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Sleep Disorders Blog

Tablets and E-readers May Disrupt Your Sleep

Posted 22 Dec 2014 by

MONDAY, Dec. 22, 2014 – People who receive a tablet or e-book reader for the holidays might wind up spending some sleepless nights because of their new gadget. That's because the light emitted by a tablet like an iPad can disrupt sleep if the device is used in the hours before bedtime, according to a new Harvard study. People who read before bed using an iPad or similar "e-reader" device felt less sleepy and took longer to fall asleep than when they read a regular printed book, researchers found. The morning after reading an e-book, people found it harder to wake up and become fully alert than after reading a regular book – even though they got the same amount of sleep. The bright light from these devices appears to suppress melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone that normally increases during the evening and reaches its highest levels as you sleep, said lead researcher Anne-Marie ... Read more

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Almost All U.S. Teens Are Sleep Deprived, Study Finds

Posted 11 Dec 2014 by

THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2014 – More than 90 percent of American high school students are chronically sleep-deprived, putting their health and academic performance in jeopardy, a new report finds. The study, based on U.S. national data, finds that most teens don't get the minimum 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night that's recommended by standard guidelines. Teenagers do face a number of challenges as they try to get adequate sleep, experts say. "I don't believe there's one culprit," said the study's lead author, Charles Basch, a professor of health and education at the Teacher's College at Columbia University in New York City. "For some children it's too much homework, for some it's health problems like asthma," he explained. "For others it may be anxiety or depression, or the prescription medications they are taking for such conditions. Recreational drugs can be a factor, as can having ... Read more

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How Well You Sleep May Depend on Your Genes, Study Suggests

Posted 3 Dec 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3, 2014 – How much sleep you get each night may depend to some extent on your genes, a new study suggests. "Sleep patterns are influenced by genetic differences," said study co-author Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, a sleep researcher and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "This study is one of the first to begin identifying these genetic differences, and will hopefully help us better understand the causes of sleep disorders and their relation to other important diseases." The findings suggest that certain genetic variations make a difference of a few minutes' sleep a night. But the research may ultimately point to a wider picture of how certain genes affect conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and diabetes, said Gottlieb. Scientists believe several aspects of sleep – including when and how long people sleep – are inherited to some ... Read more

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Babies Still Sleeping With Soft Bedding Despite SIDS Risk: CDC

Posted 3 Dec 2014 by

MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2014 – Although soft bedding has been linked to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), more than half of American parents continue to use such bedding for their sleeping babies, according to a new study. Use of soft bedding among parents declined sharply from 1993 through 2000, but has mostly leveled off since the early 2000s, the study found. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended since 1996 that infants be placed in sleeping environments without any soft surfaces or objects that might trap air, the study noted. "Soft bedding has been shown to increase the risk of SIDS. Soft objects and loose bedding – such as thick blankets, quilts and pillows – can obstruct an infant's airway and impose suffocation risk," said lead author Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, a senior scientist in the Maternal and Infant Health Branch of the U.S. Centers for ... Read more

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Undiagnosed Sleep Problems May Be Common Among Firefighters

Posted 13 Nov 2014 by

THURSDAY, Nov. 13, 2014 – Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder and restless leg syndrome are common among firefighters, new research shows. These conditions are linked with a higher risk for car accidents, a research team from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston suggests. Firefighters with sleep disorders are also more likely to have chronic health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. However, most firefighters with sleep disorders are not receiving the treatment they need, the study revealed. "Our findings demonstrate the impact of common sleep disorders on firefighter health and safety, and their connection to the two leading causes of death among firefighters," which are heart attacks and car crashes, explained Laura Barger, associate physiologist in Brigham and Women's Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. "Unfortunately, more than 80 ... Read more

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Sleep Woes Common Among Troubled Young Children, Study Says

Posted 28 Oct 2014 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 28, 2014 – Sleep difficulties, particularly problems falling asleep, are common among toddlers and preschoolers with mental health issues, according to a new study. "Sleep problems in young children frequently co-occur with other behavioral problems, with evidence that inadequate sleep is associated with daytime sleepiness, less optimal preschool adjustment, and problems of irritability, hyperactivity and attention," said the study's leader, John Boekamp, clinical director of the pediatric partial hospital program at Bradley Hospital in Providence, R.I. However, he said, sleep disorders may be unrecognized and underdiagnosed in young children, particularly when behavioral or emotional problems are present. The study, published online in Child Psychiatry & Human Development, involved 183 children aged 6 years or younger receiving outpatient treatment for psychiatric ... Read more

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Sleep Duration Linked to Ulcerative Colitis Risk in Study

Posted 24 Oct 2014 by

FRIDAY, Oct. 24, 2014 – Not getting the right amount of sleep might raise your risk of ulcerative colitis, a new study suggests. Those who sleep less or more than the recommended seven to eight hours per night may be more prone to developing the chronic condition, which causes inflammation in the intestines, researchers report. The study authors concluded that duration and quality of sleep are key factors to be considered among patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. "Both short and long durations of sleep have important health implications, and are associated with increased overall mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer," study author Dr. Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in an American Gastroenterological Association news release. "Our findings indicate that ulcerative colitis may potentially be added to this list," he said. "We found ... Read more

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Health Tip: Trouble Sleeping During Pregnancy

Posted 20 Oct 2014 by

-- While you may sleep soundly during the first trimester of pregnancy, sleep may be more challenging during the later months. The American Academy of Family Physicians mentions these reasons why: Needing to urinate more frequently because of increased blood volume and harder-working kidneys. Having an increased heart rate because it is working harder to pump more blood to your body, making it tougher to sleep. Feeling short of breath. Having leg cramps and backaches. Having heartburn and constipation. Read more

