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Driving Drowsy Prevention Week-National Sleep Foundation

November 14th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Young People More Likely To Drive Drowsy

November 9, 2012

National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® Provides Tips to Prevent One in Six Traffic Fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC, November 9, 2012 – In recognition of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, (November 12-18), the National Sleep Foundation is joining with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to educate drivers about sleep safety. A recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation found that young people are more likely to drive drowsy.  Specifically, one in seven licensed drivers ages 16-24 admitted to having nodded off at least once while driving in the past year as compared to one in ten of all licensed drivers who confessed to falling asleep during the same period.

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that teens and adults in their twenties reported less sleep satisfaction and roughly one in five rated as “sleepy” on a standard clinical assessment tool that determines whether sleepiness impairs daily activities.

“Young Americans are sleepy, and this affects their health and safety,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “It’s important to get the word out that it’s dangerous to drive drowsy. This could save thousands of lives.”

Using an analysis of previous data, the AAA Foundation estimates that about one in six deadly crashes involves a drowsy driver. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll found that among those who drove, about one-half (52%) indicated that they have driven drowsy, with more than one-third (37%) doing so in the past month.

Sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information. In fact, studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit in all states. It is also possible to fall into a 3-4 second microsleep without realizing it.

Feeling sleepy? Stop driving if you exhibit these warning signs.

The following warning signs indicate that it’s time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over and address your condition:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping reveries or daydreams at bay
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive.

Here’s what you can do to prevent a fall-asleep crash:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. You’ll want to be alert for the drive, so be sure to get adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) the night before you go.
  • Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Many drivers try to maximize the holiday weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. It’s better to allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
  • Use the buddy system. Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone for long distances. A buddy who remains awake for the journey can take a turn behind the wheel and help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
  • Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself like getting a snack, switching drivers, or going for a run.
  • Take a nap—find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap, if you think you might fall asleep. Be cautious about excessive drowsiness after waking up.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side-effect.
  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
  • Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.

For more information about drowsy driving, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s drowsy driving website at www.DrowsyDriving.org.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®

In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to save lives, the National Sleep Foundation is declaring November 12-18, 2012 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®. This annual campaign provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.

How lonely you are may impact how well you sleep, research shows

March 10th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

DARIEN, IL – Loneliness is not only heartbreaking, it breaks up a normal night’s sleep, a new study shows. Researchers say compromised sleep may be one pathway by which feelings of loneliness adversely affect our health.

“It’s not just a product of very lonely individuals having poor sleep. The relationship between loneliness and restless sleep appears to operate across the range of perceived connectedness,” said lead author Lianne Kurina, PhD, of the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.

Kurina and her co-authors compared the degree of loneliness reported by a close-knit population of 95 adults in rural South Dakota with measurements of their sleep cycles. None of the individuals were socially isolated, yet their perceptions of loneliness varied. Higher loneliness scores were linked to significantly higher levels of fragmented sleep. The total amount of sleep and the degree of daytime sleepiness were not impacted.

“Loneliness has been associated with adverse effects on health,” Kurina said. “We wanted to explore one potential pathway for this, the theory that sleep – a key behavior to staying healthy – could be compromised by feelings of loneliness. What we found was that loneliness does not appear to change the total amount of sleep in individuals, but awakens them more times during the night.”

These findings, appearing in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP, were similar to a 2002 study published by the American Psychological Society that compared the loneliness reported by college students with their measured quality of sleep. The lonelier the students felt, the more their sleep was broken-up during the night.

The similarities among the studies help point out that loneliness and social isolation are two distinct concepts, Kurina said. Loneliness reflects perceived social isolation or feelings of being an outcast, the often-painful discrepancy between a person’s desired and actual social relationships.

“Whether you’re a young student at a major university or an older adult living in a rural community, we may all be dependent on feeling secure in our social environment in order to sleep soundly,” Kurina said. “The results from these studies could further our understanding of how social and psychological factors ‘get under the skin’ and affect health.”

For a copy of the study, “Loneliness Is Associated with Sleep Fragmentation in a Communal Society,” or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact PR Coordinator Doug Dusik at 630-737-9700, ext. 9345, or ddusik@aasmnet.org.

Help for Insomniacs

January 14th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Researchers Trail Twitter to Track World’s Mood Swings: Work, Sleep and Daylight Play Role

November 5th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Researchers Trail Twitter to Track World’s Mood Swings: Work, Sleep and Daylight Play Role

October 18, 2011

Using Twitter to monitor the attitudes of 2.4 million people in 84 countries, Cornell University researchers found that people all over the world awaken in a good mood – but globally that cheer soon deteriorates once the workday progresses.

By tracking Twitter tweets over two-years, researchers determined that work, sleep and the amount of daylight all play a role in shaping cyclical emotions such as enthusiasm, delight, alertness, distress, fear and anger.

Researchers have long known about these affective rhythms, but have relied on small homogeneous samples and have had no practical means for hourly and long-term observation of individual behavior in large and culturally diverse populations. Before the rise of social media, these kinds of results were inconclusive, according to the researchers Scott Golder, Cornell graduate student in sociology; and Michael Macy, Cornell professor of sociology. Their paper, “Diurnal and Seasonal Mood Tracks Work, Sleep and Daylength Across Diverse Cultures,” was published in the journal Science.

Using Twitter in conjunction with language monitoring software, Golder and Macy discovered two daily peaks in which tweets represented a positive attitude – relatively early in the morning and again near midnight, suggesting mood may be shaped by work-related stress. Positive tweets were also more abundant on Saturdays and Sundays, with the morning peaks occurring about two hours later in the day. This implies people awaken later on weekends.

These patterns were reflected in cultures and countries throughout the world, but shifted with the difference in time and work schedule. For example, positive tweets and late-morning mood peaks were more prominent on Fridays and Saturdays in the United Arab Emirates, where the traditional workweek is Sunday through Thursday, according to the paper.

