Learning

health

How Learning to Lucid Dream Helped This Man Fight His Sleep Demon

Photo credit: Kotynski
Photo credit: Kotynski

From Men’s Health

One night when I was 16, I woke up and realized that I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I could barely breathe. I was already panicking when I noticed a figure, wreathed in shadows, moving toward the foot of my bed—out of my line of sight. That’s when the whispers started, all around me. Then I felt hands moving up from the foot of my bed, groping me through the covers, harder the further up my legs they reached, as the whispers got louder, until suddenly everything stopped and I bolted upright, sweating, screaming, and searching for a now-vanished intruder.

That was my first experience with sleep paralysis, a condition in which a sudden awakening from REM sleep causes an inability to move or speak. An episode can last from a few seconds to a few minutes but feels much, much longer. It’s usually terrifying, no matter how many times it’s happened to you before, because your brain is struggling to react to paralysis while in a confused state of blended consciousness, between dreaming and waking. An estimated 8 percent of people experience sleep paralysis at least once in their lifetime, usually when something disrupts their sleep patterns. The vast majority of sleep–paralysis episodes come with a side of auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations, often of spectral intruders. (Some people even experience sexual abuse or pleasure at the hands of their sleep demons, perhaps because REM is also associated with automatic erectile activity and increased vaginal blood flow for no clear reason. Hence, incubi, succubi, alien probes.)

But I’m part of a smaller subset who, due to various underlying biological or psychological issues, experience recurrent sleep paralysis—up to once per week in my case, frequently featuring the same assailant.

After more than a decade of research, experimentation, and terror, I found a mix of exercise, meditation, and sleep-hygiene diligence that helped lower the frequency of my episodes. By my mid-20s, I got them down to one or two per year. But in early 2020, as I faced a series of new life stresses, my strategies started to fail. I told a friend that I was seeing my shadow demon multiple times a week and that it was driving me mad. Without missing a beat, she asked, “Why not just take control and fuck your sleep demon?”

That was her flip way of turning me on to the idea of treating sleep paralysis by learning to lucid dream, or regain awareness and control while dreaming. Most of us have had this sort of dream at least once accidentally—you know, that uncanny feeling of suddenly realizing, Oh, this isn’t real life. I’m dreaming right now. But a small group of enthusiasts, known as oneironauts, try to induce them regularly for fun, self-improvement, or introspection.

Photo credit: Hearst - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst – Hearst Owned

The idea isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. University of Adelaide sleep researcher and lucid-dreaming guide Denholm Aspy, Ph.D., has for years helped

Read More
health

Rising coronavirus case numbers prompt some districts to go to remote learning

An increase of positive COVID-19 cases prompted a couple of area school districts to shift to remote learning for the next couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, Hart ISD and Silverton ISD joined Lockney ISD in moving students to remote learning over the last month. As of Friday morning, Lockney High School students were expected to return to the classroom on Monday.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in surrounding counties.

According to the Texas Department State Health Services’ virus dashboard, as of Thursday afternoon, Swisher County had 140 total cases (increase of 12 over the last week), Castro 289 (increase of 62), Lamb 491 (increase of 64) and Floyd County 121 (increase of two).


Of these reported total cases, Floyd County had 14 active cases, Lamb County 144, Castro County 28 and Swisher County 31.

The City of Lubbock’s COVID-19 numbers continued to show a strong increase over the last week. On Friday, Lubbock announced 16,602 total cases (up from 14,675 last week), 2,240 active cases, 14,189 recoveries (up from 12,518) and 21 additional deaths, a total of 173 deaths.

The Amarillo Public Health Department’s report that came out on Friday afternoon shows 12,302 total cases, which is up from 11,209 total cases last week. Active cases went from 3,509 to 4,032 and 154 deaths. These numbers reflect totals combined between Potter and Randall County.

On Oct. 16, Hart ISD announced it would get rid of remote learning on Jan. 5. One week later (Oct. 22), the district announced four new confirmed cases of coronavirus within the district and shifted to remote learning. Students are expected to return the classrooms on Nov. 2.

