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Posts Tagged ‘insomnia’

Winter, sleep and your circadian rhythms

January 19th, 2015 Raquel Rothe
American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Nov 13, 2014
Unlike animals, humans do not need to hibernate during the winter. It may feel like you need more sleep during the winter months because the days get shorter. However, your actual sleep need does not increase.

It is normal for sleep habits and activity cycles to change a bit as the seasons change, according to Dr. Emerson M. Wickwire, Sleep Medicine Program Director at Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Associates in Columbia, Md., assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue or a noticeable change in your mood, irritability or ability to think or remember clearly, then you should talk to a board-certified sleep physician.

“The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to sleeping in winter is ignoring their body’s natural rhythm. Even if you’re tempted to stay in bed or on the couch all day long, unless you are sick it’s a good idea to get up and move around.”

Staying in bed or on the couch all day long when you’re not sick may throw off your circadian rhythms. The visual cues of light and darkness “set” this internal clock keeping it synchronized to a 24-hour cycle.

A number of sleep disorders that are linked to misaligned circadian rhythms including insomniajet lag andshift work disorder. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been blamed for depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, which is more common in the winter.

WINTER SLEEP TIPS

  • Increase exposure to light
  • increase or maintain physical activity
  • Use a humidifier or nasal rinse to keep your airway passages from drying out
  • Make sure that your bedroom is not too warm or too cold

Poor Coping Mechanisms a Mediating Pathway Between Stress Exposure and Insomnia

August 1st, 2014 Raquel Rothe
Published on July 3, 2014

A new study identifies specific coping behaviors through which stress exposure leads to the development of insomnia.

Results show that coping with a stressful event through behavioral disengagement—giving up on dealing with the stress—or by using alcohol or drugs each significantly mediated the relationship between stress exposure and insomnia development. Surprisingly, the coping technique of self-distraction—such as going to the movies or watching TV–also was a significant mediator between stress and incident insomnia. Furthermore, the study found that cognitive intrusion—recurrent thoughts about the stressor—was a significant and key mediator, accounting for 69% of the total effect of stress exposure on insomnia.

“Our study is among the first to show that it’s not the number of stressors, but your reaction to them that determines the likelihood of experiencing insomnia,” says lead author Vivek Pillai, PhD, research fellow at the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in a release. “While a stressful event can lead to a bad night of sleep, it’s what you do in response to stress that can be the difference between a few bad nights and chronic insomnia.”

Study results are published in the July 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

The study involved a community-based sample of 2,892 good sleepers with no lifetime history of insomnia. At baseline, the participants reported the number of stressful life events that they had experienced in the past year, such as a divorce, serious illness, major financial problem, or the death of a spouse. They also reported the perceived severity and duration of each stressful event. Questionnaires also measured levels of cognitive intrusion and identified coping strategies in which participants engaged in the 7 days following the stressful event. A follow-up assessment after 1 year identified participants with insomnia disorder, which was defined as having symptoms of insomnia occurring at least 3 nights per week for a duration of 1 month or longer with associated daytime impairment or distress.

“This study is an important reminder that stressful events and other major life changes often cause insomnia,” says American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) president Dr Timothy Morgenthaler. “If you are feeling overwhelmed by events in your life, talk to your doctor about strategies to reduce your stress level and improve your sleep.”

According to the authors, the study identified potential targets for therapeutic interventions to improve coping responses to stress and reduce the risk of insomnia. In particular, they noted that mindfulness-based therapies have shown considerable promise in suppressing cognitive intrusion and improving sleep.

“Though we may not be able to control external events, we can reduce their burden by staying away from certain maladaptive behaviors,” Pillai says.

The AASM reports that short-term insomnia disorder lasting less than 3 months occurs in 15% to 20% of adults and is more prevalent in women than in men.

- See more at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/07/stress-exposure-coping-insomnia/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SR+Sleep+Report+7%2F09&spMailingID=8979349&spUserID=MjQxMTIxNTA4MjUS1&spJobID=340679522&spReportId=MzQwNjc5NTIyS0#sthash.lVQ3rxG0.dpuf

Should You Use the SNOOZE Button?

January 18th, 2014 Raquel Rothe

http://youtu.be/P6zcSFA7ymo

Working Memory Deficit Linked to Insomnia

October 2nd, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Published on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 04:15

Researchers in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego believe they’ve found a distinct link between memory deficits and insomnia.

For the study, 25 patients with primary insomnia and 25 healthy sleepers underwent functional MRI while performing the N-back working memory task. Sleep was measured using self-reports and actigraphy, and patients underwent polysomnography for two consecutive nights.

