Monday, May 31, 2010
Sleep medicine’s flagship event kicks off at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio next Monday. This year the full SLEEP 2010 coverage will be on the Sleepeducation blog.
More than 1,100 new abstracts will be on display at SLEEP 2010. Our team has looked over the entire list and identified some of the studies that stand out. We’ll be posting articles about each of these abstracts as they are presented at the annual meeting. Before you read about these studies in the news you be able to read them right here.
Our team will also be armed with cell phones Tweeting from the floor of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Follow us at twitter.com/aasmorg.
Our coverage will run Monday through the final presentations Wednesday evening.
For more information on SLEEP 2010 go to the official website.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
As recent studies indicate, bright screens found on laptops, cell phones and iPads can suppress the body’s melatonin production, potentially leading to insomnia. The hormone regulates the natural sleep-wake cycle by signaling when its time to sleep.
F.lux, available for mac and pc, promises to reduce this effect by making your computer screen by altering its color temperature to make it look like orange-colored soft indoor lighting at night. The program is fully automated based on where you live.
F.lux’s website cites several studies about lighting color and intensity and the related physiological effects. One in particular mentions how blue wavelength light reduces deep sleep. However, new research suggests green light, or even the entire spectrum may mess with melatonin functions, affecting sleep.
Because there are no peer-reviewed studies to verify whether the F.lux actually limits the insomnia-causing effects of computer screens this blogger decided to try it out.
I installed f.lux on my Macbook earlier this week. I found the dim orange nighttime look to be oddly easy to look at, maybe even reducing the eye strain associated with evening viewing. But make no mistake about it, the default settings are there for a reason. The orange look can’t compare to the bright colorful factory settings.
Does it work for the sleep? I don’t know. I had no problem getting to sleep after using my laptop, but there’s no way to know if it’s because of F.lux. I have my doubts based on the recent research about green light previously mentioned in this article.
There’s no doubt the program is a more affordable option than other products designed to cut down on blue light. The best solution is better sleep hygiene. For quality sleep turn off all electronics about a half hour before bedtime and do something relaxing, like a puzzle or light reading.
Friday, May 28, 2010
These tired workers appear to be further burdening the British economy. 28 percent of workers admitted to calling in sick after a bad nights’ sleep, totaling to about eight million sick days a year. The estimated related cost for employers totals to about $1.5 billion a year.
Further survey responses detail a dire state of sleep in the U.K. Below is the percentage of respondents who answered “true” to the following statements:
-Concentrating while driving to and from work is difficult after a bad night’s sleep: 33 percent
-Lack of sleep is to blame for inability to concentrate at work: 54 percent
-Day after poor sleep feels like a bad hangover: 56 percent
-It takes a couple days to recover from sleepless night: 45 percent
-Admit to being a “horrible person” when behind on sleep: 70 percent
-Skip morning shower to spend longer time in bed: 65 percent
-Take catnaps at the desk to catch up on sleep: 16 percent
-Nap in the work bathroom: 10 percent
The survey was undertaken for the hotel chain Travelodge. The original report was published in The Daily Telegraph.
Image by Cindy Andrie
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The popular belief is getting regular physical exercise will make sleeping easier and more restful. A vocal group of sleep researchers are questioning the legitimacy of this conventional wisdom.
The New York Times recently published an article summarizing provocative recent research on the benefits of exercise.
A Swiss study suggests the benefit is all mental. People sleep better because they believe they’re improving their sleep through exercise.
The authors were unable to make any direct correlation between sleep and amount of physical exercise. College students in the study who rated themselves low on a perceived fitness scale tended to report problems sleeping. Those who rated high on the same scale reported sound sleep. The correlation between how much they exercised and how perceived fitness was not very high.
A past study had difficulties linking regular exercise with quality of sleep. Researchers were unable to find any pattern in sleep and exercise habits based on diaries completed by U.S. college students. The same study also reported active adults fell asleep only a minute and a half faster than their inactive peers. The data was taken from monitors that recorded their movements and sleeping patterns.
Further research suggests increasing exercise may increase slow wave sleep, however this effect was did not hold true for marathon runners and frequent exercisers. Body temperature may play a part in the relationship between exercise and deep sleep.
While it is debatable on how exercise impacts normal sleep, there are preventative benefits. Physical fitness reduces the risk for the development of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder often tied to obesity.
Weight loss through dieting and regular exercise is part of a treatment strategy recommended by the AASM for people who are obese and have sleep apnea. Research suggests weight loss provides relief by reducing the severity of sleep apnea. This treatment should be combined with CPAP or an oral appliance to improve the quality of sleep and reduce the risk of serious complications.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Australian researchers used a sleep lab to monitor subjects who were recovering from severe brain trauma. The findings were published in the May issue of the journal Neurology.
A small sample of 23 patients volunteered to undergo a sleep study. Each suffered a brain injury an average of 14 months before the study. Their data was measured alongside a control group of 23 healthy people.
The patients produced significantly less melatonin in the evenings compared to healthy individuals. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates tiredness by letting the brain know when it’s the evening and its time to sleep.
