Gene sets apart early birds from night owls and helps to predict the time of your death

Many of the body’s processes follow a natural daily rhythm or so-called circadian clock. There are certain times of the day when a person is most alert, when blood pressure is highest, and when the heart is most efficient.

Several rare gene mutations have been found that can adjust this clock in humans, responsible for entire families in which people wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and cannot stay up much after 8 at night.

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In the noisy hospital, the patient gets poor sleep

In the hospital, it is not only direct patient care, but also the environment that contributes to recovery. A critical component of a healing environment is a peaceful space for a patient to get enough sleep.

However, according to a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Cambridge Health Alliance, there are certain noises in a common hospital setting that can disrupt sleep. Such disruption can negatively affect brain activity and cardiovascular function.

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Sleep hygiene tips for adolescents & young adults

The promotion of regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene. The following is a list of sleep hygiene tips which can be used to improve sleep.

The list, while focusing on sleep hygiene, also focuses on areas of special relevance to adolescents, who may experience sleep difficulties due to circadian rhythm changes occurring during the teenage years and into young adulthood.

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Sleep hygiene tips for adults

Photo of woman in bed, on the phone, with her laptop open, working

The promotion of regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene.

Below is a list of sleep hygiene tips for adults which can be used to improve sleep.

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Extra hour of sleep tonight as clocks roll back

Time change at the end of Daylight Saving TimePeople in most of America will roll back their clocks one hour tonight for the annual return to Standard Time.

Although our clocks are being moved back one hour, when we wake tomorrow morning (November 7), will you have “gained” an extra hour of the day? Will most Americans use that extra hour to catch up on their sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, he answer is probably not.
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Using math to take the ‘lag’ out of ‘jet lag’

Researchers have developed a computational method for aligning the internal body clock, allowing it to basically mesh with the local, environmental time.

Traveling across several times zones can cause an individual to experience jet lag, which includes trouble sleeping at night and trouble remaining awake during the day.

A major cause of these effects is the desynchronization between the body’s internal time clock with local environmental cues. Researchers at (BWH) and the (U-M) have developed a mathematical, computational method for determining optimal light stimuli to re-synchronize the body’s clock to the local environmental time.

These findings are published in the June 19, 2009 issue of PLoS Computational Biology.

Timed light exposure is a well known method for synchronizing an individual’s internal clock with the environment and when used properly, this intervention can reset an individual’s internal clock to align with local time resulting in more efficient sleep, a decrease in fatigue, and an increase in cognitive performance. Poorly timed light exposure can prolong the re-synchronization process.

“Because the timing of proper light exposure is so important in synching the internal clock with local time, we have developed this mathematical computation to automate the process of determining the timing of appropriate light cues,” said Dennis Dean, a researcher in the division of sleep medicine at BWH and the paper’s lead author.

The next phase of this research includes the addition of interventions such as naps, caffeine and melatonin to help the process of realigning the internal body clock while reducing decreased performance experienced during travel across time zones.

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Work hassles hamper sleep

Common hassles in the workplace are more likely than long hours, night shifts, or even job insecurity, to follow workers home and interfere with the quality of their sleep.

That’s the conclusion of a study which analyzes two nationally representative surveys of approximately 2,300 American adults that monitored the same workers for up to a decade. Over that time, roughly half the respondents said they had trouble sleeping.

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People Who Sleep Less Than Six Hours Nightly Risk Developing Diabetes

To the many problems associated with lack of sleep — moodiness, memory problems, difficulty concentrating — add the risk of developing diabetes.

A study from the University at Buffalo shows that people who sleep less than six hours a night during the work-week are 4½ times more likely to have elevated levels of blood sugar than those who slumber 6-to-8 hours.

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Tips to successfully sleep through Daylight Saving Time changes

Clocks get set ahead one hour on Sunday, March 8, 2009

By Dave Jackson
National Coordinator
© 2009. All rights reserved.

clockWhen the U.S. Congress decided to change the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST) in 2005, that one decision brought about a lot of headaches to the world, including for computer manufacturers. The biggest headache, though, will be for people, especially for those who have calendars that were printed in bulk two or three years ago, shipped to a warehouse, and then distributed. This year clocks in most of the United States are moved ahead at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2009.

Helping children sleep right when clocks change

According to Jodi Mindell, PhD, a nationally recognized expert in pediatric sleep, “It’s not uncommon for children to experience sleep disruptions with the return of Daylight Saving Time.” Continue reading