CategoriesBusiness,  Company Culture,  Health,  Reading Lists,  Science and Culture,  Sleep,  Uncategorized

Sunset’s Winter Reading

Brrr . . . winter weather is here!

Here are just a few of the intriguing books Sunset Healthcare Solutions staff members have lined up to read during the coldest time of the year. Please let us know if you decide to read along!

 

Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker


“A thoughtful tour through the still dimly understood state of being asleep … Why We Sleep is a book on a mission. Walker is in love with sleep and wants us to fall in love with sleep, too. And it is urgent. He makes the argument, persuasively, that we are in the midst of a ‘silent sleep loss epidemic’ that poses ‘the greatest public health challenge we face in the 21st century’ … Why We Sleep mounts a persuasive, exuberant case for addressing our societal sleep deficit and for the virtues of sleep itself. It is recommended for night-table reading in the most pragmatic sense.”
New York Times Book Review

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, Alex Hutchinson


“Want to achieve more? Often that means you have to do more — and Alex will show you how.”
—Inc. (”6 Great Business Books to Read in 2018”)

Silence, Erling Kagge

“The book expands the concepts of silence and noise beyond their aural definitions and engages with modern culture’s information overload, need for constant connection, and cult of busyness….Great pleasure lies in Kagge’s creative investigations. The reader leaves more mindful of the swirl of distraction present in everyday life.”
—Publishers Weekly

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel H. Pink

“Daniel H. Pink’s deeply researched but never boring study could be a turning point. College students and business managers alike may find new ways to organize their schedules and ease difficult decisions by using the ‘hidden pattern’ of time to their advantage.”
—Wall Street Journal

Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins

“Guaranteed to galvanize more than a few couch potatoes into action.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps, and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind, Nick Littlehales

“Nick Littlehales has reconfigured the bedrooms of a legion of international sporting stars . . . He has a unique and encyclopedic knowledge.”
Guardian

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, Nina Riggs

“Moving and insightful…Riggs writes with humor; the memoir is rife with witty one-liners and musings on the joys and challenges of mothering and observations on the importance of loving relationships…In this tender memoir Riggs displays a keen awareness of and reverence for all the moments of life—both the light, and the dark, ‘the cruel, and the beautiful.’”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

CategoriesScience and Culture,  Uncategorized

Out of the Mist: What’s Inside the Mesh Nebulizer?

The nebulizer is an essential and evolving method for treating COPD, asthma, and respiratory symptoms with aeresolized medication.

At Sunset, we hold this personal aide in high regard. We proudly manufacture our own Compressor Nebulizer and Handheld Compressor Nebulizer, and we’ve recently incorporated the Flyp Portable Nebulizer—a truly sophisticated device!

We’re fascinated by the nebulizer’s international roots, from German steam inhalers to hand bulb nebulizers, vaporizers and atomizers.

In the 1960s, when engineers experimented with heat and ultrasonic technology, they produced sleeker, more portable devices—incorporating frequency and pressure to produce finer medication particles and faster treatment.

The Pulverisateur, 1858 (Photo courtesy of Mark Sanders & AARC Virtual Museum)

Vibrating Mesh Technology (VMT), which emerged in the 1990s, still stands as a breakthrough discovery for the industry. VMT aeresolizes medication through a tiny, vibrating disk with over a thousand laser-drilled holes. Presently, VMT fuels a family of devices celebrated for their ultra rapid treatment time, low noise and petite size: the mesh nebulizers.

But, how can these portable, often handheld devices produce such power? Or, why aren’t we still using the portable, bicycle pump-styled nebulizer known in 1800s France as “the Pulverisateur”?

The answer is piezoelectricity —which is a mysterious-sounding word we should investigate.

Piezo·electricity

Did you know that the word “electricity” pulls from the classic Greek word elektron, which translates to “amber”—as in, the gem?

Though we often use it as an ornament, amber is actually fossilized tree resin that was an ancient curiosity due to its mysterious attributes.