Sleep architecture changed after brain trauma and sleep quality rated lower. 24 percent of the experimental groups’ sleep was in the late non-REM stages known as slow wave sleep. Most people spend only about 15-20 percent of the sleep time in this deep sleep.
Those with brain injuries spent more than double the time awake after initially falling asleep. On average, they spent more than an hour awake in bed compared to 27 minutes for the healthy group.
The frequency of mental disorders including anxiety and depression was also higher, possibly due to poor sleep.
The authors of the study theorized head injuries may disrupt the brain structures that produce melatonin, causing a slew of sleep-related symptoms. They said future studies should explore the effectiveness of using melatonin supplements to compensate for the loss in production of the hormone.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Make your sleeping environment comfortably cool
Avoid sunlight before 2-3 hours before sleep
The sunset tends happen around bedtime in the longest days of summer.
Exposure to this sunlight delays the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates when its time to sleep. The body needs several hours to produce the ideal amount of melatonin.
When going outside in the evening sun, bring sunglasses.
Make the bedroom your cave
Bring out the summer sheets
Stay on schedule
A regular sleep schedule is crucial year-round for healthy sleep hygiene. Avoid the temptations to stay out late and sleep in on weekends or holidays.
Keep allergies in check
Pollen, ragweed and other summertime allergens can cause congestion and affect the quality of sleep. Allergy sufferers should keep a clean home and shut the windows during severe allergy periods. Prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications and decongestants can also help.
Eliminate the noise
Watch the alcohol and caffeine
Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Avoid drinking soda and other caffeinated beverages in the mid-afternoon or later.
Take a moment to relax
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Yoga may be useful to help cancer survivors get back to sleep, according to a study released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The study involved 410 cancer survivors, mostly women, who were treated in the last two years and have complained of sleep problems for at least two months. 75 percent of the subjects were recovering from breast cancer.
The participants were evenly split into two groups. Half went to low-intensity yoga sessions twice a week. Both groups also received the standard treatment for cancer survivors.
After a month, 31 percent of the cancer survivors who did yoga reported no problems sleeping. Only 16 percent of the control group said they were sleeping soundly.
Yoga participants reported substantially reduced fatigue and daytime sleepiness, along with a 20 percent reduction in sleep medication intake. People in the control group actually increased their use of sleep medications.
Researchers said it’s not clear why sleep problems improved for the yoga participants.
The results support the notion that yoga improves the quality of life for cancer survivors. Many of the top cancer hospitals in the U.S. already have yoga programs.
Hath and restorative yoga classes usually include breathing exercises, meditation and a variety of poses.
With practice, yoga can help reduce the stress that hinders sleep for non-cancer survivors.
Click here for a video demonstrating bedtime yoga moves that can help you sleep.
The AASM recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for breast cancer survivors with insomnia. The therapy helps patients develop habits that promote healthy sleep patterns by changing actions and thoughts that hurt their ability to sleep well.
Learn about insomnia due to medical condition on SleepEducation.com. Get help for a sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
The name suggests Shakespeare; the script is closer to a sleep medicine case study. A Midsummer Night’s Dreamers, a series of solo performances about sleep, starts its two week run in Chicago on June 4th.
Each of the four segments delves into the conflicts we face when the lights go out.
Co-founder Tekki Lomnicki came up with the idea for the show after she underwent a sleep study. She started using a CPAP machine when doctors diagnosed her with moderate sleep apnea.
“I still have not work out the most comfortable mask for me,” Lomnicki said. “I am still having a hard time adjusting.”
The treatment is key part of her segment Mr. Sandman. A costume designer is working on a nightmarishly big CPAP prop resembling Darth Vader’s helmet.
Lomnicki says the play is about the deep subconscious reasons she can’t sleep.
Here’s an excerpt from her monologue:
"If I fall asleep now, I'll get five hours of sleep. I'll be okay. No I won't. I'll be tired. I wish I had some Ambien. If I had Ambien all my problems would be over. If I had Ambien I'd only take a half of one and I'd be able to sleep. But Dr. Levy says I have sleep apnea. My body wakes me up so I can breathe."
The three other segments include:
The Window – performer Anne Purkey turns to two devoted shrinks, a troll and a little blue pill to try to sleep.
Dream a Little Dream of Me – Ro Postula tries to find the meaning of her dreams about her lost loved ones
Sleeping Over – Maia Morgan attempts to overcome her fear of the dark
A Midsummer Night’s Dreamers runs June 4-13 at the Prop Thtr on 3502 N. Elston, Chicago. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
Friday, May 21, 2010
If I’m lucky I’ll get to sleep by 1 a.m. Monday is going to be a long day.
Countless Americans will be no different. The Super Bowl aside, the enigmatic sci-fi/ drama is expected to draw the highest ratings of any program in years.
ABC knows this. The network is turning what was originally a 2 hour program into a 6-hour-long marathon spanning late into the night.
Without a doubt “Lost” will be one of those water cooler moments everyone’s talking about at workplaces everywhere the following morning. Only the employees won’t be standing near the water cooler, they’ll be gathered around the coffee pot. Remember programming wraps up at 1 a.m est.
I realize this post is a bit of a stretch, but Sunday's finale is a big deal. Over the course of its six season “Lost” has pretty much ignored the subject of sleep altogether.
