sleep disorders

Sleep interrupted: What's keeping us up at night?

August 6, 2019

Science Daily/Florida Atlantic University

One of the largest longitudinal studies to date examined evening consumption of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine among an African-American cohort and objectively measured sleep outcomes in their natural environments instead of laboratory or observatory settings. The study involved 785 participants and totaled 5,164 days of concurrent actigraphy and daily sleep diaries that recorded how much alcohol, caffeine or nicotine they consumed within four hours of bedtime. Results may be good news for coffee lovers, bad news for smokers.

 

Between 50 to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. Sleepless nights are associated with a number of adverse health outcomes including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers. Evening use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are believed to sabotage sleep. Yet, studies examining their effects on sleep are limited by small sample sizes that don't represent racial and ethnic diversity or objective measures of sleep. Furthermore, these investigations have been conducted in laboratory or observatory settings.

 

Considering the public health importance of getting a good night's sleep and the widespread use of these substances, relatively few studies have thoroughly investigated the association between evening use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine and sleep parameters.

 

A study led by a researcher at Florida Atlantic University with collaborators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard T. H Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Emory University the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is one of the largest longitudinal investigations to date to examine evening consumption of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine among an African-American cohort with objectively measured sleep outcomes in their natural environments.

 

Using actigraphy (wrist-watch-like sensor) and concurrent daily sleep diaries, the researchers examined the night-to-night associations of evening use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine on sleep duration, sleep efficiency and wake after sleep onset. The study involved 785 participants and totaled 5,164 days of concurrent actigraphy and daily sleep diaries that recorded how much alcohol, caffeine or nicotine they consumed within four hours of bedtime.

 

Results of the study, published in the journal Sleep, may be good news for coffee lovers. The researchers did not find an association between consumption of caffeine within four hours of bedtime with any of the sleep parameters. However, the researchers warn that caffeine dosing, and individual variations in caffeine sensitivity and tolerance, were not able to be measured and can play an important role in the association between caffeine use and sleep.

 

For smokers and those who enjoy "Happy Hour" or an alcoholic beverage with dinner, the study shows that a night with use of nicotine and/or alcohol within four hours of bedtime demonstrated worse sleep continuity than a night without these substances, even after controlling for age, gender, obesity, level of education, having work/school the next day, and depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress.

 

Nicotine was the substance most strongly associated with sleep disruption and yet another reason to quit smoking. There was a statistically significant interaction between evening nicotine use and insomnia in relation to sleep duration. Among participants with insomnia, nightly nicotine use was associated with an average 42.47-minute reduction in sleep duration. The effects of nicotine may be particularly significant among individuals with insomnia.

 

The results from this study are especially meaningful as they were observed in individuals unselected for sleep problems and who generally had high sleep efficiency. Moreover, they were based on longitudinal data so that the associations can take account of not only between-person differences but also within-person variations in exposures and covariates such as age, obesity, educational attainment, having work/school the next day, and mental health symptomatology.

 

"African Americans have been underrepresented in studies examining the associations of nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine use on sleep," said Christine E. Spadola, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant professor in FAU's Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College for Design and Social Inquiry. "This is especially significant because African Americans are more likely to experience short sleep duration and fragmented sleep compared to non-Hispanic Whites, as well as more deleterious health consequences associated with inadequate sleep than other racial or ethnic groups."

 

These findings support the importance of sleep health recommendations that promote the restriction of evening alcohol and nicotine use to improve sleep continuity.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190806101604.htm

Neural sleep patterns emerged at least 450 million years ago

July 10, 2019

Science Daily/Stanford Medicine

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that neural signatures in sleeping zebrafish are analogous to those of humans, suggesting that the brain activity evolved at least 450 million years ago, before any creatures crawled out of the ocean.

 

Scientists have known for more than 100 years that fish enter a sleeplike state, but until now they didn't know if their sleep resembled that of land animals.

 

The researchers found that when zebrafish sleep, they can display two states that are similar to those found in mammals, reptiles and birds: slow-wave sleep and paradoxical, or rapid eye movement, sleep. The discovery marks the first time these brain patterns have been recorded in fish.

