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Sleep Benefits and Sleep Deprivation Risks

Sleeping fewer than six hours per night can impact consumers' well-being

Experts say even one night of poor sleep can have an effect the next day

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of South Florida explored the risks of not getting enough sleep. Their findings suggest that getting fewer than six hours of sleep can have a significant impact on consumers’ overall well-being -- even if it’s just one night. 

“Many of us think we can pay our sleep debt on weekends and be more productive on weekdays,” said researcher Soomi Lee. “However, results from our study show that having just one night of sle...

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    Healthy sleeping habits could lower the risk of heart failure, study finds

    Being vigilant about a nighttime routine can be incredibly beneficial for consumers’ heart health

    Recent studies have highlighted the ways that poor sleeping habits can negatively affect consumers’ heart health. Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the American Heart Association has found the inverse to be true: healthy sleeping habits can be good for consumers’ hearts. 

    According to their findings, consumers with solid sleep routines lowered their risk of heart failure by more than 40 percent compared to those who had inconsistent nighttime habits. 

    “Our findings highlight the importance of improving overall sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure,” said researcher Dr. Lu Qi. 

    Prioritizing healthy sleeping habits

    To understand how healthy sleeping habits can affect consumers’ heart health, the researchers analyzed data from more than 408,000 participants involved in the U.K. Biobank database. Healthy sleeping habits were identified from five major characteristics: daytime sleepiness, sleep duration, snoring, tendencies towards being a night owl versus an early riser, and insomnia. Each participant received a sleep score based on how many of the habits they followed each night; the higher the score, the better the sleep quality. 

    The researchers learned that those with the best sleep scores had the lowest risk of heart failure. Those who incorporated the most healthy habits into their nightly routines had a more than 40 percent lower risk of heart failure than those who had the lowest sleep scores. 

    While consumers should strive to incorporate as many healthy sleep habits as they can, the researchers found that meeting only one healthy habit was still enough to reduce the risk of heart failure on its own. For example, those who rarely felt tired during the day were nearly 35 percent less likely to experience heart failure, whereas those who were prone to waking up earlier were roughly 10 percent less likely to experience heart failure. Similarly, those who slept at least seven hours each night and those who didn’t experience insomnia-related symptoms also had a lower risk of heart failure. 

    As the health risks associated with disrupted sleep continue to mount, these findings highlight the importance of cultivating healthy habits at bedtime. 

    Recent studies have highlighted the ways that poor sleeping habits can negatively affect consumers’ heart health. Now, a new study conducted by researchers...
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    Getting more sleep after a traumatic event can help ease negative effects, study finds

    Experts wonder about how a lack of sleep could enhance trauma-related symptoms

    Recent studies have highlighted the benefits of getting quality sleep each night, while others have shown how a lack of sleep can affect everything from consumers’ diets to cognitive functioning

    Now, a new study conducted by researchers from Washington State University has found that sleep could be the key to better mental health following a traumatic event. According to their findings, increasing sleep time after a trauma was linked with fewer negative effects. 

    “People with PTSD oftentimes experience nightmares and other types of sleep disturbances, such as frequent awakenings and insomnia,” said researcher William Vanderheyden. “One thought was that those sleep disturbances may cause further cognitive impairment and worsen the effects of PTSD or the initial trauma. So we wanted to see whether repairing the sleep disturbances associated with trauma exposure could help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.” 

    The power of sleep

    Over the course of a three-day study conducted on mice, the researchers sought to understand how sleep can affect mental health outcomes following a trauma. On the first day, the mice heard a sound and then were immediately shocked in the foot. After they had grown used to this experience, the next two days were devoted to having them forget that memory, by having the sound played without the shock. 

    In terms of their sleeping habits, half of the mice were given optogenetic stimulation prior to the three-day experiment, which allows a sleep-related hormone to be released in greater quantities and aids in longer sleep times. The other half of the group received no interventions and slept as they normally would. 

    The researchers learned that the group that had received optogenetic stimulation not only slept longer over the course of seven days, but they were also better at forgetting the traumatic experience of getting shocked in the foot during the three-day experiment. 

    The mice in the control group had a harder time forgetting the shock, and would freeze in place after hearing the sound that had signaled the shock was coming. Conversely, the mice who had gotten more sleep were better at breaking the association between the sound and the traumatic experience. 

