KHQA - Wearable Devices Invented to Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Panic

Wearable Devices Invented to Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Panic

Many people have to overcome anxiety, stress and even panic attacks on occasion to get through their days and weeks.

Some of those people are turning to a new alternative to medication.

It's called The TouchPoint Solution.

People wear these small, vibrating devices on watches or on each side of their body for relief. According to Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin, the vibrations reduce stress, increase focus, and improve sleep.

Patients also have used them to deal with PTSD, ADHD, Autism and Parkinson's Disease.

"When you feel stress, your body's fight or flight mechanism engages, which does things like make your stomach hurt or your chest get tight or you have tension in your shoulders," CEO and co-founder Vicki Mayo said. "When the TouchPoints turn on, they actually don't allow that fight or flight mechanism to engage."

You can control the vibrating devices through an app. 

Users also can customize them with six presettings for calm, focus, sleep, performance, anger, and cravings.

*This article first appeared in KHQA Online on Thursday, February 22nd 2018, by Rajah Maples. To read the full article and watch the related video, click here.

Thrive Global - Wearable Devices Use Neuroscience To Help Adults and Children Sleep Better

Wearable Devices Use Neuroscience To Help Adults and Children Sleep Better

Falling asleep after a busy workday should be effortless, but in reality, getting restful sleep is the stuff of dreams. In fact, millions of Americans struggle to get a good night’s rest every night - 50 to 70 million, to be exact. According to the American Sleep Association, that’s the number of US adults that suffer from a sleep disorder. It’s not just adults that spend their nights tossing and turning, either. It’s been estimated that 1 to 4 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea, many of them being between the ages of 2 and 8.

In an increasingly tech-heavy world, new gadgets are constantly being churned out with claims of improving sleep. From “pajama belts” to “vibrating pillowcases,” sleep tech is flooding the market. Yet, while many of these products claim to help us rest easier, very few are grounded in the actual science behind sleep.

Less Gimmick, More Science

After exhausting almost every “sleep remedy” out there, “mompreneur”, Vicki Mayo’s concern for her 4 year-old daughter’s health had peaked. Vicki felt helpless, unable to soothe the vivid night terrors that had drained her child’s energy for the last year.

“It was horrible. I felt helpless, like there was nothing I could do for her,” Vicki said. “The whole family was suffering because she would wake up nightly and we’d all be awake. The following mornings we would be exhausted - we were caught in spiral I couldn’t get out of. I felt like I had tried everything, and we were at our wits end.”

After endless nights spent watching her daughter suffer in her sleep, Vicki confided in her friend, Dr. Amy Serin, neuropsychologist and founder of the Serin Center. Unbeknownst to the two friends, this conversation marked the start of a life-altering venture.

Dr. Serin had isolated a successful component of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) treatment in her clinic, and had been researching its ability to significantly relieve stress in adults and children. She shared the idea with Vicki, explaining that the technology, called BLAST (bi-lateral alternating stimulation in tactile form), had been embedded in two handheld non-invasive devices, and Vicki wanted to try the neurotechnology with her daughter during her next episode.

Vicki was intrigued, but the idea of a non-invasive, fast-acting fix almost sounded too good to be true. She took Dr. Serin’s advice, and placed the devices in her daughter’s hands during her next night terror. To Vicki’s surprise, the gadgets worked - and they worked well. For the first time in years, Vicki’s daughter slept peacefully through the night.

“I went to Dr. Serin the next day and was almost in tears. I asked her what this magic was and what she was doing to bring these life changing devices to everyone,” said Vicki. “She told me that she was trying to develop it, but that progress was slow.” Vicki knew from experience that this technology had the potential to profoundly change millions of lives, “We didn’t have time to move slowly. People needed this in their lives now.”

That day, Vicki and Dr. Serin joined forces to found The Touchpoint Solution, and began tirelessly working to make BLAST technology accessible to the world.

The solution came in the form of lightweight, anti stress wearable devices called TouchPoints, which they embedded with Dr. Serin’s patent-pending BLAST technology. These neuro-tech wearables provide an effortless, non-invasive method of calming an overactive stress response discreetly and quickly.

