Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 12.03.2024 Interview with: Soomi Lee, PhD Associate Professor | Department of Human Development and Family Studies | Center for Healthy Aging Director of STEALTH Lab: The Pennsylvania State University What is the background for this study? Response:  Sleep quantity and quality decline with advancing age; a risk of chronic conditions also increases with age. While previous studies report that poor sleep is a significant risk for chronic conditions, many have focused solely on a single dimension of sleep, such as duration, thereby limiting the ability to assess multiple co-occurring dimensions and their associations with chronic conditions. This study aimed to evaluate multiple dimensions of sleep health, including regularity, satisfaction, alertness, efficiency, and duration. By analyzing data from a national sample of adults (n=3,683) collected over two time points spanning a decade, the study identified four distinct sleep health phenotypes: good sleepers, insomnia sleepers, weekend catch-up sleepers, and nappers. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 15.03.2022 Interview with: Rene Cortese, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Child Health – Child Health Research Institute Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health School of Medicine Core Faculty - MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65212  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects 22 million people in the U.S. and is linked to a higher risk of hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and many other chronic conditions. We have found that untreated OSA also accelerates the biological aging process, and that appropriate treatment can slow or possibly reverse the trend. Age acceleration testing involves a blood test that analyzes DNA and uses an algorithm to measure a person’s biological age. The phenomenon of a person’s biological age surpassing their chronological age is called “epigenetic age acceleration” and is linked to overall mortality and to chronic diseases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Pediatrics / 17.02.2022 Interview with: Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, PhD, CBSM, DBSM Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Sleep Research & Treatment Center Director, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center  What is the background for this study?  Is insomnia familial? Response: Consistent research has shown that about 25% of school-age children have insomnia symptoms consisting of difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep. However, what has remained unknown is to what extent those insomnia symptoms persist all the way into adulthood, or whether they developmentally remit (go away with age) as the child grows into adolescence or young adulthood. This is the question that our study focused on. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Insomnia, Menopause, Sleep Disorders, Weight Research / 23.03.2021 Interview with: Leilah K. Grant, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? Response: The prevalence of obesity increases in women around the age of menopause which increases the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Changes in hormones, like estrogen, are thought to contribute to weight gain during menopause, but other common symptoms of menopause such as sleep interruption may also play a role. While short sleep is known to adversely affect metabolism, little is known about the metabolic consequences of the type of sleep disruption most common in menopausal women – increased nighttime awakenings (i.e., sleep interruption) caused by hot flashes, but no change in overall sleep duration. We therefore did this study to see how an experimental model menopause-related sleep interruption would affect metabolic outcomes that may contribute to weight gain.  (more…)
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Sleep Disorders / 06.10.2020 Interview with: Nathan Warren is a Ph.D. candidate in marketing at the University of Oregon. His research examines how people respond when social norms, such as masculinity norms, are disrupted by social change. He hopes that his research can empower people who are struggling to adapt to changing norms to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives. For more information on his research, please visit: Dr. Troy Campbell is a behavioral scientist (PhD, Duke University), former marketing professor (University of Oregon), former art, film, and psychology scholar (UC Irvine), professional designer and researcher (Netflix Insights, Disney Imagineering, UnitedHealth) and currently chief scientist at On Your Feet.  Troy believes everything can be awesome when you start with the right science and follow with the right creative process, and he hopes his professional services or public guides can help his clients make something awesome and impactful. For more information on Troy Campbell, please visit: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In the United States, the average American sleeps less than the minimum seven hours of sleep per night recommended by the Center for Disease Control, and nearly half of Americans report negative consequences from insufficient sleep. This problem appears to be especially prevalent in men, who report getting significantly less sleep, on average, than women. A cultural complication is the notion that getting less than the recommended amount of sleep signals something positive about an individual. For example, US President Donald Trump has boasted about getting less than four hours of sleep per night and regularly derogates his political opponent Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe.” "The Sleep-Deprived Masculinity Stereotype," a new paper in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, examines a possible stereotype connecting sleep and masculinity along with its underlying mechanisms and its social implications. Authors Nathan B. Warren and Troy H. Campbell conducted 12 experiments involving 2,564 American participants to demonstrate that a sleep-deprived masculinity stereotype exists.  In one experiment, participants were asked to imagine seeing a man shopping for a bed. Then, a salesperson asked the man, “How much do you normally sleep?” The results found that the mean masculinity rating for participants in the lots of sleep condition was significantly lower than the mean masculinity rating for participants in the little sleep condition. In another experiment, participants were asked to ascribe different attributes to a male character, assigned to either a “very masculine and manly” man or a “not very masculine and not very manly” man. Participants in the masculine condition described their character sleeping 33 minutes less sleep per night than the characters described in the not masculine condition. A final experiment showed that participants who imagined stating they sleep more than average felt significantly less masculine than participants who imagined stating they sleep less than average. Collectively, the experiments found that men who sleep less are seen as more masculine and more positively judged by society. The same patterns were not consistently observed for perceptions of women.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Eisai, Insomnia / 02.10.2020 Interview with: Margaret Moline, PhD Executive Director, Neurology Business Group, Eisai, Inc Lemborexant International Program Lead and Global Medical Lead What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • SUNRISE 2 was one of two pivotal Phase 3 studies evaluated in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of DAYVIGO (lemborexant) CIV in December 2019.