Silverton announced that two staff members had tested positive for the virus and that the district would be halting on-campus learning until Nov. 9.

In addition to the remote learning, Silverton and Hart also had to cancel some UIL activities until the districts return to in-person learning. Silverton canceled the remainder of its football season while Hart has canceled its next two games, though the Longhorns are hoping to play at least one more game.

Several schools posted detailed breakdowns of their COVID-19 situations throughout the district this week. These were posted to their respective Facebook pages.

Lockney ISD reported that the district had 13 positive cases and 160 students quarantined as of Tuesday. Of those total quarantined individuals, 92 of them were in the high school – 84 students and eight adults.

Lockney also issued a plea to parents and students to follow health guidelines so the district’s virus issues can improve.

“Whether you agree, disagree, or are indifferent to the whole COVID mess is irrelevant at this point,” the Lockney ISD Facebook post stated. “We can either comply with the rules set before us or we can kiss football, basketball, and any other activities that our kids enjoy goodbye.”

Lockney’s football schedule has already shifted multiple times since the beginning of school in Aug. The Longhorns have clinched a playoff spot though there remains the

Read More
fitness

PowerUp Fitness keeping students in virtual learning fit during COVID-19 pandemic

PowerUp Fitness is usually in schools, teaching students about shapes, colors and even geometry. But COVID-19 meant they’d have to pivot to online teaching.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Evelyn Price is four years old and serious about two things: drawing pictures of dogs and staying active while learning from home. 

Price’s family is one of more than 2,000 participating in PowerUp Fitness, a school-based physical learning program across hundreds of schools in East Tennessee and throughout the U.S. 

A global pandemic forced what would typically happen in the school gym online.

Evelyn and her mom Alicia use virtual fitness learning videos from Power Up,
a local program helping students learn while being active in school.

“All of our programs are academic, whether it’s ABC’s or geometry,” founder Stacy Baugues said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic means educators need to take different approaches towards keeping kids active. Instead of typical activities, on-demand virtual videos to keep virtual students like Evelyn up and moving.

“Families can pick videos based on age or academic integration,” Baugues said. 

She said that is important to combat learning loss, but it’s also important to keep kids moving in a time when many are learning from home. Experts said that she is not wrong. 

Since the pandemic began, studies everywhere from the University of California to the National Library of Medicine show kids are less active right now and Baugues said there are ways communities can change that.

“They can have lots of fun and get moving and get learning together,” she said.

That is something that is important for Evelyn’s mom, Alicia, too.

“While the pandemic is a very stressful time this helps bring some light to it quite frankly,” she said. 

Power Up Fitness is currently offered in several East Tennessee schools like Oak Ridge and Lenoir City. Families can also find it at the YMCA and Centro Hispano.

RELATED: Students leap into learning at Lenoir City Elementary with PowerUp Fitness

RELATED: Keeping Kids Connected: Top 5 helpful study apps and websites for students

Source Article

Read More
health

Conroe ISD board highlights dyslexia’s impact on learning

For hundreds of students and parents in the Conroe Independent School District, dyslexia and other reading and learning disabilities have had a significant impact on their education. As part of Dyslexia Awareness Month, the CISD Board of Trustees included a special recognition of dyslexia at its Tuesday meeting.

A group of parents with students with reading disorders has been in conversation with the district for a while now about how dyslexia services are conducted, which programs are being used, what they want the district to put more resources into, and the funding that the district dyslexia services receive.

“The Texas Education Agency and the American Institutes of Research identify dyslexia as “the most commonly diagnosed learning disability” affecting the education of children. Students experiencing dyslexia may also struggle with related disorders such as dysgraphia, dyscalculia, developmental auditory imperceptions, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability,” according to the special recognition that the board included. “The most recent data available from the Texas Education Agency indicates that only 3.5% to 4.0% of Texas students are identified as dyslexic. Peer-reviewed research indicates that up to 20% of the student population may suffer from the difficulties associated with dyslexia.”

Board member Scott Moore, who recommended the recognition, read a special proclamation to be included in the official meeting minutes.

