Managing Stress Is a Learn-able Skill with Dr. Amy Serin
The Deep Change Project is a year-long journey to discover what's possible at the outer edges of human potential. It represents an adventure through brain-hacking, self-directed neuroplasticity, the latest brain tech, and is creator James Garrett's way of relentlessly trying to rewire the brain and fundamentally change the individual within a year's time.
In this third episode of the Deep Change Videocast, James invites Neuropsychologist and TouchPoints inventor, Dr. Amy Serin, to explore why stress is not what you think it is, why it's the root cause of many of our problems, and how to get good at managing it. Click to watch or listen to the audio here, and connect with James through his website or on Facebook.
TouchPoint Solutions becomes the 2nd Annual Innovation Nation #MoMadness Champion
TouchPoint Solutions becomes the 2nd Annual Innovation Nation #MoMadness Champion
TouchPoint Solutions is thrilled to announce that our stress wristbands were chosen as the winner of the 2nd Annual Innovation Nation #MoMadness Championship! The Emmy award-winning TV show Innovation Nation chose TouchPoints as one of sixteen innovators from past years of their show for their Mo Madness bracket-style tournament. TouchPoints community over voted stress wristbands to the top and on to become the champions, which continues to show that the world is ready for neurotech and the vision to make the world a better place through applied neuroscience. Thank you to everyone who voted and to our amazing opponent Woof Washer! We appreciate all your love and support.
Spring Tune-Up With Colleen Burns - TouchPoints
TouchPoints on Spring Tune-Up with Colleen Burns
Time for a spring tune-up...for your mental and physical health! Watch Colleen Burns share some amazing ways to take care of yourself and your home in her recent episode of 'Spring Tune-Up' on the Daily Lounge.
For a healthier home and more free time Try a robotic vacuum that does double duty The Ecovac Deebot 711 cleans your floors AND keeps allergens in check automatically. Control it with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or use the remote app and you can spend more time with family, walking or meditating. It uses something called Smart Navi Mapping, think GPS, to map your room and avoid missing anything and it has 2 specialized cleaning modes, edge and spot mode, to focus on particularly troublesome messes. The Deebot 711 is an Amazon exclusive. Click here to learn more.
And the Best of CES Winner for Wellness TouchPoints is a wearable device that can reduce your stress level by 70 percent in just 30 seconds. 80-90 percent of diseases are caused by stress, and your body reacts to stress and anxiety in the same way as a physical threat, but the device uses alternating pulses scientifically proven to interrupt the Fight or Flight response. Helping with stress, aggression, sleep, and attention. It’s a hack your entire family can use. Click here to learn more.
This article first appeared on the Daily Lounge. To read the full article, click here.
Calgary Herald - Keenan: A magic gadget for male stress?
Keenan: A magic gadget for male stress?
Stress affects everyone, and it’s not all bad. Without some positive stress, we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning, or run that marathon, or write the great Canadian novel. Still, the negative impacts of stress are well known, ranging from psychological issues like anger, irritability, and loss of sex drive, to physical symptoms like chest pain, indigestion, and even skin eruptions.
Most studies show a higher percentage of women report being stressed, but men may simply be reluctant to admit it. Denying stress and holding it in may cause even more problems.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a magic button that could somehow clear away stress? I found something that claims to be just that, at my favorite store in San Francisco. Target Open House is a smart home showroom, where you can see hot new tech products that the retail chain might someday sell in their stores.
That’s where I met Amy Serin, a PhD-holding psychologist from Arizona. She was demonstrating TouchPoints™ — two small vibrating buttons that, she claims, “can decrease stress by up to 70 percent in as few as 30 seconds.” The underlying technology is BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation tactile). You can hold the devices, wear them on wristbands or even put them in your socks to help you sleep.
Serin is the inventor of the device and co-founder of the company that makes and sells it. She was demonstrating it to a woman who said she freezes up with stress when she has to attend a certain business meeting. After trying the Buzzies, as they used to be called, she asked how to order some.
Then it was my turn. Serin had me think about something that was causing me stress and asked what part of my body I was feeling it in. Sure enough, after a bit of vibrating, I did indeed feel calmer and more relaxed, in all parts of my body.
I wound up with a set to test out, along with pointers to some of the studies at https://thetouchpointsolution.com/pages/research. Various researchers report good results using the devices for anxiety, autism, irritability, sleep problems, PTSD, and even post-concussive syndrome.
My first brainwave was to take them along when I went to sea with the Royal Canadian Navy since there have been suggestions that vibration devices can help counter motion sickness. But the seas were dead calm.
Then I lent them to a friend with a teenage son who is on the autism spectrum. He gave them a try but found the noise too annoying. He also objected to the thought that the device was manipulating his brain waves, which is exactly what the company claims on their website, showing before and after brain scans with significantly reduced beta wave activity.
