Bad News For Insomniacs: ‘Hunger Hormones’ Affected By Poor Sleep

March 27, 2009

Insomnia has long been associated with poor health, including weight gain and even obesity. Now researchers at UCLA have found out why.

In a study to be published in the May issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology and currently available online by subscription, Sarosh Motivala, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and colleagues looked at two hormones that are primarily responsible for regulating the body’s energy balance, telling the body when it is hungry and when it is full. The study found that chronic insomnia disrupts one of these two hormones.
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Protecting Against Parasites With A Good Night’s Sleep

January 19, 2009

Animal species that sleep for longer do not suffer as much from parasite infestation and have a greater concentration of immune cells in their blood according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The question of why we sleep has long puzzled scientists. Brian Preston from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, led an international team of researchers who tested the theory that sleep improves immune function. He says, “Sleep is a biological enigma. Despite occupying much of an animal’s life, and having been scrutinized by numerous experimental studies, there is still no consensus on its function. Similarly, nobody has yet explained why species have evolved such marked variation in their sleep requirements (from 3 to 20 hours a day in mammals). Our research provides new evidence that sleep plays an important role in protecting animals from parasitic infection.”
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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Therapy Decreases Cardiovascular Risk

January 12, 2009

Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is a sleep disorder characterised by snoring, repetitive apnoeas associated with oxygen desaturations, and sleep disruption. It has been estimated that 2-4% of the adult population in Western countries suffer from clinically significant OSAS.

OSAS has also been associated with high blood pressure, stroke and myocardial ischaemia in epidemiological and observational studies. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the treatment of choice for OSAS, but the impact of this therapy on established risk factors for cardiovascular disease is largely unknown.
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Protecting Against Parasites With A Good Night’s Sleep

January 10, 2009

Animal species that sleep for longer do not suffer as much from parasite infestation and have a greater concentration of immune cells in their blood according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The question of why we sleep has long puzzled scientists. Brian Preston from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, led an international team of researchers who tested the theory that sleep improves immune function. He says, “Sleep is a biological enigma. Despite occupying much of an animal’s life, and having been scrutinized by numerous experimental studies, there is still no consensus on its function. Similarly, nobody has yet explained why species have evolved such marked variation in their sleep requirements (from 3 to 20 hours a day in mammals). Our research provides new evidence that sleep plays an important role in protecting animals from parasitic infection.”
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Lack Of Fragile X And Related Gene Fractures Sleep

December 31, 2008

Lack of both the fragile X syndrome gene and one that is related could account for sleep problems associated with the disorder, which is the common cause of inherited mental impairment, said a consortium of researchers led by scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Their findings appear in a report in the current issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Mice deficient in the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) and a similar gene called fragile X-related gene 2 (FXR2) have no rhythm to their wake and sleep pattern, said Dr. David Nelson, professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM and co-director of the Interdepartmental Program in Cell and Molecular Biology.
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Too Little Sleep Can Prove A Gamble

December 30, 2008

People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to indulge in risk-taking behaviour, a new study suggests.

Earlier studies have shown that acute, severe sleep deprivation increases risk taking. But a team from Harvard Medical School and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, has now investigated the effect of chronic deprivation on such behaviour.

Sleep-deprived volunteers underwent a routine psychological test, based on playing cards, in order to assess their propensity for risk-taking.
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Young Children In Mostly Caucasian Countries Obtain More Sleep Than Those In Asian Countries

December 28, 2008

Young children in predominantly Caucasian countries obtain more overall sleep, have earlier bedtimes, and are less likely to room-share than young children in predominantly Asian countries. These results indicate substantial differences in sleep patterns in young children throughout the world, according to a research abstract presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Jodi Mindell, PhD, of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, focused on 28287 infants and toddlers, whose parents completed an expanded version of the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire. Of the subjects, 4,505 were from the United States, 800 from the United Kingdom, 1,073 from Australia, 1,081 from New Zealand, 501 from Canada, 1,049 from Hong Kong, 1,036 from Korea, 896 from Taiwan, 988 from Thailand, 967 from Indonesia, 872 from Japan, 7,505 from China, 3892 from India, 997 from Malaysia, 1034 from Philippines, and 1001 from Singapore.
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