Sleep Information Website Says Earlier Black Friday Hours Actually Benefit Shoppers

Sleep Information Website Says Earlier Black Friday Hours Actually Benefit Shoppers

Every year it seems the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, otherwise known as Black Friday, comes earlier. It started with stores opening at ridiculously early hours on the Friday after Thanksgiving, trying to lure shoppers with low prices. Then, in the last few years, those same stores started opening at midnight on Friday. This year, the sales are starting so early that Black Friday won’t begin on Friday at all. Instead, the sales will start on Thursday, with a number of stores opening at eight or nine o’clock on Thanksgiving day. According to premier online sleep news and information website SleepBetter.org, this is a big benefit for sleep-deprived consumers.

Setting aside complaints that this frenzy of consumerism is invading a beloved holiday, as well as the labor unrest caused by the additional working hours, there is a silver lining for shoppers — they may not lose as much sleep if they want to participate in the big shopping frenzy.

Shoppers who head out to the stores at eight or nine o’clock in the evening and return around 10 or 11 p.m. can make up any lost sleep by staying in bed an extra hour or so the next day. That scenario is preferable in terms of health and safety (as shoppers drive drowsy on the way home) to shoppers getting up at three o’clock in the morning and shopping until 10 a.m.

Shoppers who DO feel the need to set the alarm for “oh dark thirty” in order to get a great deal on a flat panel TV (for instance), like many said they would in SleepBetter’s 2010 Thanksgiving shopping survey, should use these tips to try to minimize the impact of the lost sleep:

  • It’s not necessary to lose sleep to get a good deal. Shopping online from home (and at a reasonable hour) can yield some great deals as well. Many online retailers are offering free shipping during the holiday season.
  • Shoppers who MUST be up in the middle of the night should plan ahead. Sleeping a little extra for a couple of nights before the big event can help minimize the sleep debt accrued on Black Friday.
  • Making time for a nap after shopping can help eliminate some of the sleep debt accrued on Black Friday. Waiting until late in the day for that nap can be counter-productive, however, as it can make sleep difficult that night.
  • Caffeine is useful, but should be used wisely. Having a cup of coffee during the shopping frenzy or later in the morning (or both) isn’t a big deal. However, don’t drink it the late afternoon or evening, as it may make sleep difficult that night.

In short, SleepBetter doesn’t recommend giving up sleep for shopping, but those who do should try to make up the sleep debt as soon as possible. For more sleep news and advice, visit SleepBetter.org and use the search bar at the top of the site.

About SleepBetter.org
Created by Carpenter Co., SleepBetter.org is dedicated to helping people sleep better. Designed as an online resource, the website creates a forum for visitors to define, discuss and discover solutions to fit their particular sleep needs. SleepBetter.org’s quest is to continually gather pertinent sleep information, then share this knowledge with the general public. The site also shares tips on the best sleep-related products, both in stores and online. SleepBetter.org has created the SleepBetter seal as a way to easily identify products recommended for their superior quality or scientifically based design. For more information, please visit www.SleepBetter.org.

Sheltering Arms Celebrates 20 Years of Golfers Overcoming Disability to Continue Playing Their Favorite Sport

Sheltering Arms Celebrates 20 Years of Golfers Overcoming Disability to Continue Playing Their Favorite Sport

(Richmond, VA) – Nearly every weekend, golf tournaments are held in the Richmond area.  For the most part, they’re very similar – participants are competing to have the best score, have fun, and perhaps win prizes.  A non-profit organization may also be involved.  The 20th Annual Different Strokes Golf Extravaganza from Sheltering Arms has had all these features for two decades, plus one more very important one: participants who had to work hard for the ability to walk or use their limbs, let alone play golf.

The Different Strokes Golf Extravaganza, to be held at the nine-hole Lake Course at Windy Hill Golf and Sports Complex, has an usual requirement.  Each foursome participating in the tourney must include one golfer who is disabled.  The event highlights Sheltering Arms’ therapy programs, as well as the hard work demonstrated by individuals who just wanted to get back to playing their favorite sport.

Many of the disabled participants in the tournament are enrolled in an innovative program from Sheltering Arms that uses golf as a therapy sport. The Adaptive Golf Program works with individuals who are disabled due to injury or disease, teaching them the Power to Overcome their disabilities and start playing golf.  In some cases, they’re learning the game as beginners, and some cases they already know the game but need to learn how to overcome disability to start playing again.

“Golf is an outstanding therapy sport, as it gets people moving and focused on a goal,” said Sheltering Arms President Jim Sok.  “Not only does it promote increased flexibility, mobility in the joints, and higher metabolism … it’s a lot of fun.”

One of the many tools available to participants in the Adaptive Golf Program is the Paragolfer™, a unique mobility aid that not only gives disabled golfers an easy way to get around the course, but also brings them to a standing position to strike the ball.  At least two Paragolfer units will be available for use by golfers during the golf tournament.  The units are owned by Windy Hill and can be used by golfers who have been fully trained in their operation.