“We found that after undergoing MRI, insomnia subjects did not properly turn on brain regions critical to a working memory task and did not turn off ‘mind-wandering’ brain regions irrelevant to the task,” said Sean P.A. Drummond, PhD, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, in a press release. “Based on these results, it is not surprising that someone with insomnia would feel like they are working harder to do the same job as a healthy sleeper.”

The resultswhich were published in the journal Sleep, reveal that patients with insomnia did not differ significantly from healthy sleepers in objective cognitive performance. However, as the working memory task increased in difficulty, patients with insomnia showed reduced activation of task-related working memory regions, particularly in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. What’s more, patients with insomnia exhibited increased activation of default mode regions, which are typically active when the mind is “wandering.”

Ambien Use-Related ER Visits Rise Sharply

May 23rd, 2013 Raquel Rothe
Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 13:15

shutterstock 109584719A new report shows that the number of emergency department visits involving adverse reactions to the sleep medication zolpidem rose nearly 220% from 6,111 visits in 2005 to 19,487 visits in 2010. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)report also finds that 2,010 patients aged 45 or older represented about three-quarters of all emergency department visits involving adverse reactions to zolpidem.

In 2010, there were a total of 4,916,328 drug-related visits to emergency departments throughout the nation.

From 2005 to 2010, there was a 274% increase in the number of female visits to the emergency department involving zolpidem (from 3,527 visits in 2005 to 13,130 in 2010) in comparison to a 144% increase among males during the same period (2,584 visits in 2005 to 6,306 in 2010). In 2010, females accounted for more than two-thirds (68%) of all emergency department visits related to zolpidem.

Zolpidem is an FDA-approved medication used for the short-term treatment of insomnia and is the active ingredient in drugs such as Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, and Zolpimist. These drugs have been used safely and effectively by millions of Americans; however, in January 2013, FDA responded to increasing numbers of reports of adverse reactions by requiring manufacturers of drugs containing Zolpidem to halve the recommended dose for females. FDA also suggested that manufacturers reduce the recommended dose for men.

Adverse reactions associated with the medication include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, hallucinations, agitation, sleep-walking, and drowsiness while driving. When zolpidem is combined with other substances, the sedative effects of the drug can be dangerously enhanced. This is especially true when zolpidem is combined with certain anti-anxiety medications and narcotic pain relievers that depress the central nervous system. The report finds that in 2010 half of all emergency department visits related to zolpidem involved its use with other drugs. In 37% of all emergency department visits involving zolpidem, it was used in combination with drugs that depress the central nervous system.

Inadequate sleep can lead to overeating, weight gain in as little as a week: U.S. study

April 12th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

By Elizabeth Foster

Losing a few hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain, a new study has shown, and effects can be seen after just a week

Losing just a few hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain, a new study has shown, and effects can be seen after only a week’s worth of bad rest.

The findings, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outline the connection between insufficient sleep and overeating.

Hit the gym or toss & turn: Sleep quality tied by ‘compelling association’ to exercise levels: U.S. experts

On the heels of news that Canada’s adult obesity rates have reached historic highs, a new study offers some extra incentive to hit the gym: a better night’s sleep.

Researchers have discovered a “compelling association” between weekly physical activity and improved sleep quality – including reduced incidences of sleep apnea and insomnia – according to a report released Monday. The relationship is so strong, in fact, they say simply adding 10 minutes of walking to your day is likely to improve your Zs.

“There is a relationship there, and it’s sequentially greater as people exercise more,” said Max Hirshkowitz, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and a sleep researcher with more than three decades in the field. “Really, it confirms what should be common sense.”

Researchers from the University of Colorado studied 16 healthy men and women for a two-week period. The subjects’ eating habits, metabolism and sleeping patterns were tracked in a completely controlled environment. By documenting every mouthful of food and wink of sleep, researchers were able to determine that losing just a few hours of sleep for a few nights a week can lead to significant weight gain.

In the study’s first week, half of the subjects were given a nine-hour sleep schedule. The other half were given only five hours of sleep each night. All of the subjects were given unlimited access to food.

In the second week of the study, the subjects’ schedules were flipped. Those that had been getting a full night’s sleep were put on the five-hour schedule and the sleepier subjects were switched to nine-hour nights.

Researchers found that when subjects were sleep-deprived, they ate far more than their well-rested counterparts. At the end of the first week, the subjects getting just five hours of sleep each night had gained an average of two pounds. During the second week of the experiment, the group that was switched from nine hours of sleep to five hours also gained weight.

‘We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep, they overeat carbohydrates’

Kenneth Wright, the director of the university’s sleep and chronobiology laboratory, told the New York Times that the change in eating habits that takes place when we’re tired is partly attributable to behavioural factors, and partly to biological ones.

