Sleep Disorders: How to Overcome Them and Get a Better Night’s Rest

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In a perfect world, everybody would get 8 blissful hours of restful sleep a night. But as people with sleep disorders know all-too-well, those nighttime hours can be filled with tossing, turning and other issues that can prevent us from waking up refreshed and ready to go. According to the Centers for Disease Control, somewhere between 50 and 70 million adults in the United States have some sort of sleep disorder. These can range from snoring and insomnia to sleep deprivation and other issues. Here are just a few ways to help correct your sleeping disorder:

Sleep Cycles 101

As we sleep, we are doing much more than lying in bed having the occasional dream. Our brains actually go through four stages of sleep during the night, and a full cycle takes about 100 minutes, notes World of Lucid Dreaming.

  • The first stage, called NREM Stage 1, is a light sleep that can cause us to experience odd, jerky motions.
  • NREM Stage 2 features a loss of muscle tone, so we are unable to act out the sometimes wacky stuff we are experiencing in our dreams.
  • In NREM Stage 3, most outside noises and stimuli will not cause us to easily wake up, and dreams do not occur during this time.
  • The final stage, REM, is when dreams take place.

People who sleep an average of 8 hours a night typically go through five sleep cycles, but sleep disorders like insomnia can cause these cycles to be disturbed.

Reasons for Sleep Disorders

Sleep problems are caused by a variety of reasons, states WebMD. In the case of acute or short-term insomnia, stress can be the culprit as can being under the weather or environmental factors. Sleep deprivation, as its name implies, is caused by not getting enough sleep, and this can be due to issues like insomnia or staying up late to finish a project.

In order to try to get the best night’s sleep possible, it’s important to find ways to overcome sleep issues and practice good pre-sleeping habits. In the case of insomnia, the following tips and ideas can help:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety: Since feeling stressed about retirement, work, money, relationships and a myriad of other things can interfere with getting to sleep, Psychology Today notes that it is important to take steps to reduce these negative feelings. For example, use breathing and muscle relaxation exercises to help clear your mind, to have your body relax and to get your body ready for sleep. Also, try writing down whatever is bothering you, and set aside a specific time of the day for worrying. If you find yourself fretting over having enough savings for your retirement at 2 a.m., remind yourself that you can worry about it at 10 the next morning, and then practice deep breathing until you fall back asleep.
  • Make your bedroom snooze-worthy: In order to have a fighting chance to get to sleep, you have to make your room as conducive to slumber as possible. According to the Mayo Clinic, for most people this will mean a room that is quiet, dark and on the cool side. If your spouse is struggling with a sleep issue like snoring, wear earplugs and use a fan for additional white noise. If the morning sun starts to peek through the windows super early or you have a street light near your bedroom window, purchase window treatments that will keep the room as dark as possible.

Although these suggestions may not completely cure your insomnia, they are good health and sleep habits to implement into your lifestyle. And hopefully, they will lead to some restful sleep.

This article is from Alison Stanton, a freelance writer for the past 14 years. Based in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Alison enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, but especially loves meeting interesting people and telling their stories. 

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Featured Link — Apps for Nurses

Here’s a interesting site intended for nurses, but helpful for almost anyone. It has a list of smartphone apps that the site believes all nurses should have.

I found a few that I added to my phone, and I hope you do also.

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Taking Action: 7 Steps After a Loved One’s Wrongful Death

Taking Action 7 Steps After a Loved Ones Wrongful DeathA family that has lost a loved one because of the negligence of a third party is faced with what is faced with the prospect of pursuing what is called a wrongful death claim. The death of someone due to the negligence of someone else is classified as a wrongful death. Certain family members have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim against the negligent third party — an individual or business.

In order to protect rights associated with a wrongful death claim, certain action must be undertaken. There are seven steps that need to be taken in the aftermath of a wrongful death.

Contact Insurance Company of Negligent Party

In order to cover all the bases in the aftermath of a wrongful death of a family member, contact must be made with the insurance company of the negligent party. If a claim is to be filed with an insurance company, a person needs to be mindful of the deadline for doing so.

Identify Witnesses

Following a wrongful death, a person needs to make sure that all relevant witnesses are identified. For example, if an automobile accident caused the wrongful death, witnesses to the collision need to be identified.

Gather Contact Information and Statements from Witnesses

According to a Collingwood lawyer, Robert H. Littlejohn, once witnesses are identified, a person needs to obtain comprehensive contact information for these individuals. This includes street addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. If at all possible, secondary contact information should be obtained that includes the name, address, phone number and email address of another individual who will be able to locate the witness.