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Sleeping on Sofa Can Be Deadly for Babies, Study Finds

Posted 13 Oct 2014 by

MONDAY, Oct. 13, 2014 – One of the most dangerous places for a sleeping baby is a sofa, according to a new study. Of nearly 8,000 infant sleeping deaths in the United States, researchers found that about 12 percent were sofa-related. And nearly three-quarters of those infants were newborns. "It was shocking that one in eight SIDS and infant sleep-related deaths occurs on a sofa," said study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. "Sofas don't even come to mind when people think of places where infants sleep. The proportion was much, much higher than I ever could have guessed." SIDS refers to sudden infant death syndrome – an apparently healthy baby's unexplained death that usually occurs during sleep. Approximately 4,000 babies die of SIDS each year in the United States, though the rate halved in the early 1990s after pediatricians ... Read more

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Ban Electronics in Kids' Bedrooms, Expert Says

Posted 29 Sep 2014 by

FRIDAY, Sept. 26, 2014 – Electronic devices can keep kids up at night and should be banned from the bedroom, according to experts from Stony Brook Children's Hospital in New York. Devices like tablets, smartphones and video games can prevent children and teens from falling asleep, which can have a negative effect on their school performance. Even if kids are not using them, backlit electronics can interfere with a good night's sleep, the experts said. "The burst of light from a phone [even if it's just to check the time] can break a sleep cycle," Dr. Jill Creighton, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook, said in a university news release. "A regular alarm clock is best," she added. Although every child may have different sleep needs, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that preschoolers get about 11 to 12 hours of sleep each day. Meanwhile, ... Read more

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A Good Night's Sleep May Mean a Good Day's Work

Posted 15 Sep 2014 by

SUNDAY, Sept. 14, 2014 – Getting enough sleep each night may mean you're less likely to take time off from work due to illness, a new study suggests. The study included more than 3,700 people in Finland, aged 30 to 64, who were followed for an average of seven years. Those who slept less than six hours or more than nine hours a night were much more likely to have extended absences from work due to illness, the investigators found. People with the lowest risk for taking time off from work due to sickness were those who slept between seven and eight hours a night. The researchers even narrowed the ideal amount of nightly sleep for workers down to seven hours, 38 minutes for women, and seven hours, 46 minutes for men, according to the study in the September issue of the journal Sleep. The team also found that insomnia-related symptoms – waking early in the morning, feeling more tired ... Read more

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Health Tip: Helping Your Newborn Sleep

Posted 12 Sep 2014 by

-- It can take newborns a while before they sleep through the night, but there are things parents can do to help newborns enjoy longer stretches of slumber. The National Sleep Foundation offers these suggestions: Learn to identify signs that your baby is sleepy, and watch for patterns in baby's sleep. When baby seems drowsy, put the infant in a crib rather than waiting until the baby falls asleep. Place baby in the crib on his or her back, with no blankets, pillows or toys. Read more

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Poor Quality Sleep May Be Linked to Shrinking Brain

Posted 3 Sep 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3, 2014 – Not getting a good night's sleep might be linked to shrinkage of the brain's gray matter over time, new research suggests. Faster deterioration of three parts of the brain was seen in mostly older adults who had poor sleep quality, though not necessarily too little sleep. Sleep difficulties included having trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night or waking up too early. However, it isn't clear whether poor sleep causes the changes in the brain, whether a shrinking brain causes poor sleep, or whether a bit of both is occurring. "We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, and sleep has been proposed to be 'the brain's housekeeper,' serving to restore and repair the brain," said lead researcher Claire Sexton, a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Oxford in England. "It follows that if sleep is disrupted, then processes that help ... Read more

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Less Sleep in Teen Years Tied to More Pounds at 21

Posted 28 Aug 2014 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 – Lack of sleep not only puts teens at risk for poor grades, it also puts them at increased risk for obesity, researchers warn. The study authors analyzed data collected from more than 10,000 Americans when they were aged 16 and 21. Nearly one-fifth of them got less than six hours of sleep a night when they were age 16, and this group was 20 percent more likely to be obese at age 21 than those who got more than eight hours of sleep per night at age 16, the investigators found. Although lack of exercise and too much time spent watching television were also risk factors for obesity, these behaviors did not account for the link between lack of sleep and obesity, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Pediatrics. "Lack of sleep in your teenage years can stack the deck against you for obesity later in life. Once you're an obese adult, it ... Read more

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'Sleep Drunkenness' Is Common and Linked to Other Behavior Issues

Posted 25 Aug 2014 by

MONDAY, Aug. 25, 2014 – "Sleep drunkenness" is more common than previously thought, affecting about one in 15 Americans, according to a new study that looked at the sleeping habits of more than 19,000 adults. Also called confusional arousal, the condition causes people to wake up in a confused state, not knowing where they are. In the most severe cases, they can injure themselves or others, explained lead researcher Dr. Maurice Ohayon, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. "There was a case of a man on a ship who awoke in a confused state and fell off the deck to his death," Ohayon said. In addition to such extreme cases, there have been cases where waking up in a confused state led to the person striking a bedmate. Most people can't remember the incident afterwards. Ohayon noted that these episodes can occur even while taking a nap. "This happens to most ... Read more

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Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Sleep Apnea, Hypersomnia, Drowsiness, Shift Work Sleep Disorder, Sleep Paralysis, Jet Lag, Non-24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder