased productivity. Then, there’s a whole host of physical changes that occur when you’re sleep deprived. For instance, your metabolism slows down and your body pumps out more ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and less leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, putting you at an increased risk for obesity and diabetes.

That’s enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head! But researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that too much sleep is not good for you either. In fact, it seems to impair memory and brain function.

Using data collected from 120,000 nurses who are part of the Nurse’s Health Study, the researchers found that those who logged less than five or more than nine hours of slumber per night scored lower on cognitive tests than those who slept around seven. (They presented their findings at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.) That means that logging the right amount of sleep may help keep your brain sharp and potentially protect against dementia as you get older.
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Rest May be Key to Boosting and Retaining Memory, Study Shows

When it comes to improving your memory, experts say it’s all about rest.

A new study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, suggests that taking breaks is more effective for boosting memory than other traditional methods like caffeine and mental exercises.

As reported by CNN, researchers gathered a small group of “normally aging” elderly men and women, and asked them to recount as many details from two stories as they could.

Following the first story, participants were asked to relax and close their eyes in a dark room for 10 minutes. Researchers then asked participants to point out the differences in several pairs of near identical images.

Researchers found that overall, participants recounted far more details after they had rested; and that their memory boost held up even a full week after the initial trial.

Previous research has showed that small periods of rest – even a few minutes – are beneficial to both memory and alertness. But this new study points to the effectiveness of short periods of rest for “long-term memory consolidation.”

Research fellow and lead study author, Michaela Dewar, points out that when we first encounter new information, we’re likely in an early stage of memory formation. “Further neural processes have to occur after this stage for us to be able to remember this information at a later point in time,” she said.
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Too-Mature Television May Be Keeping Your Kid Up at Night

Getting our kids to bed can be one of the biggest battles of parenthood. The issue starts from day one and really never ends until they’re adults. An interesting new study shows why some small children may not be getting the amount sleep they need for optimum health. The culprit may be in the form of a masked hero.

Katie Moisse reported for ABC News concerning a sleep-related study that was published in the journal Pediatrics. The study revealed that among the 565 preschool-age children whose sleep habits were monitored, those who were only allowed to watch age-appropriate educational television were less likely to have sleep issues than those who were allowed to watch programs with fighting superheroes or other rambunctious scenes intended for an older audience.

Moisse interviewed the author of the study, Michelle Garrison from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Garrison explained theories about these findings, one major hypothesis being that children exposed to less violence may suffer fewer nightmares and find it easier to fall asleep.

Previous studies back up Garrison and her team’s theories, as there have been numerous links to violence and poor sleep patterns in the past. Poor sleep can also raise a child’s risk of behavioral and emotional problems.
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Too Little Sleep May Weaken Our Body’s Response to Vaccines

Sleep has remained the focus of numerous studies recently, including a new report from the University of California, San Francisco that suggests a lack of sleep may reduce the efficacy of vaccines.

As reported by TIME, authors of the study claim this is the first “real-world” look at the connection between the amount of sleep we get and our immune response to vaccines.

The study took place outside of a traditional lab setting and instead tracked participants in their ‘day-to-day’ sleep patterns outside of a controlled environment. Participants were middle-aged and researchers studied how their bodies reacted to a ‘standard three-dose hepatitis B’ vaccine.

Findings revealed that those who got less than six hours of sleep a night on average fared much worse than those who slept more when it came to antibody response. In fact, they were found 11.5 times more likely to be unprotected by an immunization.

Lead author Dr. Aric Prather pointed out that this study shows concrete evidence of a connection between inadequate sleep and being more prone to infectious disease.
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