Short Naps May Aid in Blood Pressure Control

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Manolis S Kallistratos MD, PhD, FESC,EHSAsklepeion General HospitalGreece

Dr. Kallistratos

Dr Manolis S Kallistratos MD, PhD, FESC,EHS
Asklepeion General Hospital
Greece 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Lifestyle changes represent the cornerstone of treatment of arterial hypertension. Alcohol and salt reduction may decrease blood pressure levels by 2 to 8 mmHg.

In our study 60 minutes of midday sleep decrease 24 hours systolic blood pressure levels by up to 3 mmHg in well controlled hypertensives. That is an effect as potent as other well-established life style changes.

The magnitude of blood pressure decrease might seem small, but a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mmHg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10 percent.  Continue reading

Parents Still Losing Sleep 6 Years After New Baby

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Baby K - Mother's Kiss" by D.Clow - Maryland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0

“Baby K – Mother’s Kiss” by D.Clow

Dr. Sakari Lemola
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Warwick
Coventry, UK 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Sufficient sleep of good quality is important for physical and mental health. Therefore, we are studying factors in people’s lives that may affect their sleep.

In the present study we examined in particular how the birth of a child affects parents’ sleep. In detail, we used data on sleep of more than 4,600 parents in Germany who had a child between 2008 and 2015. During these years parents reported on their sleep in yearly interviews. We found that the birth of a child had quite drastic short-term effects on new mothers’ sleep, particularly during the first three months after birth. This is not a new finding; previous studies reported similar effects. What is new in the current study is that we compared sleep before pregnancy with sleep until up to 6 years after birth.

We were surprised to see that sleep duration and sleep satisfaction were still decreased up to six years after birth. Six years after birth mothers and father still slept around 15-20 minutes less. Continue reading

Sleep is Good For Your Health, Including Your Heart!

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cameron S. McAlpine, Ph.D. Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Systems Biology Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, 02114

Dr. McAlpine

Cameron S. McAlpine, Ph.D.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Systems Biology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, 02114

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cardiovascular disease is caused by the build up of white blood cells and fat in arteries. We have known for a long time that poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A number of human observational studies have found this correlation. However, the reasons for this correlation have been largely unknown.

Our study, performed in mice, provides one possible explanation. We found that when we disturbed the sleep of mice they produced more inflammatory white blood cells. These cells caused larger lesions in their arteries and more advanced cardiovascular disease.

We found that his phenomenon is controlled by a hormone produced in the brain that normally suppresses the production of white blood cells. When mice have their sleep disturbed this pathway breakdown causing the increased production of white blood cells.

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Memories Can Be Stored During Some Unconscious Sleep States

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marc Züst, PhD University of Bern Department of Psychology Division of Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology Switzerland

Dr. Züst

Marc Züst, PhD
University of Bern
Department of Psychology
Division of Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology
Switzerland 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Slow wave sleep (deep sleep) is known to be very important for memory reorganization. The brain goes through the memory traces that were created during wakefulness and strengthens the important ones, while unimportant ones are weakened or deleted to make room for new learning the next day. This happens during the peaks of the eponymous slow waves, also called up-states, where the brain is highly active and interconnected. Up-states last for about 0.5 sec before transitioning into down-states, where the brain is relatively silent.

Based on these findings, we hypothesized that up-states constitute windows of opportunity to learn new information during slow wave sleep: The “channels are open”, and the brain is already performing memory functions.

The results of our study support this hypothesis. We found that, if we repeatedly managed to synchronize presentation of word pairs with up-states, memory for these pairs was best. Moreover, we find a dose-response function: The more often word pairs hit up-states, the better the memory. On top of that, fMRI during the retrieval test suggests that the same brain regions are involved in sleep learning as are involved in learning during wakefulness.

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Rocking Encourages Deeper Sleep and Better Memory

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Tonight, I am grateful for an old rocking chair that had the power to quell my crying baby after hours of fussing. It has rocked several generations on my dad's side and I like to think its legacy of comfort can be magical from time to time. #aboynamedfox" by mandaloo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0Mme Aurore Perrault, PhD Student
Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine
University of Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: We naturally rock babies to sleep. Yet, we also have plenty of anecdotal reports of adults falling asleep faster when in a train or a car, as well as a feeling of relaxation in a hammock. Our companion paper on mice (Kompotis et a., 2019 – same issue in Current Biology) clearly established that the beneficial effects of rocking on sleep relied on the activation of the vestibular system and might thus suggest some shared neurophysiological mechanisms in mammals.

