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  • AASM doctors to answer your questions about sleep and depression

    Feb 06 2014...
    The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is teaming with PBS NewsHour on Thursday to educate patients about sleep and its link to depression. In February, two studies published in the journal SLEEP looked at how poor sleep increases your risk of depression. Two AASM physicians, Dr. Timothy I. Morgenthaler and Dr. Nathaniel Watson will be on hand to answer your questions.

    The chat will be held on Thursday, February 6, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST. To participate, use the Twitter hashtag #NewsHourChats and follow @AASMOrg. READ MORE>>
  • Night owls face disadvantages in high school years

    Nov 13 2013...
    Teenagers who stay up late during the school year are likely to have lower grades and more emotional problems than their morning lark counterparts, according to a study that looked at the long-term sleep habits of teens.

    The study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health involved a large sample of teens from across the country. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley looked at the teens’ academic records and reported bedtimes throughout their middle and high school years.

    About 30 percent of the teens had bedtimes later than 11:30 p.m. on school days and 1:30 a.m. in the summertime. This group was unable to meet their recommended 9 hours of sleep during the school year. As a result, these teens had lower GPA scores than their peers and more reported behavioral problems. READ MORE>>
  • Smartphones for sleep: Can sleep-tracking apps improve your sleep?

    Oct 23 2013...
    Health and fitness tracking are a booming business rooted in our smartphones. Calorie counters help us watch we eat. Workout trackers log the miles we run and bike. But can sleep apps improve the way we sleep?

    Search on the App Store or Google Play for sleep and you’ll find an assortment of sleep apps of varying quality. There are apps that generate white noise or soothing background sounds, apps that interpret your dreams and special alarm clocks that supposedly align with your sleep cycle.

    Sleep tracker apps tend to be the most popular. The apps use your smartphone’s motion sensor to detect your movements while you sleep – most require that you sleep with your phone under your pillow or next to you. In the morning, you’ll get a report with information about your sleep length and quality. READ MORE>>
  • Sleep helps boost production of brain cells

    Sep 05 2013...
    A new study finds yet another reason to get more sleep – it’s beneficial for the brain. Sleep increases the reproduction of the cells that go on to form the insulating material on nerve cell projections in the brain and spinal cord known as myelin, according to an animal study published in the September 4 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings could one day lead scientists to new insights about sleep's role in brain repair and growth.

    Scientists have known for years that many genes are turned on during sleep and off during periods of wakefulness. However, it was unclear how sleep affects specific cells types, such as oligodendrocytes, which make myelin in the healthy brain and in response to injury. Much like the insulation around an electrical wire, myelin allows electrical impulses to move rapidly from one cell to the next. READ MORE>>
  • Video: "Honor Thy Sleep" looks at sleep in America

    Jul 26 2013...
    The health website "Be Smart Be Well" recently produced a video called "Honor Thy Sleep", which looks at sleep in America. In the video, AASM President-Elect Timothy Morgenthaler, MD provides practical tips and answers common questions about sleep:

    READ MORE>>
  • Getting enough sleep could affect concussion test accuracy

    Jul 17 2013...
    August will be here in a couple of weeks and you know what that means — the start of both high school and college football seasons. And along with football season comes the increased risk of getting a concussion. A new study out of Vanderbilt University found that athletes who didn’t get enough sleep the night before undergoing baseline concussion testing didn’t perform as well as expected.

    "Our results indicate athletes sleeping less than 7 hours the night prior to baseline concussion testing did not do as well on 3 out of 4 ImPACT scores and showed more symptoms," said lead author, Jake McClure, MD from Vanderbilt University. "Because return-to-play decisions often hinge on the comparison of post-concussion to baseline concussion scores, our research indicates that healthcare providers should consider the sleep duration prior to baseline neurocognitive testing as a potential factor in assessing recovery." READ MORE>>
  • Sound stimulation during sleep may enhance memory

    Apr 11 2013...
    Slow oscillations in brain activity, which occur during so-called slow-wave sleep, are critical for retaining memories. Researchers reporting online April 11 in the journal Neuron have found that playing sounds synchronized to the rhythm of the slow brain oscillations of people who are sleeping enhances these oscillations and boosts their memory. This demonstrates an easy and noninvasive way to influence human brain activity to improve sleep and enhance memory.

    "The beauty lies in the simplicity to apply auditory stimulation at low intensities—an approach that is both practical and ethical, if compared for example with electrical stimulation—and therefore portrays a straightforward tool for clinical settings to enhance sleep rhythms," says coauthor Dr. Jan Born, of the University of Tübingen, in Germany. READ MORE>>
  • Increased sleep could reduce rate of adolescent obesity

    Apr 09 2013...
    Increasing the number of hours of sleep adolescents get each night may reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity, according to a new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Results of the study show that fewer hours of sleep is associated with greater increases in adolescent body mass index (BMI) for participants between 14 and 18-years-old. The findings suggest that increasing sleep duration to 10 hours per day, especially for those in the upper half of the BMI distribution, could help to reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

    Full results of the study are available online in the latest issue of Pediatrics. Previous studies have shown that a correlation exists between short sleep and obesity, but until now few have been able to rule out other variables such as time spent watching television and being physically active. READ MORE>>
  • Study links diabetes risk to melatonin levels

    Apr 03 2013...
    Millions of Americans are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, yet the exact causes of diabetes still puzzle scientists. Now, new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) finds that the amount of melatonin a person secretes during sleep may predict their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    "This is the first time that an independent association has been established between nocturnal melatonin secretion and type 2 diabetes risk," said Dr. Ciaran McMullan, a researcher in the Renal Division and Kidney Clinical Research Institute at BWH. "Hopefully this study will prompt future research to examine what influences a person's melatonin secretion and what is melatonin's role in altering a person's glucose metabolism and risk of diabetes." READ MORE>>
  • Study finds sleep consolidates memories for competing tasks

    Mar 20 2013...
    Sleep plays an important role in the brain’s ability to consolidate learning when two new potentially competing tasks are learned in the same day, new research at the University of Chicago finds.

    Other studies have shown that sleep consolidates learning for a new task. The new study, which measured starlings’ ability to recognize new songs, shows that learning a second task can undermine the performance of a previously learned task. But this study is the first to show that a good night’s sleep helps the brain retain both new memories. READ MORE>>