 

"This moves the evolution of neural signatures of sleep back quite a few years," said postdoctoral scholar Louis Leung, PhD.

 

A paper describing the research will be published July 10 in Nature. Philippe Mourrain, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the senior author. Leung is the lead author.

 

To study the zebrafish, common aquarium dwellers also known as danios, the researchers built a benchtop fluorescent light-sheet microscope capable of full-fish-body imaging with single-cell resolution. They recorded brain activity while the fish slept in an agar solution that immobilized them. They also observed the heart rate, eye movement and muscle tone of the sleeping fish using a fluorescence-based polysomnography that they developed.

 

They named the sleep states they observed "slow-bursting sleep," which is analogous to slow-wave sleep, and "propagating-wave sleep," analogous to REM sleep. Though the fish don't move their eyes during REM sleep, the brain and muscle signatures are similar. (Fish also don't close their eyes when they sleep, as they have no eyelids.)

 

Sleeping like the fish

The researchers found another similarity between fish and human sleep. By genetically disrupting the function of melanin-concentrating hormone, a peptide that governs the sleep-wake cycle, and observing neural expressions as the fish slept, the researchers determined that the hormone's signaling regulates the fish's propagating wave sleep the way it regulates REM sleep in mammals.

 

Other aspects of their sleep state are similar to those of land vertebrates, Mourrain said: The fish remain still, their muscles relax, their cardio-respiratory rhythms slow down and they fail to react when they're approached.

 

"They lose muscle tone, their heartbeat drops, they don't respond to stimuli -- the only real difference is a lack of rapid eye movement during REM sleep," Mourrain said, though he added, "The rapid movement of the eyes is not a good criterion of this state, and we prefer to call it paradoxical sleep, as the brain looks awake while one is asleep."

 

While scientists can't say for certain that all animals sleep, it appears to be a universal need among vertebrates and invertebrates. Animals will die if they are deprived of sleep long enough, and people who fail to receive adequate sleep suffer from mental problems such as memory lapses and impaired judgment, along with a higher risk of disorders such as obesity and high blood pressure.

 

The exact benefits of sleep are still a mystery, however. "It's an essential function," Mourrain said, "but we don't know precisely what it does."

 

He added that sleep disorders are linked to most neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, Fragile X syndrome, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. "Sleep disturbances are an aggravating factor of these disorders," Mourrain said. It is critical to develop this animal model to study sleep functions at the cellular level, including neuronal connectivity and DNA repair, and in turn understand the pathophysiological consequences of sleep disruptions, he added.

 

The discovery means sleep research can be conducted on zebrafish, which are easy to study, in part because they're transparent. They breed quickly, are inexpensive to care for and are just over an inch long. Drug testing requires only the addition of chemicals to their water.

 

"Because the fish neural signatures are in essence the same as ours, we can use information about them to generate new leads for drug trials," Leung said. He added that mice, often a stand-in for human research, are nocturnal and a less relevant model for our sleep.

 

"As zebrafish are diurnal like humans, it's perhaps more biologically accurate to compare fish sleep with humans' for some aspects," Leung said.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190710132015.htm

Common sleep myths compromise good sleep and health

April 16, 2019

Science Daily/NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine

People often say they can get by on five or fewer hours of sleep, that snoring is harmless, and that having a drink helps you to fall asleep.

 

These are, in fact, among the most widely held myths about sleeping that not only shape poor habits, but may also pose a significant public health threat, according to a new study publishing online in Sleep Health on April 16.

 

Researchers from NYU School of Medicine reviewed more than 8,000 websites to identify the 20 most common assumptions about sleep. With a team of sleep medicine experts, they ranked them based on whether each could be dispelled as a myth or supported by scientific evidence, and on the harm that the myth could cause.

 

"Sleep is a vital part of life that affects our productivity, mood, and general health and well-being," says study lead investigator, Rebecca Robbins, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health. "Dispelling myths about sleep promotes healthier sleep habits which, in turn, promote overall better health."

 

The claim by some people that they can get by on five hours of sleep was among the top myths researchers were able to dispel based on scientific evidence. They say this myth also poses the most serious risk to health from long-term sleep deficits. To avoid the effects of this falsehood and others identified in this study, such as the value of taking naps when you routinely have difficulty sleeping overnight, Robbins and her colleagues suggest creating a consistent sleep schedule and spending more time, at least seven hours, asleep.

 

Another common myth relates to snoring. And while Robbins says snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing starts and stops over the course of the night. The authors encourage patients not to dismiss loud snoring, but rather to see a doctor since this sleep behavior may lead to heart stoppages or other illnesses.

 

The study authors also found sufficient evidence in published studies that, despite beliefs to the contrary, drinking alcoholic beverages before bed is indeed unhealthy for sleep. According to experts, alcohol reduces the body's ability to achieve deep sleep, which people need to function properly.

 

"Sleep is important to health, and there needs to be greater effort to inform the public regarding this important public health issue," says study senior investigator Girardin Jean Louis, PhD, a professor in the departments of Population Health and Psychiatry at NYU Langone. "For example, by discussing sleep habits with their patients, doctors can help prevent sleep myths from increasing risks for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes."

 

The researchers acknowledge that some myths still cause disagreement among sleep experts. For instance, although sleeping in on weekends does disrupt the natural circadian rhythm, for people in certain professions, such as shift workers, it may be better for them to sleep in than to get fewer hours of sleep overall. These discrepancies, they say, suggest that further research needs to be done.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190416081414.htm

Does extra sleep on the weekends repay your sleep debt? No, researchers say

February 28, 2019

Science Daily/Cell Press

Insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders put people at increased risk for metabolic problems, including obesity and diabetes. But is extra sleep on the weekends enough to reduce those risks? The short answer, according to new findings is 'no.'

 

"The key take-home message from this study is that ad libitum weekend recovery or catch-up sleep does not appear to be an effective countermeasure strategy to reverse sleep loss induced disruptions of metabolism," says Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado Boulder.

 

People often sleep more on weekends than they do during the week. Yet it wasn't known how returning to an insufficient sleep schedule during the workweek after a weekend of recovery sleep influences a person's metabolic health.

 

To find out, in the new study, researchers led by Christopher Depner and Wright enlisted healthy young adults. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first had plenty of time to sleep -- 9 hours -- each night for 9 nights. The second had just 5 hours to sleep each night over that same period. Finally, the third slept 5 hours for 5 days followed by a weekend in which they slept as much as they liked before returning to another 2 days of restricted sleep.

 

In the two sleep-restricted groups, insufficient sleep led to an increase in snacking after dinner and weight gain. During ad libitum weekend recovery sleep in the third group, study participants slept an hour longer on average than they usually would. They also consumed fewer extra calories after dinner than those who got insufficient sleep.

 

However, when they went back to getting insufficient sleep after the weekend, their circadian body clock was timed later. They also ate more after dinner as their weight continued to rise.

 

The sleep restriction in the first group of participants was associated with a decrease in insulin sensitivity of about 13 percent. But the group that had a chance to sleep more on the weekend still showed less sensitivity to insulin. The insulin sensitivity of their whole bodies, liver, and muscle decreased by 9 to 27 percent after they got insufficient sleep again, once the weekend was over.

 

"Our findings show that muscle- and liver-specific insulin sensitivity were worse in subjects who had weekend recovery sleep," Depner says, noting that those metabolic aberrations weren't seen in the people who got less sleep all along. "This finding was not anticipated and further shows that weekend recovery sleep is not likely [to be] an effective sleep-loss countermeasure regarding metabolic health when sleep loss is chronic."

 

The Sleep Research Society and American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 7 or more hours of sleep nightly for adults, to promote optimal health. The new findings add to evidence that insufficient sleep is a risk factor for metabolic disorders. It also shows that catching up on weekends isn't the solution to chronic sleep loss during the week.

