Posts tagged sleep disorders
It’s important to take care of the immune system. After all, it’s function is to protect your body from infection and disease. If you have any unhealthy habits, you’re making the immune system’s job even harder. What people fail to realize is that a lack of sleep is one of those unhealthy habits. It causes the immune system to become weaker, inviting disease into your body. Scientists are now proving how a lack of sleep is making us sick.
What people fail to realize is that a lack of sleep is one of those unhealthy habits. It causes the immune system to become weaker, inviting disease into your body. Scientists are now proving how a lack of sleep is making us sick.
A Lack of Sleep and the Immune System
The study performed by the University of Washington has taken a unique approach. By testing 11 identical twins, they were able to find the answers they needed. Each twin had different sleep patterns and through blood samples, researchers were able to determine that the twin who slept less had a weaker immune system.
“What we show is that the immune system functions best when it gets enough sleep. Seven or more hours of sleep is recommended for optimal health,” said lead author Dr. Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the UW Medicine Sleep Center at Harborview Medical Center.
There is a special reason why Dr. Watson and his team used several groups of identical twins to help them in their study. Genetics, combine with environmental factors, determine how long we are able to sleep for. The twins’ similar genetic structure help them form a better control group and see how a lack of sleep affects the body in similar subjects.
While the immune system usually responds when the body has not received enough sleep, chronic short-term sleep may be different. If short-term sleep becomes a frequent occurrence, the immune system may not respond at all. Hopefully, this study will show more people the importance of maintaining sleep health. Without enough sleep, you leave yourself vulnerable to viruses and illness.
Driving is a rite of passage. And for many, it is one of the signifiers of adulthood. However, people hold a sort of responsibility when it comes to being on the road. It is to be careful. We’ve all heard the phrase “Drive Responsibly” at one point or another. However, is it possible to do so when you are missing sleep? How does losing 1 to 2 hours of bed rest affect our ability to drive?
The Impact of Missing Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours they are supposed to receive daily. The American Automobile Association (AAA) digs even deeper into the issue and discovered two facts. The first is that drivers who miss 1 to 2 hours of sleep double their crash risk, while the second states that drivers who miss more than 2-3 hours of sleep quadruple their risk.
This is telling information. A lack of sleep can be compared to drinking alcohol. And considering that both missing sleep and being under the influence of alcohol impairs your ability to function, they are equally dangerous.
Even the AAA acknowledges that the crash risk is associated with a lack of sleep is very similar to being over the legal limit for alcohol. According to Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA states “Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result. Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk.”
Driving without sleep is a great risk. People often experience trouble keeping their eyes open, losing memories, fatigue, and more. Pushing yourself without proper care is too dangerous. Healthy sleep can keep roads safe, as well as the people driving on them.
By now, most people know that cancer can affect almost any part of the body. Even worse, this disease affected at least 14.1 million people globally in 2012. With the severity of this disease, doctors and scientists are in a desperate search for any knowledge that might lead them to a cure.
One particular variation of cancer, lung cancer, is ranked 3rd among the CDC’s “2013 Top Ten Cancers” list. What potential factors affect this disease? According to a recent study, it might be sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea and Lung Cancer
Now, this study doesn’t name sleep apnea as the cause of lung cancer. However, it suggests that the disorder helps the disease spread cancer cells. This happens because people do not receive enough oxygen during sleep, causing hypoxia.
Hypoxia is a condition that occurs when the bodies tissues do not receive the right amount of oxygen. In some cases, hypoxia can cause nausea, lightheadedness, hallucinations, severe headaches, tachycardia, and pulmonary hypertension. That lack of oxygen also holds the potential to increase the growth of tumors.
The scientists came to this conclusion by testing two groups of mice with lung cancer tumors. One group experience normal breathing patterns. On the other hand, the other group experienced sleep apnea through the introduction of intermittent hypoxia, which is a therapy used to induced hypoxia. With these two groups, the scientists were able to see if sleep apnea truly affected lung cancer cells.
Hypoxia and sleep apnea appear to release exosomes, cell-derived vesicles which promote cell growth. Normally, these vesicles would be a good thing, as they also move proteins, lipids, mRNAs, and miRNAs from cell to cell.
However, lead investigator of the study, David Gozal, states “Hypoxia can increase exosomal release and selectively modify exosome contents such as to enhance tumor proliferation and angiogenesis. We found the overall concentrations of plasma-isolated exosomes in IH-exposed mice were significantly increased.”
Researchers are interested in exosomes and their greater role in cancer. This study only brings up more questions in the fight against cancer, but it does answer one. It shows that sleep apnea plays a part in making lung cancer worse.
People could trade an endless number of stories, detailing their long nights working and the lack of sleep they receive because of it. While some of these stories might be in good fun, they are also very telling. Overworking can lead to irregular sleeping habits, which is not good for your health. A recent study has found that this is especially true in men.
Research Into Cancer
Scientists at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China looked into the sleeping habits of Chinese workers. They examined interviews and data from 27,000 retired workers at the Dongfeng Motor Corporation. For their research, they wanted to know how specific sleeping habits affected a person’s risk for cancer.
