Sleep Disorder Center Omaha NE
13 + yrs.
5 & Older
5 & Older
5 & Older
13 + yrs.
5 & Older
Sleep Health: Sustained Reduced Sleep Can Have Serious Consequences
In a study on the effects of sleep deprivation, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania found that subjects who slept four to six hours a night for fourteen consecutive nights showed significant deficits in cognitive performance equivalent to going without sleep for up to three days in a row. Yet these subjects reported feeling only slightly sleepy and were unaware of how impaired they were. The research article, "The Cumulative Cost of Additional Wakefulness: Dose-Response Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and Sleep Physiology From Chronic Sleep Restriction and Total Sleep Deprivation," appears in the March issue of the journal 'SLEEP'.
According to Principal Investigator David Dinges, "This is the first systematic study to look at the prolonged cognitive effects of chronic sleep restriction lasting for more than a week. The results provide a clearer picture of possible dangers to people who typically are awake longer on a regular basis," he explained, "including members of the military, medical and surgical residents, and shift workers. Reduced cognitive abilities can occur even with a moderate reduction in sleep."
Cognitive performance deficits included reduced ability to pay attention and react to a stimulus, such as when driving, or monitoring at airports. Other deficits involved impairment of the ability to think quickly and not make mistakes, and a reduced ability to multi-task -- to hold thoughts in the brain in some order while doing something else.
Dr. Patricia A. Grady, Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, which provided primary funding for the study, said, "These findings show that while young adults may believe they can adapt to less than a full night's sleep over time, chronic sleep deprivation may seriously affect their performance while they are awake, and they may not even realize it."
Investigators also found that to prevent neurobehavioral defects from accumulating, the average person needs 8.16 hours of sleep during a 24-hour day, although there were differences among individuals in their need for sleep.
The study included 48 healthy individuals aged 21 to 38 who were divided into four groups -- those who were allowed to sleep up to either 8, 6 or 4 hours per night during a 24- hour period for two weeks, and those who were deprived of sleep for three consecutive 24-hour periods. The experiments were conducted in a lab with constant monitoring. When awake, participants could watch ...
What Doctors Don't Tell You: Tips for Dealing with Insomnia
Insomnia is usually strongly linked to depression. However, an array of conditions can prevent you from drifting off to sleep easily, including tension, pain, ambient noise, emotional arousal, discomfort, a change of environment, muscle cramps, menopausal symptoms such as night sweats or hot flushes, hypoglycaemia, an urgent need to urinate, sleepwalking, reflux oesophagitis and nightmares.
∗ Try acupuncture or acupressure (shiatsu). One randomised clinical trial of 40 insomniacs showed that acupuncture improved sleep, even by objective measurements (Forsch Komplementärmed, 1999; 1 [suppl]: 29-31). Acupressure can work in the elderly (J Gerontol Med Sci, 1999; 54A: M389-94), and hypnosis also works, according to a trial of 37 women (J Abnormal Psychol, 1973; 82: 153-8).
∗ Use biofeedback techniques appropriate to your symptoms. According to two randomised clinical trials, EEG (electroencephalography) feedback helped those with insomnia due to anxiety, and sensorimotor-rhythm-type biofeedback worked best on those whose insomnia was caused by other conditions (Arch Gen Psychiatr, 1981; 38: 752-8; Biofeedback Self-Regul, 1982; 7: 223-35).
∗ Investigate food allergies. My own approach is to look for unidentified food hypersensitivity that causes no obvious symptoms apart from insomnia. There is often a delay of around six hours between consumption of the offending ingredient and the 'wide-awake' effect, which is probably linked to an outpouring of various excitatory neurohormones as well as thyroid hormones (Paediatrics, 1985; 76: 880-4).
∗ Engage in regular moderate exercise - but not just before you retire. Research shows that raising the heart rate by about 50 per cent for at least 20 minutes each day will noticeably improve sleep quality (Sports Med, 1996; 21: 277-91), even in the elderly (JAMA, 1997; 277: 32-7).
∗ Try homoeopathy. A personal favourite homoeopathic combination remedy is Passiflora Lehning Drops, which combines Avena sativa, Passiflora incarnata, Atropa belladonna, Secale cornutum and Valeriana officinalis at low homoeopathic potencies. This safe and non-addictive homoeopathic combination was tested against standard drugs in women suffering from anxiety-related insomnia. After 30 days, the Passiflora combination was the frontrunner on a number of parameters, including daily sleep duration (Carion V et al. Etude de l'Action de Passiflora Lehning sur Insomnie: Une Analyse Statistique, Metz: Editions Lehning, 1992: 1-16). The standard dose is 20 drops in some water, taken away from meals four times a day. U ∗ Nicotinamide (vitamin B3 or niacinamide) may also lull you to sleep. I often take a functional blood test to check vitamin B3 status. If it’s low, I suggest supplementing with B3 before bedtime along with magnesium and vitamin B6.
∗ Try the herb valerian, but not the root. In a study of the herb, free of the valepotriates found in the root, there were no ad...