With the help of Lostpedia, a few friends and my own memory as a casual fan here’s the few instances I could come up with:
-In the pilot the sounds of the smoke monster moving through the jungle kept everyone awake the first night on the island.
-A sleep deprived Jack saw his father’s ghost in the first season.
-Claire refused to sleep because she was afraid someone would take “the baby”
-Desmond lived and slept in the hatch for three years and 44 days with the help of artificial sunlight.
Does the Locke Monster/Smokey dream?
And there’s that worst-case scenario that’s oft-mentioned in pre-finale speculation. Was it all a dream? Wrapping up years of speculation with a lazy ending like this will cause a fan revolt.
How do you think Lost will end?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
In his new article “The End of Snoring,” published in the latest issue of parade magazine, Jacobs enlisted AASM member Dr. Steven Park to help him on his quest to gain re-entry to his bedroom.
If you've read anything by A.J. Jacobs, you'll know he tries to take on the role of human guinea pig. Like in his New York Times bestselling book “The Year of Living Biblically,” he made lifestyle changes for his story. On the advice of Dr. Park, he tries a slew of snoring solutions, from making lifestyle changes to visiting a sleep center.
Some of his attempts are comically unconventional. After reading a study about using an Australian aboriginal didgeridoo to treat sleep apnea, he orders one online.
It took Jacobs an entire day to learn how to use the four-foot long wind musical instrument. He never figured out if it worked, but he did note it kept the neighbors from snoring.
He tried tongue and throat exercises he found on the internet. The only effect there was a quip from his wife.
With mixed success using various at-home remedies, he booked a visit to a sleep center, where he learned he had a mild form of sleep apnea. Dr. Park said Jacobs woke up 185 times in his sleep study, the primary reason why patients with sleep apnea don’t get restful sleep.
Jacobs tried an oral appliance and CPAP therapy. Both worked, significantly cutting down his snoring. Jacobs reported trouble getting comfortable with both treatments, especially CPAP.
That’s a common issue reported by new CPAP users. On the CPAP Central section of our website you can find tips on how to make this effective therapy a better experience.
In the end, Jacobs settled for a mix of remedies, not entirely cutting out his snoring. The AASM recommends anyone with more advanced cases of sleep apnea continue their treatment. Sleep apnea can lead to deadly complications.
His wife eventually allowed him back in the bedroom, but surely she’s learning what its like to be one of the many “Real Wives of Sleep Apnea.”
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Mario Williams, the Houston Texans star defensive linemen, appeared this week at the teams first organized team activity 10 pounds lighter, according to an article on the team’s website.
Head coach Gary Kubiak said he thinks the former first overall draft pick lost weight because he had surgery for sleep apnea about a month ago.
He mentioned offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell also recently had the same treatment.
Kubiak speaks with familiarity on the topic; he also had surgery for sleep apnea this offseason.
NFL players are more likely to have sleep apnea than other men their age. The bulkiest positions, offensive and defensive linemen, are at the highest risk to develop the sleep disorder.
The death of retired Green Bay Packer Reggie White raised the league’s awareness of sleep apnea. Reports indicate the disorder may have played a role in the 43-year-old’s death.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Childhood obesity carries a lot of risks, especially later in life, and new research shows it can affect sleep early on.
A new study suggests kids who are significantly overweight are twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. Those who don’t are even more prone to snore loudly. The results were published in the May issue of the journal Chest.
Italian researchers compared more than 800 elementary school- or preschool-aged children in Southern Italy. The study divided them into three groups based on their answers to a questionnaire about snoring.
Scientists classified 5.4 percent of the children as habitual snorers. 17 percent occasionally snored. A vast majority – 77.5 percent – did not snore at all.
The habitual snorers received screenings for obstructive sleep apnea. Only 14 children had the sleep disorder.
The researchers calculated each child’s body mass index (BMI) based on Italian growth charts. About 8 percent of the children were obese. 15 percent were overweight.
Through statistical analysis, it turned out 12.5 percent of obese children snored regularly. Only 4.6 percent of normal-weight children were considered habitual snorers.
3.1 percent of obese children included in the study had obstructive sleep apnea. That’s twice many as their peers.
These findings are counter to previous research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and reported in the Sleepeducation blog. An Australian study concluded obesity increased the risk for obstructive sleep apnea for teens but not younger children.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious disorder and the symptoms can be mistaken for common snoring. Children with OSA often appear to struggler to breath during sleep, with obvious pauses and gasps for breath.
Two percent of healthy young children have OSA, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Image courtesy Angela Wylie, Melbourne Sunday Age
Monday, May 17, 2010
A study released today reveals infants are capable of making real-world associations while they’re deep in dreamland.
Researchers at Columbia University repeatedly played a tone while blowing a puff of air into 26 sleeping infants’ eyelids. Each time the babies would scrunch their faces in response.
Eventually the puffs of air stopped, and the tone continued. A video camera that recorded their facial expressions shows almost a Pavlovian response. Nearly all of the infants scrunched their faces as if they were bracing for another air burst.
Electroencephalogram readings show there were fluctuations in brain wave activity with each tone. The authors of the study believe this is evidence that the infants learned to associate the tone and air puffs.
