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article imageCalifornia dreamin'? Not enough, say sleep experts

By Michael Essany     May 7, 2014 in Technology
According to the latest data published by the CDC, 24.9 percent of Californians report getting an insufficient amount of sleep on a regular basis.
Although residents of New York and even West Virginia have higher populations of sleep deprived residents, the news of California's surprisingly common degree of sleep deprivation has caught some medical professionals and sleep experts by surprise.
After all, the purportedly always laid-back Californians don't appear to be sleep deprived in their typical portrayal across virtually all media. But perception doesn't align with reality in this case. And that means an estimated 10 million Californians are working, driving, and performing a wide array of personal and professional activities while chronically exhausted.
In short, it's dangerous not only for them, but for everyone in their midst.
Not surprisingly, studies have also shown the large cities and communities are particularly prone to have a sleep deprived citizenry.
According to a recent AP report, noise is the single greatest quality-of-life complaint in New York City. And it's likely noise that is the paramount reason why New Yorkers are even more chronically sleep deprived than Californians. But getting better rest in the city that never sleeps shouldn't be so difficult, even with the aforementioned audible nuisances that plague city life.
Every year, millions of Americans turn to prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids to help secure their 40 winks. But with hit-or-miss results and occasional side effects — including a worsened form of rebound insomnia after sleep meds are discontinued — a growing number of physicians are urging greater restraint when using medicinal sleep aids.
Even the majority of sleep-inducing mobile apps that litter the world's leading app stores provide little more than repetitive white noise with zero impact on the brain's sleep centers. But according to an early 2014 segment on the popular syndicated television program Dr. Oz, pink noise, on the other hand, is hailed as an all-natural sleep cure that "can be more effective than prescription medication." In one study cited, 75 percent of the people who listened to it enjoyed more restful sleep.
Defined simply, pink noise refers to sounds that have equal energy per octave, which means it has more low-frequency components than white noise. Consequently, pink noise holds the key to blocking distractions and relaxing one before bed. As a result, it's little wonder why some of the fastest growing all-natural sleep solutions are turning away from ineffectual white noise and thinking pink instead.
Last year, for example, a mobile sleep app called Sleep Genius launched on iOS and Android and instantly drew stellar reviews and resounding praise from across the medical and scientific communities. Developed by experts in neuroscience, sleep, sound, and music, Sleep Genius has been celebrated as a game changer within the crowded sea of sleep apps that populate the world's leading app stores.
In February, Samsung announced it would integrate the app into its next-generation Gear 2 smartwatch.
As it turns out, pink noise plays a key role in the app's proprietary mix of algorithms, which work to block out outside noise and create a virtual sound cocoon that wraps around the user.
Bottom line? The impact of Sleep Genius is just the latest noteworthy example of how pink noise can mitigate distracting noises and relax frenetic minds by slowing down one's breath rate and heart rate, an ultimate sleep solution conducive to quality, restful sleep.
So could Californians and New Yorkers benefit from thinking pink? With the CDC classifying sleep deprivation as a national epidemic, those struggling with a lack of shut eye, regardless of their zip code, definitely need all the safe assistance they can get today.
More about California, CDC, Sleep deprivation