Irregular Sleeping Habits and Its Startling Effect in Men
Late-night work, lack of daytime napping, and night time sleep. These are the irregular sleeping habits found in many of the workers at the Dongfeng Motor Corporation. Sometimes, many of them reported having more than one of these habits.
For over 20 years, these people have worked late nights or night shifts, dictating when they slept – hence the need for daytime naps. Scientists discovered that late night’s working had increased male workers’ chances of cancers. Even worse, men who slept too long (more than 10 hours) increased their risk of cancer and those who did not take a daytime nap, the risk of cancer became more than doubled.
There are a lot of unknowns involving this study. For example, why was the risk of cancer increased in the male workers, but not females? How does a lack of sleep affect the rate of cancer in general? The study’s leads feel like this is just the beginning of their research. They want to follow-up to see if their findings were accurate or not. Obviously, more research needs to be done in order to learn more and possibly find a solution.
A good night’s rest does more than make you feel refreshed in the morning. It keeps your body healthy. That is why sleep is part of living a long life. Scientists have found this statement to be more and more true over the years. In fact, a study has discovered that sleep affects the immune system in a rather interesting fashion.
How the Immune System Operates During Sleep
T cells are perhaps one of the most important aspects of the immune system. These white blood cells attack viruses and protect the body from any other harmful invaders. With sleep being an important part of health, researchers dove deep into finding out how a lack of sleep affects the body.
They started by testing how the immune system reacts to sleep deprivation by studying the “sleep-wake” of fourteen young males. The men participated in two separate studies. One study monitored the participants over 24 hours, allowing them to sleep between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., giving them the 7 to 8 hours of sleep recommended by the CDC. The other study kept the gentlemen awake for 24 hours straight.
Their study resulted in some surprising insights. After testing the blood of the volunteers during both studies, they found that the immune system’s t cells were reduced when patients went to sleep. On the opposite end, when the volunteers stayed awake for more than 24 hours, a high number of t cells remained in their body.
There are some theories as to why the t cells react like this during sleep. The chances of infection are fairly low during sleep. So perhaps the body reduces the amount it produces so that it has a chance to replenish the t cells during sleep. As for the high counts of t cells in patients that are awake, it could be that their risk of infection is much greater. This could cause these white blood cells to remain in the body as an added form of protection.
Imagine your worst night of sleep. No matter how hard you close your eyes, your mind races with a million thoughts, your body can’t find the perfect position, and before you know it, it is time to get ready for a new day. Now, imagine that one sleepless night becomes a recurring situation. This is insomnia and its effect on the mind (that big old brain of yours) is substantial.
How Insomnia Takes Its Toll on the Brain
It’s not that hard to understand how insomnia can have a negative impact on your life. It’s a key sleeping disorder. This condition prevents people from falling asleep at night, causing daytime sleepiness and anxiety. Some have been known to experience hallucinations if their condition becomes chronic.
In a recent study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), researchers were able to pinpoint which regions of the brain are altered in patients with insomnia. By comparing and monitoring the brain activity of patients with and without insomnia, they were able to gain some insights.
“While patients with insomnia often have their symptoms trivialized by friends, families and even physicians, the findings in this study add strong evidence to the emerging view that insomnia is a condition with neurobiological as well as psychological causes,” said Dr. Buysse, professor of psychiatry and clinical and translational science, and the UPMC Professor of Sleep Medicine.
They discovered that the regions of the brain that help self-awareness, contemplation, and mood did not work properly. Another interesting insight is that the brain does not completely “shut off” when sleep. Certain regions stay active. This may be to help recall, memory, and other important functions.
Unfortunately, they were unable to decipher whether or not insomnia is the cause of these dysfunctions or if the altered brain activity in these areas is causing the troubling condition. Hopefully, the researchers can find the answer in the future. For now, those with insomnia need to see a doctor
in order to receive care and return to a good quality of life.
A variety of conditions can affect your breathing. This makes it hard to sleep and eventually leads to troubling issues. However, when one particular part of your body is damaged, your breathing truly suffers. That part of the body is called the phrenic nerve, and its time to find out why it is important.
What is the Phrenic Nerve?
The phrenic nerve controls voluntary and involuntary breathing. The latter occurs during sleep and helps people maintain a good night’s rest. The nerve starts in the neck and runs along the spine until it reaches the diaphragm. When the body needs to breathe, the brain sends information along this nerve, telling the diaphragm to contract.
This part of the body is crucial. When injured, the nerve ceases to function properly. Simple tasks become much harder and even worse, it affects your sleep. A phrenic nerve injury has been known to cause conditions like insomnia. Some patients find it hard to breathe while lying down, which explains their difficulties falling asleep.
Surgery is the Answer
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered some interesting facts about the phrenic nerve. They learned that the nerve can suffer from injury during surgery or due to neck cancers. This is why doctors must identify the nerve before performing surgery in that area. Otherwise, they risk harming a vital part of a patient’s body.