The device has three modes, blue for sleep, green for calm and red for anger. There’s also a free app that allows finer control of the frequency, intensity, and overlap, and provides pre-sets for things like focus, performance, and craving.
I sought out Jaideep Bains, Ph.D., professor of Physiology & Pharmacology at the University of Calgary. He’s a noted expert on neurophysiology and stress and a principal investigator whose research is highlighted at stressynomics.com.
His first reaction to holding the TouchPoints™? “Cool toy, but it would drive me crazy.” He acknowledges that the company has some very prestigious people on their advisory board, but objects to the characterization of the devices as being based on neuroscience. “They looked at beta waves, but beta waves happen in the cortex for a lot of reasons. They don’t necessarily have to do with stress.”
He notes that much of their research results are subjective reports. “They’re very careful in their literature to say they’re not recommending this for any disease or any medical benefit. If this were to be thought of as a medical device, what you’d need is a randomized trial. You’d need cortisol levels, you’d need autonomic outputs like heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and sweat.”
He does agree with some of the material on the company’s website, especially when it says that stress activates circuits in your brain over which you don’t have control.
As Bains and many others have observed, there’s a huge possibility of a placebo effect here. Indeed, that may be what happened to me, and to the lady in the store. We felt reduced stress because we expected to feel it.
“That woman would probably be better off just going for a walk, and breathing deeply,” says Bains, “and removing herself from the stressful situation.”
Of course, a stress-busting walk isn’t always an option. If you’d like to try TouchPoints™, they cost $159.99 US (plus shipping, duty, and taxes) from the company’s website. They do offer a 30-day free trial, though dealing with international returns might raise your stress level.
You could just wait to see if and when they make it onto the shelves at your nearest U.S. Target store
Dr. Tom Keenan is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, and author of the bestselling book, Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy.
Thrive Global - 5 Things You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive After a Divorce: With Amy Serin
5 Things You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive After a Divorce: With Amy Serin
As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce Or Breakup” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Amy Serin.
Dr. Amy Serin applies her expertise to heal a multitude of mental health problems both in and out of her integrative care clinics. In the last decade, Dr. Serin’s clinics have healed thousands of people and after consulting with militaries and international global crises responders, she set out to prevent and end post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on a global scale. This led to the breakthrough discovery that a component of PTSD treatment could actually be used outside of doctor’s offices and embedded in non-invasive wearable technology to relieve stress at any time and calm brain wave activity. She then co-founded The TouchPoint Solution in late 2015 to give access to this technology to everyone needing stress relief. Dr. Serin’s first book, The Stress Switch, will launch in February of 2019 and highlights the truth about stress, her journey, and her efforts to solve the stress epidemic. Dr. Serin lives in Arizona with her two sons and Goldendoodle, Scout.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I love people. And I love neuroscience. What I didn’t love was being a 27-year-old stressed out business developmental professional in Los Angeles with virtually no work-life balance. I realized that being frazzled and unfulfilled wasn’t the life I wanted to keep living and I yearned to create more meaningful work. I left business, completed a doctoral program, built integrative care clinics, and have been working to heal trauma and improve lives for the last 12 years.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
Being a neuropsychologist means I understand brain and behavioral relationships. Those difficult feelings people have before, during and after divorce are all modulated by brain functioning. Understanding that and integrating it into therapy with divorced adults over the last decade has helped shape my therapeutic modalities so people can truly heal from divorce and ensure their children can thrive without developing life-long problems resulting from the divorce. And I too am divorced so I know first-hand the difficulties.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In my very first training experience, I was thrown into doing therapy for older adults. I had no idea what I was doing. I told an older woman who unbeknownst to me was refusing to take responsibility for anything in her life and her primary therapy goal was to take steps towards taking action in her life rather than being passive. My advice to her when she was complaining about nothing happening in her life was to “Trust The Universe.” That was definitely not the right thing to say. I learned that therapy is not about advice from my perspective- it’s about meeting the patient where they are and helping them grow in a productive direction and that is different for everyone.
If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Try not to relive your adolescence. Divorce wreaks havoc on your neurochemistry. It can cause PTSD, identity problems, and what one patient calls “the crazies.” It’s probably temporary- and that’s good news. But it’s important to not make decisions within the first year of divorce that will have long-term negative consequences. Want to start cross-fit and connect with old friends? Great. Designing your new tattoo while trolling Facebook and connecting with all of your married high school crushes? Not so great. It’s normal to need a neurochemical boost during and after divorce. Try to do it productively and you’ll be better off in the long run. I have a patient with piercings who contributed to breaking up a marriage with her high-school boyfriend and his wife who wishes she had taken that advice.
- Get therapy ASAP and take care of yourself. Most people don’t realize that divorce can cause PTSD and can trigger new addictions or re-trigger old ones due to the stress and prolonged difficulty of it. I usually recommend EMDR therapy for people who even contemplating divorce. The mere thought of it means that something needs to be healed or dealt with and the more you take care of yourself emotionally during the entire process, the better off you’ll be.
