Sleep and Dreams // Category

Category based archive
23 Sep

A motley crew of scientists argue that our ever-shrinking skulls are wreaking havoc on our well-being, reports OneZero.

Science suggests that crooked teeth, overbites, narrow jaws, and crimped nasal airways are a modern phenomenon. Skeletal remains show that just 300 years ago, humans commonly displayed straight, perfectly aligned teeth, wide jaws, flat palates and the large nasal passages that signal habitual, healthy breathing.

But more recently, our faces have begun to deform. Today, our skulls are marked by high, narrow palates, short lower jaws and, often, insufficient space. When children drop their baby teeth, there’s typically inadequate room for the adult teeth, which leads to crowding and misaligned teeth. Worst of all, this anatomy encourages mouth-breathing, which can, in turn, lead to under-the-radar sleep difficulties and a whole array of problems ranging from behavioral challenges, anxiety, and depression to cognitive issues. These conditions often cost thousands of dollars to correct through orthodontics, dentistry, therapy, and even surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids.

A motley crew of scientists and health-care providers are now coalescing to investigate how our faces are changing and the ramifications for our health. It includes a Chicago dentist, a Philadelphia anthropologist, and a Las Vegas feeding specialist, along with sleep researchers at Stanford and Northwestern. These professionals argue that modern life has disrupted the complex biological systems in our faces, heads, and throats, leading to problems as varied as jaw pain, chronic headaches, allergy, asthma, sleep disruption, and all the associated disorders. While many other factors contribute to these issues — from diet and technology exposure to parenting and societal changes — they see the evolutionary cause as crucial to understanding and addressing the problem.

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23 Sep

Sleep issues and women one of several key topics at World Sleep Congress in Vancouver, reports the CBC.

For most people, sleep issues are a temporary problem brought on by stress or worry. For some, they can be a debilitating, life-long problem.

Increasingly, doctors and sleep experts recognize that insomnia and other sleep disorders affect women and men differently. At the World Sleep Congress in Vancouver this week, women and sleep is one of a handful of key topics.

Dr. Ghada Bourjeily, a professor of medicine at Brown University in Rhode Island and chair of the course on sleep health for women at the conference, says women have historically been underrepresented in medical research, including research on sleep disorders.

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21 Sep

According to a recent Qualtrics Survey conducted September 4 though September 11, of over 200 respondents with mild to moderate sleep apnea, more than 70% said they would prefer to try the FDA-cleared Bongo Rx over traditional CPAP therapy to treat their obstructive sleep apnea when given the choice.

The Bongo Rx is a nasal device that requires no CPAP machine, CPAP mask, CPAP hose, bulky headgear, electricity or battery power.

The survey results highlight this new sleep apnea therapy device when compared to traditional CPAP machines and masks. Industry experts estimate that approximately 50% of CPAP patients on average will eventually abandon their CPAP therapy and become non-compliant.

“I feel the results of this Qualtrics Survey reflect that mild to moderate OSA sufferers want a simple and effective alternative to traditional CPAP. Over 70% of the respondents in this survey chose Bongo Rx. It’s gratifying that years of effort by our team to develop the Bongo Rx have yielded such a great outcome,” Bruce Sher, president of AirAvant Medical, maker of the Bongo Rx, says in a statement.

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20 Sep

If you’re tired and run down and find yourself with that rare spare chunk of time, should you be using it to workout or get more sleep?

Because both are so critical for optimum health, medical experts hesitate to say one is more important than the other. However, there is a key differentiator between the two: “We have a biological need to sleep — it’s a behavior we must do every day,” says Christopher Kline, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center. “Physical activity, on the other hand, is definitely beneficial for health, but being less active for a few days here and there doesn’t have the same negative health impact as skimping on sleep for consecutive days.”

In other words, skipping workouts, while not ideal, won’t stop you from operating, whereas being sleep deprived definitely will. “Sleep deprivation can impact many aspects of daytime function, including how parents interact and deal with their children,” Kline says. “Too little sleep or poor-quality sleep can impact mood, make you more volatile, and increase anxiety and depression symptoms.”

