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Posts Tagged ‘hormones’

Sleep apnea may hold hidden dangers for women

November 5th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

A new study on sleep apnea reveals there could be some hidden dangers – particularly for women who have the condition – where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Women with sleep apnea may appear healthy, but they have subtle symptoms so their sleep problem is often misdiagnosed.

Now, new research, led by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing, shows that the body’s autonomic responses, which normally control blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and other basic functions, are not as strong in people with obstructive sleep apnea, and even less so in women.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that happens when the person is asleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night. When it occurs, blood oxygen drops and eventually damages many cells of the body.

There are over 20 million adult Americans living with the condition, note the researchers, who explain that it is linked with several serious health problems and also early death.

Women are much less likely to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea than men.

Lead researcher Dr. Paul Macey says:

“We now know that sleep apnea is a precursor to bigger health issues. And for women in particular, the results could be deadly.”

Early detection and intervention needed

Dr. Macey and his colleagues describe their work in a recent online issue of PLOS ONE.

For their study, the team recruited 94 adult men and women, comprising 37 newly diagnosed, untreated obstructive sleep (OSA) patients and 57 healthy volunteers to act as controls.

The three groups had their heart rates measured as they went through three different physical challenges:

  • The Valsalva maneuver – where they had to breathe out hard while keeping the mouth closed
  • A hand-grip challenge – where they had to just squeeze hard with one hand
  • A cold pressor challenge – where the right foot is inserted into near-freezing water for a minute.

The team notes the main results:

“Heart rate responses showed lower amplitude, delayed onset and slower rate changes in OSA patients over healthy controls, and impairments may be more pronounced in females.”

Dr. Macey adds:

“This may mean that women are more likely to develop symptoms of heart disease, as well as other consequences of poor adaptation to daily physical tasks. Early detection and treatment may be needed to protect against damage to the brain and other organs.”

The team now intends to investigate if the usual treatments for OSA, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), help to improve the autonomic responses.

CPAP is where a machine helps the OSA patient breathe more easily while asleep.

Funds from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research helped finance the study.

In another study published recently, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, found that sleep apnea is linked to early sign of heart failure.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

A Full Moon Affects Quality of Sleep in Humans

August 4th, 2013 Raquel Rothe


Published on Monday, 29 July 2013 12:26

New evidence published in the latest issue of Current Biology, proves human beings don’t sleep as well during the full moon. The findings add to evidence that humans respond to the geophysical rhythms of the moon, driven by a circalunar clock.

“The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not ’see’ the moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase,” says Christian Cajochen of the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel.

In the new study, the researchers studied 33 volunteers in two age groups in the lab while they slept. Their brain patterns were monitored while sleeping, along with eye movements and hormone secretions. Data showed brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30% at the time of the full moon. People also took 5 minutes longer to fall asleep, and they slept for 20 minutes less time overall. Study participants felt as though their sleep was poorer when the moon was full, and they showed diminished levels of melatonin, a hormone known to regulate sleep and wake cycles.

“This is the first reliable evidence that a lunar rhythm can modulate sleep structure in humans when measured under the highly controlled conditions of a circadian laboratory study protocol without time cues,” the researchers say.

According to Cajochen, this circalunar rhythm may have been nature’s way of synchronizing human behaviors for reproductive or other purposes, much as it does in other animals. Today, the moon’s presence is masked by the influence of electrical lighting and other aspects of modern life.

Researchers are interested in looking more deeply into the anatomical location of the circalunar clock and its molecular and neuronal underpinnings, as it could affect other behaviors, including our cognitive performance and moods.

Deepest Sleep-Stage 3

March 15th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Hormones are released, triggering functions such as restoring energy, repairing tissues, regulating appetite and strengthening the immune system.  If you walk or talk in your sleep, you’ll probably do it during Stage 3.

21 Easy Tweaks for the New Year

January 3rd, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Our 24-hour cycle called circadian rhythms

August 24th, 2010 admin

So, are you piling up frequent flyer miles as a true Road Warrior or are you just a casual traveler? Either way you are likely to experience the phenomenon of “jet lag,” which can have a profound effect on your sleep and is one of the most common sleep disorders. Many people for years considered “Jet Lag” to merely be a state of mind. Now, studies have shown that the condition actually results from an imbalance in our body’s natural “biological clock” caused by traveling to different time zones. Basically, our bodies work on a 24-hour cycle called “circadian rhythms.” These rhythms are measured by the distinct rise and fall of body temperature, plasma levels of certain hormones and other biological conditions. All of these are influenced by our exposure to sunlight and help determine when we sleep and when we wake.

When traveling to a new time zone, our circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night-this experience is known as “Jet Lag”.


Some simple behavioral adjustments before, during and after arrival at your destination can help minimize some of the side effects of jet lag.

Select a flight that allows early evening arrival and stay up until 10 p.m. local time. (If you must sleep during the day, take a short nap in the early afternoon, but no longer than two hours. Set an alarm to be sure not to over sleep.)
Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for a westward trip.
Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.
Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime. Both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.
Upon arrival at a destination, avoid heavy meals (a snack—not chocolate—is okay).
Avoid any heavy exercise close to bedtime. (Light exercise earlier in the day is fine.)
Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. (Staying indoors worsens jet lag.)
Contrary to popular belief, the type of foods we eat have no effect on minimizing jet lag.

