Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sleepy teens engage in more risky activities

Teens who are sleep deprived are at risk for more than just falling asleep in class. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that sleep-deprived teens are more likely to smoke, drink and fight.

A survey was conducted of more that 12,000 teens. About 68 percent said that on an average school night, they get less than eight hours of sleep. Those students were more likely to be involved in risky health behaviors than students who got more than eight hours of sleep. The behaviors included smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol and getting into a physical fight.

Sleep-deprived students were also more sexually active and less likely to exercise. They also were more likely to feel sad or hopeless and think about committing suicide.

The study was published online by the Preventive Medicine journal.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that most teens need a little more than nine hours of sleep each night. Is your teen getting enough sleep? Find out by reviewing the signs your teen needs sleep on the Your Sleep website. Read more posts about teens and sleep.

Photo By: Gandalf

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New parents and the joys of being Up All Night

Seemingly endless crying. Late nights. Being up when your alarm goes off. Sleep deprivation. Parents of new born babies know these scenarios very well.

The plight of new parents has become something of a source for comedy. In a new show on NBC, Up All Night, a couple finds out what it means to be the parents of a newborn. They discover what it feels like to be sleep deprived because their baby needs constant attention.

The show follows the process of how a couple, accustomed to staying out late and partying hard, adjusts to having an infant in the house. The new parents are played by Will Arnett and Christina Applegate. They bring the situations parents face to the screen with comedy and realism.

In one scene of the pilot, the couple is seen recovering from a night of attempting to “reclaim” their party lifestyle. However, as they are still trying to shake off the grogginess, the baby begins to cry. After that hard lesson, the parents realize that they will have to sacrifice some of their past habits.

They would have benefited from the knowledge that infants that are 3-11 months need 14-15 hours of sleep. The number of hours needed decreases as they grow older.

As they grow older, young children may develop sleep-onset association which usually results in sleep deprivation among parents. When they wake up, children may cry. The parents naturally feel that they should help their child fall back asleep. They do this by feeding, rocking, holding or lying down with their child. As result many children aren't able to fall asleep on their own. They begin to connect sleeping with an activity or a person.

Here are some tips to help your child sleep better: establish a relaxing setting at bedtime, follow a consistent bedtime routine and don’t allow your child to have food or drinks that have caffeine. As your child the gets the correct amount of sleep, they will most likely be more cheerful during the day.

Picture By: iskir

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sleeping late on weekends hurts teens' focus

Sleeping late on weekends may not be the answer to sleep lost during the week. High school students in a recent study had more trouble with tests after catching up on sleep over the weekend.

The tests measured a person’s ability to pay attention and were part of a study of about 2,600 urban high school students from South Korea. Students who slept in on the weekends made more mistakes on the tests than students who slept the same amount on weekdays and weekends.

The average amount of sleep per student in the Korean study was 5 hours and 42 minutes on weekdays. This was well below the nine or more hours of sleep that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends for teenagers.

However, catching up on sleep on weekends did not give these students an advantage. The teens who maintained the same sleep hours on weekends as the weekdays scored higher on the attention tests throughout the school term.

Researchers said the results could be helpful information for doctors. It may help them identify teenage patients who are not getting enough sleep and are having trouble concentrating. The study was published in the September 2011 edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Sleeping in on weekends doesn’t seem to work for adults, either. An earlier study showed that adults sleeping six hours a night during the week had lower scores on coordination tests. The low scores remained even after adults slept-in a couple hours on the weekend.

Read more blog posts about teens and sleep. Learn more from the AASM about teens and sleep loss—and take a quiz to rate sleepiness—on the Your Sleep website.

Photo by Star Guitar

Friday, September 2, 2011

Insomnia is costing us more than just lost sleep

The battle against insomnia is affecting productivity in the work place, according to a new study. The disorder costs the average U.S. worker about 11 days of work in lost productivity every year. The study was published in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
Findings were compiled from a sample of 7,428 employees who were a part of the larger American Insomnia Study. Employees answered questions about their sleep habits and their work performance. According to the study, other estimates have been done before. However, they relied on smaller samples, as well as medical databases that only focused on insomnia patients who had been treated already.
Insomnia rates in the sample were about 23% in employees. It was found to be lower in workers who were 65 and older. Insomnia rates were higher among working women than working men.
Researchers say that these findings could justify adopting screening and treatment programs in the workplace. On average, the cost of treating insomnia can be anywhere from $200 a year for a sleeping pill or up $1,200 for behavioral therapy.
The study also found that insomnia rates were lower in people with less than a high school education and in college graduates. People with a high school education or a little college education had higher rates of insomnia.

Photo By: Mircea Turcan

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eye lens discoloration linked to sleep problems

If you are experiencing sleep problems as you get older, it may be due to natural eye lens discoloration, a new study shows. The study was published in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP. Researchers found that as the eye lens that absorbs blue light becomes more discolored with age, the risk for insomnia increases.
The study involved 970 volunteers. They all had their eyes examined by lens autofluorometry. This non-invasive method determines how much blue light is being transmitted into your retina. Blue light is the part of the light spectrum that influences your normal sleep cycle by triggering the release of melatonin into the brain. Melatonin is the hormone that signals to your body when it’s time to be asleep or awake.
Volunteers were considered to have a sleep disorder if they said that suffered from insomnia often or if they bought sleeping pills in the last 12 months. About 82% of the volunteers confirmed that they had insomnia and used sleep medication.
Researchers used this data to find out that if the levels of blue light transmitted into the retina are low due to discoloration, there is a higher risk for sleep problems. Higher rates of sleep disorders were found in older volunteers, women, smokers, and diabetics.
Sleep quality improved after cataract surgery. As of yet, there is no other method that can improve the transmission of blue light into the retina.

Photo By: Emiliano