Category Archives: Sleep News (RSS)

Spend Time Outside to Improve Sleep0

Is Melatonin Effective for Sleep Enhancement?0

Nighttime Light Pollution Linked to Preterm Birth0

Scientists conducted the first study to examine the fetal health impact of light pollution based on a direct measure of skyglow, an aspect of light pollution. Using an empirical regularity discovered in physics, called Walker’s Law, a team from Lehigh University, Lafayette College and the University of Colorado-Denver, found evidence of reduced birth weight, shortened gestational length, and preterm births.

Specifically, the likelihood of a preterm birth could increase by approximately 1.48 percentage points (or 12.9%), according to the researchers, as a result of increased nighttime brightness. Nighttime brightness is characterized by being able to see only one-fourth to one-third of the stars that are visible in the natural unpolluted night sky. The findings have been published in an article in Southern Economic Journal called, “Light pollution, sleep deprivation, and infant health at birth.

One possible biological mechanism underlying the findings, based on the existing literature, is light-pollution-induced circadian rhythm disruption, according to Muzhe Yang, PhD, a co-author of the study and a professor of economics in Lehigh’s College of Business. Yang says circadian rhythm disruption can cause sleep disorders that subsequently lead to adverse birth outcomes.

[RELATED: Nighttime Light Pollution Linked With Hypnotic Drug Prescriptions in Older Adults]

“While greater use of artificial light at night (ALAN) is often associated with greater economic prosperity, our study highlights an often neglected health benefit of ‘darkness,’” says Yang in a release. “We must realize that the biological clock (ie, the circadian rhythm) of a human body, like all lives on the earth, needs the ‘darkness’ as part of the light-dark cycle, in order to effectively regulate physiological functions, such as sleep.”

While essential to a modern society, artificial light at night can disrupt a human body’s circadian rhythm and therefore become a “pollutant.” The societal benefits of ALAN, for example through increased economic activity, may be offset by ALAN’s negative externalities such as adverse health effects, say the authors.

The contribution of artificial light at night to the alteration of natural nocturnal lighting levels is often referred to as light pollution.

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Easy Ways To Prevent Carbon Monoxide From Interfering With Your Sleep Quality0

Feel Well Rested Even After a Long Night with Little Sleep0

Everyone has those days when life happens and you need to work late, the kids keep you up, or you just can’t get to sleep for the night. How do you handle the next day when you’re running on little to no rest and you need to function like a coherent person? Thankfully, there are some ways that you can give yourself a much needed energy boost and power through your day without sacrificing quality work or being only somewhat present.

Afternoon Napping Linked to Better Mental Agility in Seniors0

Taking a regular afternoon nap is linked to better scores on a dementia screener, suggests research published in the online journal General Psychiatry.

It seems to be associated with better locational awareness, verbal fluency, and working memory, the findings indicate.

As people age, their sleep patterns change, with afternoon naps becoming more frequent. But research published to date hasn’t reached any consensus on whether afternoon naps might help to stave off cognitive decline and dementia in older people or whether they might be a symptom of dementia.

The researchers explored this further in 2,214 ostensibly healthy people aged at least 60 and residing in several large cities around China, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian.

In all, 1,534 took a regular afternoon nap, while 680 didn’t. All participants underwent a series of health checks and cognitive assessments, including the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) to check for dementia.

[RELATED: Napping Helps Preschoolers Unlock Their Full Potential for Learning]

The average length of nighttime sleep was around 6.5 hours in both groups.

Afternoon naps were defined as periods of at least 5 consecutive minutes of sleep, but no more than 2 hours, and taken after lunch. Participants were asked how often they napped during the week; this ranged from once a week to every day.

The dementia screening tests included 30 items that measured several aspects of cognitive ability, and higher function, including visuo-spatial skills, working memory, attention span, problem solving, locational awareness, and verbal fluency.

The MMSE cognitive performance scores were significantly higher among the nappers than they were among those who didn’t nap. And there were significant differences in locational awareness, verbal fluency, and memory.

This is an observational study, and so can’t establish cause. And there was no information on the duration or timing of the naps taken, which may be important.

But there are some possible explanations for the observations found, say the researchers.