- Access your support network and build one up if you don’t have people you can count on. Events like divorce can be polarizing and you’ll learn who your true friends are. Minimize contact if you need to with people who are well meaning but judgmental or harsh. You need real support and lots of it during and after a divorce to thrive. If others don’t see your point of view or aren’t helpful- try not to dwell on it and turn towards support and kindness wherever you can. There’s a lot to be found. One of my patients was surprised that her favorite sister shunned her during the divorce and sided with her ex-husband while other family members loved her and supported her and suspended judgment. It helped for her to realize that people react to other’s life stressors in multiple ways. It’s not uncommon for others to try to pinpoint blame so they feel less vulnerable in their own lives. I once had a patient feel guilty for judging her brother for his actions in his marriage she thought led to his divorce only to realize when her marriage fell apart that she was only trying to feel secure. She was able to patch up her relationship with him and had a new sense of understanding of the complexities of divorce.
- If you feel like you have tunnel vision and all you can see is darkness, I want you to trust that there is a light. Sometimes you just have to trust and keep moving through the process. Remember even if divorce wasn’t your choice, splitting up and healing can mean a resurgence of parts of your lost self and space to thrive like you’ve never experienced before. If you can transmute the pain and be better for it, you can thrive in the long run in ways you’ve never imagined.
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
I see people engaging in long-term legal battles that have more to do with their anger than a real need to resolve anything productive for the benefit of themselves or the children. The most upsetting thing I see is a splitting of the children and manipulation to try to get back at the ex-partner. This usually hurts the children and the parent who is trying to split them. Kids need all the support they can get during and after a divorce.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
I like the book “Not Just Friends” by Jean Coppock Staeheli and Shirley Glass for people who have experienced infidelity in their marriage and who want to make sense of it or try to decide whether to work on the marriage or move on. I also like “Hold Me Tight” by Sue Johnson and The Gottman Method for helping understand and improve relationships.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that helped you in this work? Can you share how that was relevant in your real life?
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi
The more I know myself, the more I can help break down my barriers to real love and encourage others to do the same in their relationships.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m working on expanding my neuroscience technology into couple’s therapy and in mediation meetings. When one or both partners are stressed out, productive conversations and real problem-solving in the relationship (or after the relationship) isn’t possible. Being able to reduce stress in real time during active therapy or discussion without shifting attention now makes it possible for people to self-regulate instead of staying in fight or flight reactive mode and I think that will go a long way in helping people prevent divorce, recover from divorce, and be reasonable as they try to work together after divorce.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This is my dream and why I invented TouchPoints. If you lower someone’s stress response in real time they are less irritable, more rational, less fearful, better performing. Imagine that on a global scale. Imagine a world where traumatized kids whose parents are divorced can regulate themselves and don’t grow into reactive, aggressive, impulsive adults. Imagine what your life would be like if every time you felt stress and wanted to avoid something you wouldn’t be afraid and would take the risk and reach your full potential. Imagine if you could be calm instead of irrational and didn’t say those terrible things you say in the heat of the moment when stressed? Imagine if after a mass shooting or war we could use technology and prevent PTSD or treat it immediately after? I want you to imagine those things and understand that with our current neuroscience we can accomplish just that. We just need to get relief in people’s hands.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Oprah, of course. She’s brilliant. Heartfelt. She understands the human condition and wants people to thrive.
South China Morning Post - How New Wellness Technology Will Help Us Lead Healthier, Stress-free Lives
How new wellness technology will help us lead healthier, stress-free lives
- Wearables that vibrate to restore calm, ‘smart, self-care lights’ and a waterbed that keeps you cool at night among the latest innovations
- Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS smartwatch and Mercedes Me app team up to reduce drivers’ heart rates – and suggest relaxing route to work
You’ve deadlines to meet, a presentation to give and a colleague is proving difficult. There’s no hope of skiving off to recalibrate the body back into calm mode.
Yet might that device on your wrist just have the answer? Or those voices in your head … courtesy of Bluetooth earbuds and a meditation app?
Few people may argue with American neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin, co-founder and chief science officer of biotechnology company The TouchPoint Solution – which created the “press and de-stress” TouchPoints wearables – when she says that stress is at epidemic levels in modern society.
Or, that stress – along with its evil cousins, anxiety, and depression – is possibly the biggest hindrance to overall well-being.
"Technology can and should be incorporated as part of a holistic wellness environment at home" -
However, Dr. Michael Eason, a psychologist at the Hong Kong private practice, MindnLife, believes that technology can be part of the solution.
He says that home is a perfect place to establish one’s own wellness retreat, aided by technology.
“Technology can and should be incorporated as part of a holistic wellness environment at home,” he says.
“I often remind clients that they cannot find peace or a time to unwind while living inside both a pressure cooker at work and a pressure cooker at home.
“Home should be a safe space to decompress from the stress of the day.”