“Although sleep is a natural state, artificial light, lack of exercise, poor diet, use of stimulants, and other factors lead to struggles with this basic process, wreaking havoc on mental and physical health for many people,” Dr. Serin explained. “TouchPoints represent one stress relief solution. Because sleep is dependent on nervous system regulation, reducing stress and restoring someone to a state of calm can promote sleep onset, and can help someone go back to sleep if they wake up prematurely during the night.” The neuroscience in TouchPoints does just that. BLAST has been used as a successful component of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy, the leading form of PTSD treatment for decades. We further discovered that the effect of BLAST technology facilitated regulation that could help ease someone into sleep.”

How Sleep Affects Stress

Americans don’t just have a sleep problem, they have a stress problem, too. Findings from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America show that seven out of ten adults in the U.S. experience stress or anxiety daily. About one-third report persistent stress or excessive anxiety daily, and it’s no surprise that seven out of ten of those adults say they have trouble sleeping.

Stress has a tremendous effect on the way we sleep. According to a report Dr. Serin wrote last year on BLAST and stress reduction, though widely recognized for its use in EMDR therapy, BLAST has been vastly underutilized as a stand-alone method for inhibiting the body’s general stress response.

"Sleep is a natural process, so you need to look at what’s occurring that’s not natural in order to understand what’s impeding that process,” Dr. Serin explained. “For many people, it's a constant state of stress, or nervous system hyperarousal. Using TouchPoints before sleep can lessen stress so that this natural process can occur without struggle."

The stress relieving devices are controlled using a free, smartphone application, loaded with six pre-settings, “Calm”, “Focus”, “Sleep”, “Anger”, “Performance”, and “Craving”, all of which were created by Dr. Serin herself. In order to achieve a good night’s rest with TouchPoints, she recommends using them on the “sleep” setting for 15 minutes prior to bedtime. However, because the stress-busting technology is so calming, many TouchPoints’ users tend to fall asleep in a matter of minutes with them on. In fact, due to user demand, Dr. Serin and Vicki are planning to include a sleep timer in future upgraded versions of the TouchPoints™’ app to help individuals better achieve their personal sleep goals.

“Some people just need help calming stressful thoughts, while others are so anxious they may need to wear them for longer and combine the use of TouchPoints with other best practice sleep strategies,” said Vicki, CEO of The TouchPoint™ Solution.

And it’s not just overworked adults that are benefiting from TouchPoints. As Vicki knows first-hand, children who suffer from sleep difficulties also see impressive results.

“I put TouchPoints on my ten-year-old and eight-year-old sons as a go-to parenting strategy at bedtime when they are afraid of the dark, over-stimulated from an activity, or if they are having a hard time calming stressful thoughts,” Dr. Serin advised. “They like to wear the wristbands on each ankle with the sleep setting on. They fall asleep within 5 minutes, instead of being up for an hour or more. I can't tell you how many exhausted parents have come into my clinics discussing difficulties at bedtime. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way.”

No More Sleeping Pills

Understanding the science behind sleep can do wonders for our body. While many anti stress and sleep-related products depend on self-regulation and active awareness of our sleep patterns, most users struggle to incorporate that information into their daily routines.

Sleep trackers, for example, are becoming increasingly popular. Many of these devices track data based on sleeping patterns, like the percentage of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep versus the percentage of light sleep a user gets. But, while these gadgets provide an idea about how we sleep, restless sleepers still end up suffering from sleep problems.

“Even if you understand your sleep patterns, there’s still no clear solution with these gadgets for helping people go to sleep in real-time. Other devices give information, but it’s up to the user to figure out what to do with it,” said Vicki. “TouchPoints are revolutionary in their effectiveness and simplicity, helping calm users and ease them into restful sleep.”

The benefits associated with restful sleep are endless. From being more productive at work, to having healthy, glowing skin, sleep affects both our mental and physical health in more ways than one. With the neuroscience in TouchPoints, the secret to sleep may be as easy as the push of a few buttons.

“I have been suffering from insomnia for about three months,” reported TouchPoints’ user, Gina George, “I can't even begin to tell you how hard I slept and how rested I felt after using TouchPoints. I used them for two nights, then skipped a night. I couldn't get to sleep, and when I did, it wasn't restful sleep. I was in so much fibromyalgia pain today, I didn't realize how much my pain was eased after getting such good, restful sleep. I will definitely not be skipping another night without my TouchPoints.”

With TouchPoints, hundreds of users around the world can finally say “goodnight” to sleeplessness and get the rest their minds and bodies deserve.