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Less Than Six Hours of Sleep May Raise Risk of Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

José M. Ordovás, PhD Director Nutrition and Genomics Professor Nutrition and Genetics            JM-USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University Boston, MA 02111

Dr. Ordovás

José M. Ordovás, PhD
Director Nutrition and Genomics
Professor Nutrition and Genetics
JM-USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University
Boston, MA 02111

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Loss of Deep Sleep Associated With Early Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brendan P. Lucey, MD, MSCI Assistant Professor of Neurology Director, Sleep Medicine Section Washington University School of Medicine Saint Louis, Missouri 63110

Dr. Lucey

Brendan P. Lucey, MD, MSCI
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Sleep Medicine Section
Washington University School of Medicine
Saint Louis, Missouri 63110

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Alzheimer’s disease and sleep are currently thought to have a two-way or bidirectional relationship.

First, sleep disturbances may increase the risk of developing AD.

Second, changes in sleep-wake activity may be due to Alzheimer’s disease pathology and our paper was primarily focused on this aspect of the relationship.    If sleep changes were a marker for AD changes in the brain, then this would be very helpful in future clinical trials and possibly screening in the clinic.

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Therapeutic Oxygen May Enhance Restorative Sleep

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brandon Hauer, Neuroscience PhD Student Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute

Brandon Hauer

Brandon Hauer, Neuroscience PhD Student
Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute
Clayton Dickson, Professor
Departments of Psychology, Physiology, and the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute,
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our lab is interested in the dynamics of sleep and sleep-like rhythms in the forebrain. One particular interest relates to how the brain can spontaneously switch between very different states like rapid eye movement sleep (REM, or dreaming sleep) and slow-wave sleep (deep, restorative stage of sleep).

We noticed that administering 100% oxygen to rats in an anesthetized preparation that closely models natural sleep produced an immediate and lasting switch into a slow-wave brain state. This happened as well in naturally sleeping rats. Interestingly, increasing carbon dioxide concentrations or decreasing oxygen in inspired air produced the opposite effect, namely a switch into activated or REM-like states.  Continue reading

Want To Get Better Grades? Get More…..

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Director, Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory Baylor University Waco, TX 76798 

Dr. Scullin

Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Director, Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: There is a gap between what health behaviors individuals know they should adopt, and what those individuals actually end up doing. For example, a growing literature shows that simply educating students on the importance of sleep does not change their sleep behaviors. Thus, we need to think outside of the box for solutions.

In three classes, we have now investigated a motivational solution: if students can earn extra credit on their final exam for sleeping better, will they do so even during finals week?

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Surgical Menopause Linked To More Insomnia and Sleep Difficulties

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sooyeon Suh, PhD Department of Psychology Sungshin University Seoul, Republic of Korea

Dr. Suh

Sooyeon Suh, PhD
Department of Psychology
Sungshin University
Seoul, Republic of Korea

MedicalResearch.com: 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. Continue reading

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Short Apneas Linked To Increased Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Snoring away" by Doug Ford is licensed under CC BY 2.0Matthew P Butler, PhD

Assistant Professor, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, OR 97239

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with heart disease and mortality, but how OSA does this is not well understood. We are therefore looking for sub-phenotypes within OSA that will help us predict who is at greatest risk.

Current diagnosis of OSA is made on the basis of the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI – the number of respiratory events per hour of sleep). But the AHI is not a very good predictor of future mortality.

We tested the hypothesis that the duration of events (how long the breathing interruptions are) would predict risk. We found that those with the shortest breathing interruptions had the highest risk of dying, after accounting for other conditions like age, gender, race, and smoking status.  Continue reading

Insufficient Sleep in Adolescence May Be A Driver of Risky Behaviors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew D. Weaver, PhD Instructor in Medicine · Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist · Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Weaver

Matthew D. Weaver, PhD
Instructor in Medicine · Harvard Medical School
Associate Epidemiologist · Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02215

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We were interested whether high school students who tended to sleep less than 8 hours per night reported more risk-taking behaviors compared to high school students who slept at least 8 hours per night on a school night. We utilized a nationally representative dataset from the CDC of surveys that were completed by high school students between 2007 and 2015. Over that time, approximately 67,000 students were surveyed. Students were asked about the hours of sleep that they obtained on an average school night. They were also asked how often, in the month prior to the survey, they engaged in a number of risk-taking behaviors. Some behaviors were related to driving, like driving without a seatbelt or driving drunk, while others were related to using alcohol, doing drugs, or being involved in a fight. They were also asked about their mood, including whether they felt sad or hopeless, considered suicide, and whether they had attempted suicide. 