Golder and Macy also tracked global attitude on a seasonal basis to determine if “winter blues” is represented in Twitter messages. While no correlation was discovered between absolute daylight and mood, there was a correlation when examining relative daylight, such as the gradually decreasing daylength between the summer and winter solstices.

From: National Sleep Foundation publication

Childhood Obesity and Bedtime Preference

October 28th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

A study published in the October issue of the journal SLEEP from American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

http://sleepeducation.blogspot.com/2011/10/childhood-obesity-and-bedtime.html

“Scientists have realized in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes, including the risk of being overweight and obese,” said study co-author Carol Maher, PhD. “[The study] suggests that the timing of sleep is even more important.”

Insomnia, Propofol Back in the Spotlight as Trial of Michael Jackson’s Doctor Begins

October 3rd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Insomnia is the inability to fall or stay asleep or sleep that is simply not refreshing. Michael Jackson reportedly had grave difficulties with this condition and turned to unorthodox treatments in attempts to get some rest.

http://sleepdisorders.about.com/b/2011/09/27/insomnia-propofol-back-in-the-spotlight-as-trial-of-michael-jacksons-doctor-begins.htm?nl=1

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#14

July 13th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Cataplexy

Cataplexy is the sudden loss of muscle tone often triggered by intense emotions such as laughter, surprise, or anger. It causes weakness and even temporary paralysis, sometimes resulting in a collapse in posture. It is one of the four cardinal symptoms of narcolepsy.

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#2

May 15th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Somniloquy

Somniloquy is the act or habit of talking in one’s sleep.

Learn About Sleep Deprivation and Obesity Explore the Research Surrounding an Unexpected Relationship By Brandon Peters, M.D., About.com Guide

February 22nd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

What is the relationship between sleep deprivation and obesity? More than one-third of American adults are now obese. This epidemic has been worsening over the past several decades. There are a number of contributing factors, including: excessive caloric intake, decreased physical activity, the interaction between genes and environment, and cultural influences. Over this same period of time, Americans have been sleeping less, and some researchers have begun investigating whether sleep deprivation might contribute to obesity.

We sleep as much as one-quarter less than our ancestors did, with average total sleep time decreasing from 9 hours in 1900 to less than 7 hours over the past 10 years. In 2001, researchers found that sleeping less than 6 hours per night and remaining awake past midnight increased the likelihood of obesity. In 2002, a study of 1.1 million people found that increasingbody mass index (BMI) occurred when habitual sleep amounts fell below 7 to 8 hours.

A study done in Virginia in 2005 showed that overweight and obese individuals slept less than subjects of normal weight. Another study in Wisconsin in 2004 showed that when sleeping less than 8 hours, the increase in BMI was proportional to the amount of decreased sleep.

Since 1992, 13 studies of more than 45,000 children have supported the inverse relationship between hours of sleep and risk of obesity. As children sleep less, they are more at risk of becoming obese. In an interesting 2005 study, Reilly reported in the British Medical Journal that short sleep duration at age 30 months predicts obesity at age 7 years, suggesting that poor sleep may have a permanent impact on part of the brain called the hypothalamus that regulates both appetite and energy expenditure.

Laboratory studies tend to support the data from all these population studies. As early as 1999, Spiegel examined sleep restriction and the effect on metabolism by sleep restricting subjects to 4 hours per night for one week. This led to impaired glucose tolerance (a marker of insulin resistance and diabetes) and changes in hormones related to weight gain and hypertension. The changes were reversible with normal sleep times.

In 2004, Spiegel examined the effect of sleep restriction on hormones related to hunger and appetite. It was found that sleep restriction reduced the hormone leptin, which suppresses appetite, by 18%. It also increased the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, by 28%. For comparison, 3 days of underfeeding by 900 calories per day causes leptin to decrease by 22%. Moreover, subjects showed subjectively increased appetite for calorie-dense foods with high carbohydrate content.

How might disruption of the body’s natural clock, called the circadian rhythm, through sleep deprivation affect metabolic hormones that regulate appetite? This is the cutting edge of the current research, and a question that has yet to be answered.

Sources:

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, McDowell MA, Flegal KM. Obesity among adults in the United States – no change since 2003—2004. NCHS data brief no 1. National Center for Health Statistics

Oh my Hot Flashes! The “Golden” Years of Insomnia?

June 30th, 2010 admin

More than 60% of post-menopausal women report insomnia symptoms. In fact, in their lifetimes, women report the most problems with their sleep during perimenopause and post-menopause. Most sleep problems are caused by hot flashes, mood disorders, insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing. Snoring, accompanied by pauses or gasps in breathing, are signs of a more serious sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, including one in four over 65. While sleep apnea is more common in men, its prevalence in women increases after age 50. Because being overweight is a risk factor for sleep apnea, the increase in abdominal fat during menopause may be one reason menopausal are 3.5 times as likely to get this sleep disorder. Some attribute the hormonal changes, such as the decrease in progesterone, as a trigger for apnea. As sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure and stroke, it is important to speak to your doctor if you are exhibiting symptoms.

Changing and decreasing levels of estrogen cause many menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, which are unexpected feelings of heat all over the body accompanied by sweating. They usually begin around the face and spread to the chest affecting 75-85% of women around menopause. Prior to the hot flash, body temperature rises and is accompanied by an awakening. Hot flashes last an average of 3 minutes leading to decreased sleep efficiency. Most women experience these symptoms for one year, but about 25% have hot flashes for five years. While total sleep time may not suffer, sleep quality does. Hot flashes may interrupt sleep and frequent awakenings cause next-day fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms please contact your healthcare professional to seek advice.

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~Thomas Dekker