Eason says the use of technology is an excellent way to help use our precious and limited “self-care” time in an efficient manner.
“I find that phone apps assisting clients to learn meditation and mindfulness skills are particularly useful, he says.
“Some of them even help those coping with insomnia and other sleep issues. Other apps help motivate them to keep achieving their exercise goals.”
The more control we have, the less stress we feel, he says.
“So, a technologically controlled home has good potential for creating a holistic and low-stress environment.
“I’ve heard many stories from my clients about how these devices can help provide them a safe harbor in the storm.”
Success certainly varies from person to person, but Eason says he is “always willing to give a new treatment method a try”.
He says: “I say if the technology exists and is effective, we should use it and use it wisely.”
"A technologically controlled home has good potential for creating a holistic and low-stress environment" -
In touch with stress relief
TouchPoints are twin neuroscientific wearables that can help to provide fast relief from stress.
They are embedded with a technology called BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation tactile), which uses gentle, alternating micro vibrations to alter the brain’s reaction to stress – the “fight or flight” (and also “freeze”) responses – and restore calm.
The TouchPoint Solution says that physical indicators of stress, such as head or stomach aches – are also relieved with the use of the wearables.
Published research shows a 70 percent reduction in stress within 30 seconds of use., it says.
The two devices, which are worn on either side of the body, send out synchronized vibrations according to the user’s choice of intensity: yellow for calm, blue for sleep, and purple to reduce anger or irritability.
The devices don’t need to touch the skin and may be carried in pockets or socks if preferred.
A stand-alone app is available for both Android and iOS, which allows users to take a stress profile test and offers customized suggestions for TouchPoints use.
Vicki Mayo, CEO of The TouchPoint Solution, says that while the technology was originally derived from a successful treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, executives also found it was a solution for stress reduction “that has allowed them to not only be calmer but to enhance their performance and even to sleep better at night”.
So what do users say? Reviews are mixed, with some citing “no change”, and others noting a marked improvement in mood and focus, and even – when in sleep mode – a sensation of drowsiness.
Some other people report issues with the app; others find the vibrations a bit noisy. But the overall consensus seems favorable.
A road less stressful
Meanwhile, another device – a collaboration between smartwatch maker Garmin and the German carmaker, Daimler – aims to help relieve the stress caused by the daily drive on the way to work – by offering suggestions such as alternative, less-stressful routes.
From this month, Mercedes-Benz owners have been able to pair their Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS smartwatch with the Mercedes Me mobile app to monitor their stress levels and heart rate directly from the system.
Once the information is compiled, drivers will be presented with customized recommendations for enhancing their well-being.
Drivers will have the option, for example, to select the potentially less stressful routes from the navigation system.
They also may be offered stimulating or soothing music to suit their particular mood, or be calmed by a seat massage, or even order up their preferred fragrance and ambiance lighting inside the vehicle.
Garmin says these technologies will not only benefit driver comfort and well-being but also encourage road awareness.
Bright ideas for relaxation
Another technology – but this one for use in the home – the Auri “smart self-care light” from Chinese start-up Ling Technology, purports to be “your yoga and meditation coach, your personal sleep helper”, as well as an entertainment hub.
Light-emitting diodes under the outer shell diffuser produce the intelligent lighting designed to promote a sense of calm and relaxation, which work in combination with soothing sounds to create a natural ambiance in the room.
The Auri is equipped with both Wi-fi and Bluetooth and is compatible with the cloud-based voice service, Amazon Alexa.
Late-night digital curfew
For all those people who can’t resist checking their smartphone one last time at night – a sure-fire way to disrupt sleep – the Seraphin bedside book helps remove temptation by setting a digital curfew.
Pop your devices inside, and the Seraphin turns them into a bedside lamp that delivers a light routine to help relaxation.
In the morning, it wakes users with soothing sounds, radio or podcast – and a waking light routine.
The device threatens to name and shame, by counting the number of times users reach for their phone during the night. It then delivers an analysis of their sleep quality, with recommendations for improvement.
Waterbed with a difference
With sleep, an underlying tenet of holistic wellness, beds, too, are becoming smarter to help everyone get the rest they need.
For those long hot summer nights, the Wi-fi-connected Pod from Eight Sleep, stores water within its high-density foam mattress to keep the bed’s temperature cool and comfortable.
As morning approaches, the Pod adjusts the surface temperature of the bed to wake you up gradually and naturally, without the sound of an alarm.
Hi-tech sensors track things such as sleep time and phases and report back every morning through the Eight Sleep app.
Voice-controlled bedtime concierge
Also new this year is an Alexa-powered bed from luxury Swedish bed maker, DUX, which the company says introduces the concept of a bedtime concierge.
“We know those 15 to 30 minutes right before bed are so important, as you start to unwind and get ready to sleep,” Ed Curry, president of DUX North America, says.
“Our partnership with the smart speaker company, stellé, is the first step in positioning DUX as a bedtime concierge that handles everything from dimming the lights and guiding your evening meditation, to changing the temperature for ideal sleeping conditions.”
