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National Sleep Foundation Sponsors Mom 2.0 Summit

Furniture World News Desk on 5/4/2014

Trusted sleep authority the National Sleep Foundation says it furthered its mission to educate the public about the importance of a good night’s sleep by sponsoring the recent seventh annual “Mom 2.0 Summit,” at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, in Atlanta, GA.

National Sleep Foundation spokeswoman Natalie Dautovich, Ph.D. presented revolutionary research findings about the science of sleep and discuss the critical role sleep plays in health and wellness at the Mom 2.0 Summit, a sold-out professional conference that brought together more than 550 leading bloggers, women entrepreneurs, and marketers representing the parenting, entertainment, food, politics, technology, social change, business, travel, design and related categories.

Dr. Dautovich addressed the Mom 2.0 Summit  on “The Art of Sleeping: How To Turn Good Nights Into Great Days.”

“New findings in sleep science underscore the fact that sleep is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and plays a critical role in our brain health,” points out Dr. Dautovich, the National Sleep Foundation’s Environmental Scholar. “New research published this fall in the journal Science suggests that sleep may serve a vital ‘housekeeping’ role, giving the brain a daily ‘tune-up’ that flushes away the day’s waste during the night so you wake up refreshed.

“Recent research highlights the amazing benefits of sleep for our health,” Dr. Dautovich adds. “The past year has seen exciting advances in sleep science, with dramatic new studies giving us an even greater understanding of both the function and benefits of sleep.”

Dr. Dautovich discussed a number of highlights from recent sleep research during the Mom 2.0 Summit, including new findings that help to explain why humans devote roughly one-third of their lives to sleep. “For the first time, researchers at the University of Rochester have been able to demonstrate direct, experimental evidence of sleep’s most basic purpose, to ‘clean’ the brain of harmful toxins and restore proper cognitive functioning,” she explains. “The researchers centered on the role of microscopic, fluid-filled channels that clear toxins from the brain. The system, dubbed the ‘glymphatic system,’ works in a manner similar to the body’s lymphatic system, by removing waste-laden cerebrospinal fluid from the brain.”

According to Dr. Dautovich, researchers injected colored dye into the brains of mice and tracked the flow of cerebrospinal fluid when the mice were asleep and when they were awake. “Researchers found that channels carrying cerebrospinal fluid expanded by 60 percent when the mice were asleep compared to when they were awake, indicating a greater ‘cleaning’ effect during sleep. The results suggest that sleep may play an important housekeeping role by increasing our ability to clean the brain and restore its functioning. Without this cleaning, harmful toxins can accumulate which could have negative consequences for cognitive functioning.”

A second area of research that Dr. Dautovich addressed at the Mom 2.0 Summit is the link between sleep and obesity. “Recent research highlights the amazing benefits of sleep to our health,” Dr. Dautovich points out. “Poor sleep continues to be tied to numerous negative mental and physical health outcomes, and evidence supports a link between sleep loss and obesity but until now, the mechanisms underlying the association have not been clear. A recent study suggests that a lack of proper sleep affects our ability to make healthy food choices. The results point to brain mechanisms by which insufficient sleep may lead to the development and maintenance of obesity.

“A third new area of research points to the value of sleep in maintaining our relationships, with insufficient sleep linked to decreased ability to resolve conflicts and accurately assess a partner’s emotions,” Dr. Dautovich continues. “Researchers found that a poor night’s sleep was associated with more relationship conflicts the following day.”

Recent findings from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2014 Sleep In America Poll highlight the importance of routine and prioritizing sleep for the modern family, according to Dr. Dautovich. “The 2014 Sleep In America Poll showed that there is a need to prioritize sleep in modern families and empower parents to promote sleep health in their homes,” she relates. “The Sleep In America Poll revealed that there is a need for parents to focus on sleep-related rules and set regular routines. A recent study demonstrated that seven-year-old children with more regular bedtimes performed better on cognitive tests. Furthermore, changing from non-regular to regular bedtimes was associated with decreased behavioral problems in seven-year-old children.”