    In thinking about how these findings could apply to humans and traumatic situations, the researchers believe that sleep-related interventions could be beneficial. However, the researchers do wonder about the role that time plays, as they hypothesize that the greatest success will come immediately following a traumatic event and not in trying to heal past traumas. 

    “This highlights that there is a time-sensitive window when -- if you intervene to improve sleep -- you could potentially stave off the negative effects of trauma,” Vanderheyden said. “Conversely, it seems likely that if you are kept awake after a trauma, this could potentially be harmful to your cognitive function, though we haven’t directly tested this as part of our study.” 

    Recent studies have highlighted the benefits of getting quality sleep each night, while others have shown how a lack of sleep can affect everything from co...
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    Getting more sleep helps consumers better handle positive and negative events, study finds

    More sleep benefits consumers’ overall emotional well-being

    There are countless reasons why getting enough sleep is crucial to consumers’ health and well-being, but getting quality sleep can be difficult -- especially during stressful times

    Now, researchers from the University of British Columbia have found that feeling well-rested can affect how consumers respond to both good and bad news. According to their study, a lack of sleep can make positive events less enjoyable, as well as make bad events even more difficult. 

    “The recommended guideline for a good night’s sleep is at least seven hours, yet one in three adults don’t meet this standard,” said researcher Nancy Sin. “A large body of research has shown that inadequate sleep increases the risk for mental disorders, chronic health conditions, and premature death. My study adds to this evidence by showing that even minor night-to-night fluctuations in sleep duration can have consequences in how people respond to events in their daily lives.” 

    Prioritizing better sleep

    The researchers analyzed over 2,000 diary entries, which were part-sleep log and part-daily record keeper. Participants recorded how long they slept each night, the events of their days, and how they responded to such events for eight consecutive nights. 

    The researchers learned that not getting enough sleep changed the way the participants’ reacted to both positive and negative events in their lives. Getting less sleep made the participants more irritable and stressed, which made them more likely to lash out due to family or work stressors. Moreover, even positive moments -- like time spent outdoors -- were harder to enjoy. 

    “When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day,” said Sin. “But we found that when a person sleeps less than their usual amount, they don’t have as much of a boost in positive emotions from their positive events.” 

    Encouraging better health outcomes

    These findings are important for countless reasons, but particularly from a health standpoint. Recent studies have found that a lack of sleep can have negative impacts on consumers’ heart health, memory, and diet habits, among several other health concerns. 

    However, the researchers from this study encourage consumers, especially those with chronic health conditions, to prioritize getting more sleep each night, as being well-rested can have benefits for both physical and emotional wellness. 

    “For those with chronic health conditions, we found that longer sleep -- compared to one’s usual sleep duration -- led to better positive experiences on the following day,” Sin said. 

    There are countless reasons why getting enough sleep is crucial to consumers’ health and well-being, but getting quality sleep can be difficult -- especial...
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    Better sleep could help teens deal with social situations

    Researchers say quality sleep could be the ultimate coping mechanism

    Recent studies have found that teens aren’t getting enough sleep, which can affect them in more ways than many consumers may realize. 

    Now, researchers from Michigan State University found that when teens get quality sleep, they could be better equipped to deal with stressful social situations. This includes anything from arguments with friends to issues of race and discrimination. 

    “Findings of this study have important implications,” said researcher Yijie Wang. “Understanding how sleep helps adolescents negotiate social challenges may consequently elucidate how promoting sleep may improve adolescent adjustment during high school and beyond.”  

    Improving sleep quality

    The researchers had over 250 ninth graders participate in the study, all of whom wore activity-monitoring watches that tracked their physical activity and sleep for the two-week study. 

    The second component of the study was a nightly survey, which gave the participants the opportunity to reflect on their days. The survey asked them to report on how they dealt with stressful situations, how they felt emotionally, and any discrimination they experienced. 

    The study revealed that participants were better able to handle stressful situations at school when they slept better at night. The students who got better sleep were not only seeking out support from their friends to help handle conflicts at school, but they were reporting better coping and problem-solving skills overall. 

    When it came to issues of discrimination, the findings held up. The students who slept better at night responded better in these situations and reported stronger mental well-being. However, the researchers found that not getting enough sleep could lead to worse results. 

    “These studies showed that, on days when adolescents experienced ethnic or racial discrimination, they slept less and also took longer to actually fall asleep,” said Wang. 