 

Wright says that it's not yet clear whether weekend recovery sleep can be an effective health countermeasure for people who get too little sleep only occasionally -- a night or two per week, perhaps. They hope to explore the fine details of these dynamics in future studies, including the influence of daytime napping and other strategies for getting more Zzzs.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190228113534.htm

Insufficient sleep associated with risky behavior in teens

Mental health issues, substance abuse, accidents more likely for high school students sleeping less than six hours per night

October 1, 2018

Science Daily/Brigham and Women's Hospital

Researchers examined a national data sample of risk-taking behaviors and sleep duration self-reported by high school students over eight years and found an association between sleep duration and personal safety risk-taking actions.

 

Adolescents require 8-10 hours of sleep at night for optimal health, according to sleep experts, yet more than 70 percent of high school students get less than that. Previous studies have demonstrated that insufficient slsleep eep in youth can result in learning difficulties, impaired judgement, and risk of adverse health behaviors. In a new study, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital examined a national data sample of risk-taking behaviors and sleep duration self-reported by high school students over eight years and found an association between sleep duration and personal safety risk-taking actions. Results are published in a JAMA Pediatrics research letter on October 1.

 

"We found the odds of unsafe behavior by high school students increased significantly with fewer hours of sleep," said lead author Mathew Weaver, PhD, research fellow, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Personal risk-taking behaviors are common precursors to accidents and suicides, which are the leading causes of death among teens and have important implications for the health and safety of high school students nationally."

 

Compared to students who reported sleeping eight hours at night, high school students who slept less than six hours were twice as likely to self-report using alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other drugs, and driving after drinking alcohol. They were also nearly twice as likely to report carrying a weapon or being in a fight. Researchers found the strongest associations were related to mood and self- harm. Those who slept less than six hours were more than three times as likely to consider or attempt suicide, and four times as likely to attempt suicide, resulting in treatment. Only 30 percent of the students in the study reported averaging more than eight hours of sleep on school nights.

 

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveys are administered biannually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at public and private schools across the country. Researchers used data from 67,615 high school students collected between 2007 and 2015. Personal safety risk-taking behaviors were examined individually and as composite categories. All analyses were weighted to account for the complex survey design and controlled for age, sex, race, and year of survey in mathematical models to test the association between sleep duration and each outcome of interest.

 

"Insufficient sleep in youth raises multiple public health concerns, including mental health, substance abuse, and motor vehicle crashes," said senior author Elizabeth Klerman, MD, PhD, director of the Analytic Modeling Unit, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women's Hospital. "More research is needed to determine the specific relationships between sleep and personal safety risk-taking behaviors. We should support efforts to promote healthy sleep habits and decrease barriers to sufficient sleep in this vulnerable population."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181001114300.htm

 

Sleep disorder linked with changes to brain structure typical of dementia

July 4, 2018

Science Daily/European Lung Foundation

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with changes to the structure of the brain that are also seen in the early stages of dementia, according to a new study.

 

OSA, where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep stopping breathing, is known to reduce levels of oxygen in the blood. The new study suggests that this drop in oxygen may be linked to a shrinking of the brain's temporal lobes and a corresponding decline in memory.

 

The researchers say the study provides evidence that screening older people for OSA and giving treatment where needed could help prevent dementia in this population.

 

The study was led by Professor Sharon Naismith from the University of Sydney, Australia. She said: "Between 30 and 50% of the risk for dementia is due to modifiable factors, such as depression, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. In recent years, researchers have recognised that various sleep disturbances are also risk factors for dementia. We wanted to look specifically at obstructive sleep apnoea and its effects on the brain and cognitive abilities."

 

The researchers worked with a group of 83 people, aged between 51 and 88 years, who had visited their doctor with concerns over their memory or mood but had no OSA diagnosis. Each participant was assessed for their memory skills and symptoms of depression, and each was given an MRI scan to measure the dimensions of different areas of the brain.

 

Participants also attended a sleep clinic where they were monitored overnight for signs of OSA using polysomnography. This technique records brain activity, levels of oxygen in the blood, heart rate, breathing and movements.

 

The researchers found that patients who had low levels of oxygen in their blood while they were sleeping tended to have reduced thickness in the left and right temporal lobes of the brain. These are regions known to be important in memory and affected in dementia.