The bed will go on sale in the US in May.
Smart technology enhances health
However, why not wrap home wellness into one convenient package?
Delos, a New York wellness property and technology company, has developed what it calls the Darwin Home Wellness Intelligence Network, which is designed to “improve health, well-being and happiness” of its occupants.
Darwin, launched initially in the US and Australia, uses proprietary software, wellness algorithms and sensor technologies to enhance energy, sleep, and overall well-being.
It also works to reduce indoor contaminants that negatively affect respiratory, cardiovascular, immune and cognitive health by monitoring and calibrating air, water, and light quality.
“[People around the world are] now spending US$4.2 trillion globally on health and wellness-focused products – from fitness apps to personal health care to nutrition programmes,” Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos, says.
“Darwin is designed to empower people to be healthier, happier and more productive in their own homes by adding a layer of wellness intelligence to the smart-home landscape.”
Polk Health & Wellness: Cutting Edge Management of Post Concussive Syndrome - TouchPoints Feature
Consumer Technology Association - This Entrepreneur Created Tech to Alleviate Stress
This Entrepreneur Created Tech to Alleviate Stress
Digital health technology has taken off, and is improving health care and even saving lives. Now, there is tech that helps alleviate stress. The Touchpoint Solution technology uses micro-vibrations to help users relieve their stress.
We had a chance to speak with CEO and co-founder, Vicki Mayo, about The Touchpoint Solution and her best advice for female entrepreneurs in tech.
Tell us a little about your career background and your current role at The Touchpoint Solution.
I am the CEO and Co-founder of the TouchPoint Solution. My co-founder and I invented a technology that we embedded into devices called TouchPoints that alleviates stress in as few as 30 seconds. We currently sell three versions of our product- TouchPoints for Calm, TouchPoints for sleep, and TouchPoints for kids.
I am a serial entrepreneur and I started my first business at the age of 14. I have started and grown several businesses across finance, hospitality, and tech over the past 20 years. I also served the people of Arizona as the state’s Chief Transformation officer focusing on creating efficiencies in the Government.
Due to a situation when I was 20 years old that led me to adopt two teenage boys, I am an avid advocate for children’s rights and have spent a significant amount of time supporting the efforts of the Court Appointment Special Advocate program, creating a camp for foster siblings, and co-founding the Keys to Success Program, focusing on aiding youth aging out of the foster care system.
How does the technology behind The Touchpoint Solution work?
What people don’t realize about stress is how it affects us daily. Think of something stressful right now and notice your body. You may feel your shoulders tensing, your breath becoming shorter, or a pit in your stomach. These are the effects of stress and they come from the brain’s sympathetic nervous system (aka The Fight or Flight Mechanism).
TouchPoints stop this part of the brain from engaging allowing your body to relax within seconds. TouchPoints help shift your brain from the fight or flight function into the logical/rational part of the brain which also makes situations feels less stressful. Our published research shows a 70 percent reduction in stress in just 30 seconds of TouchPoints use.
You recently exhibited at CES 2019. Tell us a little about your experience.
CES 2019 was the best conference TouchPoints has exhibited at to date! During the show, TouchPoints were named #1 in the CES Health and Wellness Technology sector by Digital Trends and Forbes. Team TouchPoint enjoyed the opportunity to speak with thousands of interested attendees and many leads, both distributor and media, have come from this past CES conference. We also had press coverage that spanned across eight countries.
What would be your best advice for female entrepreneurs in the tech industry?
Own it. As a female in an industry dominated by men, it’s easy to try and blend in. I would argue that you should be yourself and share your opinion. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, be proud of that!!
Learn more about The Touchpoint Solution and our other incredible CTA members.
CTA recently announced we will invest up to $10 million into venture firms and funds focused on funding underrepresented founders, women-led startups, and diverse leadership teams. Learn more from CTA.
This article first appeared in The Consumer Technology Association on March 13, 2019 by the CTA Staff. To read the full article, click here.
NBC News - 5 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster, According to Sleep Doctors
5 ways to fall asleep faster, according to sleep doctors
If you spend the night tossing and turning, these tips and product recommendations can help you get to sleep.
Sometimes it seems like the world is conspiring against your ability to get some sleep. The birds, as lovely as they are, start chirping way too early and the landscapers and car-honkers always seem to follow suit. That construction zone down the street somehow sounds as if it were directly outside your window, that weekday party went way too long, and to top it all off, the government has literally stolen an hour from you via daylight saving.
While many external factors aren’t within your control, you can do a few things to help lull yourself to sleep and, once your there, ensure that your sleep is the kind that will have you feeling energized the next morning. We tapped a handful of experts for advice on how to get more zzz’s — and the products that will help you doze off.