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Insights into Neurobiology of Restless Legs Syndrome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rachel Marie E. Salas, MD, MEHP, FAAN Associate Professor, Neurology and Nursing at Johns Hopkins Medicine Director, Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Director, Neurology Clerkship Director, PreDoc Program Meyer/Neuro Sleep Baltimore, MD

Dr Salas

Rachel Marie E. Salas, MD, MEHP, FAAN
Associate Professor, Neurology and Nursing at Johns Hopkins Medicine
Director, Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice
Director, Neurology Clerkship
Director, PreDoc Program Meyer/Neuro Sleep
Baltimore, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Can you briefly describe what is meant by RLS  and who suffers from it?

Response: Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder characterized by an irritating, overwhelming urge to move (akathisia) the legs while at rest or sleep (conditions of diminished arousal), which almost immediately abates with mental or physical activity (conditions of maintained arousal).

One of the most clinically-profound and scientifically relevant consequences of this disease process is an increased arousal state producing significant wake during sleep times and a relative sustainable degree of daytime alertness despite the degree of diseased-imposed sleep loss. The focus of most previous RLS research has been on the (limb) akathisia with associated periodic movements and reduction of these with dopaminergic treatment. Little research has been done to understand the broader biological dimensions​ of RLS. Patients with RLS have altered sleep-wake homeostasis with increased arousal and wakefulness (hyperarousal) not only driving the signature clinical symptoms (“the urge to move” and sleep loss) but also supporting arousal over sleep drive at night and in the day. We hypothesize that there is a basic glutamate-hyperarousal process producing both disrupted sleep (increased wake time) and cortical excitability (as demonstrated by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)).​  Continue reading

Children Need Both Naps and Overnight Sleep to Process Emotional Memories

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rebecca Spencer PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Massachusetts

Dr. Rebecca Spencer

Dr. Rebecca Spencer PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that in young adults, sleep contributes to emotion processing. We wondered if naps work similarly for preschool children.  To look at this, we had children learn an emotional memory task and then either take a nap or stay awake.  We then tested their memory after that interval and again the next day.

We found that when children napped, they had better memory for those items the next day than if they did not nap.  That the naps seem to support memory (even if in a delayed fashion) seems consistent with the observation of parents and preschool teachers that children are often emotionally dysregulated if they do not nap.

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Bisexual Adults Have Highest Prevalence of Sleep Problems in NYC Survey

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dustin T. Duncan, ScD Associate Professor Director, NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab Department of Population Health NYU School of Medicine NYU Langone Health

Dr. Duncan

Dustin T. DuncanScD
Associate Professor
Director, NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab
Department of Population Health
NYU School of Medicine
NYU Langone Health

MedicalResearch.com: 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.
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Structural Brain Changes in Sleep Apnea Linked to Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman sleeping” by Timothy Krause is licensed under CC BY 2.0Nathan E. Cross PhD, first author
School of Psychology.
Sharon L. Naismith, PhD, senior author
Leonard P Ullman Chair in Psychology
Brain and Mind Centre
Neurosleep, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence
The University of Sydney, Australia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Between 30 to 50% of the risk for dementia is due to modifiable risk factors such depression, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

In recent years, multiple longitudinal cohort studies have observed a link between sleep apnoea and a greater risk (1.85 to 2.6 times more likely) of developing cognitive decline and dementia.  Furthermore, one study in over 8000 people also indicated that the presence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in older adults was associated with an earlier age of cognitive decline, and that treatment of OSA may delay the onset of cognitive impairment.