  • SUNRISE 2 was a pivotal six-month placebo-controlled treatment trial with a 6-month active treatment period including adult patients age 18 or older who met DSM-5 criteria for insomnia disorder.
  • Patients were randomized to placebo (n=325), DAYVIGO 5 mg (n=323), or DAYVIGO 10 mg (n=323) once nightly for the first six months of the study (Treatment Period 1).
  • The primary efficacy endpoint was the mean change from baseline to end of treatment at six months for subjective sleep onset latency (sSOL; the estimated minutes from the time that the patient attempted to sleep until sleep onset).
  • Secondary efficacy endpoints were mean change from baseline to end of treatment at six months subjective sleep efficiency (sSE; the proportion of time spent asleep per time in bed) and subjective wake after sleep onset (sWASO; the minutes of wake from the onset of sleep until wake time). These endpoints were measured by sleep diary.
  • At Virtual SLEEP 2020, a post-hoc analysis of SUNRISE 2 was shared in an oral presentation, which looked specifically at the long-term efficacy and safety of lemborexant in elderly adults with insomnia disorder.
  • Insomnia disorder, a chronic condition with long-term consequences for health and well-being, is prevalent in older adults.
  • This analysis of the SUNRISE 2 data reflects new learnings on the sustained impact of DAYVIGO on sleep onset and sleep maintenance in an older patient population. 
Author Interviews / 03.09.2020 Interview with: Kyla Fergason Senior Undergraduate Student Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D. Principal Investigator Baylor University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There’s a fairly sizable literature suggesting that religious affiliation and religious engagement are associated with positive health outcomes. Therefore, we were surprised to find that agnostic/atheist individuals reported better sleep health than Christian individuals in the Baylor Religion Survey (BRS-5). 73% of agnostic/atheist individuals reported sleeping 7-9 hours/night whereas only 63% of Christian individuals met these consensus sleep guidelines. The most affected Christian denominations were Baptists (54.6%) and Catholics (62.3%). These results stood even after adjusting for age and gender. We predicted the opposite pattern. And, it wasn’t just about longer sleep durations. Agnostic/atheist individuals even reported greater ease falling asleep compared to Christian individuals.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Sleep Disorders / 09.07.2020 Interview with: Jakob Weitzer MSc Department of Epidemiology Center for Public Health Medical University of Vienna Vienna, Austria What is the background for this study? Response: Chronic insomnia is a highly prevalent, often underdiagnosed and undertreated disease. Previous research has linked dispositional optimism to a better sleep quality and to insomnia symptoms, and showed that optimism can be trained. Since we think that positive psychology plays an important role for our health we wanted to further shed light on this topic.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sleep Disorders, Stanford / 07.07.2020 Interview with: Eileen BLeary, Ph.D. Student Epidemiology and Clinical Research Stanford University What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by REM sleep? Response: Sleep is a regulated, reversible, and recurring loss of consciousness that is a critical requirement for a happy, healthy life. REM sleep is an important component of sleep defined by rapid eye movements and commonly associated with dreaming. We learned from previous studies that sleep duration is associated with mortality, however little was known about how the different sleep stages relate to timing or cause of death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues, Sleep Disorders / 01.07.2020 Interview with: Dr. Rebecca Robbins, PhD MS Fellow at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? Response: Sleep difficulties are common among older adults and are associated with cognitive decline. We used data collected over 10 years from a large, nationally representative longitudinal survey of adults over the age of 50 in the U.S. We examined the relationship between specific sleep difficulties and cognitive function over time. What are the main findings?  Response: Our results show that early difficulty falling asleep and early morning awakenings, when experienced "most nights" of the week, were each associated with worse cognitive function. Conversely, reports of waking feeling rested was associated with better cognitive function, over time.   (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sleep Disorders / 28.12.2019 Interview with: Margaret Moline, PhD Lemborexant International Program Lead and Global Medical Lead Executive Director, Neurology Business Group Eisai, Inc. What is the background for this study? This study, called SUNRISE 1, is one of two pivotal Phase 3 studies in the lemborexant clinical development program that supported the recent FDA approval of DAYVIGO (lemborexant).
