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Posts Tagged ‘brain’

6 Reasons to Love to Sleep-by SleepTracker

February 24th, 2015 Raquel Rothe

6 Reasons to Love to Sleep

love pillows

Songs romanticize it; fairytales reference it. Sometimes we even dream about it. It’s sleep and many of us can’t (or don’t) get enough of it.

Why is sleep so wonderful? Everyone has their own reason for valuing their beauty rest, but like love, it all comes down to how it makes use feel. Here are six reasons to love sleep:

  1. It can help you lose weight
    Studies have suggested links between sleep and weight, which means that more sleep means that you could actually gain less weight.
  2. It’s beauty’s ally
    Beauty sleep isn’t a myth! Recent research shows there’s a link between getting a good night’s rest and physical appearance.
  3. It helps support your immune system
    Lack of sleep can help make us more prone to catching illnesses, including the flu.
  4. It makes you happier
    Studies show that lack of sleep has a powerful impact on mood.
  5. It can help manage stress
    Running short on sleep can hinder focus, causing concentration and effectiveness to suffer and energy levels to decline. All of which diminishes our overall performance which can, in turn, lead to stress.
  6. It’s good for your brain
    Research suggests that both quantity and quality of sleep have an impact memory and learning.

Love your sleep, but feel like you can never get enough? Visit our website to learn more about SleepTracker, a revolutionary portable sleep monitor that wakes you up feeling refreshed and energized!

In Elderly, Less Sleep Linked to Aging Brain

July 11th, 2014 Raquel Rothe

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore’s rapidly aging society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

Past research has examined the impact of sleep duration on cognitive functions in older adults. Though faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the effects of sleep on this marker have never been measured.

The Duke-NUS study examined the data of 66 older Chinese adults, from the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study. Participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive function every 2 years. Additionally, their sleep duration was recorded through a questionnaire. Those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

“Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging,” says Dr June Lo, lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow, in a release. “Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years we hope to determine what’s good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too,” adds Professor Michael Chee, senior author and Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.

The study was published in the journal SLEEP

- See more at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/07/old-less-sleep-aging-brain/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SR+Sleep+Report+7%2F09&spMailingID=8979349&spUserID=MjQxMTIxNTA4MjUS1&spJobID=340679522&spReportId=MzQwNjc5NTIyS0#sthash.DcXOgPRa.dpuf

Sleep helps boost production of brain cells

September 26th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

By Lynn Celmer :

A new study finds yet another reason to get more sleep – it’s beneficial for the brain. Sleep increases the reproduction of the cells that go on to form the insulating material on nerve cell projections in the brain and spinal cord known as myelin, according to an animal study published in the September 4 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings could one day lead scientists to new insights about sleep’s role in brain repair and growth.

Scientists have known for years that many genes are turned on during sleep and off during periods of wakefulness. However, it was unclear how sleep affects specific cells types, such as oligodendrocytes, which make myelin in the healthy brain and in response to injury. Much like the insulation around an electrical wire, myelin allows electrical impulses to move rapidly from one cell to the next.

In the current study, Chiara Cirelli, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, measured gene activity in oligodendrocytes from mice that slept or were forced to stay awake. The group found that genes promoting myelin formation were turned on during sleep. In contrast, the genes implicated in cell death and the cellular stress response were turned on when the animals stayed awake.

Additional analysis revealed that the reproduction of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) — cells that become oligodendrocytes — doubles during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM), which is associated with dreaming.

“For a long time, sleep researchers focused on how the activity of nerve cells differs when animals are awake versus when they are asleep,” Cirelli said. “Now it is clear that the way other supporting cells in the nervous system operate also changes significantly depending on whether the animal is asleep or awake.”

Additionally, Cirelli speculated the findings suggest that extreme and/or chronic sleep loss could possibly aggravate some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that damages myelin. Cirelli noted that future experiments may examine whether or not an association between sleep patterns and severity of MS symptoms exists.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers sleep disorders an illness that has reached epidemic proportions


July 19th, 2013 Raquel Rothe
Posted July 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

by Laurie Saloman/El Dorado Springs Sun

Take a page from the olden days and get enough rest despite the challenges of today’s modern life.

Have you ever wondered if a good night’s sleep was more easily achieved a century ago than today? While our basic human need for rest remains the same, the landscape of modern life looks very different than it did 100 or more years ago. And while some developments have made life easier, certain inventions have made it harder to get much-needed rest:

Electronics. There certainly were no cell phones, TVs or iPads at the turn of the last century. Home lighting, if there was any, was far more rudimentary than it is today. Many families relied on candlelight. Inconvenient, perhaps, but the lack of electricity and electronic devices meant people generally went to bed once it was dark outside. Today, there are a myriad of distractions that may keep you from your bed. Compounding the problem is that studies show exposure to light stimulates our brains and can keep you awake long after you’ve finally shut down electronics. Experts recommend keeping computers, TVs, cell phones, and other light-emitting devices out of the bedroom, or at least powering them down so they don’t give off ambient light.

Automated Work. In the last century, physical labor was common. Most people didn’t have cars, so they walked more. Many people had to work hard to grow and prepare their own food. Life was not spent sitting behind the wheel or behind a desk, the way it is now for so many of us. A hundred years ago nobody went to the gym after work, because they didn’t have to—they got plenty of physical exercise just going about their day. This activity no doubt helped them fall asleep easily at bedtime and sleep more soundly. In contrast, people who don’t hit the gym until 8 p.m. may be wired well past midnight, as experts say it takes hours after exercise for body temperature to drop enough to induce sleep.

Blackout shades and sleep masks. Many people rely on these so daylight streaming in through the curtains doesn’t disturb them. But 100 years ago, people often got up when the sun rose. Just as they didn’t rely on artificial light to keep them up at night, they didn’t depend on artificial dark to keep them asleep in the morning. Research at the University of Toronto shows that early birds are happier and healthier than night owls, so open your shades and let nature guide your sleep habits.

Microwaves. Studies indicate that eating too close to bedtime can cause abdominal discomfort and interfere with sleep. A century ago, it was much more of an effort to prepare or reheat a meal. Today, it’s all too easy to press a few buttons and have a meal at any hour. Try to eat dinner at a reasonably early hour every night, and you’ll go to bed feeling satisfied, not uncomfortably full.

REM Sleep-Stage 4

March 19th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Now we dream! In “rapid-eye movement” sleep, the eyes are active and the brain is more so.  Faster brain waves return as if we’re awake.  Our limbs become temporarily paralyzed so we don’t act out our dreams.  Newborns spend half their sleep time in REM sleep, elderly adults only spend 15 percent in this stage of sleep.

The Sleeping Brain

March 3rd, 2013 Raquel Rothe

While our bodies rest, our brains are very active but in different ways from when we are awake.  Sleep is divided into four stages, and a typical adult cycles through these several times during the night,  skipping Stage 3, deepest sleep as morning approaches.

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#1

May 9th, 2011 Raquel Rothe


From the German for “time giver,” zeitgeber refers to any external cue that can entrain (or reset) the time-keeping system of organisms. In humans, this circadian system, or biological clock, is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus within the hypothalamus of the brain. This system is affected by zeitgebers. These cues follow a periodic pattern. The strongest zeitgeber is the natural pattern of light and darkness.