This study reveals important insights into how sleep disorders such as OSA may impact the brain in older adults, as it is associated with widespread structural alterations in diverse brain regions. We found that reduced blood oxygen levels during sleep are related to reduced thickness of the brain’s cortex in both the left and right temporal areas – regions that are important in memory and are early sites of injury in Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, reduced thickness in these regions was associated with poorer ability to learn new information, thereby being the first to link this structural change to memory decline. Continue reading

Why Does Driving Make Us Sleepy?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Driving...” by Stig Nygaard is licensed under CC BY 2.0Prof. Stephen R Robinson PhD
Discipline Leader, Psychology
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences
RMIT University
Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Around the world, driver drowsiness and fatigue are estimated to contribute to 250,000 deaths on the road per year. Current research in this area has focused on detecting when drivers become drowsy, by examining their eye movements or steering patterns, and then alerting the driver with a warning tone or vibration of the steering wheel. Rather than this reactive approach, we are interested in helping to prevent drivers from becoming drowsy in the first place.

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REMfresh® Study (CRA-melatonin™) Advances Use of Melatonin for Sleep Complaints

MedicalResearch.com 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®

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is the body’s natural sleep ingredient. Melatonin levels normally begin to rise in the mid-to late evening and remain high for the majority of the night. Levels begin to decline towards early morning, as the body’s wake cycle is triggered. Research shows that as people age, melatonin levels can drop by as much as 70 percent and their bodies may no longer produce enough melatonin to ensure adequate sleep.

Other available products, such as immediate-release melatonin, help initiate the onset of sleep but are usually unable to sustain prolonged sleep maintenance due to an immediate burst of melatonin, which is quickly degraded due to its relatively short half-life (60 minutes). Absorption in the lower digestive tract is limited by melatonin’s limited ability to be absorbed in a low acidity or neutral pH environment.

This post-marketing REMfresh® Patient Reported Outcomes DURation (REMDUR) study was designed to obtain real-world evidence about patients’ sleep patterns, duration of sleep before and after REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin), daily REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) use, onset of action, sleep maintenance, quality of sleep, and overall satisfaction with REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin). Patients with sleep disturbances in the general population who received a sample of CRA-melatonin (REMfresh®) from their physicians were invited to complete a 12-question survey. Survey responses were received from 500 patients.

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Allergic Rhinitis Can Impair Adolescent Sleep and School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, FACAAI Executive Medical Director American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Dr. Blaiss

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, FACAAI
Executive Medical Director
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

MedicalResearch.com: Is this research important? Why or why not?

Response: There has not been a comprehensive review of how allergic rhinitis impacts the adolescent population. Most studies put adolescents in with children and yet we know that how disease affects adolescents may be dramatically different than children. Adolescents is a difficult enough time with a chronic condition

MedicalResearch.com: What is the key take-home message?

Response: The symptoms associated with nasal and eye allergies can be different in adolescents compared with adults and children and lead to poor quality of life and impair learning in school. Adolescents with AR/ARC may experience difficulties falling asleep, night waking, and snoring, and generally have poorer sleep. Therefore health care providers need to aggressively control the adolescent’s allergic rhinitis.  Continue reading

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Build Up of Junk Amyloid in Brain

MedicalResearch.com 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

Dr. Nora Volkow

Nora D. Volkow MD
Senior Investigator
Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

MedicalResearch.com: 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.  Continue reading

Night Owls Risk Dying Early

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Sleep” by Spencer Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristen L. Knutson, PhD

Associate Professor
Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine
Department of Neurology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, IL  60611​

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research has shown that “night owls” (people who prefer the evening) have higher rates of diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  We wanted to determine whether mortality risk was also higher in night owls. We used data from the UK Biobank of almost a half million people who were asked whether they were morning or evening types.

We found that the night owls had a 10% increased risk of dying over a 6 ½ year period compared to the morning types, even after taking into account existing health problems.

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As We Age, Our Circadian Clock Becomes Less Sensitive To Light, Leading To Sleep Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman sleeping” by Timothy Krause is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Gurprit S. Lall BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCHE, FHEA

Medway School of Pharmacy
Interim Deputy Head of School
Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology
Director of Graduate Studies (Research),
University of Kent at Medway
Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Medical advancement in prevention and diagnosis of disease has increased life expectancy significantly, thus generating an ageing population far greater than previously seen.  Because of this, it is essential that we begin to understand the ageing process, together with the health implications associated with senescence.  Recent research has found that changes in the circadian clock, located in the brain, play a contributing role in the decline of many physiological and behavioural traits observed through the ageing process.  One example of this, which is commonly seen in the elderly is a decline in sleep-wake cycle regulation; typically presenting as disrupted sleeping patterns.