Fatigue is the best pillow. ~Benjamin Franklin

Women and Sleep

June 1st, 2010 admin

Yes ladies we ALL have sleep issues at one time or another, typically this is due to our hormone changes during the span of our lifetime. Wow, what a span we have! What symptoms, sign or diseases should prompt a woman tor her doctor to consider that she might need to have a sleep evaluation? Women may experience daytime fatigue, lack of energy or excessive sleepiness despite getting an adequate amount of sleep (usually 7-8 hours) at night. They may notice headaches when they first awaken. Their bed partner may report that they have heavy snoring, or that they have breathing pauses during their sleep and make choking sounds sometimes with these. Women themselves may notice that they have frequent unexplained awakenings at night, awaken frequently to urinate, or sometimes awaken from sleep at night feeling as if they are gasping or choking. These things should be addressed with a healthcare professional.

We also know that women’s risk for sleep apnea increases as they transition through menopause, so that post menopausal women are up to three times more likely to have OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) compared to premenopausal women. Also women who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for having sleep apnea. Women (or men) who have blood pressure that is difficult to control despite taking medication and have some of these symptoms may also wish to be evaluated for sleep apnea, as diagnosis and treatment of OSA can help with blood pressure for control.

Common complaints by women are difficulty maintaining sleep, un-refreshing sleep, chronic fatigue, lack of energy, snoring, frequent nighttime urination, awakening gasping, daytime sleepiness, awakening with a headache, or edema (swelling) of the feet. The “classic” symptoms are snoring, witnessed apneas (pauses in breathing), and daytime sleepiness, but women may not experience these things. Weight gain, depression, waking up gasping for breath, hypertension, and dry mouth in the morning may be tip-offs for women that may need a sleep evaluation. Finally, women who are obese, pregnant women, and post-menopausal women all have a greater risk of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). Women with the endocrine disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome, are also more likely to have sleep apnea even after controlling weight and should seek a healthcare professional.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. ~Irish Proverb

1/3 of your lives is spent sleeping…

May 24th, 2010 admin

Hello sleepy head! Did you realize this morning that one-third of our lives are spent sleeping? Far from being “unproductive”, sleep plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thrids of our lives can be. Getting the most out of your sleep, both for the quantity and quality are important for each of us. If your sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones that regulate growth and appetite. So what do you think this does for all of that sweat you just suffered through with that workout and eating right you struggled to do today? How does sleep contribute to all of these things you are now asking? Sleep architecture follows a pattern of alternating REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapied eye movement) sleep throughout a typical night in a cycle that repeats itself about every 90 minutes. Now you may ask, so what’s happening during these 2 patterns?

NREM (75% of the night)-As we begin to fall asleep, we enter NREM sleep. This is composed of stages 1-4.

Stage 1-this is a light sleep; it’s between being awake and falling asleep.

Stage 2-is the onset of sleep, when you become disengaged for your surroundings. Your breathing and heart rate become regular and your body temperature drops, so sleeping in a cool room is helpful.

Stage 3 and 4-these are the deepest and most restorative stages of sleep. During these stages your blood pressure drops and breathing becomes slower. Youn muscles are relaxed and their blood supply increases. Tissue growth and repair occurs and energy is restored. Growth hormones are released during these stages.

REM (25% of the night)-REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and occurs every 90 minutes, getting longer later in the night. During this stage of sleep, your body becomes immobile and relaxed as the muscles are “turned off”. Your eyes dart back and forth behind closed lids. Your brain is active and dreams occur. This is the stage that provides energy to the brain and body that supports daytime performance.

**It’s IMPORTANT to get the amount of sleep you need in order to wake up prepared to concentrate, make decisions, and engage fully in school, work and social activities**

Your Sleep is Our Passion!

Sleep Apnea Solutions – ABC News

May 4th, 2010 admin


How much sleep does everyone need?

April 26th, 2010 admin

Hello Everyone who slept well from using the “Ten Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep”. Now let’s talk about how much sleep really does someone need. I get asked this question all the time by people who know what I do for a living and it is a trick question for me because I am a short sleeper by title and have been all my life my parents confess. The key as I told you on the first newsletter was ‘knowing what your body needs by listening to it’-pay attention to how you feel, if you are productive at work/home but most importantly are you refreshed when you wake up as you prepare for your busy day. Our goal is to plan our day so that we allow enough time to sleep as it is essential to our overall well-being and quality of life. The average adult usually needs on the average 7-9 hours of sleep, while most adolescents require 8.5-10 hours, 5-12 year olds require 9-11 hours, 3-5 year olds require 11-13 hours, 18 months-3 years old require 12-14 hours, 12-18 month olds require 13-15 hours, 2-12 months require 14-15 hours and infants 0-2 months require 10.5-18.5 hours (all total time includes naps). Planning includes allowing enough time to awaken naturally-preferably without an alarm clock so that you get as much sleep as your body requires. Studies show that a lack of sleep leads to problems concentrating, completing a task, getting along with others, irritable due to lack of sleep, making decisions and unsafe actions. Recent research proves that sleep deprivation impacts on aging and diabetes. Insufficient sleep may also make it difficult to exercise and can reduce the benefit of of hormones released during sleep. Another compelling statistic is the serious consequences of sleep deprivation that lead to approximately 100,000 sleep-related vehicle crashes every year and result in 1,500 deaths.
So let’s all put our night caps on and get some shut eye!