Get the full story at yahoo.com.

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20 Sep

Obstructive sleep apnea is highly prevalent and more severe disease appears to be associated with higher blood pressure among patients with resistant hypertension, a recent study suggests.

“We believe that OSA plays an important role in the pathogenesis and prognosis of patients with resistant hypertension,” Mireia Dalmases Cleries, MD, a pulmonologist and sleep researcher at the Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova, said in a press release. “Our study shows a dose-response association between OSA severity and blood pressure, especially during the nighttime period.”

Dalmases Cleries and colleagues evaluated 284 patients with resistant hypertension from three countries recruited between April 2016 and July 2018 as an ancillary study to the SARAH study — a multicenter, international, prospective, observational cohort study measuring the effect of OSA and CPAP on cardiovascular outcomes among patients with resistant hypertension. Only patients aged 18 to 75 years with a diagnosis of resistant hypertension confirmed via 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring were included. Patients with life expectancy less than 1 year, undergoing current CPAP treatment or with resistant hypertension secondary to an endocrinological cause, drug treatment, renal artery stenosis, intracranial tumors or aortic coarctation were excluded.

Get the full story at healio.com.

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20 Sep

If you’ve never stopped to think about how climate change will affect your sleep, the connection between a warmer planet and poor sleep quality is fairly significant, especially among vulnerable populations.

“Sleep scientists know that a person’s internal (or ‘core’) temperature is directly related to their ability to sleep through the night — and typically, the warmer you are, the worse your sleep,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a New York City-based neuropsychologistand faculty member at Columbia University, tells Bustle.

According to NASA’s Global Climate Change initiative, the temperature on Earthclimbed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century. No biggie, right — what’s a few measly degrees? As it turns out, two degrees is a lot. In fact, a two-degree temperature increase is extreme in the history of the planet, NASA noted, and one of the results is an increase in sleepless nights.

Get the full story at bustle.com. 

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20 Sep

When we cross time zones quickly, the body clock is no longer aligned to the time in the environment and almost every process in our body is affected by this, explains Yu Sun Bin, an epidemiologist at the University of Sydney Charles Perkins Centre.

Based on her review of the research on non-pharmacological treatment options for jet lag, she says that the best thing travelers can do is simply follow standard health advice: Eating well, exercising, and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can go a long way in helping you get the rest you need.

The body clock functions based on the sun. Therefore, the best thing you can do to overcome jet lag is to step into the outdoors as much as possible during the day, and remove artificial lighting—especially blue light from electronic screens—at night.

Get the full story at yahoo.com.

 

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19 Sep

Rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep may be a time when the brain actively forgets, according to a new study published in Science.

The study, conducted on mice, suggests that forgetting during sleep may be controlled by neurons found deep inside the brain that were previously known for making an appetite stimulating hormone. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Ever wonder why we forget many of our dreams?” Thomas Kilduff, PhD, director of the Center for Neuroscience at SRI International, Menlo Park, California, and a senior author of the study, says in a statement. “Our results suggest that the firing of a particular group of neurons during REM sleep controls whether the brain remembers new information after a good night’s sleep.”

REM is one of several sleep stages the body cycles through every night. It first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and is characterized by darting eyes, raised heart rates, paralyzed limbs, awakened brain waves and dreaming.

For more than a century, scientists have explored the role of sleep in storing memories. While many have shown that sleep helps the brain store new memories, others, including Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, have raised the possibility that sleep – in particular REM sleep – may be a time when the brain actively eliminates or forgets excess information. Moreover, recent studies in mice have shown that during sleep – including REM sleep – the brain selectively prunes synaptic connections made between neurons involved in certain types of learning.

“Understanding the role of sleep in forgetting may help researchers better understand a wide range of memory-related diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s,” said Janet He, PhD, program director, at NINDS. “This study provides the most direct evidence that REM sleep may play a role in how the brain decides which memories to store.”