Collect and Secure Other Evidence

Following a wrongful death, other relevant evidence must be collected and secured. Turning again to the example of a car accident, photos of the automobiles and the accident scene (if at all possible) represent examples of other evidence that should be collected.

Obtain Medical Records

Medical records need to be obtained and secured as well. Although wrongful death centers on the losses sustained by the loved ones of a person who was killed because of someone else’s negligence, the deceased individual’s medical records are relevant.

Collect Bills Associated with Last Medical Treatment and Last Expenses

In a similar vein, the bills associated with medical treatment and last expenses need to be marshalled as well. Keep in mind that loved ones many times end up paying funeral and related expenses, which represents a loss they can obtain compensation for in a wrongful death action.

Contact and Consult an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Following a wrongful death, a loved one of a deceased person needs to contact a qualified attorney. An initial consultation can be scheduled, typically at no cost to a potential client. An experienced attorney can help you get a little justice for the loss of your loved one and make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve.

The bottom line, is that there is nothing that can truly be done to bring your loved one back from the dead. You may feel that they have been taken from you unjustly and you have every right to feel that way. By following these steps above, hopefully you will be able to find a little justice for the one who was taken from you and allow yourself to grieve a little easier.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

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Smoking May Make Psoriatic Arthritis Worse

MedPage Today reports that according to a study published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, “patients with psoriatic arthritis who smoke have worse patient-reported disease features at baseline and don’t respond as well as nonsmokers to anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) treatment.” The 1,388-patient study revealed that “current smokers had higher patient global scores on a 100-mm visual analog scale compared with patients who had never smoked (72 mm versus 68 mm), higher scores for fatigue (72 mm versus 63 mm), and worse functional status on the Health Assessment Questionnaire (1.1 versus 1, P<0.05 for all).” In addition, smokers “had lower rates of response on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20% and 50% improvement criteria at six months (24% versus 33% and 17% versus 24%, P<0.05 for both).”

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

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Medications to Increase HDL Cholesterol May Not Help Reduce Deaths or Heart Attacks

Reuters reports that research published in BMJ suggests that medications designed to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol may not help to reduce deaths, heart attacks, or strokes. Investigators came to this conclusion after analyzing data from 39 randomized trials.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

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All You Need to Know About Astigmatism

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Astigmatism is an extremely common eye condition, affecting about one in every three Americans, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It’s also said to be one of the most misunderstood vision problems. Even the name is often confused, with many people referring to it as having “a stigmatism,” rather than “an astigmatism.”

Some other interesting stats you can throw out come from a study conducted by the Ohio State University School of Optometry. Researchers found that 37 percent of Hispanic children have an astigmatism while 34 percent of Asian children, 26 percent of white children and 20 percent of African-American children have it. Why it affects certain ethnicities more than others is still unknown.

No matter what the cause, as the problem begins early in life, scheduling an eye exam is important. How many times have you heard a story about a child failing miserably at school only to learn that it was caused by not being able to see the board?

The good news is that no matter what your age, if you discover you have an astigmatism, it can be corrected with glasses, contacts or even laser surgery.

What Is an Astigmatism Exactly?

Astigmatism, like nearsightedness and farsightedness, is a refractive error and not an eye disease or health issue. The problem is that the eye does not focus light evenly on the retina in order to produce clear vision. Instead, multiple focus points occur either behind or in front of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue found at the back of the eye.

Furthermore, the cornea of a normal eye is curved similar to a basketball with the same degree of roundness all the way around. But, an eye with astigmatism has a cornea that looks more like a football. Some areas of the cornea may be more rounded or steeper than other areas, causing images to appear blurry.

Some of the symptoms of astigmatism include eyestrain, squinting, blurred vision at any distance, headaches and difficulty driving at night.

Myopic Astigmatism

There are three main types of astigmatism. With myopic astigmatism, one or both of the eye’s principal meridians are nearsighted. A meridian is a line that bisects a circle or a curve that bisects a sphere, like an eyeball.

Refractive surgery such as LASIK surgery can correct a myopic astigmatism, although you don’t need to resort to this expensive procedure. While it was previously considered difficult to correct the problem with contact lenses, these days there are many contact lenses available such as Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism. Eyeglasses also can help to correct myopic astigmatism, so if you’re going for that sexy nerd look, the right pair can help you achieve it.

Hyperopic Astigmatism

With this condition, one or both principal meridians of the eye are farsighted. Hyperopic astigmatism can be treated in a variety of ways, but is most commonly treated with contact lenses or reading glasses. Surgical options are also available, but according to some experts it requires customized treatment, says Healio.

At a 2011 Italian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting, Ugo Cimberle noted that for successful laser treatment of hyperopic astigmatism, customized treatment using specific laser software is mandatory. Before making the decision to undergo this type of treatment, it’s important to find a physician that is highly experienced in correcting this particular condition.