AZTV Daily Mix - Dr. Serin's Tips to combat Sleep deprivation

Tech. Co - 5 Ways to Bounce Back After Sleepless Nights

Tech.Co - 5 Ways to Bounce Back After Sleepless Nights - By Tishin Donkersley

After a few sleepless nights, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. This often makes your ability to perform at an optimal level diminish throughout the day. But don’t worry, we’ve found some solutions to help you bounce back after those sleepless nights of tossing and turning.

Dr. Amy Serin, neuropsychologist and co-founder of The TouchPoint Solution, suggests to start looking at your sleep environment and pre-bed habits to help shift your body into sleep mode.

“Look for the root cause of the lack of sleep and address it,” Serin said.

Technology is Adding to The Problem

Checking that last Facebook or Snapchat post before you go to bed or watching a certain type of TV show you hit the hay could be adding to your sleepless night. Serin suggests setting bedtime boundaries and turning off your smartphone well before bed to allow your brain to switch to sleep mode.

“Technology creates two problems for sleep. Bright screen lights can confuse your brain into thinking it’s daytime and interfere with your sleep cycle. [As for TV programs,] the content you watch before bed is also a factor. Suspenseful TV shows can put your body into a stressful state, which is counterproductive for sleep. I recommend not having a TV in your bedroom and to turn off your phone and avoid bright lights before bedtime and create a peaceful sleeping environment.”

To Nap or Not to Nap

Grabbing a cat nap during the day after a restless night might be ok now and again, but creating a pattern of sleepless nights, and gulping caffeine at the office followed by an afternoon nap isn’t ideal. Serin suggests getting back to your regular sleep schedule as soon as possible.

“Taking naps and staying up late the following night can disrupt circadian rhythms and create a pattern of sleep problems rather than just dealing with one restless night. If you must nap, take a nap for only 10-30 minutes during the afternoon hours to give yourself a boost without impairing your ability to fall asleep at your usual bedtime.”

Use a Sleep Hack, not a Sleeping Pill

If you have too many thoughts racing through your head, some may try to use a sleep aid to counter their busy mind and fall asleep. Serin cautions the use of this method as you may not reach the deep stages of sleep that are required to feel rested the next day. Instead she suggests these sleep hacks before you go to bed:

“Your body needs to be able to be calm enough to fall sleep. Heating the body up and then cooling it down is a great sleep hack to replace sleeping pills. If you take a hot shower and then turn the water to cooler temperatures before you get out, this change in temperature can kickstart your body’s ability to start the sleep process. Also, if you have racing thoughts in your head, try writing your thoughts down before bed. Keep a pen and pad of paper next to your bed and write down the thoughts that won’t go away and trust yourself to take care of whatever is on your mind the following day.”

Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

While eight hours of sleep is recommended, the reality is that we aren’t prioritizing our sleep schedule. Serin suggestions to first try to develop a set time to get to bed and make it a goal for 7 to 9 hours of shut eye versus making it up on the weekend.

“Try to go to bed around the same time every night and prioritize your sleep over everything else. Don’t fall into the habit of trying to ‘catch up’ on sleep on the weekends. Some research suggests getting more than 10 hours of sleep a night can have a negative impact on performance and mood in the same way that only getting 4 or 5 hours a night can cause, so it’s best to stay within the recommended range whenever possible.”

If All Else Fails, Try to Do Something Positive

If you tried to relieve some stress during the day and still had a tough night, Serin said to expect that you might have some change in mood during the day and to try and engage in positive activities.

“Be mindful of how your brain is impaired after a night of sleeplessness. You may be irritable, less productive, more anxious, feel depressed, have more cravings and make more mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t on top of your game.

 

“Try to plan for a slightly earlier bedtime the next day and limit unnecessary events from your schedule. Practice healthier habits that day and try to exercise if possible. When you hop into bed at night, don’t worry about not sleeping well the night before. Remember, sleep is a natural state that your body wants you to go into, so calming down and surrendering to it is the best policy.”

Read more about avoiding sleepless nights here at Tech.Co.

CBS News - Don't let daylight saving time knock you off-kilter

CBS News - Don't let daylight saving time knock you off-kilter - By Cory Schouten

Monday mornings are scary enough already, but next Monday is poised to unleash a workforce of sluggish zombies.