 

They also found that this alteration in the brain was linked with participant's poorer ability to learn new information. The researchers say this is the first time a direct link of this kind has been shown.

 

Conversely, patients with signs of OSA were also more likely to have increased thickness in other regions of the brain, which the researchers say could be signs of the brain reacting to lower levels of oxygen with swelling and inflammation.

 

OSA is more common in older people and has already been linked with heart disease, stroke and cancer, but it can be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which prevents the airway closing during sleep.

 

Professor Naismith added: "We chose to study this group because they are older and considered at risk of dementia. Our results suggest that we should be screening for OSA in older people. We should also be asking older patients attending sleep clinics about their memory and thinking skills, and carrying out tests where necessary.

 

"There is no cure for dementia so early intervention is key. On the other hand, we do have an effective treatment for OSA. This research shows that diagnosing and treating OSA could be an opportunity to prevent cognitive decline before it's too late."

 

Professor Naismith and her team are now working on research to find out whether CPAP treatment can prevent further cognitive decline and improve brain connectivity in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

 

Andrea Aliverti, Professor of Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, is Head of the European Respiratory Society's Assembly on Clinical Physiology and Sleep and was not involved in the research. He said: "We already know that as well as disrupting sleep, OSA can increase the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. This research adds to evidence that OSA is also linked to dementia and suggests a likely mechanism for the link. However, we can treat OSA and measures such as stopping smoking and losing weight can reduce the risk of developing the condition."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180704194350.htm

Mid-afternoon slump? Why a sugar rush may not be the answer

Protein -- not sugar -- stimulates cells keeping us thin and awake, a new study suggests.

A new study has found that protein and not sugar activates the cells responsible for keeping us awake and burning calories. The research, published in the Nov. 17 issue of the scientific journal Neuron, has implications for understanding obesity and sleep disorders.

Wakefulness and energy expenditure rely on "orexin cells," which secrete a stimulant called orexin/hypocretin in the brain. Reduced activity in these unique cells results in narcolepsy and has been linked to weight gain.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge compared actions of different nutrients on orexin cells. They found that amino acids -- nutrients found in proteins such as egg whites -- stimulate orexin neurons much more than other nutrients.

"Sleep patterns, health, and body weight are intertwined. Shift work, as well as poor diet, can lead to obesity," said lead researcher Dr Denis Burdakov of the Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Metabolic Science. "Electrical impulses emitted by orexin cells stimulate wakefulness and tell the body to burn calories. We wondered whether dietary nutrients alter those impulses."

To explore this, the scientists highlighted the orexin cells (which are scarce and difficult to find) with genetically targeted fluorescence in mouse brains. They then introduced different nutrients, such as amino acid mixtures similar to egg whites, while tracking orexin cell impulses.

They discovered that amino acids stimulate orexin cells. Previous work by the group found that glucose blocks orexin cells (which was cited as a reason for after-meal sleepiness), and so the researchers also looked at interactions between sugar and protein. They found that amino acids stop glucose from blocking orexin cells (in other words, protein negated the effects of sugar on the cells).

These findings may shed light on previously unexplained observations showing that protein meals can make people feel less calm and more alert than carbohydrate meals.

"What is exciting is to have a rational way to 'tune' select brain cells to be more or less active by deciding what food to eat," Dr Burdakov said. "Not all brain cells are simply turned on by all nutrients, dietary composition is critical.

"To combat obesity and insomnia in today's society, we need more information on how diet affects sleep and appetite cells. For now, research suggests that if you have a choice between jam on toast, or egg whites on toast, go for the latter! Even though the two may contain the same number of calories, having a bit of protein will tell the body to burn more calories out of those consumed."

Sleep problems prevalent for military members

April 7, 2015

RAND Corporation

Improving the quality and quantity of US military members' sleep following deployment could help reduce other health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study.

 

However, a lack of consistent and transparent sleep-related policies may impede efforts to promote sleep health among service members, researchers say.