Babies who were not exposed to the air bursts had no reaction to the tones.
This type of learning is controlled by the cerebellum, the section of the brain that connects sensory input and muscular response.
Because of the limitation of the study scientists still don’t know if adults are able to make the same type of associations in their sleep.
In April, we learned that dreams can help the adult brain learn complex tasks, like navigating a 3-D maze. You can read the entire article here at the Sleepeducation blog.
On a side note, the authors say the techniques they used in the sleeping infant study may lead to the discovery of a test for certain developmental disorders. The non-invasive test would hopefully identify infants who are at risk for developmental disorders don’t show up until later in life.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
65 percent have some type of clinical sleep disorder, according to a study published in the American Geriatrics Society.
The authors tracked 121 seniors after they enrolled in one of 18 assisted living facilities in the Los Angeles area.
The subjects took the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a self-rated questionnaire. Researchers then measured their sleep quality by wrist actigraph. The subjects took both tests at enrollment and after three and six months at the facility.
A majority of people had some type of sleep disturbance. About 60 percent of residents complained of some form of insomnia. Slightly more subjects said they woke up in the middle of the night or early morning than had trouble sleeping.
Physical and mental health tended to decline at a faster rate for residents who complained of sleep disturbances.
The authors of the study were quick to point out that poor sleep is associated with decline in health at a late age. The authors suggest there’s room to examine for a possible causal relationship by seeing if improving sleep would spur better health.
At this point it’s not known what direction therelationship takes. Does health decline for assisted living residents because of poor sleep or are sleep disturbances a symptom of greater health problems?
A study published in the May issue of SLEEP found people who lived to be 100 slept more than most, averaging 7.5 hours of sleep a day. Generally, older adults tend to get less sleep. However, due to the design of the study, its not known whether sleep increased near 100 years old, or if 100-year-olds were better sleepers than most people ages 65 to 99.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and opiates had no noticeable effects, but pregnant mothers who used nicotine products tended to have children with sleep problems.
Researchers regularly checked up on a group of 808 children throughout the first 12 years of their lives.
The authors did not reveal the exact percentage of children with sleep problems. Instead of counting the number of individuals who had sleep problems they created a scoring system to account for the combined conditions, including insomnia, sleepwalking, sleep talking.
After adjusting for external factors, like socioeconomic status, the authors discovered children exposed to nicotine scored highest. Children whose mothers smoked tended to have sleep problems from birth all the way to their 12th birthday.
One of the authors of the study told Reuters Health the findings should not be misinterpreted, all prenatal substance abuse is harmful. Smoking is unique because it happens so frequently.
She said researchers couldn’t find out the exact effects of nicotine during pregnancy because many of the mothers in the study used multiple substances while pregnant.
Perhaps not coincidentally, a past study found young boys with sleep problems were more likely to start smoking at an early age.
Image by Defekto
Friday, May 14, 2010
An advanced feature Sony is rolling out with its latest line of HDTV’s lets the television watch you, the viewer.
This role reversal is made possible by facial recognition technology comparable to what’s found in Sony’s high-end cameras.
Why would they include this you ask – the answer is to save energy. When users fall asleep while watching television, it automatically turns of the screen’s backlight.
The Guardian UK reports the facial recognition technology is part of a suite of energy saving features created to help Sony achieve its goal of having a “zero environmental footprint” by 2050.
The televisions also include a heat and motion sensor so the television turns off if no one is in the room. There’s also an ambient light sensor so the picture dims depending on the room’s brightness.
All of these features were introduced last year in Sony’s Bravia WE5 model and will be included in many new TV models.
Is a television that can recognize your face helpful or creepy? Depends on how you view it. This blogger speculates Sony could expand the use of this technology in future products, specifically its video games. Playstation 4 anyone?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
There’s new evidence that its not just blue wavelength light that alters the body’s circadian clock. Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found the green light produced from those same sources has a similar effect.
More than a decade ago, scientists discovered there are special cells in the eye that contain the blue light-absorbing pigment melanopsin. When the eye detects blue light, it delays the body from secreting melatonin.
The authors of the new study wanted to see if the eye’s rods and cones, which respond to green light wavelengths, also contributed to the body’s circadian adjustment.
The researchers exposed a group of volunteers separately to blue and green light, both for several durations and intensities. The experiment happened in the evening, before the body naturally secretes melatonin. Scientists measured the subjects’ melatonin response in each condition.
At low intensity, there was very little difference in the body’s reaction to blue and green light wavelengths. However, blue light produced a greater effect over time and at higher intensities.
The authors suggest there’s room to improve light therapy for sleep disorders based on these findings. The treatment may be more effective if the light devices combined blue and green light.
The study may have potentially substantial implications for the field of sleep research.
AASM President Clete Kushida told USA Today “(the finding) sort of goes against what was believed before.”
He said researchers should explore the possibility that the full spectrum of light may affect the body clock.
For our readers who aren’t scientists, the study reinforces the notion that evening use of electronic screens can hinder sleep, and special sunglasses won’t help. We recommend shutting off the television or other bright electronic devices an hour before bedtime and picking up a book, or better yet, an e-reader.