1. CONSIDER MEDITATION (FOR REAL THIS TIME)
You’ve heard this advice ad nauseum, but there’s a reason meditation has been prescribed to treat the human condition since roughly 1500 BCE. “The art of falling asleep is actually not trying so hard,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, who’s board-certified in both psychiatry and sleep medicine. “Knowing how to clear your thoughts and focus on breathing will always help. The trick is to practice by day — not when it's mission-critical at 3 a.m.” Meditationcan be as simple as sitting in a quiet space and taking meaningful, deliberate breaths or listening to your favorite music for five minutes.
For some guidance, try an app like Headspace, which walks you through sessions and even has a special category for Sleep Sounds and Meditations.
2. ELIMINATE ALLERGENS FROM YOUR BEDROOM
The accumulation of allergens in your bedroom can contribute to subpar sleep. “Reducing your exposure to allergens — such as dust mites, pollen and pet dander — while you sleep will reduce itchy watery eyes, eczema, nasal congestion, and coughing,” notes Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. “The bedroom is most important place to keep allergen free since we spend most time at once there.” To help, keep windows closed during peak-pollen seasons, keep pets off the bed, and wash your bedding, dust and sweep once a week. Also, Dr. Parikh says that any HEPA air purifier will help combat mold and animal dander. Since pollen and dust mites are too small to be filtered, she recommends a dust mite cover that zips around your mattress and box spring.
3. AVOID BLUE LIGHT AROUND BEDTIME
We’re surrounded by blue light via smart phones and light bulbs, and it notably contributes to wakefulness. “Your body needs to know that it's nighttime so it can prepare for sleep. This is why, when you are camping, it's hard to stay awake,” says Dr. Amy Serin, a neuropsychologist, and author of "The Stress Switch." “The brain uses sunlight to know when it's day or night, but unfortunately artificial light can trick your body into thinking it's daytime. It's not just your screens doing it — lamps and overhead lighting trick your brain as well.”
Camping every single night (or resisting the urge to scroll Instagram) isn’t an option for most of us, but blue-light filtering glasses can help.
4. ELIMINATE DRAMA RIGHT BEFORE SLEEP
A spike in cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can contribute to an inability to fall asleep. For that reason, it’s best to eliminate all sources of stress before going to bed. That includes highly dramatic TV shows and movies (save the Free Solo documentary for the afternoon), stressful text messages or conversations, and racing thoughts. “Because sleep is dependent on nervous system regulation, reducing stress and restoring someone to a state of calmcan promote sleep onset, and can help someone go back to sleep if they wake up prematurely during the night," says Dr. Serin, who invented a neuroscience device, called TouchPoints, that helps stabilize cortisol levels to help you fall asleep more easily. "Anything relaxing can help someone fall asleep like gentle music, aromatherapy and deep breathing, meditation, even journaling and winding down with herbal tea before bed can help."
Dr. Dimitriu adds: "If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring and relaxing. A dim light and a book are ideal.”
5. KEEP COOL — LITERALLY
“Your body naturally wants to cool down as you enter deep sleep, and anything you can do that increases this cooling helps with getting deeper, more restorative sleep,” says Dr. Dimitriu. This can be as simple as taking a warm shower about an hour before bed, which triggers your body to lower its internal temperature. "I’m a minimalist when it comes to devices and special products to improve sleep. Essentially, I try to encourage my patients to keep their sleep routines simple and straight forward," adds Dimitriu. As far as products which can improve sleep — quite simply a comfortable bed (softer for side sleepers), and a good pillow to match can help. While cooling pads and blankets are available, it might just be simplified to using a light enough blanket made of breathable fabric to facilitate good cooling and breathability. Room temperature is essential too, and should be kept on the cooler side, generally below 70 degrees."
If you are interested in testing out cooling bedding, there is an entire range of products out there. For example, the Buffy Cloud Comforteris constructed from highly breathable materials that help regulate temperature while also shield-guarding against allergens and Nest Bedding’s Cooling Mattress Topper cools you while you sleep (while adding extra comfort) via two inches of their SmartFlow Gel Memory Foam.
Hubspot - What Can a Brain Scan Tell Us About Stress and Technology?
Originally published Feb 14, 2019, 7:00:00 AM, updated February 14, 2019, by Amanda Zantal-Wiener (@amanda_zw).
My brain has been called many things over the years -- from a "gold mine," to a "minefield," to, most recently, a "hamster wheel."
That was the term assigned to it at CES 2019, a major annual consumer electronics events after I received a brain scan while sampling a product called TouchPoints.
TouchPoints are small wearable devices that release micro-vibrations that, when worn by users, can trigger a nervous system response that has shown, in some cases, to lower stress levels. That's where the brain scan comes in -- at CES, the team behind TouchPoints used it to show what a user's brain activity looked like before and after using the devices.
But how, exactly, does it work -- and what does it say about the broader concept of stress, as well as where it intersects with technology?
Here's what happened when I underwent my own brain scan, and what I learned about that very question.
