Erectile function - A patented alarm clock reduces stress and cortisol

in Health and Fitness (E)

[] Hannover, Germany - The fact that stress is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction is no surprise given life in modern life. A million years ago, human stress may have been related to protecting yourself from a wild animal. The stress response is known as a sympathetic discharge - the sympathetic nervous system releases the hormone called cortisol. This is the "fight or flight" hormone, allowing humans to face the situation or run away from it. When cortisol is released, it causes an increase in blood pressure, increased blood flow to organs that are needed for rapid activity, increased mental activity, increased blood glucose and an increased rate of metabolism. It decreases blood flow to organs not needed for rapid activity. The sex organs are not vital for rapid activity and receive less of the blood flow. One way to imagine this response is to imagine someone walking in on you when you're in the midst of sexual activity. What's the first thing that happens? Usually, a loss of an erection. This is a sympathetic event. You are startled, you have a "fight or flight" response and your body releases cortisol. Blood flow is diverted from the sex organs. Unfortunately, today the fight of our life may be in the board room, the office or on the highway. The stress isn't met with aggressive physical activity output but the stress is real and constant. Cortisol levels become too high and glands become exhausted. The way you handle stress can dramatically affect erectile dysfunction.

Stress is a contributing factor for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and depression - all of which are in turn contributing factors for erectile dysfunction. Additionally, the penis needs an ample blood supply in order to achieve an erection. Stress constricts the blood vessels in the extremities, including the penis, preventing adequate blood flow. Even short-term stress may affect sexual functioning because the body is not designed to perform sexually while fighting or running away. However, in the case of short-term stress, the body should be able to respond sexually once the stress is gone. With long-term stress, once the stress has passed, the patient may have to treat any remaining stress-related diseases in order to restore sexual function.

What is cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland that plays different roles: Its primary function is to increase the amino acid supply to the liver when there are low levels present. This act, however, serves to increase protein catabolism. Cortisol also serves to increase blood pressure, blood sugar levels and will have an immunosuppressive effect on the body. Thus, when high levels are seen over time, there is also an increased chance of becoming ill due to a decreased functioning of the immune system.
What affects the release of cortisol? Potentially, one of the largest factors that can affect the release of cortisol in the body is psychological or physical stress.

Cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone. When the brain stimulates its release in response to physical or emotional stress, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol into the blood. Cortisol helps the body regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It also is an antiinflammatory, an antiallergic agent and reduces the actions of the immune system. Many synthetic versions of cortisol have medicinal uses.

Normally, it's present in the body at higher levels in the morning after waking up, and at its lowest at night. Although stress isn't the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed "the stress hormone" because it's also secreted in higher levels during the body's 'fight or flight' response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects: A quick burst of energy for survival reasons, heightened memory functions, a burst of increased immunity, lower sensitivity to pain and it helps maintain homeostasis in the body.

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body's response to stress, it's important that the body's relaxation response to be activated so the body's functions can return to normal following a stressful event like a marathon run, a half marathon run or a triathlon.

Higher and more prolonged levels of (catabolic) cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with acute or chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as: Impaired cognitive performance, suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalances, decreased bone density, muscle tissue degradation, skeletal muscle wasting, high blood pressure, lowered immunity and inflammatory responses and slowed wound healing.

The cortisol awakening response is an increase of about 50% in cortisol levels occurring after awakening in the morning. Shortly after awakening, a sharp increase occurs in the blood level of cortisol.

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, Clinical Neurologist Dr. Hans Joerg Stuerenburg, M.D., Ph.D. developed and patented an innovative adaptive stress free alarm clock, "The Gentle Alarm".

Compared to conventional alarm clocks, the new Gentle Alarm introduces an individualized, natural wake up procedure, which adapts itself to the users' particular needs within a few nights. This patented alarm clock is leading to a gentle and stress free wake up.
Sudden, abrupt waking in the morning as with loud, conventional alarm clocks and the associated release of stress hormones from the adrenal gland can be avoided by using this novel and intelligent self adapting, personal sleep cycle alarm clock.

Stuerenburg sees health benefits of this intelligent innovation in weight loss, stress reduction, increase of skeletal muscle mass, pain reduction, enhanced male virility, improvement of cognitive performance, improvement of fatigue, chronic fatigue and better general health and physical fitness.

The Gentle Alarm is easy to use. In order to be woken up smoothly, sleepers will be guided from the deep sleep phase or dream phase into the light sleep phase by gentle sounds.

Unlike the hitherto existing sleep cycle alarm clocks The Gentle Alarm does not require additional implement such as wristband motion sensors, sound sensors or movement sensors. Users simply set their desired wake up time. After waking up, they merely slide a finger across the screen to stop the alarm. Everything else is taken care of by the patented and intelligent system.

The Gentle Alarm (patent pending) was developed for iPhone in collaboration with Craft mobile and can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes AppStore for iPhone or iPod touch (requires iPhone OS Version 3.0 or newer).

In November 2010 "The Independent", London, UK, one of the four largest British quality newspapers named "The Gentle Alarm" for iPhone and iPod touch one of "The ten best alarm clocks" and the best alarm clock - app worldwide. "The Independent" mentioned: "Best alarm clock for stress heads. The Gentle Alarm app for iPhone and iPod touch. This app monitors your natural sleep patterns and produces a personalised waking programme which stirs you from your slumber at the least stressful point of your sleep cycle".

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later
* 0.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Gentle Alarm 2.1.0 is $3.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Healthcare & Fitness category.

Craft mobile is an agile team specialized on the implementation of iPhone applications. Craft mobile was initiated in 2009 and is a project of Craft AG, Freiburg (established Aug. 2000). Dr. Hans Joerg Stuerenburg (M.D., Ph.D.) is Specialist in Neurology and Head of the Neurological Department, Klinik Niedersachsen, Medical Center, Bad Nenndorf, Germany. Copyright (C) 2010 Craft AG, Freiburg. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.


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