Nicole May is a district parent with two sons, both diagnosed with dyslexia, and a member of the parent group. She has addressed the board several times to talk about dyslexia services and what the parent group thinks the district could be doing better. At Tuesday’s meeting, she brought her younger son to say hello to the board, and thank them for the special recognition. But she also took the opportunity to continue her advocacy.


“My goal tonight is to continue keeping dyslexic students in our district a focus and to continue addressing the need for more for our population,” May said. “The questions I ponder often are ‘Do the decision-makers in our district see the need for more for our population? And do you see the potential of our population in society?’”

While looking over STAAR data for the district from the 2019-20 May said she found the dyslexia population identified in some of the scores for writing and reading tests that did not meet the state average. She questioned why the district started a new dyslexia program last year, asking directly if it was because there were students in the district that were no thriving under the old program.

“My insight, it was not the previous program that failed these students,” May said. “Rather, it was the lack of commitment to execute the program to the level required to gain success.”

In her previous addresses to the board, May encouraged the district to use the maximum time allowable for dyslexia services instead of the minimum and to keep dyslexia services classes to the smallest number of students each to allow for more personal instruction.

May was not the only

Read More
health

Remote Learning Recommended Amid Rising Lake Co. Coronavirus Rate

LAKE COUNTY, IL — All schools in Lake County should shift to fully remote learning in response to rising rates of coronavirus, public health officials said.

The Lake County Health Department Tuesday recommended all public and private elementary and high schools in the county transition to entirely e-learning, if they have not done so already, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect students, staff and their families.

“This is not a recommendation we take lightly,” Executive Director Mark Pfister said in a statement. “Schools are being asked to utilize virtual learning not because schools are the main driver of our new infections, but because the levels of community transmission warrant extra measures to keep our students, staff, and their families safe.”

Pfister said the county is experiencing the highest rates of new cases since the spring.

“We continue to work closely with our school superintendents to equip them with data and tools to make informed decisions,” Pfister said. “Now the decision is up to school districts, to use their expertise and authority to make this difficult decision for the health and safety of their school communities and the greater Lake County community as a whole.”

Last week, the rolling average number of daily new cases in the county rose past the threshold for what is considered “substantial” community spread of the virus — 14 cases per 100,000 people — to an average of 22.7 new cases per 100,000 people on Saturday, the most recent day for which data was available from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

According to the return to school metrics, a virtual learning model is suggested anytime the seven-day rolling average daily incidence rate reaches the level. Hybrid learning is permitted under the metrics at the “moderate” level — whenever the rate is between seven and 14 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood said local school districts were working with state and local public health agencies as well as the Illinois State Board of Education to develop guidelines for when to transition between hybrid and remote learning.

“The safety of our students, staff, and communities are always first and foremost,” Woods said. “Opening schools is a priority; however, if we want schools to reopen and remain open we must all do our part. It’s relatively easy if you wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands frequently. These are challenging and unprecedented times, but with collective behaviors we can slow spread and achieve our goals.”

(Lake County Health Department)
(Lake County Health Department)

Related:
Coronavirus Mitigations In Region 7, 8 Start Friday
More Restrictions Could Be Coming To Lake County This Week
Nearly 500 COVID-19 Cases Linked To Illinois Schools: See Where

Since the county’s first confirmed coronavirus case in March, nearly 20,000 Lake County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 500 people have died. The survival rate in the county is 96.7 percent, according to the health department.

In Region 9 of Gov.

Read More
health

Distance learning means kids are missing out on exercise

Katelyn Esmonde is a postdoctoral fellow and Keshia Pollack Porter is a professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University.


This fall hasn’t felt much like “back to school” for many children. Instead, many are staying at home and attending virtual classes indefinitely.

According to the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a nonpartisan research center, about 25% of U.S. school districts have started the year fully remote. This means that children will miss out on vital opportunities for educational, social and emotional development. And, as is familiar during this pandemic, the impact will be unequal: Children in underresourced districts are more likely to be remote learners. These children are hardest hit by school closures as they are more likely to lack access to necessary technologies and are less likely to receive parental help with their learning. They will also lose out on easy access to school meals.