Amber (Josh Blaine)

According to popular lore, Greek scientists noticed that the sun-toned stone attracted bits of fiber—and attempts to remove the material by rubbing it merely intensified the magnetic effect.

Though the first study on piezoelectricity emerged in France in 1880 (just after the Pulverisateur), this amber exercise is still used in grade school science lessons to demonstrate the phenomenon of electrostatic charge.

The Greek tale—specifically, their futile attempts to rub the fabric off—produced the prefix piezo, which is Greek for “to press,” or squeeze.

So, “piezoelectricity” simply refers to the electrical charge that accumulates in certain solids (like amber) when they are pressed, or undergo changes in pressure.

However! Further research tells us that not just any solid will work.

Topaz and tourmaline are piezoelectric—but glass is not. Piezoelectric material is almost always a crystal or ceramic solid, as both tend to have symmetrical atomic structures that can convert one type of energy to another (…more on this later). Of the crystals, quartz is the most commonly used piezoelectric material.

How does it work?

If you were to physically squeeze a piece of quartz, an invisible electrical charge would flow through it.

What’s happening, is that the pressure is changing the arrangement of its symmetrical atomic structure. Some of the atoms are drawing closer to each other and others further apart. This effect causes the crystal to “polarize,” sending positive charge to one side of the material and negative charge to the other, like a magnet. Or a tiny battery.

With the same concept, when engineers pass voltage through the quartz, the atoms squeeze themselves, vibrating back and forth and creating a charge. It’s this second feature that makes small devices run.

Quartz watches and clocks operate by this principle of piezoelectricity. Electrodes connect to an internal quartz crystal, charging it with a signal. When the quartz polarizes, it produces a reliable time-keeping frequency!

A contact microphone (Patrick Lauke)

The contact microphone is another great example of piezo power. This tiny device contains a piezo assembly—either ceramic or a very thin layer of crystals, mounted on a disk—that can convert sound wave vibrations into amplified sound.

Acoustic musicians often mount these microphones directly onto their instruments, plugging the attached cable into an amplifier or recording unit. When the instrument emits sound wave vibration, the piezo disk converts this to audible sound—and boosts quieter instruments like violin… or ukelele!

Mesh nebulizers

Unlike jet, or compressor, nebulizers and most ultrasonic models, the mesh nebulizer almost always utilizes a piezoelectric assembly. This setup is ideal for these sleek, pared down handhelds, with their small but extremely mighty vibrating internal disks.

Flyp’s internal disk

At Convexity Scientific, Chief Commercial Officer Geoff Matous explains that the pocket-sized Flyp Portable Nebulizer uses piezoelectric technology to fuel its powerhouse mesh disk, which vibrates almost silently at the speed of 111,000 times per second!

“The piezoelectric assembly is a ceramic ring plus stainless steel mesh that sits directly in contact with the medication in the reservoir,” explains Matous.

Since Flyp’s piezo disk is right up against the solution, Matous explains, it is technically categorized as an “active” mesh nebulizer. Passive mesh nebulizers generally have a disk and a separate piezo element or horn, which generates frequencies to push the fluid up through the disk.

When Flyp’s piezo disk becomes polarized by the surrounding signal of voltage, frequency and wave form, it vibrates and moves medication organically through its holes, producing micro droplets and a consistent, inhalable mist.

One clinical application difference to note between active and passive mesh nebulizers is that delivery performance with suspensionmedication—Budesonide, for example—is commonly more reliable with active mesh. Presumably, the internal layout also contributes to the active mesh nebulizer’s compact size.

De-mist-ified

Flyp Portable Nebulizer

So, the next time you pick up your mesh nebulizer, think of the unique and fascinating technology that’s fueling it.

In addition to helping you maintain optimal health, it might lead to an interesting conversation!

CategoriesScience and Culture,  Sleep

Sunset’s Guide to Sounds for Sleep


Sunset Healthcare Solutions has committed itself to improving sleep health for sleep apnea and COPD sufferers for over a decade. Our CPAP masks are designed to give patients from all backgrounds an affordable, high quality option for sleep.