Wearable, Connected Wellness
TouchPoints fall under the category of wearables: a type of technology that seeks to shrink down intelligent electronic devices -- e.g., smart watches -- to an accessory or item of clothing that can be worn by its users. In 2019, wearables are predicted to see a 9% increase in sales, leading them to draw high levels of attention among consumers and industry analysts alike.
The specific wearable technology behind TouchPoints are the vibrations they emit -- formally known as bilateral alternating stimulation tactile, or BLAST.
According to research conducted by Dr. Amy Serin -- a neuropsychologist and the founder of the Serin Centers for psychology, who helped administer the brain scans -- exposure to BLAST vibration has correlated with changes in brain activity that indicate a deescalated stress response. These include modifications to the user's overall calmness, as well as physical symptoms that often result from stress, like stomach pain or muscle tension.
The Brain Scan
What the Scan Measures
So, how can a brain scan measure the effectiveness of a wearable device like TouchPoints?
Well, the scan -- formally known in this case as a quantitative electroencephalogram -- is used to measure beta activity in the brain. When such brain activity is elevated, Dr. Serin explains, it can be an indicator of stress.
"Excess beta activity is associated with anxiety and obsessive thinking," says Dr. Serin. And if a scan shows decreased beta activity, it's "associated with clearer thinking and calm focus."
As a self-admitted over-thinker, I wasn't sure just how effective a wearable device would really be in addressing what is, for me, a typical baseline of high stress. If daily meditation and mindful breathing practices weren't enough, how could wearables -- which have faced a degree controversy -- so easily fix the problem?
But when a neuropsychologist invites you to try a product that could potentially lower your anxiety in 30 seconds -- and pair it with a personal brain scan -- you say, "Yes."
Following the 45-minute process of being fitted for a brain-wave-reading cap, being asked to think of something stressful, and then being fitted with the TouchPoints (see the video at the end of this post), my results were in and displayed on a large screen.
"That's your hamster wheel," said Dominic Di Loreto MA, BCN Director of Applied Neuroscience at the Serin Center, pointing to the image on the left: the "before TouchPoints" image of my brain activity.
The image on the right, meanwhile, displays my brain activity after wearing the TouchPoints for a few minutes.
I stood, dumbfounded, starting at my scan results. "That's incredible," I said, after muttering some disbelief-inspired expletives.
What The Results Mean
As for my own scan results, "The image on the left shows the excess beta activity in your brain before TouchPoints. Excess beta activity is associated with anxiety and obsessive thinking," she explains. "During TouchPoints use, your beta activity lowered significantly as shown on the right. This is associated with clearer thinking and calm focus."
It's an intriguing intersection -- that a phenomenon that's been shown to increase stress levels (technology) is actually being built at a rate higher than ever to counter these symptoms, and to improve overall mental and physical health. The entire concept started, arguably, with mobile apps designed for mindfulness. Now, the technology can be worn by the user directly.
I had a chance to speak with Dr. Serin before, during, and after the brain scan process -- and about what devices like wearables say about the current state of stress in the modern era.
Data collected by Dr. Serin and her team, for instance, "show that it is unfortunately very common for people to be in stressful states way too often. But using TouchPoints can bring a profound sense of calm without the user having to shift what they are doing."
Stress is on the rise globally. Our bodies are not meant to live with artificial light, screen time instead of real interaction, chronic sleep problems, et cetera. The result is more excess stress. And worse, the common 'stress management' techniques add more to your day or are inefficient.
- Dr. Amy Serin, Neuropsychology and TouchPoint Solution Co-founder
Dr. Serin pointed to the convenience factor of a wearable device like TouchPoints: something that can be easily put on by the user and reduces stress without taking a significant "break" in the day.
"That's what people need now more than ever," she says. "Instant stress relief without adding another 'to-do' to an already packed schedule."
But others in the field of psychology have questions about the idea of a quick fix -- and understandably so. While my own scan showed evidence of decreased activity associated with stress, it was done so with the guidance of professionals who reminded me to unclench my jaw and try to relax once I had the TouchPoints on.
"I think it’s great that we are using our powers of technology to improve ways to treat mental health issues," says Dr. Laurie Paul, a psychologist in the Washington, DC area. "My main concern, though, is when the general public interprets things like this [e.g, brain scan results], they may misinterpret it because they haven’t had the proper training that a neuropsychology professional would have."
And while these concerns are valid, it doesn't completely negate the positive benefits of wearable devices like TouchPoints. It's possible that one might experience the best results with the guidance of an expert, or perhaps in tandem with other stress-reducing activities, like meditation or mindfulness practice.
The bottom line: To see founders and experts within the tech industry develop devices to encourage wellness is an overall positive development and one that my hamster-wheel-brain and I find encouraging. While the category of wearables is still in a fairly early stage, the emergence of products like TouchPoints from it is a positive sign that, as it evolves, solutions can continue to become more accurate and personalized.
But without further ado -- here's a closer look at the TouchPoints experience.