A report that aired this week on Fox 5 Atlanta adds to the growing praise for oral appliances, dental devices you wear when you sleep to keep your airways open.
Learn more about obstructive sleep apnea and oral appliances at sleepeducation.com.
For regular coverage of sleep dentistry related topics, check out our sister blog: http://aadsm.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
As anyone who’s ever lived in Washington D.C. can attest, renting a place isn’t cheap, especially when there’s a mortgage to pay back home. The Chicago Tribune estimates as many as one in 10 congress members turn to a time-honored solution – sleeping in their offices.
Each night he’s in Washington, Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley turns his office into a makeshift bedroom by rolling out a flimsy mattress and sheets and pillows he stores in a filing cabinet. He posts a sign on his door warning third-shift cleaning crews not to disturb his slumber.
Quigley, who makes $174,000 a year, says his two daughters’ private college tuitions and his home in the north side of Chicago are already enough of a financial burden.
Fellow Illinois Democrat Dan Lipinski estimates he’s saved about $90,000 in the five years since he got rid of his Maryland apartment and started sleeping on a full-size mattress and box spring in a small room near his main office space.
The downside is the sleep isn’t so good.
Lipinski uses earplugs and a sound machine to drown out police sirens, train whistles and other city noises.
“This is a loud town. The torture of getting up every two hours is tough,” Quigley said describing the frequently interrupted sleep he gets in his office.
“It’s not a lot of fun,” Republican John Shimkus told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s not a real restful sleep. Even mentally, I think it’s important to get off the Hill. It’s important to get away.”
Shimkus now shares a townhouse outside the Beltway with several colleagues.
Another reason lawmakers cite for sleeping in their offices is image. Lawmakers want to show they’re loyal to their constituents, not the Washington establishment.
There still isn’t an exact tally on how many congressmen crash in the capitol when they’re in town. Quigley says top House officials mentioned offhand there were 30-40.
No known senators are in that group.
Image by afagen
A review of several studies published in the May issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found caffeine appears to help cut down mistakes on the job for shift or nighttime workers.
Researchers analyzed the findings of 13 studies examining the effects of caffeine on workers
Most of the studies took place at simulated workplaces inside sleep laboratories. Subjects took caffeine in the form of coffee, energy drinks, pills and caffeinated foods.
Compared to placebos, caffeine was associated with better overall cognitive performance.
Shift workers who took caffeine made fewer errors than those who took naps.
The review was not able to pin down if caffeine could reduce the frequency of work injuries because of a noticeable gap in previous research.
The authors are cautiously supportive of using caffeine to get through shift work.
Past studies have shown caffeine can negatively impact daytime sleep. However AASM task force found your sleep is unlikely to be disrupted if you consume caffeine more than 8 hours before bedtime.
Combining caffeine at the start of an overnight shift with an evening nap may be your best option. A 2006 study found that can improve job performance and reduce sleepiness.
Image Courtesy Ladik
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Here's the theatrical preview:
There are a lot of talented names working on "Inception." Its directed by "The Dark Knight's" Christopher Nolan. This is his second sleep themed film, after the 2002 crime thriller "Insomnia."
Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Ellen Page will costar in "Inception."
The film hits theaters July 16th. As always look for more analysis when the movie opens.
At 40 years old chronic injuries have stripped him of his gold-glove caliber defensive skills, so the M’s have him penciled in as Designated Hitter most games. You can find him sitting, waiting in the dugout or team clubhouse for his 4-5 at-bats per game.
When it was his turn to bat Saturday, Griffey was nowhere to be found. The News Tribune of Tacoma reports he was sound asleep in his chair in the clubhouse.
An unnamed player told the newspaper, “He’d gone back about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn’t come back.”
Another Mariner said to the same reporter, "He doesn't sleep well at night, he's away from his family; he's comfortable in the clubhouse."
Some are questioning the credibility of the story’s author, for citing unnamed players in the report. Griffey was in the starting lineup for the Mariners the following game.
Other news outlets are reporting the Mariner’s are preparing to cut Griffey. He may be the organization’s most celebrated player, but he’s no longer productive. He was hitting .208 through Sunday.
The clubhouse nap would be an obvious factor, if it happened.
Griffey isn’t the only big name in Major League Baseball who couldn’t stay awake an entire game Saturday.
The Met’s Keith Hernandez was busted dozing off in the announcer’s booth in extra innings against the Giants.
It remains to be seen if either Griffey or Hernandez have some kind of sleeping disorder, were out late burning the midnight oil Friday or were simply bored by baseball.
Let’s admit it, neither the Mets nor the Mariners are all that good this year.
Monday, May 10, 2010
“Good Morning America” Dr.: cognitive behavioral therapy better fix for insomnia than sleeping pills
The first in a series of stories titled “Help Me Fix It”, Dr. Richard Besser emphasized you don’t need pills to get your sleep back on track.
The AASM recognizes cognitive behavioral therapy as the treatment of choice for primary insomnia. Sleeping medications such as Ambien or Lunesta are viewed as an effective temporary solution for short-term insomnia.
The night owl, who sleeps through most of the morning, is viewed as lazy or irresponsible at best, drunks or criminals at worst.
Do we have it all wrong? Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa poses that question in the latest entry in his blog The Scientific Fundamentalist.
He hypothesized the most intelligent American children grow up to sleep in later their peers. The author looked at the possible relationship between early childhood IQ scores and reported bedtimes in early adulthood.
Kanazawa classified children into five categories according to their IQ scores. Children with IQ less than 75 were considered very dull, above 125 were called very bright. Those in the middle of the bell curve, with a score around 100 were considered average.
You can see in the charts below, the higher the childhood IQ scores the more likely the subjects were to stay up later in early adulthood.
While the data suggests the smartest people turn out to be night owls and the least intelligent end up as larks, there might be more to this relationship than the author lets on. In his entry he fails to define early adulthood. If this includes people around the ages of 18-25 there may be some lifestyle factors at play.
College students are notorious for their nocturnal tendencies. Most Americans of above average intelligence pursue some form of higher education. Many of the most gifted go on to get Master’s degrees or PhD’s, extending that lifestyle by 2-6 years.
Those that choose to go straight into the workforce after high school don’t have the luxury of making their own schedule and sleeping in like college students. They jump right into working the typical 8-5, or even early bird hours, in the case of some blue collar jobs like manufacturing.
Regardless of if the hypothesis is true both chronotypes still come with downsides. Evening-types have a higher risk of severe depression symptoms. Larks may never reach a level of maximum performance during the day.
Contrary to traditional wisdom, morning types were found to be no healthier, wealthier, or wiser than night owls.
It’s best to follow your instincts when it comes to your sleep schedule. Trying to switch from night owl to lark may end up cutting into length of sleep, ultimately doing more harm than good.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
One all-nighter is all it takes to trigger insulin resistance, one of the key components of type 2 diabetes.
Even a short night sleep caused insulin resistance. The study measured the insulin sensitivity of nine people after two separate nights of sleep. The first night the subjects slept eight hours. The second night their sleep was restricted to four hours.
Following the second night, researchers detected insulin resistance.
This condition occurs when the body produces insulin but fails to properly respond to glucose in the bloodstream.
The authors of the study believe insulin sensitivity can change depending on the amount of sleep in the previous night.
Past studies have found shorting sleep for multiple nights leads to impaired glucose tolerance.
The study is the first that sleeps at the effects of only a single night of deprived sleep.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
The study published in the May issue of SLEEP adds to the chorus of warnings about the harmful effects of poor sleep habits.
Researchers analyzed pooled data from 16 previous studies. They looked at questionnaire results and death certificates.
They found short sleep duration, defined in the study as less than seven hours, raised people’s risk for death by 12 percent.
People who slept more than eight or nine hours a night were 30 percent more at risk.
Because of the limitations of the study, the researchers were unable to determine whether abnormal sleep length led to the spike in mortality or the subjects were already unhealthy therefore they slept longer.
The authors speculate those sleeping habits could be due to undiagnosed health issues. Further research is needed to find out if sleep duration is an indicator of poor health.
Friday, May 7, 2010
On year ago, police say Daniel Gudino shot and killed his 9-year-old brother, then shot his mother in the shoulder and stabbed her multiple times. This week, a judge is hearing arguments to decide if he will be tried as an adult.
Thursday, a child psychiatrist took the stand as a defense witness. He claimed Gudino had a rare parasomnia. He says the boy thought he was shooting at shadowy ghosts inside his house. He referred to a history of sleepwalking, including an incident two years ago.
Parasomnia is a classification of sleep disorders. All parasomnias involve undesirable events during sleep.
The description given by the doctor is partly in line with the symptoms of the parasomnia REM sleep behavioral disorder. RBD causes people to act out vivid dreams in their sleep, sometimes violently.
REM sleep behavioral disorder can be progressive, starting out with mild activity, eventually becoming more violent. Only about .5 percent of people have symptoms of RBD. Most are older men.
Sleepwalking disorder might be a stronger possibility because it usually occurs early in life. Sleepwalkers may get violent, trying to escape from a threat they dreamed. Their eyes are usually open and have a confused “glassy” look. Someone with these symptoms could be mistaken for being possessed, as the suspect’s mother described her son.
Whether the boy has any disorder at all is still up for debate.
The prosecution claims his actions were far too complicated to happen in his sleep. Before he shot his brother, they say he used toothpicks to pick the lock on a gun cabinet, and then he loaded a .22 caliber rifle.
Look for further updates on this case on the AASM Twitter account: www.twitter.com/aasmorg.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
In a study published in the May 1st issue of SLEEP, Canadian researchers found this was especially true for blue collar workers.
The authors pulled data from the 2000-2001 “Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle.”
The study only included survey participants who were 15 to 64 years old and worked full-time or part-time. Individuals who suffered non-work related injuries were excluded from the study.
Researchers identified 65,485 uninjured workers and 4,099 people who had a work-related injury in the past 12 months. Survey respondents were categorized by gender, job class, and hours per week.
Researchers focused on participants’ responses to the following fields:
“How often do you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep?”
“Number of hours spent sleeping per night”
“The frequency that sleep is refreshing”
“How often it is difficult to stay awake”
“Sleeping pills taken last month”
By analyzing each of these elements, the authors found those who reported problems sleeping were more likely to report work injuries. Women in this case were more frequently injured than men.