Yet, it can still be hard for all of us to get a good night’s rest. One of our favorite methods to wind down—and lay down—is the use of music. But, what kind of tunes help us relax and sleep—and why?

Let’s start with the very basics: noise.

Sound Machines

In the 1800s, botanist Robert Brown observed microscopic particles suspended in water, and noted the random, continuous, yet rhythmic motion. (Source) Today, scientists refer to this movement as Brownian motion. This motion directly corresponds to what scientists then termed brown noise, which has a correlating random and continuous sound signal.

Though ascribing colors to sound seems esoteric, anyone who has used a sound machine is likely familiar with the usage.

White noise is a popularly-used term with sound machines, and is reminiscent of an old TV. Many sound machines use pink noise, a slightly higher frequency that the ear perceives as “more flat.” (Source)

Science of Sound

Many cultures have used music to improve patient wellbeing, and today’s doctors continue integrating it as a part of physical therapy and stress reduction. (Source)

In modern art, experimental musicians like Pauline Oliveros and Annea Lockwood worked with synthesizers and sounds, consulted kinesiologists, and experimented with tones to help relaxation and focus. (Source)

As recently as 2011, a British instrumental group collaborated with scientists on a song specifically designed to help sleep. Marconi Nation’s “Weightless” has a percussive pulse that matches and slows the heartbeat, reputedly lowers blood pressure and was voted the most relaxing song of all time by a panel of listeners!

Mood Music

The origin of music written to relax, or mood music, is generally traced to composer Erik Satie. (Source) In the 1800s, he began writing what he playfully termed “furniture music,” which he intended to blend into the noises of the environment.

Satie saw it as a melodic backdrop for dinner parties—but, also, as music that would be calming and neutralize street noises.

Many will recognize the minimal and drifting nature of “Gymnopedie No. 1,” even if the title isn’t immediately familiar. Queue up Satie’s three “Gymenopedies” to create a contemplative space for relaxing or winding down!

In the late 1960s, avant-garde musicians like Terry Riley and Philip Glass started composing music to set a mood of relaxation and contemplation. Riley even held all-night concerts, where enthusiastic attendees brought along hammocks and sleeping bags. (Source)

Mass Market Relaxation

Perhaps the most well known name of relaxation music, Muzak, emerged in the ’50s with tunes written and sold to play in elevators and at dinner parties.

Muzak piped in soothing strains that were simple, under-arranged and, by the 1960s and 70s, ubiquitous. During the launch of Apollo 11, astronauts reportedly listened to Muzak to calm their nerves as they propelled toward the moon! (Source)

Two listeners sleep in lounge chairs in a 1960s Muzak ad. (public domain)
The Muzak corporation enjoyed a healthy run, continuing all the way into the late 1990s.

Ambient Music

In part, a reaction to Muzak, musician Brian Eno released his album, “Music for Airports” in 1978 and officially coined the musical term “ambient.” (Source) In the liner notes, Eno said he saw ambient music as an extension of Muzak, in that it “must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” However he hoped to create something open for artistic interpretation. (Source)

Since the release of that album, ambient music has become a well established genre. Its characteristic washes of sound and slow pace make it great for relaxing!

A World of Noise

With the help of music streaming platforms, listeners can now assemble and share relaxation playlists with the world. Soft, instrumental music, like calm jazz, ambient music or reverb-laden dream pop prevail. However, so do more structured selections, such as pop hits from Ed Sheeran or Adele.

It’s clear that many sounds work for relaxation!

We thought we’d share some serene songs and sounds to help you relax, get your best sleep, and maintain optimal health.

Please feel free to share our playlist with others!

For other tools to maintain sleep hygiene, for CPAP masks, oxygen and respiratory gear, please check us out at www.Sunsethcs.com or reach out to one of our sales experts at 800-578-6738.

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