This article first appeared in Hubspot on February 14, 2019, by Amanda Zantal-Wiener. To read the full article, click here.
Business Insider - New Study on Children With Autism and Developmental Delays Show TouchPoints Wearable Devices Reduced 72% of Disruptive and Self-Harming Behaviors
New Study on Children With Autism and Developmental Delays Show TouchPoints Wearable Devices Reduced 72% of Disruptive and Self-Harming Behaviors
Data released from Ysgol Maes Y Coed, a special educational needs school in South Wales, UK showed a staggering reduction in problematic behaviors in case studies of children ages 7-14. Researchers tracked baseline behaviors for one week without TouchPoints, stress-relieving neuroscience wearables, and one week with the devices on the children during the entire school day.
The diagnoses of the children included Autism and Global Developmental Delay. Different problematic behaviors were tracked per the individual child. In one child, lying on the floor and screaming occurred 27 times and 67 times without the devices. That reduced to 6 times and one time, respectively over the course of the week with the TouchPoints. In another child, the number of incidences of headbanging was observed 273 times without the devices and 18 times with the devices.
Ali Rodenburg BA(Ed)Hons, MDip, the principal researcher, commented that introducing TouchPoints to the school yielded "an extremely positive impact on pupils who have limited ability to explain how they are feeling and communicate their frustrations." Every child who used TouchPoints "has displayed a reduction in their visible anxiety/frustration." Overall, there was an average reduction of 72% of problematic behaviors. "This is outstanding and has huge potential," she added. "The impact on wellbeing and maintenance on inner calm is overwhelming." The school plans on continuing to use TouchPoints with more of their students.
Dr. Amy Serin, inventor and Chief Science Officer noted that she wasn't surprised at the researchers' findings. "When you understand how the BLAST technology in TouchPoints works, you can predict what behaviors will spontaneously change when they are applied in individuals who have difficulty regulating for a variety of reasons. We are looking forward to more data as there are several research institutions and schools around the world currently conducting studies using TouchPoints to examine their effects on stress, sleep, performance, pain, and behavior."
SOURCE TouchPoint Solution
Markets Insider and Business Insider Editorial Teams were not involved in the creation of this post.
This article first appeared in Business Insider on February 12, 2019 by The TouchPoint Solution. To read the full article, click here.
TouchPoints named Best of CES 2019 in Health and Wellness Category by Digital Trends
TouchPoints are starting off 2019 with a bang! Our team just attended CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas to showcase TouchPoints among many of the world’s other most innovative gadgets. We’re excited to announce that while at the show, TouchPoints won a coveted Digital Trends’ Top Tech of CES 2019 Award. Here’s what they had to say about TouchPoints:
“Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but the health and wellness sector is a bit of minefield. It’s not always easy to find the gadgets and services that are based on sound science, that can actually alleviate suffering and improve lives because there’s a hefty chunk of snake oil out there. We scouredCES 2019 in search of the best health gadgets and, where possible, put them to the test. Here’s what we found.
The negative impact stress can have on our daily lives iswell understood nowadays. Stress can be crippling, causing all kinds of physical symptoms, and often making people ill — it’s estimated that 1 million people call in sick every day because of stress. The Touchpoint Basic is two watch-sized wearables that emit haptic vibrations at three different intensities. Developed by neuropsychologist Amy Serin, the idea is that bi-lateral stimulation can reduce the physical effects of stress in just 30 seconds, slowing your heartbeat and getting rid of the butterflies in your stomach.
We tried it out for ourselves and found that it did make us feel less stressed. You simply press the buttons on top each unit to start them off, holding them close together so they sync and vibrate sequentially. If you still feel stressed, press again for a higher level of vibration. There are three levels and then another press turns them off. Touchpoint quickly reduces the physical feelings of stress and helps you to focus better. The big problem is that the vibrations are quite loud, it sounds like an incoming call when your phone is set to vibrate which makes it tough to use unobtrusively.
There’s a lot of solid research to back up the claims on this one and it worked for us, so if you struggle with stress, it might be worth considering.”
“Stress impacts millions of people every day. It can cause unwanted physical effects, prevent us from having fun or going to work, and even make us gravely ill in the long term if we don't take steps to deal with it. Touchpoints is designed to shake you out of your usual stress responses, slowing your heart rate and killing the butterflies in your stomach within 30 seconds of turning it on. A twin set of vibrating devices that look like watches send out synchronized vibrations that disrupt your body's typical stress routine. You can wear one on each wrist and pick a vibration intensity that works for you.
Developed by neuroscientist Amy Serin, Touchpoints relies on a proven bilateral stimulation technique to reduce cortisol levels and help you focus. It's backed by solid research and studies, and Touchpoints put it into action at CES with brain scans and blood pressure monitoring to show the impact. We have been testing it out for ourselves and feel a tangible reduction in our stress level each time we use it. The basic version costs $160.”
- By Simon Hill