 

"The U.S. military has shifted from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan toward helping service members and veterans reintegrate into noncombat roles," said Wendy Troxel, co-leader of the study and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "One issue that is often overlooked once military men and women return home is that of persistent sleep problems, because in many ways such problems are viewed as endemic to military culture."

 

Sleep disturbances are a common reaction to stress and are linked to a host of physical and mental health problems. Sleep problems often follow a chronic course, persisting long after service members return home from combat, with consequences for their reintegration and the readiness and resiliency of the force, researchers say.

 

The RAND report is the first comprehensive review of sleep-related policies and programs across the U.S. Department of Defense, examining the frequency of sleep disorders and factors that contribute to the problem. A survey of nearly 2,000 service members from all branches of the U.S. military found sleep problems had negative effects on mental health, daytime functioning and perceived operational readiness.

 

"Military policies on prevention of sleep problems are lacking, and medical policies focus on treating mental disorders that are often linked with sleep problems, instead of sleep itself," said Regina Shih, project co-leader and a senior social scientist at RAND. "We know that sleep problems may precede the onset of mental disorders."

 

While there may be stigma about seeking sleep treatment, it may be lower than the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health problems. Researchers say this suggests sleep could be a gateway to improving psychological health and readiness in service members.

 

Researchers say that historically, military cultural attitudes have tended to discount the importance of sleep. For example, service members noted that depriving oneself of sleep is often seen as a badge of honor and acknowledging the need for sleep can be seen as a sign of weakness.

 

The study recommends widespread education and awareness programs within the Defense Department as one means of shifting these cultural attitudes. In operational contexts, the military emphasizes mission first and the need for sleep may be sacrificed for operational demands. Policies are needed to educate service members and leaders about the importance of sleep, including awareness on the importance of sleep for resilience.

 

Leaders are not always sure how to develop and execute sleep plans that can balance circadian rhythms with the realities of operational environments, or how to allow for adequate recovery periods after extended sleep deprivation in order to optimize force readiness.

 

The RAND study presents 16 policy recommendations to help the military improve the prevention, identification and treatment of sleep problems in service members. Those policies fall under four broad categories: prevention of sleep problems; increasing identification and diagnosis of sleep problems; ways to clinically manage sleep disorders and promote sleep health; and ways to improve sleep in training and operational contexts.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150407095639.htm

Sleep disorders found to be highly prevalent in firefighters

November 13, 2014

Science Daily/Brigham and Women's Hospital

In a national sample of almost 7,000 firefighters, researchers examined the prevalence of common sleep disorders and their association with adverse health and safety outcomes and found that sleep disorders are highly prevalent, and associated with substantially increased risk of motor vehicle crashes and cardio-metabolic diseases among firefighters.

 

"Our findings demonstrate the impact of common sleep disorders on firefighter health and safety, and their connection to the two leading causes of death among firefighters," said Barger. "Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of firefighters who screened positive for a common sleep disorder were undiagnosed and untreated."

 

Researchers found that a total of 37.2 percent of firefighters screened positive for sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder and restless leg syndrome. Firefighters with a sleep disorder were more likely to report a motor vehicle crash and were more likely to report falling asleep while driving than those who did not screen positive. Additionally, firefighters with sleep disorders were more likely to report having cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety, and to report poorer health status, compared with those who did not screen positive.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141113085220.htm

 

Well-being in later life: The mind plays an important role

July 7, 2017

Science Daily/Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health

Well-being in later life is largely dependent on psychosocial factors. Physical impairments tend to play a secondary role, as scientists have discovered.

 

"Aging itself is not inevitably associated with a decline in mood and quality of life," says Prof. Karl-Heinz Ladwig, summarizing the results. "It is rather the case that psychosocial factors such as depression or anxiety impair subjective well-being, the Head of the Mental Health Research Group at the Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München and Professor of Psychosomatic Medicine at the TUM University Hospital explains. "And in the case of women, living alone also plays an important role."

