According to researcher Robbert Havekes and his colleagues, there is hope for those suffering from constant sleep deprivation and the connected health effects, such as forgetfulness, memory problems and impaired learning.
Havekes and his colleagues conducted a study in which mice were kept awake for five hours. The mice showed increased levels of the enzyme PDE4 and lower levels of molecule cAMP, which plays a crucial role in the brain’s ability to learn.
The scientists repressed the activity of the PDE4 enzyme and found that sleep deprivation was then counteracted. The lack of sleep caused increased PDE4 activity, which then blocked the activity of the cAMP molecule. Therefore, fewer connections were being formed or strengthened in the brain.
This discovery displays the effect of sleep deprivation and how it can be eliminated. According to Havekes, drugs that stimulate cAMP may make counteracting the effects of sleep deprivation possible, relieving the millions of people suffering from the uncomfortable disorder.
According to researchers at the University of Warwick, and the Federico II University Medical School in Naples, Italy, sleep saves lives. Their study showed that people who sleep less than six hours a night are 12 percent more likely to die prematurely, than those who get 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
The scientists studied relationships between sleeping too little and too much, and the associated risk of dying prematurely. They reviewed sixteen studies from the United Kingdom, United States and various European and East Asian countries. The studies included 1.3 million participants, spanned over 25 years and recorded more than 100,000 deaths.
Their research concludes that there is a direct link between short durations of sleep and dying prematurely. Additionally, their research indicated that sleeping more than nine hours every night puts people at risk of developing serious and potentially fatal diseases.
According to Professor Francesco Cappuccio, leader of the Sleep, Health and Society Programme at the University of Warwick, 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night is the optimal amount for living a healthy lifestyle.
Night terrors are classified as parasomnia; an undesired occurrence during sleep. In children, night terrors occur during the first third of the sleep period. For adults, night terrors can happen at any time during the sleep cycle.
Night terrors differ from nightmares in the way that during a nightmare, the dreamer wakes up and remembers details. But when experiencing night terrors, people remain asleep. Children usually do not remember anything about their night terror. Adults may recall a dream fragment they had during their night terrors.
During an episode, a person may sit up in bed, scream, shout, kick, sweat, breathe heavily, have a racing pulse, be hard to awaken, get out of bed and run around the house, engage in violent behavior or stare wide-eyed. It is important to see a doctor when night terrors become more frequent, routinely disrupt sleep, cause fear of going to sleep or lead to dangerous behavior and injury.
The causes of night terrors can vary. The most common contributing factors are sleep deprivation, fatigue, stress, anxiety, fever and sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings. Sometimes, night terrors are associated with underlying conditions that affect sleep such as seizures, sleep-disordered breathing, migraines, stroke, hyperthyroidism, head injuries, brain swelling or premenstrual period. Alcohol, illicit drugs or certain medicines such as some antibiotics, sedatives and sleeping pills can also trigger night terrors.
Night terrors typically occur in families with a history of bipolar disorder and other depressive or anxiety disorders. They are typically self-diagnosed, however, in some cases, observation or tests in an overnight sleep lab may be recommended. Drugs are rarely used to treat night terrors, unless there are underlying disorders. Typically, families are advised to do a few things to treat themselves. These include closing and locking all windows and doors at night and blocking doors or stairways with a gate in order to make the sleeping environment safer, getting more sleep, establishing a regular and relaxing routine before bedtime, indentifying things that stress you out and brainstorming solutions and keeping a diary of frequent night terrors in order to find a possible pattern.
For more information on night terrors and other sleep disorders, visit NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Sleep Center.
More than 35 million Americans suffer from insomnia, a condition that makes falling and staying asleep extremely difficult. Brief episodes of insomnia, resulting from things such as death of a loved one or a new school year starting are considered normal. However, if insomnia lasts more than a month, it may require treatment.
Some people have a genetic vulnerability to insomnia. These people usually have short sleep requirements and are very sensitive to noise or light when trying to fall asleep. Psychological factors are also prominent in insomnia causes. People experiencing stress, anxiety, psychiatric disorders or depression are more likely to develop insomnia. By the development of tolerance over time, sometimes sleeping pills contribute to insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia become prominent when it interferes with daytime functioning. Daytime effects include difficulty waking up in the morning, sleepiness during the day, trouble concentrating, irritability, depression and anxiety. It is treated with stress reduction techniques and therapy. Most patients see improvement within a few weeks of learning techniques and starting therapy. Sometimes short-term medication is also prescribed.
For more information on insomnia and other neurological disorders, visit NorthShore University HealthSystem.
A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that less than a third of the 1,125 survey participants get eight hours of sleep at night. This is mostly due to stress, as the study also revealed that “68 percent of college students who were surveyed said that worries about school and life keep them awake, with one-fifth saying this occurs at least once a week”.
College years can be filled with studies and a social life, but they are often devoid of proper rest. From cramming for exams to writing papers, it can be a challenge to put sleep ahead of other priorities, but it is necessary. Lack of sleep for extended periods of time can wreak havoc on one’s immune system and cardiovascular system.
According to the study, “[a]bout three in five of the students said they have irregular sleep-wake patterns, and many said they use drugs or alcohol regularly to help them either sleep or stay alert, the survey found. The regular use of stimulants and sedatives can increase the chance of becoming addicted to them”.
To learn more about the importance of sleep, visit NorthShore University HealthSystem’s sleep center.
A mother’s eyes tell the whole story. A new mother doesn’t have to even open her mouth to tell anyone because the bags under her eyes tell the whole story. Often times, mothers feel as though they have no control over their baby’s sleeping patterns, well right fully so says Brandon Overman, a neurologist from Minneapolis. But, as stated in the Wiley Journal of Sleep Research, there are some tools that mothers can utilize to help their chances of adjusting the sleeping patterns of their babies.
Despite its name, sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism actually involves more than just walking. Sleepwalking behaviors can range from harmless (sitting up), to potentially dangerous (wandering outside), ones. Regardless the actions of the sleepwalkers take part in during sleepwalking episodes it is unlikely that they’ll remember ever having done it. There are numerous questions that people have in regards to sleepwalking, in particular if sleepwalking is harmful? A recent WebMD article discussed the facts behind the many myths of sleep walking.
As recommended by the CDC, Americans should receive eight hours of sleep per night to maintain good health. Unfortunately, the CDC also reported that the majority of American adults (63%) do not get that recommended eight hours of sleep needed for good health. This grouping of 63% excludes those with chronic sleep disorders such as insomnia. The question is then raised, since sleep is so crucial to good health, what can be done to insure we get a good night sleep? Helpguide.org recently released a section on sleep that offers tips on how to get the most out of a night’s sleep.