    Promoting better sleeping habits

    It can be difficult for parents to get their teens to follow a sleeping schedule, but Wang says doing so can be incredibly beneficial. 

    These findings clearly outlined how impactful sleep can be for young people. Parents can be instrumental in their children’s social success by being stricter about bedtimes and having more positive attitudes around sleep. 

    “The promotive effect of sleep is so consistent,” said Wang. “It reduces how much adolescents ruminate, it promotes their problem solving, and it also helps them to better seek support from their peers.” 

    Recent studies have found that teens aren’t getting enough sleep, which can affect them in more ways than many consumers may realize. Now, researchers...
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    Having trouble sleeping? Try going camping for a weekend

    Researchers find that a weekend under the stars can reset a person's internal clock

    There have been countless “cures” proposed for those who have trouble sleeping. A cursory internet search will suggest anything from sipping warm milk to taking melatonin supplements. However, researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have a much more recreational answer: go camping for a weekend.

    Doctor Kenneth Wright, an integrative physiology professor and lead author of a paper covering two studies, explains how going camping in an environment with natural light and dark cycles can reverse the damage of living everyday life in an artificially lit environment.

    "These studies suggest that our internal clock responds strongly and quite rapidly to the natural light-dark cycle. . . Living in our modern environments can significantly delay our circadian timing and late circadian timing is associated with many health consequences. But as little as a weekend camping trip can reset it," he said.

    Managing our internal clocks

    This is not the first paper that Wright has published on the beneficial effects of camping. In 2013, he conducted a study where participants were sent to camp for a week in the summer without the use of headlamps or flashlights at night. When they returned, Wright found that their levels of melatonin – a hormone that prepares the body for nighttime and promotes sleep – had synced with sunrise and sunset, a change of almost two hours.

    To build on that previous study, Wright set out to find how quickly our internal clocks could change based on the lighting of our environment and the time of the year. The first study consisted of 14 participants – nine of which were asked to camp for a weekend during the summer while the other five stayed home. After the weekend, participants who went camping had melatonin rise 1.4 hours earlier than those who hadn’t gone, suggesting that their internal clocks had altered.

    In the second study, five participants camped for an entire week around the time of the winter solstice. Statistics showed that they were exposed to 13 times more natural light than usual and that their melatonin levels began to rise 2.6 hours earlier.

    "Weekend exposure to natural light was sufficient to achieve 69 percent of the shift in circadian timing we previously reported after a week's exposure to natural light," Wright stated.

    Getting back in sync

    So, what does all of this mean for sleep? Essentially, the two studies showed that not being exposed to artificial light allowed participants’ bodies to alter according to the time of the year and their bodies’ natural needs.

    When living life normally with artificial light, the body’s internal clock and natural rhythms are often thrown off, which can impact when hormones are released, when we sleep and wake up, and even our appetite and metabolism. However, the studies show that just one weekend of camping away from that environment is enough to put our bodies back in sync. Wright hopes the results will help guide building and city design to help encourage natural light to promote health.

    "Our findings highlight an opportunity for architectural design to bring more natural sunlight into the modern built environment and to work with lighting companies to incorporate tunable lighting that could change across the day and night to enhance performance, health and well-being," he said.

    The full study has been published in Current Biology.

    There have been countless “cures” proposed for those who have trouble sleeping. A cursory internet search will suggest anything from sipping warm milk to t...
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    U.S. economy loses $411 billion every year due to a tired workforce, study finds

    Researchers say sleep deprivation leads to lower productivity and higher mortality risk

    Numerous studies have extolled the benefits of getting a full night’s sleep; those who do so have been found to have more energy and better overall health due to better body self-regulation. Unfortunately, many of us continue to not get enough sleep at night, and new research suggests that health deficits are not the only thing we have to worry about.

    Researchers at RAND Europe – a not-for-profit organization – have found that sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy an average of $411 billion every year. They say this is due to higher mortality risk and lower productivity levels from employees who go to work tired.

    “Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers,” said Marco Hafner, lead author and researcher of the study.

    Economic losses

    The study, entitled “Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep," analyzed the economic impact of insufficient sleep in five countries. While Canada, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. are all burdened with billions in losses due to lack of sleep, the U.S. beats them all with a loss of $411 billion, 2.28% of the country’s GDP.

    The researchers note that if workers get up to one hour of extra sleep per night, it could make a huge economic difference. They say that individuals who get between seven and nine hours every night – dubbed the “healthy daily sleep range” -- can lower their mortality risk by 7%.