Dr. Dautovich also spoke about  the role of the bedroom environment in achieving deep, sound and restful sleep. “The recent advances in the science of sleep concerning brain functioning, body health, relationships and cognitive behavioral functioning in children underscore the value of creating a bedroom environment that promotes good sleep,” she comments. “More than ever, there is a need to ‘turn good nights into great days.’ A bedroom environment that is conducive to sleep by promoting relaxation and comfort aids these efforts.

“The immediate bedroom environment has the most direct impact on our sleep, by affecting our ability to relax our minds and bodies,” Dr. Dautovich adds. “The transition from waking to sleeping is enhanced by having a bedroom environment that is comfortable, dark, quiet and cool.

“Comfortable bedroom furnishings can be the foundation for a good night’s sleep,” she says, noting that the National Sleep Foundation and its Official Licensed Products program are helping people create bedrooms that contain all of the essential elements for a restorative night’s sleep. “Bedroom comfort is based in part on the quality of bedding, such as mattresses, bed pillows and mattress toppers,” she remarks. “Comfortable beds ease the transition into sleep. The overall ambiance of the bedroom is important for cueing calmness and relaxation: pillow and mattress protectors can play a powerful role in creating a healthy sleep environment by protecting against allergens and irritants that could disrupt sleep. Also, using pleasing scents in the bedroom can have a powerful effect on our mood and behavior.

“Light is another environmental factor that plays an important role in our sleep,” Dr. Dautovich continues. “Even small amounts of light at night time can disrupt the release of melatonin, and consequently interfere with our sleep. Therefore, minimizing exposure to light through the use of room-darkening window coverings can help to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.”

The level of internal and external noise in a room is another factor that can have a negative impact on sleep, Dr. Dautovich notes. “Sounds at night, particularly unfamiliar sounds, can disrupt sleep, and consequently we awake feeling un-refreshed and experience sleepiness and fatigue during the day,” she says. “It is very difficult to eliminate sounds completely from the bedroom, but using a sound conditioner can be an effective method to provide a uniform, familiar sound that can assist with sleep onset and maintenance.”

National Sleep Foundation chief executive officer David M. Cloud states that participating in the Mom 2.0 Summit helps advance the NSF’s objectives to educate consumers about the importance of sleep and how to create a bedroom environment that is conducive to a better night’s sleep.

“As part of our continuing effort to spread our message that creating the perfect bedroom environment can help families sleep better, the National Sleep Foundation is pleased to be hosting a suite at the Mom 2.0 Summit, the premier event for established ‘mommy bloggers’ and social media influencers,” Cloud continues. “We will offer a number of talks by sleep health experts; and representatives from our Official Licensed Product Partners—including Serta, Marpac and Pure Care—will be in the suite to mingle, network and discuss bedroom products with the attending bloggers.”

Official Products of the National Sleep Foundation include Perfect Sleeper mattresses by Serta; Live Comfortably bed pillows and mattress toppers by Hollander Sleep Products; Sound Asleep room darkening curtains by Ellery Homestyles; Pure Care mattress, box spring and pillow protectors by Fabrictech; Dohm sound conditioners by Marpac; and Febreze Sleep Serenity scents. The National Sleep Foundation and its Official Licensed Product partners work together to disseminate information about better sleep through a series of consumer brochures, marketing and merchandising programs, all of which offer consumers a wide variety of sleep informational tips designed to help achieve a better night’s sleep. Brochures offering sleep tips and information are distributed to consumers in Official Licensed Products packages sold through leading retailers.

Participation in the Mom 2.0 Summit is the latest in a series of educational activities undertaken by the National Sleep Foundation in its ongoing efforts to educate the public about the health benefits of sleep. The NSF website, www.sleepfoundation.org, is a top destination for sleep information. 

About The National Sleep Foundation: The National Sleep Foundation is dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. It is well-known for its annual Sleep in America® poll. The Foundation is a charitable, educational and scientific not-for-profit organization located in Washington, DC. Its membership includes researchers and clinicians focused on sleep medicine, health professionals, patients, families affected by drowsy driving and more than 900 healthcare facilities. To find out more about the National Sleep Foundation, visit www.sleepfoundation.org.