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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • New Study Shows Sleep can Reduce Fear

    A fascinating new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience reveals that for those who have phobias and fears, the solution to their problem may come in their sleep. The study was conducted by Katherina Hauner, the assistant director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and its results indicated that people’s fears could be reduced simply by sending a sensory cue linked to the phobia while they were sleeping.  Continue reading

  • Fruit Fly Studies Essential to Understanding Sleep

    It may be hard to believe that studies that are being done on the way that fruit flies sleep would be helpful to our understanding of why we sleep, or how to improve our sleep, but researchers have been using the diminutive bugs for years with great success. Studies conducted at Washington State University back in 2011 were published in Science magazine and revealed exactly what the switch is within the brain that tells us to go to sleep, as well as how it works, and further studies being conducted at Oxford are going even further in aiding scientists’ understanding of why all animals sleep. Continue reading

  • Sleeplessness and Brain Over-activity

    A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Milan is offering a new and exciting theory on the impact that sleep deprivation has on the human brain.  The research, which was recently profiled in Science News by Laura Sanders and published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, was led by Marcello Massimini, whose team conducted experiments on six study participants who were tested both before and after a night of sleep deprivation. Their results are leading sleep experts to the belief that sleep deprivation leaves our brains in a state of overstimulation that can lead to a level of hyper-reactivity that may explain the prevalence of seizures and hallucinations in those who have been kept awake for too long. Continue reading

  • Placebo Effect’s Limits on Sleep-Related Performance

    There have been a number of studies done on the placebo effect as it relates to people’s perception of how much good quality sleep people believe that they have gotten as compared to their actual quantity and quality of sleep. A placebo effect is described as the positive impact of believing that a medication or treatment that has been received will work, even if the medication or treatment did not actually have an impact at all. Typical examples of a placebo effect are when people are given pills that are actually nothing but sugar but which they are told will alleviate a symptom. Study participants often report that their symptoms are diminished despite the fact that the pills they received had no active ingredients to accomplish the effect. In sleep studies on the placebo effect, patients are given indications that their sleep quality was either better or worse than it actually was, and then they are tested for performance on a number of different tasks.  Continue reading

  • How Your Mattress Really Does Make a Difference

    People who are loath to purchase a new mattress generally point to the expense involved as their excuse for holding off, but they really should take a look at their priorities. Those very same people would probably never consider going out for a run without making sure that they had a decent pair of running shoes that provide them with the right type of support, or going scuba diving without their oxygen tanks properly filled. When it comes to sleeping, our mattresses are our most important piece of equipment for an activity that we spend approximately one third of our lives on. Seems like the investment might be worth it.  Continue reading

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