Insomnia is becoming increasingly prevalent in this age of technology. Multiple studies have shown this, with the latest survey done with 9,846 teenagers aged 16 to 19 in Norway. The teens recorded their sleep patterns as well as their technology usage throughout the day, with a focus on the hour before bedtime. Researchers found what they call a “dose-response relationship” — the more you dose yourself with devices, the higher your risk of sleeplessness. A multiple number of reasons can be attributed to this. First, the blue light that comes from all LED screens, which has been found to interfere with production of the sleep hormone melatonin in the brain. Second, the hunched-over posture that tends to come with screen usage can lead to headaches and muscular pain. It is also possible that the electromagnetic radiation coming from cell phones can keep us from getting a good nights sleep. Researchers say the ideal activity to partake in before going to bed is reading a slow-paced book to help the mind and body relax and drift off to sleep. What are your tips for diminishing the use of devices before bed? What do you typically recommend to teenagers?
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How often do you nap during the day? Recent studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology have suggested that daytime napping might be a useful marker of underlying health risks. The European study found adults, ages 40-79, who napped for less than an hour a day were likely to die over a 13-year period and those who napped over an hour were at an even higher risk of death. The study notes that there are many factors that could contribute to the higher likelihood of death associated with naps such as sleep apnea, comorbid conditions, age, gender and BMI. What are some of the reasons why you or your patients nap during the day? What recommendations do you provide for getting a better night’s sleep?
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In a recent survey conducted by Professor Richard Wiseman, it has been shown that 28 million people in the UK do not receive the adequate amount of sleep. The idea behind this loss of sleep is contributed to late night use of technology: e.g. computer, tablet, or smartphone. Professor Wiseman states that the blue lights emitted from these devices suppress production of melatonin reducing quality of sleep. The article goes on further to say that due to this blue light, there is also a potential for damage to one’s eyes. Will this change the way you use technology before bed? Do you think technology will ultimately detriment our health?
The article can be found at BBC
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A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology is making researchers look at the placebo effect again. The participants were observed during their sleep to determine if they got above- or below-average sleep. When participants were told they got above-average sleep, they performed better even if they did not sleep well. Taking advantage of this placebo effect, there are three simple methods to improve your day: be more productive, get fitter, and feel happier. How? Focusing on a how much sleep you did get rather than dwell on the fact that the last hour of sleep was spent tossing and turning, knowing how much exercise you achieve during your daily activities, and practicing optimism by having something positive to look forward to throughout the day. How have you experimented with placebo effect in your life or in your practice?
For additional information please visit CNN
Infant sleep machines that produce white noise to drown out disturbances to a baby’s sleep can be damaging to their hearing if set at maximum volume. Researchers at the University of Toronto evaluated 14 brands of sleep machines at maximum volume and found that when placed 30 centimeters from an infant, 3 brands exceeded 85 decibels, the safety limit for adults on an eight-hour work shift determined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. A newborn’s brain is learning to distinguish pitches and sounds while during sleep, therefore, if the newborn is accustomed to white noise, they may not be as responsive to soft speech and other noises. Dr. Blake Papsin, the author and the chief otolaryngologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, suggests putting the sleep machine farther away, using it at a lower volume, and for a shorter duration of time will deliver less sound pressure to the baby and reduce the risk for hearing impairment. What recommendations do you offer your patients to help their babies sleep well?
For additional information, please see New York Times.
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Published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, preliminary research suggests hospital lighting may affect the comfort of hospital stay. The study was performed on 23 women and 17 men and measured the effects of lighting on patients’ mood, sleep, and pain. Patients who had lower lighting for 24 hours slept poorly, experienced more fatigue, and experienced more pain. The investigators hypothesize that changing the lighting patterns in the hospital may regulate sleep-wake cycles and ultimately have better patient outcomes. An inexpensive way to bring comfort to a hospitalized patient, adjusting lighting patterns may make the hospital stay less disconcerting. How does natural or artificial lighting affect your mood? What specific devices do you recommend to your patients to regulate your sleep/wake cycle and their mood?
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Researchers at Kwandong University studied the effects of red ginseng on sleep in 15 young healthy male volunteers. They discovered that red ginseng can reduce duration of wakefulness between sleep times, reduce lightest stage of non-REM and increase total sleep time. What are favorite recommendations to improve sleep?
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Linking lunar cycle to physical and psychological conditions has been considered unscientific by some researchers. However, the Swiss are changing this view. A new study analyzed sleep patterns of 33 subjects in a sleep lab. Subjects and investigators didn’t know that the analysis was related to the lunar cycle. They found that around full moon, subjects had less deep sleep and lower endogenous melatonin levels. Would you agree? What is your personal experience with the lunar cycle?
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NY Times recently published an article about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation from the compilation of studies done in the past. Nowadays, millions of people are sleeping less than eight hours a day, which can affect the body negatively in many ways. Studies have shown those who have inadequate sleep may have lower memory and learning ability. People with less sleep and poor quality of sleep also present with less creativity, productivity and emotional stability. Other physical health problems caused by not enough sleep include cardiovascular, hepatic, renal, metabolic and cognitive problems. Since summer is in session, everyone is more active and outgoing. How are summer activities affecting the amount and quality of your sleep?
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While we anticipate final exams, deadlines at work, hectic mornings, and late nights sometimes it’s easy to forget to include enough sleep in our busy schedules. Providing our bodies an opportunity to rest and conserve energy is essential for mental and physical health. Scientists and researchers have found that proper amounts of sleep helps to strengthen the memories we form throughout the day. How much of a priority is sleep in your daily schedule? How do you encourage others to have a healthy sleep regimen?
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