Kilduff’s lab and that of his collaborator, Akihiro Yamanaka, PhD, at Nagoya University in Japan, have spent years examining the role of a hormone called hypocretin/orexin in controlling sleep and narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a disorder that makes people feel excessively sleepy during the day and sometimes experience changes reminiscent of REM sleep, like loss of muscle tone in the limbs and hallucinations. Their labs and others have helped to show how narcolepsy may be linked to the loss of hypocretin/orexin-making neurons in the hypothalamus, a peanut-sized area found deep inside the brain

In this study, Kilduff worked with Yamanaka’s lab and Akira Terao’s, DVM, PhD, lab at Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, to look at neighboring cells that produce melanin concentrating hormone (MCH), a molecule known to be involved in the control of both sleep and appetite. In agreement with previous studies, the researchers found that a majority (52.8%) of hypothalamic MCH cells fired when mice underwent REM sleep whereas about 35% fired only when the mice were awake and about 12% fired at both times.

They also uncovered clues suggesting that these cells may play a role in learning and memory. Electrical recordings and tracing experiments showed that many of the hypothalamic MCH cells sent inhibitory messages, via long stringy axons, to the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center.

“From previous studies done in other labs, we already knew that MCH cells were active during REM sleep. After discovering this new circuit, we thought these cells might help the brain store memories,” says Kilduff.

To test this idea, the researchers used a variety of genetic tools to turn on and off MCH neurons in mice during memory tests. Specifically, they examined the role that MCH cells played in retention, the period after learning something new but before the new knowledge is stored, or consolidated, into long term memory. The scientists used several memory tests including one that assessed the ability of mice to distinguish between new and familiar objects.

They found that “turning on” MCH cells during retention worsened memory whereas turning the cells off improved memories. For instance, activating the cells reduced the time mice spent sniffing around new objects compared to familiar ones, but turning the cells off had the opposite effect.

Further experiments suggested that MCH neurons exclusively played this role during REM sleep. Mice performed better on memory tests when MCH neurons were turned off during REM sleep. In contrast, turning off the neurons while the mice were awake or in other sleep states had no effect on memory.

“These results suggest that MCH neurons help the brain actively forget new, possibly, unimportant information,” says Kilduff. “Since dreams are thought to primarily occur during REM sleep, the sleep stage when the MCH cells turn on, activation of these cells may prevent the content of a dream from being stored in the hippocampus – consequently, the dream is quickly forgotten.”

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19 Sep

Companies in Japan, the developed world’s most sleep-deprived nation by one measure, are beginning to set aside spaces designated for employees to sleep on the job, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Mitsubishi Estate owns some of Tokyo’s priciest office space and wants to promote its properties as hubs for innovation. At headquarters, human-resources manager Go Negami spearheaded the installation of six rooms featuring recliners, mood lights and pamphlets on efficient napping. He advertised the initiative among its 850-some employees and unveiled an online nap-scheduling calendar.

At the offices of Bitflyer Blockchain Inc., Japan’s largest digital-currency exchange, CEO Yuzo Kano says he installed, then uninstalled, a room with a bunk bed. Of his 250 employees, he says, maybe only three used it to take naps.

Get the full story at wsj.com.

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19 Sep

The Guardian reviews the Ostrichpillow Light, a “sleep turban” that can be used for naps while traveling.

Ostrichpillow Light is a segmented turban stuffed with tiny beads that wraps around the neck or eyes. Rather than a job-jeopardizer, it is marketed as a travel pillow.

With the Ostrichpillow, you get nothing but darkness. Stephen King, Mariana Trench, Madame Tussauds after closing time darkness. The effect is heightened by the covering of the ears, which sleep masks cannot replicate. Cocoon-like. It is not so much about eliminating sound as muffling its vibration and removing contact with the air.

Get the full story at theguardian.com. 

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