The Different Strokes Golf Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, October 27, with registration at 12:00 noon and a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m.  The fee for an individual is $45.  Each participant will receive lunch before the tournament and a desert reception afterward.  For more information, contact Valerie Newman at (804) 764-5275.

About Sheltering Arms
Sheltering Arms helps patients find the Power to Overcome the obstacles of illness and injury with a complete range of physical rehabilitation and wellness services.  To learn more about Sheltering Arms’ two hospitals and nine outpatient clinics visit http://www.ShelteringArms.com, call 1-877-56-REHAB, or connect with Sheltering Arms on Facebook or Twitter.

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SleepBetter.org: Sleeping Better Can Make Cold and Flu Season Much Easier

SleepBetter.org: Sleeping Better Can Make Cold and Flu Season Much Easier

As we move further into fall, we’re all seeing more signs offering flu shots.  While these shots are a great idea and can protect you from the misery of influenza, there’s something simpler (and free) that can add to their effectiveness: sleep.

With cold and flu season around the corner, making sure you get a good night’s sleep every night (as you should all year `round) is one of the best moves you can make to help yourself stay healthy.

For years, scientists have worked to try to understand how sleep improves the immune system or, on the flip side, lack of sleep compromises it.  Non-scientists, however, only need to know that to decrease our chances of getting sick, we should stay well rested.  For those who need more proof, however, here is some research into the matter:

• A recent study at the University of California found that lack of sleep can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.  In their study, which looked at the Hepatitis B vaccine, participants who slept fewer than six hours on average per night were far less likely to mount antibody responses to the vaccine and thus were far more likely (11.5 times) to be unprotected by the vaccine than people who slept more than seven hours on average.  While the study did not focus on the flu shot, it’s something to consider if you want to be as fully protected as possible.

• A 2009 Carnegie Mellon University study of 153 men and women showed that those who slept fewer than seven hours on average per night were about three times more likely to develop a cold than those with at least eight hours of sleep daily.

• The same study in 2009 found that those who spent 92% of their time in bed asleep were five and a half times more likely to develop a common cold than those who spent 98% or more of their time in bed sleeping.  In short, quality time in bed matters more than quantity.

While we’d all love more time off to can lay in bed guilt-free, being sick isn’t much fun — just one more reason to take a good look at how you’re sleeping, and how you can improve your nightly rest.

About Carpenter Co. / SleepBetter.org
SleepBetter.org is dedicated to helping people sleep better. Designed as an online resource, the web site creates a forum for visitors to define, discuss, and discover solutions to their particular sleep needs. SleepBetter.org’s quest is to continually gather pertinent sleep information, then share this knowledge with the general public. The site also shares tips on the best sleep related products, both in stores and online. SleepBetter.org has created the Sleep Better seal as a way to easily identify products recommended for their superior quality or scientifically based design. Created by Carpenter Co., the world’s largest producer of comfort cushioning products, SleepBetter.org provides information and advice that visitors can use to sleep better. For more information, please visit http://SleepBetter.org.

FDA Week: Pediatric Rare Disease Group Works To Advance Clinical Research Bill

FDA Week: Pediatric Rare Disease Group Works To Advance Clinical Research Bill

The following article about the National Pediatric Research Network Act (NPRN) was posted in this week’s edition of the Washington newsletter FDA Week:

 

Bipartisan legislation aimed at expanding the National Institutes of Health’s investments in pediatric research through the creation of pediatric research consortia could work with newly enacted provisions in the FDA Safety and Innovation Act aimed at accelerating drug approvals, according to an advocacy group spearheading the effort. FightSMA, the group backing the legislation, is pushing for the House Energy and Commerce Committee to take up the bill when it returns from August recess.

The National Pediatric Research Network Act, introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Lois Capps (D-CA), directs NIH to establish a National Pediatric Research Network consisting of up to 20 pediatric research consortia over a five year period that would be eligible for awards, including grants, for basic, clinical, behavioral or translational research to meet unmet pediatric population needs, including rare diseases.

The legislation is aimed at improving clinical trials to quickly move promising drugs to approval, said Steven Eichenauer, a partner at Public Strategies Washington, who is working with FightSMA to pass the legislation.

Eichenauer added the bill would bolster research that could utilize the recently expanded accelerated approval pathway, a provision in FDASIA. He said the National Pediatric Research Network Act would help put drugs in the pipeline that can then be sent to FDA for approval, providing “a supply of newly minted therapies that have shown promise in clinical trials and are now before FDA.”

The bill would ensure these consortia focus on conducting or coordinating multisite clinical trials for pediatric rare diseases, and would establish a data coordinating center to distribute the findings, including to FDA. The consortia would be modeled after the National Cancer Institute centers and would ensure funds are dedicated exclusively towards basic and translational pediatric research and would enable inter-institutional networking, according to FightSMA. The group works to accelerate the search for a treatment and cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading inherited cause of infant death, according to the group.

Martha Slay, co-founder of FightSMA, said the group decided to take a broader approach with the currently introduced legislation than it has in past efforts, which focused specifically on spinal muscular atrophy.