But there’s another harm done by school closures: a child’s ability to be physically active. We are researchers at Johns Hopkins University studying physical activity and its impact on public health. Based on our research, we believe the pandemic is exacerbating health disparities among children and having significant impacts on their physical, social and cognitive development.

No gym classes, no team sports

Children not in school don’t have recess or physical education classes. They aren’t walking to school or to a bus stop. Generally, they can’t participate in school teams or clubs that promote physical activity either (although in some school districts, team sports may go ahead even while in-person education does not).

What’s more, children have traditionally been less physically active in the summer than during the school year, with notable differences by race and ethnicity. And given the punishing trajectory of the pandemic, it is not clear when those prospects for physical activity will be available again.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children between ages 6 and 17 engage in one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. That can improve a child’s physical and mental health and prevent the onset of chronic disease, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Physical activity and active play can also be a source of joy for children. As they socialize with peers, they find pleasure in moving their bodies and developing their strength and physical literacy. Many of us look back fondly on childhood memories of soccer games and running around until we tire ourselves out, a delight every child deserves.

Schools, of course, are not perfect when it comes to meeting children’s physical activity needs. Physical education is chronically underfunded, and Black and Latino children typically lose out the most. Even so, schools provide some opportunities for children to be well and healthy.

Low-income communities are hurt the most

A child’s decrease in physical activity is not only a public health issue. It’s also a matter of fairness.

Prior to the pandemic, children from low-income communities and communities of color already

Read More
health

Learning to walk again in the long shadow of COVID-19 | The Latest | Gambit Weekly

Keith Zimmer lay in a hospital bed he’d been confined to for weeks after waking up from a medically induced coma, struggling to relearn how to use a spoon. It was Oct. 4 — the same day President Donald Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center to take a Popemobile-like joy ride to demonstrate how easy COVID-19 is to overcome. 

While Trump’s display of machismo was little more than a self-serving gesture to his own ego, for Zimmer, a master mechanic, husband and father, simply picking up a spoon was a major milestone in his battle against COVID-19: That day he turned 64, and the Gentilly native would be damned if he wasn’t going to sit up and enjoy a few celebratory bites of ice cream.



keith zimmer birthday

Keith Zimmer, hospitalized by COVID-19, recovering on his birthday. 




 “He’s the guy next door; he’s a man’s man — but he loves sweets and decadent desserts,” his wife, Debbie, jokingly says about his determination to indulge his sweet tooth.

It’s been a harrowing journey for him and his family. Before he relocated to Ochsner from St. Tammany Parish Hospital — where he had first been diagnosed and cared for — signs of the illness had erratically improved, worsened and improved again, as friends and his close-knit family worried and prayed. His daughter, Kellie, a 36-year-old teacher and part-time bartender, continues to post daily updates about his condition on social media that further reveal the wide-ranging, fickle symptoms as well as the complex recovery process. 

Kellie says doctors moved her asthmatic father into an intensive care unit shortly after his initial diagnosis, because he needed more oxygen. “Then they called back to say he was being intubated,” she says. “It was like, snap, snap, snap. Nothing, then everything.” 

Then his body didn’t take kindly to the tube. “He was bleeding, and it was just encrusted with this gunk; it just builds up this gunk in your lungs, and the tube was coated,” she says. “It was like he was breathing through a straw.” 


Zimmer is one of the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who’ve experienced long-term, often life-threatening health conditions which were brought on by COVID-19 but have lingered long after the virus has left their systems. Despite claims from Trump and his allies that the virus is like the flu, doctors and public health experts say we are only beginning to understand the long-term consequences of infections, and they warn that victims of the disease could be plagued by complications for years or decades to come.



Keith Zimmer hospital



 “It’s not like being on a roller coaster,” Kellie Zimmer says of her father’s condition over the past several months. “It’s like you’re waiting on the tracks for the roller coaster to pass over you. It’s a nightmare.”

So far in Louisiana, more than 174,000 infections have been reported to the state’s health department. And as of Oct. 17, more than 5,500 people have died from

Read More