 

"To date the impact of emotional stress has barely been investigated"

 

For the current study, Prof. Ladwig and his team relied on data derived from about 3,600 participats with an average age of 73 who had taken part in the population-based KORA-Age Study. "What made the study particularly interesting was the fact that the impact of stress on emotional well-being has barely been investigated in a broader, non-clinical context," explains PD Dr. Karoline Lukaschek, epidemiologist in the Mental Health Research Group and lead author of the paper. "Our study therefore explicitly included anxiety, depression and sleep disorders."

 

Generally high levels of well-being but...

 

To ascertain levels of subjective well-being, the scientists used a questionnaire devised by the World Health Organization (the WHO-5 Well-Being Index) with a score range of 0 to 100. For the purpose of analysis, they divided the respondents' results into two categories: 'high' (score > 50) and 'low' (score ? 50). The subsequent evaluation revealed a high level of subjective well-being in the majority (79 percent) of the respondents. The average values were also above the threshold set by the WHO. In the 'low' group, however, there was a conspicuously high number of women: about 24 percent compared to 18 percent for men.

 

Depression and anxiety disorders are the biggest risk

 

Trying to uncover the most important causes for subjective well-being, the scientists mainly identified psychosocial factors: above all, depression and anxiety disorders had the strongest effect on well-being. Low income and sleep disorders also had a negative effect. However, poor physical health (for example, low physical activity or so-called multimorbidity) seemed to have little impact on perceived life satisfaction. Among women, living alone also significantly increased the probability of a low sense of well-being.

 

"The findings of the current study clearly demonstrate that appropriate services and interventions can play a major role for older people, especially for older women living on their own," Prof. Ladwig says, categorizing the results. "And this is all the more important, given that we know that high levels of subjective well-being are linked to a lower mortality risk."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170707095413.htm

Interrupted sleep impairs memory in mice

July 27, 2011

Science Daily/Stanford University Medical Center

With the novel use of a technique that uses light to control brain cells, researchers have shown that fragmented sleep causes memory impairment in mice.

 

Until recently scientists have been unable to tease out the effects on the brain of different yet intertwined features of sleep. But these investigators were able to overcome that problem and come to their findings by using the novel method, known as optogenetics, to manipulate brain cells to affect just one aspect of sleep.

 

The study shows that "regardless of the total amount of sleep, a minimal unit of uninterrupted sleep is crucial for memory consolidation," the authors write in the study that will be published online July 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

While the study does not reach any conclusions about the amount of sleep needed to avoid memory impairment in humans, it does suggest that memory difficulties in people with apnea and other sleep disorders are likely connected to the compromised continuity of sleep caused by such conditions.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110725152844.htm

Sleep disorders affect men and women differently

Women are more likely to feel tired and depressed than men

May 23, 2017

Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine
A new study suggests that men and women are affected differently by sleep disorders. Results show that women are more likely than men to have more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women also have a higher degree of difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to sleepiness or tiredness. In contrast, male snoring was more likely than female snoring to force bed partners to sleep in different rooms.

Results show that women are more likely than men to have more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women also have a higher degree of difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to sleepiness or tiredness. In contrast, male snoring was more likely than female snoring to force bed partners to sleep in different rooms.

"We found that females were more likely to have sleeping disorders associated with daytime sleepiness," said co-author Dr. John Malouf, founder of SleepGP sleep clinic in Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia. "Females were also likely to feel more affected by the burden of their symptoms."

The main purpose of the study was to understand the differences in functional status between the sexes when they present to primary care providers with sleep problems.

"What was surprising about the results was that while men and women tended to present at a similar age, their symptoms and the effect on their lives differed markedly," said lead author Allegra Boccabella, research associate at SleepGP clinic. "We didn't expect there to be differences across the board in terms of the different aspects of people's lives."

Study results are published in the May 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Boccabella and Malouf conducted a retrospective clinical audit of 744 patients who received sleep-related health care from 7 private general practices in Australia between April 2013 and January 2015. Patients completed a variety of sleep-related questionnaires, including the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Snoring Severity Scale (SSS), and the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire 10.

According to the authors, understanding how the symptoms reported by women differ from those of men can help medical professionals manage sleep disorders more holistically.

"If we can identify the ways that their lives are affected, we can help produce better outcomes for the patient," said Boccabella.

Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523081838.htm

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