“I consider this a really historic moment for SMA and other pediatric rare diseases, going from obscurity to a place where something significant and material could be done to make clinical trials available to children who desperately need it,” she said.

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Peter King (R-NY) are cosponsors and a companion bill in the Senate was introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and is co-sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mark Begich (D-AK).

Eichenauer said the group is pressing for consideration of the bill by the House Energy and Commerce Committee when lawmakers return to Washington in September as several sponsors sit on the panel. He said committee staff have been involved in writing the legislation and it has been vetted by the committee. “The committee knows the bill well,” he said. Further, FightSMA said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is a longtime supporter of their cause.

Eichenauer said the group hopes the House could approve the legislation on the suspension calendar and then the bill could come before the Senate. Some cosponsors of the bill also sit on the Senate health committee, which FightSMA has also been working with on the legislation. Eichenauer added the group doesn’t know if the bill will move on its own or will be attached to a bigger package. Sources have said moving any legislation before the elections could be difficult.

Eichenauer said sponsors of the measure are exploring the possibility of a score from the Congressional Budget Office, but said it would not affect FightSMA’s ability to move forward with the bill. The legislation could also face difficulty with the looming “fiscal cliff.”

“There is no question that federal funding is going to be a challenge now and in the coming fiscal year,” Eichenauer said. “One of the chief advantages (of the bill), is that it does use federal dollars in a more highly-leveraged way. It takes infrastructure that is already there and expands it to leverage those dollars smartly.”

FightSMA is working over the recess to gather support in Congress and among other groups, with the Coalition for Pediatric Research, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy endorsing the bill. Eichenauer said sponsors have discussed reaching out to other groups, including the National Organization for Rare Disorders. — Nanci Bompey

FightSMA Announces Introduction in the House of Rep. of the National Pediatric Research Network Act (NPRNA)

FightSMA Announces Introduction in the House of Representatives of the National Pediatric Research Network Act (NPRNA)

(ALEXANDRIA, VA. July 20, 2012) — A bill to authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the creation of up to 20 pediatric research consortia focused on diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) was introduced yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bipartisan bill, called the National Pediatric Research Network Act (NPRNA) is being introduced by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Lois Capps (D-CA). It is designed in part to help achieve the goal of securing additional federal resources to accelerate clinical trials for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

“We are thrilled about this bill which is the result of the dedication of so many in the SMA community,” said Martha Slay, founder and immediate past president of FightSMA. “Legislation to benefit SMA is at the heart of the FightSMA mission.”

“Over the past year, FightSMA has worked with our champions in the Congress, Representatives McMorris Rodgers and Lois Capps, on this important legislationWith the support of longtime FightSMA ally House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), these two key members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health have collaborated to craft bipartisan legislation that will advance translational research and clinical trials for a variety of rare pediatric disorders, with SMA serving as a model disease,” said Ms. Slay.

“I am proud to join Rep. Capps in introducing the very important National Pediatric Research Network Act.  She has been an instrumental leader in the fight to promote pediatric research for genetic disorders, especially spinal muscular atrophy and Down syndrome,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.  “As the mother of a son with Down syndrome, I am confident this legislation will go a long way to improving the lives of those with genetic disorders.  I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to make sure this bill is signed into law.”

“I am proud to co-author this legislation with my friend  (Rep.) Cathy McMorris Rodgers, which would go a long way to increasing and improving research on children’s illnesses–especially rare and complex diseases–and developing new treatments to fight them,” said Congresswoman Capps. “Every parent’s worst fear is that their child becomes sick, and we owe it to all parents to do what we can to fight childhood illnesses.  I would also like to thank my constituents, Bill and Victoria Strong, for their tireless work on behalf of their daughter, Gwendolyn, and all children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and other rare diseases. Their dedication to fighting this terrible disease has been an inspiration for me and a driving force behind this bill,” said Congresswoman Capps.

Expanding on a previous pediatric research measure by Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), the bill calls for an appropriate number of new consortia to focus primarily on rare diseases, and specifically mentions SMA among the diseases that should be included.  The bill directs NIH to support consortia that conduct multisite clinical trials of therapies for pediatric rare diseases.

“FightSMA and our congressional sponsors have collaborated directly with senior health staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in drafting this legislation,” said Mike Calise, Chair of the FightSMA Board of Directors, “and we will continue to work with them to ensure that the committee considers the bill in a timely manner.”

The process of building bipartisan support for a companion bill in the Senate has begun, working with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). FightSMA’s objective is to have a bill introduced in the Senate as early as possible. “We will continue to push aggressively for enactment of this important legislation in 2012,” said Calise.

About FightSMA
FightSMA, an international nonprofit group, was founded in 1991 to accelerate a treatment or cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic cause of infant death. Since its formation, FightSMA has awarded research grants at more than 40 universities and research institutions in the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

For more information, visit:  www.fightsma.org or contact Danielle Chan at 703.647.5032

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