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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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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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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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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Many problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and altered brain function have already been linked to sleep deprivation. A University of Surrey researchers analyzed the blood of 26 people after they had 10 hours of sleep each night for a week versus less than 6 hours of sleep per night for another week. They saw that the activity of more than 700 genes were altered by the change of sleep producing negative effects on inflammation and immune system. How often do you discuss optimal sleep and sleep hygiene with your patients?
For more information, please visit the BBC website.
A study published in the journal Sleep, has shown that increased sleep may reduce pain sensitivity. Eighteen healthy, pain free adults, aged 21-35, took part in this 4 night study. Nine of the participants maintained their normal sleep habits and the other participants stayed in bed for 10 hours. Pain sensitivity was measured by the amount of time participants could keep their finger on a heat source. Those in the extended sleep group slept around 2 hours more per night and had decreased pain sensitivity indicated by a 25% increase in the length of time to touch the heat source. What other benefits are associated with increased sleep?
For more information, please read the abstract in Sleep.
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A recent cross-sectional study published in the journal Sleep evaluated 245 high school students in a community setting. For one week during the school year, students provided fasting blood glucose samples, a sleep diary/log, and wore a wrist actigraph, which measured the duration of inactivity. An average of 7.4 hours of sleep was reported in the sleep logs, while an average of 6.4 hours was based on the actigraph, with weekends significantly higher than the weekdays. After adjustment for other factors, higher insulin resistance was seen in students who had a shorter sleep duration. How much sleep do you get? How much sleep do you recommend to your patients?
For more information, please read the abstract in Sleep.
The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently published a prospective cohort study that found that women who had interrupted sleep and lower sleep efficiency had higher odds of being placed in assistant-living facilities. Although this study only shows an association, sleep disturbances are linked to numerous diseases. What best practices do you recommend your patients in terms of getting a good night rest?
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The ‘Renew SleepClock’ smartphone app, designed by GEAR4, promotes a healthy sleep cycle. It works by using radio sensors to detect sleeping patterns. The app sets an alarm at the lightest point of sleep to reduce grogginess and impaired alertness caused by waking up during a deep sleep cycle. The program tracks amount of hours slept, hours of sleep disruption, caffeine intake, exercise, meals and other. Renew SleepClock is one of the new technologies of its kind and is presently sold for $199. Are you excited about this new technology forrestoring healthy sleep cycle? Do you feel that the cost would be too prohibitive for the majority of your patients at this time?