Another fact is that there are between 5,000 to 10,000 cases of phrenic nerve injury every year. Doctors perform reconstruction on the nerve in order to alleviate a patient’s breathing problems and fix the nerve. Over the course of 2.7 years, the researchers at UCLA followed 180 people after they were treated with phrenic nerve reconstruction.
The surgery seems to be the answer the condition, with about 89 percent showing positive results. This offers people the chance to breathe normally again and return to a stable quality of life.
A lack of sleep has a drastic effect on the body. It can cause several debilitating conditions. In order to prepare for the diseases that develop from sleep deprivation, scientists are constantly studying their connection to sleep. A recent study looks into the link between sleep and schizophrenia.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is more commonly known as multiple personality disorder. This disorder causes severe mental health issues, including hearing voices, abnormal social behavior, confusion, and an inability to determine what is real. Unfortunately, this can lead to other mental conditions, making life harder for an individual.
“One of the most exciting advances in sleep research over the last decade has been the growing understanding of sleep’s causal relationship to psychiatric disorders,” said senior author Robert Stickgold, MD, Ph.D., director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at BIDMC. “Here, we reviewed the evidence that reduced sleep spindle activity predates the onset of schizophrenia and contributes to its cognitive deficits and other symptoms.”
Sleep spindles are burst of brain activity, which helps people conserve memory during sleep. Scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center decided to research its connection to the troubling mental disorder. Surprisingly, the mental disorder might not be the cause of sleep disturbances. Instead, researchers found the opposite. Sleep conditions are most likely at fault, causing schizophrenia.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that sleep not only controls memory and emotional processing in all of us, but that deficits in sleep probably contribute to a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression,” Stickgold said. “Now we can begin tracing it all the way from the genes to the disorders themselves.”
Schizophrenia can be caused by genetic or environmental factors. Researchers believe that one gene variant, which affects a calcium channel located near the area of the brain that generates sleep spindles, is responsible for the defect. If scientists can get this gene working correctly, then they may find a feasible treatment option.
Many people in America receive an insufficient amount of sleep. Our busy lives do not leave us with much time to rest. Another pressing problem is that people have trouble sleeping. This can be due to sleeping disorders and other personal issues.
In a recent study, researchers have discovered an interesting revelation. It appears that women have more trouble sleeping than men.
Why Women Have Trouble Sleeping
The study in question was performed Dr. Diane B. Boivin and her team at the McGill University. She and her team wanted to know why women were more likely to experience sleep disturbances than men. The answer seems to lie in the body’s clock.
Our body’s internal clock manages how we sleep. Researchers compared 15 men and 11 women, examining how the body clock regulated their sleep and alertness.
Here is what they found: “”For a similar sleep schedule, we find that women’s body clock causes them to fall asleep and wake up earlier than men. The reason is simple: their body clock is shifted to a more easterly time zone,” says the Director of the Centre for Study and Treatment of Circadian Rhythms at the Douglas Institute.
They also found out that a women’s menstrual cycle contributes to how they sleep. It seems to affect the body’s temperature and sleep.
Dr. Boivin explains that, “”Our participants did not exhibit any sleep problems during the study. Just the same, our results are helping us understand, among other things, why women are more likely than men to wake up earlier in the morning and feel tired after a night’s sleep. As well, women are less alert at night than men.”
More research need to be done in order to find out just how much this affects women. While the female participants did not exhibit any sleep problems, they still experienced a lack of sleep. Sleep hygiene is very important as it affects one’s quality of life, and can lead to other disorders.
The body is a fascinating thing. It develops ways to protect us and keep us healthy. There so many diseases and disorders affecting us today. Knowing this, scientists look to improve upon the body’s natural defenses. In a recent study, it appears that researchers have found a solution to fighting off breast cancer. A sleep hormone, known as melatonin, seems to be the key.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain during sleep. It helps to regulate the sleep cycles in animals and humans. As we age, we produce less melatonin. Doctors often use melatonin supplements to treat patients with sleep disorders, headaches, cancers, and hearing conditions like tinnitus.
Sleep Hormone Fights Cancer
According to CDC, adults (18-25) need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. However, after interviewing 1,031 adults, analytic company Gallup discovered that at least 40% of Americans receive less than 7 hours of sleep.
A lack of sleep among U.S. citizens is not uncommon. The United States is considered a high-work, high-stress environment and leaves a lot of people sleep-deprived. This fact is important for women, as sleep deprivation can lead to breast cancer.
In a study by the Michigan State University, their research has revealed that melatonin may suppress the growth of breast cancer tumors. The discovered this by growing tumors from stem cells called “mammospheres.” The scientists applied a melatonin treatment, which decreased the number of tumors and their size.
James Trosko, one of the researcher at MSU, states “This work establishes the principal by which cancer stem cell growth may be regulated by natural hormones, and provides an important new technique to screen chemicals for cancer-promoting effects, as well as identify potential new drugs for use in the clinic.”
Hopefully their work leads to more studies involving breast cancer. The CDC states that “About 220,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,000 in men. About 40,000 women and 400 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer.” If an increase in the sleep hormone melatonin helps, then doctors may be able to aid women in need.