Mixed Astigmatism

Mixed astigmatism is just what it sounds like: one principal meridian is nearsighted while the other is farsighted.

Treating this condition with LASIK is often successful, although it is less predictable than a simple nearsighted astigmatism. As the surgery is more challenging, it’s important to do plenty of research in order to make the best decision. Eyeglasses or contact lenses also are effective treatment methods.

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Texas Insurance Regulators Let Stand 75 Percent Increase in Long-Term Care Premiums

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Long-term care insurance can be a vital part of an older person’s financial planning. It’s never been cheap, but now Texas regulators are going to allow at least one company to raise premiums by 75%.

The story was detailed in an article in the Dallas Morning News. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Two families are calling out the Texas Department of Insurance for not protecting ratepayers hit with a 75 percent increase in their premiums for long-term care insurance.

They raise a valid question. Is the Texas Department of Insurance an ally of the insurance industry or an ally of consumers? Is the agency so limited in its powers granted by lawmakers that it can’t stop rising costs?

Texas granted a 75 percent increase, compared with other states that approved a 20 or 25 percent increase when requested by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America.

Texas regulators approved the company’s higher request with an understanding that the company will not come back for more. In states where smaller increases were approved, Allianz could come back and request further premium increases. If that happens, policyholders can choose to maintain their current premium without an increase or pay a reduced premium, both of which would trigger a reduction in benefits. The choice is up to the policyholders if they want to reduce benefits.

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Senators Gillibrand, Schumer Urge FDA to Pull Power Morcellators From Market

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Modern Healthcare reports in continuing coverage that the two Democratic US senators from New York, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are asking the FDA to pull from the market laparoscopic morcellators “until regulators have further studied the technology’s potential to spread cancer during uterine surgery.” The article notes the two lawmakers urged the agency in a letter “citing a 2012 PLOS ONE study conducted at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston showing ‘a risk of malignant tumor dissemination nine times greater than is currently communicated to patients.’” The FDA is currently reviewing comments “on whether it should take regulatory action” over risks posed by the devices. The comment period ended Aug. 19.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is September 27

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The Drug Enforcement Agency is sponsoring a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, scheduled for September 27, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

On that day you can take medications to various locations for safe disposal. This is much better than throwing pills in the trash or flushing them down the toilet.

Please visit this page to find a location near you.

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Proposed Legislative “Pay-Fors” Will Limit Claimants Access to Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits

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From the latest news release of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives:

House Republicans are proposing a number of potential “pay-fors” for the “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act” (ABLE Act), H.R. 647 and S. 313, which is currently pending a House vote. The bill would allow the creation of tax-exempt ABLE accounts to assist some individuals with disabilities in building accounts to pay for qualified disability expenses. This is a positive new opportunity for people with disabilities. The bills have significant bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress (74 Senators and 379 Representatives).

One of the House proposed pay-fors includes a provision to remove the existing percentage and dollar caps on the user fee that SSA charges claimants’ representatives for processing of representative fee payments and to significantly increase that fee; to end SSA’s twenty-state Single Decisionmaker pilot; and to end SSA’s ten-state Reconsideration Elimination pilot. NOSSCR strongly opposes these three proposals.

The user fee proposal would eliminate the current percentage and dollar caps and allow SSA to charge a user fee “sufficient to achieve full recover of the costs of determining and certifying fees under this section.” In 2012, it was estimated that this amount was approximately $225 per payment. The proposal, as currently written, does not limit the potential user fee by any percentage or cap. This provision would clearly significantly reduce the pool of qualified and experienced representatives to help claimants navigate the complicated disability determination process. We know that this would have a significant detrimental impact on your ability to continue practicing in this area and representing claimants. Claimants and beneficiaries would be harmed without access to qualified and experienced representatives, which would result in many more denials and terminations.

The other two proposals would raise revenue because it is expected that under each, the number of denials at the reconsideration level would increase, and a significant percentage of those denials would not be appealed.

While we support the goal of the ABLE Act, we cannot support these pay-fors, specifically the proposal to eliminate the caps on the user fee because of the important role that representatives play in ensuing access to Social Security Disability and SSI benefits, and the harm caused to claimants who will have to proceed unrepresented.

NOSSCR and other organizations who are members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities are working with Congressional staff to mobilize our supporters in Congress to urge them to reject these proposed pay-fors because they will significantly delay and reduce access to Social Security disability benefits, SSI, and related health insurance under Medicare and Medicaid for individuals with disabilities who urgently need these vital benefits. We wanted to let you know that NOSSCR is participating in these delicate negotiations.

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