  • On December 20, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DAYVIGO (lemborexant) 5 mg and 10 mg, an orexin receptor antagonist indicated for the treatment of adult patients with insomnia, which is characterized by difficulties with sleep onset and/or sleep maintenance.1
  • DAYVIGO will be commercially available following scheduling by the DEA, which is expected to occur within 90 days.
  • SUNRISE 1 was a one-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled, multi-center, parallel-group clinical trial in adult female patients age 55 and older and male patients 65 years and older who met DSM-5 criteria for insomnia disorder. Patients were randomized to placebo (n=208), lemborexant 5 mg (n=266) or 10 mg (n=269), or active comparator (n=263) once nightly.1
  • The primary efficacy endpoint was the mean change in log-transformed latency to persistent sleep (LPS; defined as the number of minutes from lights off to the first 10 consecutive minutes of non-wakefulness) from baseline to end of treatment (Days 29/30), as measured by overnight polysomnography (PSG) monitoring.1
  • The pre-specified secondary efficacy endpoints in Study 2 were the mean change from baseline to end of treatment (Days 29/30) in sleep efficiency (SEF) and wake after sleep onset (WASO) measured by PSG.1
  • SUNRISE 1, lemborexant 5 mg and 10 mg demonstrated statistically significant superiority on the primary efficacy measure, LPS, compared to placebo. lemborexant 5 mg and 10 mg demonstrated statistically significant improvement in SEF and WASO compared to placebo.1
  • The effects of lemborexant at the beginning of treatment were generally consistent with later timepoints.
Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Sleep Disorders, Tobacco / 12.08.2019 Interview with: Christine Spadola, M.S., LMHC, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Florida Atlantic University Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Short sleep duration and sleep fragmentation are associated with adverse health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. Avoiding the use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine close to bedtime represent modifiable behaviors that can improve sleep. Nonetheless, among community dwelling adults (e.g., adults in their natural bedroom environment as opposed to research laboratories) and specifically African Americans, there is a lack of longitudinal research investigating the use of these substances and the associations with objective measures of sleep.. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 07.08.2019 Interview with: Shahab Haghayegh, Ph.D. Candidate Department of Biomedical Engineering Cockrell School of Engineering University of Texas at Austin What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I'm a sleep researcher and I wanted to find the link between warm bath and sleep. Body temperature which is involved in the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle, exhibits an endogenous circadian cycle, that is a 24-hour pattern, being highest by 2-3°F in the late afternoon/early evening than during sleep when it's lowest. The average person’s circadian cycle is characterized by a reduction in core body temperature by ~ 0.5 to 1° F the hour or so before one’s usual sleep time, dropping to its lowest level between the middle and later span of nighttime sleep. It then begins to rise, acting as a kind of a biological alarm clock wake-up signal. The temperature cycle leads the sleep cycle and is an essential factor in achieving rapid sleep onset and high efficiency sleep. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melatonin, Pharmacology, Sleep Disorders / 23.06.2019 Interview with: David C. Brodner, M.D. Founder and Principle Physician The Center for Sinus, Allergy, and Sleep Wellness Double Board-Certified in Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery) and Sleep Medicine Assistant Clinical Professor Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine Medical Director, Good Samaritan Hospital Sleep Laboratory Senior Medical Advisor, Physician’s Seal, LLC® What is the background for this study? Response: Chronic disorders of sleep and wakefulness affect an estimated 50-70 million adults in the United States. The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss have been associated with a wide range of damaging health consequences, including obesity, diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, anxiety and depression. In terms of preventing health consequences, sleeping 6-8 hours per night consistently may provide optimal health outcomes. Comprehensive data from two recently completed patient-reported outcomes (PRO) studies provide further evidence of the observed hypnotic effects of REMfresh, demonstrating statistically significant improvements in sleep onset, sleep duration, sleep maintenance and sleep quality. PRO studies of this kind, which more closely address real-world patient experience, are increasingly being recognized by regulatory authorities and academia in evaluating new therapies. In addition to the traditional randomized, placebo-controlled trial studies, regulatory authorities are now incorporating the patient perspective in their decision making, including PRO studies. A PRO study is a measurement based on a report that comes directly from the patient about the status or change in their health condition and without amendment or interpretation of the patient's response by health-care intermediaries. PRO measures can be used to capture a patient's everyday experience outside of the clinician's office, and the effects of a treatment on the patient's activities of daily living. Together, clinical measures and PRO measures can provide a fuller picture of patient benefit. REMfresh, the first and only continuous release and absorption melatonin (CRA-melatonin) formulation, is designed to give patients up to 7 hours of sleep support. It is a clinically studied, drug-free, nonprescription, #1 sleep doctor-recommended melatonin sleep brand. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Sleep Disorders / 16.06.2019 Interview with: Ambra Stefani, MD Sleep Disorders Clinic Department of Neurology Innsbruck Medical University Innsbruck, Austria What is the background for this study? Response: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder, affecting up to 10% of the general population in Europe and North America. It is a sensorimotor disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations and an urge to move, mainly involving the legs. These symptoms appear or worsen in the evening/at night and improve with movement. Background for this study was the idea that there might be gender differences in the phenotypical presentation of RLS, as the pathogenesis of this disease is multifactorial and gender specific factors also play a role. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Sleep Disorders / 14.01.2019 Interview with: José M. Ordovás, PhD Director Nutrition and Genomics Professor Nutrition and Genetics JM-USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University Boston, MA 02111 What is the background for this study? Response: The current knowledge supports the notion that poor sleep is associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Besides, there is some proof that poor sleep might be related to the development of atherosclerosis; however, this evidence has been provided by studies including few participants and, in general, with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Our research has used state-of-the-art imaging technology to measure plaque buildup in the arteries, and objective measures of sleep quantity and quality in about 4000 participants of the PESA CNIC- Santander Study. Moreover, this is the first study to look at the multiterritory development of plaques versus other studies that looked exclusively at the coronary arteries. Therefore, this combination provides stronger evidence than previous studies about the risk of poor sleep on the development of atherosclerosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Menopause, Sleep Disorders / 15.11.2018 Interview with: Sooyeon Suh, PhD Department of Psychology Sungshin University Seoul, Republic of Korea What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Women who are going through menopause frequently complain of sleep complaints and depressive symptoms in addition to other typical symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Two of the most common ways of becoming menopausal are through natural menopause and surgical menopause. While natural menopause is usually experienced in the course of aging, surgical menopause is usually induced by OBGYN surgery such as bilateral oopherectomy, often as a result of illnesses such as ovarian cancer. Many studies have found that women who experience surgical menopause often experience more psychological and physical difficulties compared to women who transition through menopause naturally due to a more acute drop in estrogen following surgery, it sometimes leads to the need for practices like Advanced Gynecology to help manage the symptoms. Unfortunately, in clinical settings, women who undergo surgical menopause are not provided with additional psychoeducation or customized treatment to address these issues. The main findings of these studies support these issues. In 526 postmenopausal women, women who went through surgical menopause reported significantly worse sleep quality an shorter sleep duration. Additionally, they had a 2.13 times higher likelihood of having insomnia that warranted treatment. Finally, even though women who went through surgical menopause engaged in the same sleep-interfering behaviors (e.g., drinking caffeine, drinking alcohol before bed, watching TV in bed, etc) as women who went through menopause naturally, their sleep was impacted more negatively. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Sexual Health, Sleep Disorders / 11.07.2018 Interview with: Dustin T. DuncanScD Associate Professor Director, NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab Department of Population Health NYU School of Medicine NYU Langone Health What is the background for this study? Response: Sleep and sleep hygiene have emerged as one of the major determinants of health and wellbeing (alongside good diet, regular exercise, and not smoking). However, a small number of studies have used population-representative samples to examine sexual orientation disparities in sleep. Our study aimed to fill this gap in knowledge. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Sleep Disorders, Testosterone, Urology / 23.05.2018 Interview with: Kristen L. Knutson, PhD Associate Professor Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine Department of Neurology Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL  60611​Premal Patel, MD, PGY-5 Urology University of Manitoba What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? What should readers take away from your report? Response: Within the literature there has only been small experimental studies which looked at impaired sleep and testosterone. To our knowledge, there has been no study that has evaluated sleep and testosterone using a population dataset. We utilized the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the association of sleep with serum testosterone. NHANES examines a nationally representative sample of about ~5000 persons each year. After performing a multivariate linear regression of numerous variables within the NHANES database (age, marital status, prior co-morbidities, number of hours of sleep, etc…) we found that a reduction in the number of hours slept, increasing body mass index and increasing age were associated with lower testosterone levels. Given that this is a cross-sectional analysis, we are unable to provide causality of this relationship but we do feel it is important to counsel patients with low testosterone about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle which includes a well-balanced diet, exercise and sufficient sleep. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, NIH, PNAS, Sleep Disorders / 19.04.2018 Interview with: Nora D. Volkow MD Senior Investigator Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Findings from animal studies had shown that sleep deprivation increased the content of beta-amyloid in brain, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.  We wanted to test whether this also happened in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. We found that indeed one night of sleep deprivation led to an accumulation of beta amyloid in the human brain, which suggest that one of the reasons why we sleep is to help clean our brain of degradation products that if not removed are toxic to brain cells.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Kidney Disease / 04.11.2017 Interview with: Dr. Jun Ling (Lucy) Lu, MD, CCRP Senior Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Medicine Csaba P Kovesdy MD FASN Fred Hatch Professor of Medicine Director, Clinical Outcomes and Clinical Trials Program Division of Nephrology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Nephrology Section Chief, Memphis VA Medical Center Memphis TN, 38163 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Around one third of the world’s population suffers from insomnia. Previous studies showed that sleep disorders affect the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the sympatho-adrenal system, which may cause abnormalities in several organ systems and pathways causing metabolic or cardiovascular abnormalities. However, there is inadequate evidence of an association between chronic insomnia and adverse renal outcomes. After examining 938,473 US veterans (4.4% of them had chronic insomnia) with baseline estimated eGFR >60 ml/min/1.73m2, we found that chronic insomnia is associated with a 43% higher risk of all-cause mortality, a 2.5-fold higher incidence of eGFR ≤45ml/min/1.73m2, a 2.3-fold higher ESRD risk, and with rapid loss of kidney function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, JAMA / 02.12.2016 Interview with: Lee M. Ritterband, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences Director, Center for Behavioral Health and Technology University of Virginia School of Medicine Ivy Foundational Translational Research Building Charlottesville, VA 22903 What is the background for this study? Response: Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, a non-pharmacological intervention, is the first line recommendation for adults with chronic insomnia (see recommendations made earlier this year from the American College of Physicians). Access to CBT-I, however, is limited by numerous barriers, including a limited supply of behavioral medicine providers. One way to help improve access to this effective treatment is to develop and evaluate additional delivery methods of CBT-I, including Internet-delivered CBT-I. This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of an Internet-delivered CBT-I program (SHUTi: Sleep Healthy Using The Internet) over the short-term (9-weeks) and long-term (1-year). (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 07.07.2015

Jason Ong, Ph.D., CBSM Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences Director, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Training Program Rush University Medical Interview with: Jason Ong, Ph.D., CBSM Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences Director, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Training Program Rush University Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Insomnia is a very common sleep problem that was previously thought to be related to another medical or psychiatric condition.  Evidence now supports the notion that insomnia can emerge as a disorder distinct from the comorbid condition.  In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), the most widely used nonpharmacologic treatment for insomnia, in the context of medical and psychiatric comorbidities. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 studies and found that 36% of patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia were in remission at post-treatment compared to 17% who received a control or comparison condition.  CBT-I had medium to large effects for improving sleep quality and reducing the amount of time awake in bed.  Positive findings were also found on the comorbid condition, with greater improvements in psychiatric conditions compared to medical conditions. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Insomnia, Psychological Science / 10.06.2015 Interview with: Dr David Cunnington Sleep Physician & Director Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre East Melbourne Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Insomnia is a very common problem with 15-20% of adults having chronic insomnia, that is, trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep most days for  3 months or more. The most commonly used treatment is sleeping pills or hypnotics, however, they don’t address the underlying disorder, and come with potential side effects. Also, sleeping tablets just mask the symptoms, and as soon as tablets are stopped, symptoms recur. People with chronic insomnia think and behave differently around sleep, which perpetuates their symptoms. The key to improving symptoms in the long run is addressing thoughts and behaviours around sleep, which is what cognitive behaviour therapy does. Our study showed that cognitive behaviour therapy reduced the time taken to get to sleep by 20 minutes and reduced the amount of time spent awake after falling asleep by nearly 30 minutes. These effects were maintained out to 12 months after treatment. These reductions in time taken to get to sleep and time spent awake are similar to those reported in clinical trials of hypnotics.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Insomnia / 02.11.2014

