Insufficient or interrupted sleep may have more of an impact than smoking history in patients with a progressive lung disease, according to a study.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that for patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), inadequate sleep may boost their risk of a flare-up by up to 95 per cent compared to those with good sleep.
Over time, these flare-ups, which manifest with worsening shortness of breath and cough, may cause irreversible lung damage, and accelerate disease progression and mortality.
The findings appeared in the journal 'SLEEP'.
The research shows sleep deprivation is associated with a drop in infection-fighting antibodies and protective cytokines, said Aaron Baugh, a clinical fellow at the UCSF Division of Pulmonary Research Institute.
The researchers followed 1,647 patients with confirmed COPD. They recorded flare-ups, defined as short-term worsening of symptoms requiring treatment, and compared their incidence with self-reported data on sleep quality.
Pulmonologist Neeta Thakur from the UCSF School of Medicine said that questions about sleep are often overlooked by physicians evaluating patients with COPD.
"Sleep hygiene and sleep aids may significantly improve their health," she said, adding: "Sleep should be considered both in the clinic and at the wider community/neighbourhood level, where the structural factors that contribute to worse sleep can be addressed." (Agency)
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Most of us today, idolise the ones working on 3 to 4 hours of sleep. It's all cool but I'm sure you remember the sweet taste of sleep? Oh no, I'm not tempting you to sleep for long hours and forget all your responsibilities. I know we're living in a fleet-footed world and 24 hours just don't seem enough.
When you don't have something in adequate amounts you should always try and optimise it rather than disrupting everything, especially your sleep. Let me explain with an example - when you leave for a trip, you pack your stuff in a nice and organised manner but when you start packing for your return journey, what happens? You know that very well!
When your responsibilities seem to overpower you, stop, take a deep breath and make those 24 hours your slave.
How Can You Do That?
First of all, find out what works for you. People need a different amount of sleeping hours to boost their energy levels. You need to find your optimum level. After that, start scheduling your work and leisure timings accordingly.
Do you feel sleepy but still keep tossing around even after getting in bed at the right time?
If yes, this is probably because of your environment and poor pre-sleep discipline. To have the sleep that you are looking for, you need to work hard. Create an environment, which works best for you.
Keeping all the distractions aside mentally and physically, dim the lights and start preparing for your bed. This will allow your mind to know it's time to sleep and till the time you get to bed, your head would be light as a feather.
Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can profoundly impact sleep quality. Studies reveal that high or low temperatures in the sleeping area can deteriorate sleep quality. Depending on your body's preferences, you need to find what suits your body for a good and comfortable sleep. In most cases, the bedroom should be cool (between 60 and 67 degrees) for optimal sleep.
Take A Relaxing Shower
A relaxing warm shower is another popular way to sleep better. According to studies, a hot bath before bed improves sleep quality and helps people get more sound sleep. Alternatively speaking, if you don't want to take a bath at night, simply dip your feet in lukewarm water for relaxation for improved sleep.
Invest in A Comfortable Bed, Mattress, And Pillow
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in the hotel. Apart from having a relaxed environment, bed quality can also affect your sleep. The best mattress and bedding is extremely subjective. If you plan on upgrading your bedding, base your choice on personal preferences.
Sleep Hygiene is Important
Blue light from cell phones, TV screens, and laptops can make it difficult for you to fall asleep, so make sure you turn them off at least half an hour before you sleep. Even the bright light from a lamp or the window can affect your pattern; consider using blackout curtains, eye-masks, white noise machines, and other accessories for a good night's sleep.
The Bottom Line
Sleep plays a crucial role when it comes to our health. Common sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can cause sleep loss; people with sleep apnea characteristically make periodic gasping or snorting noises, momentarily interrupting their sleep. These obstructions during sleep can pose serious complications and should be sought from a medical professional.
Also, sleep loss and sleep disorders are linked with hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, obesity, mental distress, and adverse health behaviors such as cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, and heavy drinking.
Additionally, sleep medicines aren't the solution and even lead to addiction. If you are interested in optimal health and wellbeing, then you should make sleep your topmost priority and start incorporating some of the tips above. (Dr. Sonia Lal Gupta, MD, MBA, FACP, Sr Consultant Neurologist)
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London: Seven hours is the ideal amount of sleep for people in their middle age and upwards as a new study has found that both insufficient or excessive sleep is associated with poorer cognitive performance and mental health, including dementia.
The study, published in the journal Nature Aging, indicates that one possible reason for the association between insufficient sleep and cognitive decline may be due to the disruption of slow-wave 'deep' sleep. Disruption to this type of sleep has been shown to have a close link with memory consolidation as well as the build-up of amyloid a key protein which, when it misfolds, can cause 'tangles' in the brain characteristic of some forms of dementia.
Additionally, lack of sleep may hamper the brain's ability to rid itself of toxins, said researchers from the University of Cambridge and Fudan University. For the study, the team examined data from nearly 500,000 adults aged 38-73 years from the UK Biobank.
Participants were asked about their sleeping patterns, mental health and well-being, and took part in a series of cognitive tests. Brain imaging and genetic data were available for almost 40,000 of the study participants.
By analysing these data, the team found that both insufficient and excessive sleep duration was associated with impaired cognitive performance, such as processing speed, visual attention, memory, and problem-solving skills.
Seven hours of sleep per night was the optimal amount of sleep for cognitive performance, but also for good mental health, with people experiencing more symptoms of anxiety and depression and worse overall wellbeing if they reported sleeping for longer or shorter durations, the researchers said. (Agency)
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New York: Close the blinds, draw the curtains and turn off all the lights before bed because exposure to even moderate ambient lighting during night-time sleep can harm your health.