Workers who slept less than six hours per night were at higher risk for injury than people who slept 7-9 hours.
The most injury-prone industries for men were trade and transportation jobs; for women it was processing and manufacturing jobs.
Injury rates also spiked among shift workers. Those with rotating or split shifts were at highest risk.
Learn more about the dangers of drowsy driving and the worst professions for sleep.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
This week, her colorful journey hits book store shelves. Amazon.com describes ‘Wide Awake: A Memoire of Insomnia’ as a memoire that “blends science, culture, and business to tell the story of why she—and forty million other Americans—can’t sleep at night.”
According to the book’s description, she also took part in a sleep study, and learned about many of the treatments recommended by the AASM.
In her interview on NPR’s Talk of the Nation earlier this week made mention of cognitive behavioral therapy, CPAP and oral appliances for sleep apnea, and drugs like Ambien and Trazadone.
Morrisroe says she was inspired when she was almost hit by a taxi while walking the New York City streets in a sleep deprived haze.
She wondered if a change of scenery would do the trick. In the book she moves from the 'city that never sleeps', to a supposedly serene countryside. She even tries to slumber north of the Arctic Circle, on an ice bed at the world-famous Icehotel.
Morrisroe interviews doctors and other credible experts. She also talked to a magician, an astronaut and a reindeer herder. And she attended a costumed Dream Ball in California, dressed up as her “dream self.
The premise of the book sounds intriguing. It will be interesting to see what kind of conclusions she came away with after her globetrotting journey. Look for a review of ‘Wide Awake’ in the coming weeks.
Most elements in their list should be familiar for regular blog readers.
- Pets in bed
-Alcohol before bedtime
-Supplements like B6, B12 or Ginseng in the evening
-Sleep disorders like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome
-Pain or discomfort while sleeping
The report only scratches the surface for behaviors that contribute to sleeplessness. Some are more obvious than others.
-Caffeine after lunch
-Eating before bed
-Exposure to bright light before bedtime
-Heavy evening exercise
-Nicotine before bedtime
-Irregular sleeping patterns
-Using your bed for activities other than sleep
-Uncomfortable sleeping environment
The author of the WCBS article recommends prescription sleep drugs for treating short-term insomnia. The AASM recognizes medications such as Ambien or Lunesta as an effective temporary fix. However, we first suggest improving sleep hygiene and eliminating these “Sleep Wreckers.” Some people may need the assistance of a sleep professional. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the treatment of choice for insomnia. Patients work with behavioral sleep experts to change the thoughts and actions that contributed to difficulty sleeping.
Learn more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Sleepeducation.com.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
In the first special report, which aired last night, health correspondent Dr. Holly Phillips profiled REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.
The story focused on the Oregon case we previously mentioned. The husband faces criminal charges because he began punching his wife while he was asleep.
He had RBD, which caused him to unconsciously act out his vivid, action-packed dreams.
The reporter also interviewed another man with a strange case of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. The French immigrant would get up and dance during his dreams. The next morning he’d wake up with mysterious cuts and bruises from apparently falling over or bumping into objects.
You can go to CBS-2’s website to view the entire report.
Tonight, Sleep Week continues at the New York news station with a feature on “The Six Sleep Wreckers”, things that guarantee you a bad night’s sleep. We’ll be sure to post the link after it airs.
Past studies have linked short sleep duration to higher body mass index (BMI) scores. In a study published in the May 1st issue of SLEEP, researchers wanted to learn the relationship between sleep length and quality and central obesity, a key risk factor associated with heart disease, diabetes and mortality.
Central obesity is measured by combining a person’s waist circumference with belly size.
The study took place in two phases. First more than 7,000 randomly selected women in Uppsala, Sweden answered questionnaires about their sleep disorders.
Researchers then randomly picked 400 of those women to take tests and answered another questionnaire about their lifestyle. More than half of those women were snorers.
Each subject underwent an extensive overnight sleep study in their own homes. They were free to choose when they would go to sleep and wake up. Researchers measured the women’s total sleep and length of time spent in REM and short wave sleep. They also assessed their sleep for episodes of sleep apnea.
The following morning, a nurse measured their waist circumference, sagittal abdominal diameter and BMI.
The researchers found centrally obese women were less active and had higher BMI scores. They slept less overall. The centrally obese women had less slow wave sleep and REM sleep.
The study noted the link between sleep and central obesity was stronger in younger people.
While these findings are further evidence there is a relationship between short sleep and obesity, the study has its limitations. It did not account for external factors like emotional stress.
Because researchers examined an existing population of centrally obese women, they could not pin down a causal relationship.
Read more about sleep and obesity on the Sleep Education blog.
Monday, May 3, 2010
It’s a classic setup that hails back to Alfred Hitchcock. A man waking up in bed, covered in blood next to a knife. He doesn’t know how he got there, or if he killed anyone.
The protagonist of the new film “In My Sleep” knows he sleepwalks. But was he capable of murder or was it all a setup?
Opening in limited theaters in New York City last weekend, the film so far has inspired a tepid response from critics. In its early goings “In My Sleep” only has a 33 percent score on metacritic.