    “Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference. For example, if those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy,” said Hafner.

    Recommendations

    The researchers make several recommendations that they believe would improve sleep outcomes. For individuals, they say that setting consistent wake-up times will help the body stay regulated. Limiting the use of electronic items before bed and getting physical exercise during the day are also key points.

    Further, they suggest that employers design and build brighter workspaces, provide facilities for daytime naps, monitor and assess psychosocial risks connected to sleep loss, and discourage the use of electronic devices after the work day has concluded. Public authorities can also help by encouraging health professionals and employers to provide sleep-related help.

    You can view the full report of the study here.

    Numerous studies have extolled the benefits of getting a full night’s sleep; those who do so have been found to have more energy and better overall health...
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    Poor sleeping habits increases risk of inflammation, study finds

    The condition contributes to many medical problems, including depression

    We recently reported how poor sleeping habits could lead to an increased risk of diabetes in men, but new findings suggest that there are additional consequences that can affect everyone.

    Researchers at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California have found that getting too much or too little sleep can increase markers for inflammation, a serious health concern.

    “It is important to highlight that both too much and too little sleep appears to be associated with inflammation, a process that contributes to depression as well as many medical illnesses,” said Dr. John Krystal.

    Higher risk of inflammation

    Experts have long suspected that poor sleeping habits contributed to medical problems with inflammation. Prior studies have, for example, found associations between sleeping disorders, such as insomnia, and increased risk of inflammatory disease. Other adverse health conditions, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, have also been connected.

    In this study, the researchers examined information on over 50,000 people who had participated in other clinical studies. In order to gauge indicators of inflammation, they looked at levels of CRP and IL-6 in the body; high levels of each of these factors would indicate high levels of inflammation.

    Additionally, the researchers checked records to assess how much sleep each participant was getting. After analyzing the information, they found that participants who had regularly interrupted sleep, insomnia, or long sleep durations (over 8 hours) had higher levels of CRP and IL-6 compared to those who slept normally (7-8 hours per night).

    Assessing risk

    The researchers believe that their findings should change how the medical community assesses risk with sleeping disorders. One researcher, Michael Irwin, believes that these kinds of problems should be regarded as behavioral risk factors for inflammation.

    Irwin also states that having targeted therapies that address sleep behavior may go a long way towards reducing risk for inflammation. “Together with diet and physical activity, sleep health represents a third component in the promotion of health-span,” he said.

    The full study has been published in the journal Biological Psychiatry

    We recently reported how poor sleeping habits could lead to an increased risk of diabetes in men, but new findings suggest that there are additional conseq...
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    Poor sleeping habits lead to higher risk of diabetes in men, study finds

    Researchers say that no such association was found for women

    Experts have long expounded on the benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep, as well as the negative impacts that come along with not getting enough or getting too much.

    Now, a new study from the Endocrine Society shows that men in particular could face some serious consequences by not getting a good night’s sleep. The group’s findings suggest that men who sleep too little or too much have a greater risk of developing diabetes, a disease that affects 29 million people across the U.S.

    Importance of sleep

    In general, the amount of sleep that Americans are getting has gone down in recent years. On average, the amount of sleep that people say they get at night is 1.5 to 2 hours lower than it was 50 years ago. Perhaps not coincidentally, the prevalence of diabetes has doubled over the same timeframe.

    For the purposes of the study, researchers examined nearly 800 participants and analyzed the relationship between sleep duration and glucose metabolism. Special attention was given to the gender of participants to assess its importance as a major factor – and apparently it is.

    “In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future. In women, no such association was observed,” said Dr. Femke Rutters, senior author of the study.

    Differences between genders

    The results of the study carry some significance, since it is the first of its kind to find opposite connections of sleep loss and diabetes between genders. However, the researchers are quick to note that the study will need to be validated through repetition, since their study utilized primarily healthy individuals and used instruments that were much more sensitive than those used in past studies.

    Nevertheless, the researchers believe that their work represented an important step towards understanding the health consequences behind sleep.

    “Even when you are healthy, sleeping too much or too little can have detrimental effects on your health. . . This research shows how important sleep is to a key aspect of health – glucose metabolism,” concluded Rutters.

    The full study has been published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

    Experts have long expounded on the benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep, as well as the negative impacts that come along with not getting enough ...
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