According to researchers at Northwestern University in the US, even dim light can harm cardiovascular function during sleep and increase insulin resistance the following morning.
"The results from this study demonstrate that just a single night of exposure to moderate room lighting during sleep can impair glucose and cardiovascular regulation, which are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome," said Dr. Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine at the University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
"It's important for people to avoid or minimise the amount of light exposure during sleep," Zee said.
The study, published in the journal PNAS, tested the effect of sleeping with 100 lux (moderate light) compared to 3 lux (dim light) in participants over a single night.
The investigators discovered that moderate light exposure caused the body to go into a higher alert state. In this state, the heart rate increases as well as the force with which the heart contracts and the rate of how fast the blood is conducted to your blood vessels for oxygenated blood flow.
"Even though you are asleep, your autonomic nervous system is activated. That's bad. Usually, your heart rate together with other cardiovascular parameters are lower at night and higher during the day," said Dr. Daniela Grimaldi, research assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern.
Further, the investigators found insulin resistance occurred the morning after people slept in a light room. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat and liver do not respond well to insulin and can't use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, your blood sugar goes up.
"In addition to sleep, nutrition and exercise, light exposure during the daytime is an important factor for health, but during the night we show that even modest intensity of light can impair measures of heart and endocrine health," Zee said.
"These findings are important particularly for those living in modern societies where exposure to indoor and outdoor nighttime light is increasingly widespread," Zee said. (Agency)
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London, March 25 (IANS): A team of scientists have for the first time demonstrated that plastic particles from our day-to-day lives such as water bottles, grocery bags, toys and disposable cutlery, among others, can end up in our bloodstream in detectable levels.
The research, published in the scientific journal Environment International, shows that miniscule pieces of plastic from our living environment are absorbed into the human bloodstream.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene, and polymers of styrene were the most common types of plastic found in the blood samples, followed by poly(methyl methacrylate). Polypropylene was also analysed but the concentrations were too low for an accurate measurement.
PET is commonly found in soda and water bottles; containers; polyethylene in bottles for milk and household cleaners; blow-extruded grocery bags, caps, and toys while polymers of styrene are found in disposable cutlery, plastic models, CD's and DVD cases.
"We have now proven that our bloodstream, our river of life as it were, has plastic in it," said ecotoxicologist Heather Leslie from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
The team developed an analytic method for establishing the trace level of micro and nanoplastic particles in human blood. The study included 22 participants, whose blood was examined for the presence of five different polymers, the building blocks of plastic.
Three-quarters of the test subjects appeared to have plastics in their blood, the team said.
While earlier indicators for this came from laboratory experiments, the new research shows that people absorb microplastics from their environment in their everyday lives and that the amounts are measurable in their blood.
The overall concentration of plastic particles in the blood of the 22 donors amounted to an average of 1.6 microgram/millilitre (ug/ml), which is comparable to a teaspoon of plastic in 1,000 lts of water (10 large bathtubs).
A quarter of the tested donors had no detectable quantities of plastic particles of any type in their blood.
"This dataset is the first of its kind and must be expanded to gain insight into how widespread plastic pollution is in the bodies of humans, and how harmful that may be. With this insight we can determine whether exposure to plastic particles pose threat to public health," said analytical chemist Marja Lamoree from the varsity.
The team now wants to address how easy it is for these particles to move from the bloodstream into tissues such as in organs like the brain. (agency)
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New York: You must have heard one should sleep for eight hours, but researchers say that it depends on a person's genetics. When it comes to sleep, quality matters over quantity. People with Familial Natural Short Sleep (FNSS) prefer to sleep just four to six hours a night, and yet have the ability to function fully on.
According to researchers at University of California, San Francisco, these "elite sleepers" show psychological resilience and resistance to neurodegenerative conditions that may point the way to fending off neurological disease.
It means that the brain accomplishes its sleep tasks in a shorter time. In other words, less time spent efficiently sleeping may not equate to a lack of sleep, said Ying-Hui Fu, from the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.
The researchers have shown that it runs in families and, thus far, have identified five genes across the genome that play a role in enabling this efficient sleep.
"There's a dogma in the field that everyone needs eight hours of sleep, but our work to date confirms that the amount of sleep people need differs based on genetics," said neurologist Louis Ptacek, from the Institute.
In the study, published in the journal iScience, the team chose to look at mouse models of Alzheimer's disease because that condition is so prevalent.
They bred mice that had both short-sleep genes and genes that predisposed them to Alzheimer's and found that their brains developed much less of the hallmark aggregates associated with dementia. To confirm their findings, they repeated the experiment using mice with a different short-sleep gene and another dementia gene and saw similar results.
The team believe that similar investigations of other brain conditions would show the efficient-sleep genes confer comparable protections. improving peoples' sleep could delay progression of disease across a whole spectrum of conditions, they said.
"Sleep problems are common in all diseases of the brain," Ptacek said. "This makes sense because sleep is a complex activity. Many parts of your brain have to work together for you to fall asleep and to wake up. When these parts of the brain are damaged, it makes it harder to sleep or get quality sleep."
Understanding the biological underpinnings of sleep regulation could identify drugs that will help ward off problems with sleep disorders. In addition, improving sleep in healthy people may sustain wellbeing and improve the quality of time we each have, the researchers said. (agency)
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