One theory is that inflammation is a mediator between mid-day naps and poor health outcomes; inflammatory chemicals have an important role in sleep disorders, note the researchers.

Sleep regulates the body’s immune response and napping is thought to be an evolved response to inflammation; people with higher levels of inflammation also nap more often, explain the researchers.

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How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?Top Advice For Developing Healthy Sleep Habits0

Thank you to the wonderful staff at ALL THINGS FOR KIDS for contributing this fantastic article.  Find out more about them here.

The Rundown On Melatonin Diffuser Pens0

Shape: Melatonin diffusers are fairly new to the world of sleep aids and there are a number of new products that have recently become available.

For the past few months, melatonin diffusers — aka melatonin vaporizers or melatonin vape pens — have been making their way across social media, popping up in influencers’ IG posts and TikToks as the ~secret~ to scoring a great night of sleep. People are seemingly convinced that these vape pens help you fall asleep faster and sleep sounder than melatonin pills or chewables. And melatonin diffuser brands such as Cloudy double down on this claim, saying on their site that all you need to do is take a few puffs or hits of their “modern aromatherapy device” to sink into a restful slumber.

Melatonin diffusers are fairly new to the world of sleep aids, and they’re all a bit different; generally, they house a liquid (containing melatonin) that turns to a mist or vapor when inhaled. For example, Inhale Health’s Melatonin Lavender Dream Inhaler (But It, $20, inhalehealth.com) heats up to a temperature necessary to transform the liquid formula into an inhalable vapor, according to the company’s website.

Sound familiar? That’s because the delivery mechanism in a melatonin diffuser is, in fact, quite similar to any old e-cigarette or Juul. Now, to be fair, inhaling melatonin is not the same as vaping an e-cigarette, which contains nicotine, propylene glycol, flavorings, and other chemicals. In fact, melatonin diffuser brands Cloudy and Inhale Health both emphasize on their sites that their pens include melatonin as well as a handful of other fairly-safe ingredients. Cloudy’s device (Buy It, $20, trycloudy.com), for example, includes just melatonin, lavender extract, chamomile extract, grape extract, L-Theanine (a natural de-stressor), propylene glycol (a thickening agent or liquid), and vegetable glycerin (a syrupy like liquid).

Get the full story at shape.com.

Coffee Counteracts Cognitive Impacts of Sleep Loss—But Only For a Few Days0

A new study exploring the impact of repeated sleep loss during a simulated working week has found that consuming caffeinated coffee during the day helps to minimize reductions in attention and cognitive function, compared to decaffeinated coffee.

While this effect occurred in the first 3 to 4 days of restricted sleep, by the fifth day (the final day in the study), no difference was seen between regular and decaf coffee drinkers. This suggests that the beneficial effects of coffee for people with restricted sleep are temporary, the authors say.

“Previous research suggests that acute consumption of caffeinated coffee can reduce the impact of sleep deprivation on deficits of attention and cognitive function in a short-term setting,” says Denise Lange, study co-author, in a release. “This study is among the first to examine whether this effect can be translated into a real-world situation, where caffeinated drinks are commonly consumed every day by people who experience chronic sleep restriction. Our study indicates that moderate coffee intake can mitigate some repercussions of reduced sleep over a few days; however, this is not a substitute for a good night’s sleep in the long term.”

[RELATED: The Truth About Coffee and Sleep]

The study was conducted at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, in Cologne Germany. Twenty-six participants carrying a distinct genotype of the gene encoding the adenosine A2A receptor were randomly assigned to groups either drinking caffeinated coffee (containing 300 mg caffeine) or decaffeinated coffee under double-blind conditions. During five days, the sleep of all participants was restricted to five hours per night and each day they rated their subjective sleepiness and were tested on levels of vigilance, alertness, reaction-time, accuracy, and memory.

The study is published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.

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Feeling Tired and Run Down? Here's 5 Reasons Why… and How To Fix It0

Do you ever feel tired, lethargic or just plain worn out? Chances you have been there at least a handful of times. However, keep in mind that just because it’s a common occurrence with so many it doesn’t mean you should have to accept it as part of your life.