That’s because sleep-deprived Americans will lose an hour of slumber after setting their clocks forward early Sunday in the annual “spring forward” ritual of daylight saving time (DST).

Sleep experts say workers would be wise to use the occasion to improve sleep habits, including by watching their diet, exercising and keeping cell phones out of the bedroom. And those with existing sleep problems or other risk factors should devise a plan to slowly adjust to the time change.

DST is one rite of spring that can be deadly: A 2014 study by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found a 24 percent increase in heart attacks on the Monday after springing forward. The instances of heart attacks dropped to a more typical rate on Tuesday, once people returned to their routines.

The “spring forward” is arguably the worst day for work-sleep balance for Americans, but the other 364 aren’t much better. Nearly half of all workers (47 percent) say thinking about work keeps them up at night, and 60 percent say a lack of sleep has harmed their work, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

What do those negative workplace impacts look like? Think lower productivity, more mistakes, job resentment and a heightened tendency of workers to snap at colleagues. Adding insult to injury: 65 percent of respondents said they’ve had dreams (or nightmares) about work. Just 17 percent of those surveyed said they got the doctor-recommended eight hours of sleep per night.

Some workers are more vulnerable than others to the time change, including older workers, those with existing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, and those with rotating shifts, said Dr. Aparajitha Verma, a sleep neurologist at Houston Methodist Hospital.

The spring change is particularly vexing because for most folks it’s easier to sleep in another hour in the morning than it is to go to sleep an hour earlier at night.

“Someone who’s otherwise young and healthy can pretty much recover from a time change rather quickly,” Verma added.

Sleep quality has far-reaching implications for health, with a lack thereof being a risk factor for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and weight gain, said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a professor at Keck School of Medicine at USC.

Combine the longstanding risks with a years-long trend toward fewer sleep hours for most Americans, and you’ve got a scary formula.  

“When we talk about the clinical manifestations of having no sleep, you tell me the organ, and I’ll tell you what the problems are going to be,” Dasgupta said.

Some companies, particularly in the tech and medical fields, have taken aim at the problem by offering napping facilities at the workplace, Dasgupta noted.

A mindset change could help, too.

People don’t brag about skipping the gym or overeating, but they do tend to brag about being too busy for sleep, said Dr. Amy Serin, a neuropsychologist in Arizona.

Instead, they should treat adequate sleep as “a badge of honor.”

“Sleep is an interesting thing because it really is the key to everything else,” Serin said. “Forget about sleep deprivation. Even a few nights of lack of sleep can really take a toll on your immune system, your productivity, attention, your mood and anxiety level.”

Finding a balance between work and sleep sometimes requires proactive steps: “When someone lays their head down at night, if their mind doesn’t shut off, that’s a problem,” she said. “You need to create ways to self-regulate so it does.”

Among the practical tips she recommends: Eliminate artificial light a few hours before sleep, avoid certain dream-provoking entertainment (think crime shows) before bed and exercise during the day but not right before sleep.  

“Even an extra 20 minutes, half an hour a night, is huge in our modern day,” Serin said. “That would add up to a lifetime of better health, less anxiety, more happiness and better productivity.”

The best way to prepare for DST is gradually -- adjusting dinner time and bedtime before the change, said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and a sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm. Otherwise, avoid TVs and devices late at night, and allow for plenty of natural light to filter through your home’s windows in the morning. 

Another tip: Capitalize on longer evenings -- one of the key advantages of DST, said Dr. Charlene McEvoy, a sleep medicine specialist at the Regions Hospital Sleep Health Center in Maplewood, Minnesota. “Enjoy the natural lighting outside or indoors with your curtains open,” McEvoy said. “Sunlight helps naturally reset your body clock.”

Ultimately, for most people, getting better sleep comes down to “stimulus control,” Dasgupta said: “If you aren’t ready to fall asleep, don’t go to bed.”

Still anticipate trouble falling asleep early on Sunday night? Certain scents, such as vanilla and lavender, can be great sleep aides, said Dr. Param Dedhia, director of sleep medicine at the Canyon Ranch wellness resort in Tucson, Arizona.

Dedhia also suggests sleepers avoid heavy foods such as pasta close to bedtime and skip the alcoholic nightcap. Instead, pour yourself a glass of tart cherry juice.