Since last month when we previewed the film, a real-life case mirroring the plot has drawn national attention.
An otherwise loving husband was arrested when he hit his wife in the face three times. He had REM Behavioral Disorder, a sleep disorder that causes people to act out their dreams, sometimes violently. The husband was charged with assault, and barred from seeing his family.
“In My Sleep” doesn’t reference REM Behavioral Disorder specifically. The doctor in the preview calls the main character’s sleepwalking “parasomnia”, which is actually a broader classification of sleep disorders.
Nightmare disorder, Sleepwalking, Sleep terrors, Confusional arousals, Sleep paralysis, Hallucinations and Sleep-related eating disorder are all parasomnias.
Read our preview for “In My Sleep”
Or learn treatments for REM Behavioral Disorder and other parasomnias.
Without sleep even the simplest everyday tasks, like driving or writing emails prove to be a challenge.
The normally challenging physical tasks we do to stay in shape are nothing short of herculean. 30 minutes on the Stairmaster can feel like a hike up the summit of K2.
So what’s it like to run marathons with no sleep?
U.S. Olympic hopeful Tera Moody knows the feeling all too well. She’s had insomnia since she started running as a child.
As a guest writer in the New York Times “All Nighters” series, she describes her frustrations with waking up at 3 a.m., unable to get back to sleep.
Moody says you can find her at the 24 hour gym, running 20 miles on a treadmill while most people are deep in sleep. She compensated for the lack of sleep by loading up on caffeine before races.
The lifestyle has taken its toll.
“Not sleeping made me unproductive in my work and affected my relationships. I was pretty depressed during that time and even died my hair black to fit my mood,” Moody wrote.
Fitness went downhill, and injuries crept up.
Still she says her marathon times have improved.
Moody’s progress is a bit of an aberration. Her injuries are more typical. Sleeping less can add to inflammation, a huge concern for athletes. It can cause muscle and skeletal problems including soreness and tendinitis.
Researchers have tied extra sleep to athletic performance.
Trainers are taking note. Moody says most of her peers log 8-10 hours per night with a long nap in between workouts.Some NBA teams are changing their practice schedules so players can sleep in. The San Antonio Spurs eliminated morning practice altogether. They now report to the gym at 4 p.m. The Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets are also experimenting with untraditional schedules.Tera Moody admits as long as she runs she’ll never be able to sleep that long.
Moody has improved her sleep hygiene and is seeing some of the benefits. She cut out caffeine and eating before bedtime. She’s replaced time with the TV and computer in the evening with a pile of books.
Learn how you can improve your sleep hygiene at Sleepeducation.com.
Image by Dave Delay
Sunday, May 2, 2010
In real life, people who have recurring nightmares about a menacing figure like Freddy should instead see a psychologist or behavioral sleep specialist. They likely have nightmare disorder, a type of parasomnia.
Nightmares can occur at any age. Children most frequently get nightmares. Only a small fraction of people who get nightmares have the disorder.
Nightmare disorder happens when the horrifying dreams are so frequent it causes you to fear going to sleep. Those who manage to fall asleep end up waking up in the middle of the night terrified. And the nightmares only get more intense as the sleep deprivation adds up.
The problems the teenagers in “Nightmare on Elm Street” face fit this description. Only in their dreams they can die.
Nightmare disorder tends to run in families. In other cases the nightmares are a side-effect of medications.
There are several treatment options available. Counseling is most often recommended. A therapist helps look and confront the thoughts and feelings that are the root cause of the nightmares. Relaxing training may be part of the therapy.
Image rehearsal therapy is another option. It’s a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Patients record their dreams in a journal, and relive them during the daytime. Through practice, the aim is to confront and disarm the unpleasant elements of the nightmare.
Coincidently, this is how the protagonists of “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” defeated Freddy Krueger. They used lucid dreaming to give themselves magic powers to do battle with the ghoul.
Medications are not normally used to treat nightmares. Some researchers believe the drug prazosin can effectively reduce nightmares. The drug treatment would have to be ongoing; nightmares may return after drug withdrawal.
If you think you have nightmare disorder avoid watching scary movies, especially any of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films. Instead find help at an AASM-accredited sleep center or behavioral sleep specialist near you.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
The study, published in the May 1st issue of SLEEP used survey data to look at the sleeping habits of the oldest populations in China.
They discovered Chinese ages 100 or above slept an average of 7.5 hours a day, including naps. Controlling for factors like wealth and health conditions, the extremely elderly were 70 percent more likely to report sleeping well than 65-year-olds to 79-year-olds.
Men were significantly more likely to report sleeping well than women. Those with health problems were nearly half as likely to report quality sleep.
The study found access to health care and economic status were strongly related to good sleep.
The authors of the study picked China because it has the world’s largest elderly population, with nearly 40.5 million people over age 75. The Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, completed in 2005, is used by global researchers to study the lifestyle habits of the elderly. The survey was conducted using in-home interviews.
While the study sheds light on the sleeping habits of oldest people in the world, it does not explain why they lived to be so old. The authors say they suspect it may be due in part to sleeping well, but because the research was based on a survey, it’s impossible to prove at the moment.