The circadian clock, in mammals, possesses the ability to integrate our social lifestyle choices with the environmental day-night cycle to generate a 24-hour rhythm to which our physiological functions are synchronised.  It is this synchronisation that plays a vital role in regulating many of our behavioural outputs, such as sleeping-wake patterns.  This clock takes its strongest timing cue from the natural day night cycle governed by the duration of daily sunlight.

Our study investigated the changes in the interpretation of this light signal by the circadian clock as we age and its impact on function.  We found that the clock became less responsive to light stimuli at both the level of clock cells and at driving behavioural activity.  We were able to narrow this down to changes in the proteins within cells that relay light information to the molecular time setting machinery.  In detail, light signals are relayed to the clock through an excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamate and this signal is predominantly relayed through NMDA receptors located on the surface of clock cells.  It is the configuration of the NMDA receptor that alters as we age and this leads to the clock becoming less responsive to light.

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Perimenopause: Oral Micronized Progesterone May Reduce Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jerilynn C. Prior, MD Professor in the Department of Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Dr. Prior

Jerilynn C. Prior, MD
Professor in the Department of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Dr. Prior has written the second edition of the award-winning book, Estrogen’s Storm Season—Stories of Perimenopause this year as an ebook on Google Play.


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is an urgent need for an effective therapy for perimenopausal hot flushes/flashes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms, VMS). Although often considered “estrogen deficiency symptoms” VMS are common and very problematic for women in the menopause transition and who have not yet been one year without flow. About 23% of North American women are now in the perimenopausal age range. Surprisingly VMS are more common in perimenopause than in menopause; 9% of perimenopausal women have severe VMS as classified by the FDA, meaning more than 50 VMS per week of moderate to intense severity.

The commonly used therapies for VMS in midlife women have not been proven more effective than placebo! That includes combined hormonal contraceptives (CHC) and menopausal-type hormone therapy (MHT) as well as the SSRI/SNRI anti-depressants and gabapentin.  Continue reading

Does Caffeine Really Affect Your Sleep?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Coffee being poured Coffee pot pouring cup of coffee. copyright American Heart AssociationJulia F. van den Berg, PhD

Leiden University, Department of Clinical Psychology
Leiden, The Netherlands 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Caffeine is the most used psychoactive substance worldwide, mostly consumed via coffee, energy drinks, tea and chocolate. Experimental studies have shown that caffeine can negatively affect sleep quality. The timing of caffeine consumption may play a role; the closer to bedtime, the more caffeine consumption is  likely to have a negative effect on sleep. We also wondered if chronotype, being a morning or evening person, would make a difference in the effect of caffeine on sleep.

We sent out questionnaires on sleep quality, chronotype, and a detailed questionnaire on type and timing of caffeine use to 880 secondary education students (mean age 21.3 years). We found that for the entire group, the amount of caffeine per week was not associated with sleep quality, regardless of chronotype. However, when we divided the group into subgroups of students who did, and students who did not usually consume caffeine in the evening (after 6PM), we found something interesting. Only for students who did not consume caffeine in the evening (20% of the total sample), a higher total caffeine consumption per week was associated with poorer sleep, in spite of the fact that these students consumed a lot less  caffeine per week than the group who did consume caffeine in the evening.

This suggests a self-regulatory mechanism: students who know they are sensitive to caffeine do not drink it in the evening, nevertheless, the caffeinated beverages they drink during the day do affect their sleep.

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Majority of Middle and High School Students Do Not Get Enough Sleep on School Nights

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“He isn't sleeping, he is mad. When we don't get our way pouting always works (okay.. It's worth a try at least!) #kids #dad #father #family #funny #like #parenting #photooftheday #instaphoto #instacute” by dadblunders is licensed under CC BY 2.0Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D.
Epidemiologist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Population Health
Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch
Atlanta, GA  30341-3717

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Insufficient sleep among children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and attention and behavior problems.

In previous reports, CDC had found that, nationwide, approximately two thirds of U.S. high school students report sleeping <8 hours per night on school nights. CDC conducted this study to provide state-level estimates of short sleep duration on school nights among middle school and high school students using age-specific recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). AASM has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours for optimal health.

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