Lars Laugsand, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow Department of Public Health Norwegian University of Science in Technology Trondheim, Interview with: Lars Laugsand, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow Department of Public Health Norwegian University of Science in Technology Trondheim, Norway. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Laugsand: Very few prospective studies have assessed the association of insomnia symptoms and risk for injuries. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Laugsand: We found that increasing number of insomnia symptoms was strongly associated with higher risk for both overall unintentional fatal injuries and fatal motor-vehicle injuries in a dose-dependent manner. Those who reported to suffer from all major insomnia symptoms were at considerably higher risk than those who had no symptoms or only a few symptoms. Among the different insomnia symptoms, difficulties falling asleep appeared to have the strongest and most robust association with fatal injuries. (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Occupational Health / 04.09.2014

Tea Lallukka, PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health & University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health University of Helsinki, Interview with: Tea Lallukka, PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health & University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health University of Helsinki, Finland Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Lallukka: Our study used nationally representative survey data linked with register data on medically certified sickness absence among working -aged Finnish women and men. We showed consistent associations between insomnia symptoms, sleep duration, and being tired and sickness absence. The follow-up lasted around 7 years. Sickness absence days were derived from comprehensive registers from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The associations were broadly similar among women and men. Furthermore, they remained even after considering key correlates of sleep and sickness absence including socioeconomic position, working conditions, health behaviors, obesity, and mental and physical health. Health data were derived from physical examination conducted by field physicians. These data are more objective, and help provide more robust evidence. We further covered all key sleep disturbances and sleep duration for more comprehensive understanding about the contribution of sleep to sickness absence. Finally, a novel method developed by the authors (Härkänen & Kaikkonen) allowed us to estimate the difference in sickness absence days per working year among those reporting and not reporting different sleep disturbances. Using the difference in days absent from work, we were further able to estimate the hypothetical direct costs of sickness absence highlighting notable societal significance of sleep. Thus, a large part of all costs of sickness absence are attributable to poor sleep. For example, those sleeping 5 hours or less or 10 hours or more, were absent from work ca 5-9 days more, as compared to those with optimal sleep length. The optimal sleep length with the lowest risk of sickness absence was 7 hours 46 minutes for men and 7 hours 38 minutes for women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Mental Health Research / 31.07.2014 Interview with: Pasquale K Alvaro School of Psychology University of Adelaide South Australia, Australia Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: In adolescents, insomnia is related to depression beyond chronotype (a classification system for circadian rhythms or body clock), anxiety and age. Insomnia is also related to Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) beyond chronotype, depression and age. Depression accounts for the relationship between insomnia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and Social Phobia (SP). Furthermore, an evening chronotype  (delayed sleep phase, that is, preferring to go to bed in the early morning) predicts insomnia beyond depression, anxiety and age. Moreover, an evening chronotype predicts depression beyond insomnia, anxiety and age. Finally, insomnia and depression account for the relationships between an evening chronotype and panic disorder, OCD, SAD and SP. (more…)
Author Interviews, Insomnia, Johns Hopkins, Sleep Disorders / 12.06.2013 Interview with: Christopher Kaufmann, MHS Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Hampton House, Room 800 624 North Broadway Baltimore, MD 21205 email: [email protected] What are the main findings of the study? Mr. Kaufmann:  The purpose of our study was to examine the association between insomnia and the use of a number of costly health services.  We used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a large nationally representative longitudinal population-based study of US middle-aged and older adults.  We found that individuals who reported a greater number of insomnia symptoms were more likely to report being hospitalized, using home healthcare services, and using nursing homes two years later.  After we accounted for a number of demographic and clinical characteristics, the association between number of reported insomnia symptoms and hospitalization remained statistically significant. (more…)