Army H.e.a.l.t.h. Arsenal
April, 2016

The Pzizz app is designed to help users slip gently into sleep using a combination of music, words, sound effects and binaural beats to help you de-stress and re-energize. Once users set a listening duration (10 minutes to 10 hours), pzizz generates a unique sleeping soundtrack for you every time from its library of built-in media.

Users can adjust the volume levels of music, sound effects and vocal tracks to achieve the desired effects, and with more than 10 billion possible combinations of audio elements.

The app is available for free in the app store for iPhone and Android.

Sleep Corner

The Effect of Video Games and Social Media on Teen Sleep

Teens who play video games or use social media before bed tend to go to bed later, take longer to fall asleep, and experience less deep sleep, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study found that teens, who are especially prone to stay up late, may turn to gaming or social media when they are trying to wind down. Unfortunately, using this kind of technology before bed leads to just the opposite result. The authors of the study speculate that the addictive nature of the games may lead teens to staying up later even when they feel sleepy.

Teens who spent time with family before bed experienced earlier bedtimes and longer sleep duration. Sleep experts recommend that TVs and gaming consoles be kept out of the bedroom altogether, but often this is not feasible for many families. A more realistic goal would be setting a time limit for gaming or a time when the games must be put away.

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How can I minimize the effects of jet lag?

Whether you are a Soldier who is traveling to or living in a different time zone, or someone who simply vacationing for a week or two, everyone is likely to experience jet lag at some point in their life. In addition to experiencing a foggy, less alert state of mind, jet lag can also negatively affect our physical bodies as well.

According to the National Sleep Foundation,

“studies have shown that [jet lag] actually results from an imbalance in our body's natural "biological clock" caused by traveling to different time zones. Basically, our bodies work on a 24-hour cycle called "circadian rhythms ." These rhythms are measured by the distinct rise and fall of body temperature, plasma levels of certain hormones and other biological conditions. All of these are influenced by our exposure to sunlight and help determine when we sleep and when we wake.”

Symptoms of jet lag can include: disturbed sleep, insomnia, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating or functioning at your normal cognitive level, constipation, diarrhea, a general feeling of not being well, and mood changes. You are likely to experience symptoms on the day you travel and the next few days after arriving. Depending on how big the time difference and how long you are there, you may need to consult a sleep specialist pertaining the best method of overcoming jet lag. Some people may require medical intervention, while others may find relief using behavioral and environmental changes only.

What to do about it

Although it is impossible to eliminate jet lag altogether, there are some behavioral adjustments you can make to help blunt the impact:

  • Select a flight that arrives early in the evening and make yourself stay up until    at least 10:00 pm the night before you leave.

  • Starting one week before your trip, adjust your sleep/wake time by one hour to    match with time zone in your travel destination.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine 3-4 hours before your desired bedtime.

  • Stay hydrated.

  • Bring earplugs and an eye mask to help block noise and sunlight on the plane
       and once in your new time zone.

  • Get as much sunlight as possible (without burning) once at your destination.
       Sunlight helps regulate your natural circadian rhythm.

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    I think I suffer from insomnia…what are the signs?

    A. When most people think of insomnia, they imagine someone tossing and turning throughout a sleepless night. While this is true, difficulty falling asleep is but one of four symptoms generally associated with insomnia. The others include waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed.

    According to the National Sleep Foundation, causes of insomnia can range from medical (e.g. nasal/allergies, asthma, neurological conditions) to psychiatric (anxiety, tension, feeling overwhelmed). It is important that you seek help from a medical professional if you feel you are suffering from insomnia. Sleep problems may represent a symptom of depression, and the risk of severe insomnia is much higher in patients with major depressive disorders. Studies show that insomnia can also trigger or worsen depression.

    Mindful Moment

    Deep breathing exercises can help you relax and fall asleep more quickly. Most people take short quick breaths. To ensure a deep breath, put your hand on your belly and feel the rise and fall as you breathe in deep. Slowly take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale. Try this when you lay down to go to sleep.

    Bottom Line

    Creating and maintaining a regular sleep pattern is essential for peak mental and physical performance. When traveling to a different time zone, taking a few extra steps can help you recover from jet lag much quicker. Another group especially susceptible to sleep disruptions are teens. Recent research has shown the negative effect of video games and social media on teen sleep quality and quantity. One of the best ways to help teens avoid these types of sleep disruptions is to not allow TVs in the bedroom altogether and to put a limit on social media usage.

    Being able to recognize the signs of insomnia is important. Insomnia doesn’t just include trouble falling asleep. It may also present itself in the form of daytime sleepiness or frequent awakenings once you’ve already fallen asleep. If not recognized and treated, insomnia can lead to depression. Make sure that you seek help from a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of insomnia.

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    Featured Recipe: Blueberry Banana Parfait

    This blueberry banana parfait is not only healthy and delicious, but it may help you sleep better. Tryptophan (in the yogurt) is an amino acid that makes you feel drowsy. This is why you often get sleep after eating turkey, as turkey is a good source of tryptophan too. Magnesium in the banana helps muscles to relax. Magnesium has also been shown to help reduce anxiety, muscle cramps, and a host of other things. Check out this article for more.

  • 1 C non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt, divided
  • 1/3 C blueberry flax granola, divided
  • 1/2 C fresh blueberries, divided
  • 1/2 ripe banana, divided

  • Assemble the parfait by placing half of the Greek yogurt into the bottom of a glass. Next add a layer of granola followed by a layer of blueberries and banana, then repeat.

    Nutrition Information:
    Servings: 1      Calories: 339      Carbs: 48g      Fiber: 5g      Sugar: 24g                Fat: 4g            Protein: 25g        Sodium: 141mg     

    Featured Exercise: Core and Abs

    Featured Recipe adapted from The Casual Craftlete.