“We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep, they overeat carbohydrates,” he said. “They ate more food [in total], and when they ate food also changed. They ate a smaller breakfast and they ate a lot more after dinner.”

He concludes that the lack of sleep changes subjects’ internal clocks, similar to the effect of jet lag.

“They were awake three hours before their internal nighttime had ended,” Wright said. “Being awakened during their biological night is probably why they ended up eating smaller breakfasts.” That change led to late night snacking, and a 6% overall increase in caloric intake.

Researchers were confident the connection between loss of sleep and weight gain would carry over to the real world, although the results may be less pronounced outside of the experiment’s carefully controlled environment. They said further research is needed to determine the connection between long-term sleep deprivation and weight gain, and especially how a lack of rest can affect our eating habits.

Will Changing My Diet Help Me Sleep Better?

February 18th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

New studies have claimed links between the way we eat and the way we rest at night

A good diet and a sensible bedtime certainly won’t do any harm. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

We are what we eat, and now researchers are saying that our diet affects how we sleep. A study, published in the journal Appetite, found differences in the diets of people who slept for seven to eight hours a night compared with those snoozing for five. Since less sleep is associated with high blood pressure, poorer blood-glucose control (increasing the risk of diabetes) and obesity (as is more sleep in some studies), shouldn’t we eat the foods that are most likely to help us sleep a healthy amount? And does anyone know what foods these are?

The solution

The study in Appetite used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that those who slept the standard seven to eight hours ate the greatest variety of foods. Those who slept the least (less than five hours) drank less water, took in less vitamin C, had less selenium (found in nuts, meat and shellfish) but ate more green, leafy vegetables. Longer sleep was associated with more carbohydrates, alcohol and less choline (found in eggs and fatty meats) and less theorbomine (found in chocolate and tea). The researchers took into account other factors such as obesity, physical activity and income, and still found these differences in diet.

They concluded that both long (nine hours-plus) and short sleep are associated with less varied diets but say they don’t know if changing diet would affect how long we sleep for. The study shows only an association, although the link with short and long sleep both being “unhealthy” holds true with a 2011 review of evidence about the length of sleep and risk of heart disease.

The evidence on what diet would help us sleep best isn’t clear. It is also not evident how much individual preferences for sleep – some like to sleep longer than others – affect these results. But there is more research on the relationship between sleep and weight, with studies showing the shorter the amount of sleep a person has, the hungrier they feel.

German study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior last year showed that after just one night of sleep disruption the volunteers in the study were less energetic (so used up fewer calories) but hungrier. The researchers said their volunteers also had raised blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone linked to the feeling of hunger. A commentary a few months later in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association backed this association, saying that while encouraging a weight-loss regime of eating less, moving more and sleeping more might be too simplistic, diets were helped by good amounts of high‑quality sleep

So while no one knows what foods will stop you waking up at 5am, you won’t go wrong with a more varied diet and a sensible bedtime.

Suicide in the US military soars to a record high

January 18th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Suicide in the U.S. military soars to a record high

Filed in

By Thomas Heffron  |  Jan 17, 2013


The Associated Press reported this week that suicides in the U.S. military soared to a record high in 2012.

Pentagon figures indicate that 349 active-duty soldiers committed suicide last year. This total is up from 301 suicides in 2011. The AP reports that the 2012 total is the highest on record. The Pentagon began keeping a close count of suicides in 2001.

The number of military suicides also exceeds the number of U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan last year. About 310 U.S. soldiers died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012.

Post-traumatic stress disorder may be one factor behind these startling statistics. Studies suggest that suicide risk is higher in people with PTSD. The VA estimates that PTSD occurs in up to 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Common signs of PTSD include feelings of intense fear and horror after a terrifying event. Sometimes this response is delayed. Symptoms may not appear until a few days or even weeks after the event.

Recurring nightmares tend to be the most disturbing aspect of PTSD. In these dreams the event may be relived in a way that seems shockingly real.

Most people with PTSD also report having disturbed sleep. It can be hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. This is known as “adjustment insomnia.”

The AASM previously reported on the high rates of disturbed sleep among U.S. veterans. Sleep problems were more common and severe among those with PTSD. The military community also has debated whether or not veterans with PTSD should receive a Purple Heart.

About half of people with PTSD get better within three months. For others it can be a lifelong problem. Treatment options for PTSD include cognitive behavioral therapy and medications.

For help call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). (To be routed to the Veterans Crisis Line, dial 1 after being connected).  Great data from sleepeducation.com

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