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Sleep Studies

  • Link Between Sleep Duration and Depression

    The importance of sleep cannot be underemphasized. Getting insufficient quality or quantity sleep has been linked to a wide range of health problems, ranging from increased risk of obesity and strike to reduced cognitive abilities. Now comes word that the quantity of sleep that we get, whether too little or too much, may be directly tied to the incidence of depression. The results of two different studies were recently published in the journal Sleep, and are getting a great deal of attention. Continue reading

  • How To Sleep With A Snorer

    According to a recently-conducted survey one third of adults say that their sleep problems are directly connected to their spouse keeping them awake or waking them up, and in most cases they’re doing it with their snoring. Continue reading

  • New Study Shows Downside of Shift Work, Late Hours

    People who study sleep and circadian rhythms have long suggested that there is real importance in maintaining a regular schedule that roughly follows the same schedule as the dawning and setting of the sun. Now a new study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine has strengthened that argument as it reveals that an irregular schedule can have an impact on cognitive abilities. Continue reading

  • Understanding the Advantage of Sleep

    Readers of The Bourne series may remember that in the 1990 thriller, The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne was known to repeat the phrase, “Rest is a weapon vital for survival.” Similar sentiments have been expressed by other fictional characters under extremely different circumstances, including the recent young adult blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars in which the main character was oft-heard saying, “Sleep kills cancer.” Continue reading

  • Full Moon, Half Sleep

    This summer was hailed for the high number of super moons that were viewed from Earth – these coincidences of the Earth being close to the Moon in its elliptical orbit and the occurrence of a full moon have been beautiful to behold. But a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto point to the notion that they may have wreaked havoc on people’s sleep.  The study points to a full moon having a negative impact on the human ability to fall asleep, as well as on the quantity of deep sleep that they are able to get. People don’t sleep as well or as long when the moon is full.

    Specifically, on nights in which there is a full moon, people take almost twice as long to actually fall asleep as they do on nights without a full moon, with some taking as long as a full hour. The study followed over 300 middle-aged men and women and their sleeping habits and monitored the length of time that they slept, as well as how long it took them to fall asleep. On average it took women 52 minutes to fall asleep as compared to 25 to 30 minutes on other nights, and men took 60 minutes as compared to an average of 30.  The University of Toronto study follows another that was conducted in 2006 by scientists from the University of Berne in Switzerland, which showed that sleep quantity was shortened by a full moon.  Neither study offered any kind of definitive theory as to why the full moon had such an impact, though the Toronto researchers posited that the brain might be affected by the moon’s gravitational pull, as well as of solar radiation.

    The wrote that “It cannot be excluded that the change in the electromagnetic radiation, or the gravitational ‘pull off’ of the moon, during this phase, may influence the release of neurohormones. Several observations suggest the lunar tidal force affects certain biochemical processes. The solar radiation reflected by the full moon and the lunar tidal force might modify brain activity.”

    In contrast to the University of Toronto scientists’ theory, Professor Jim Horne, who was previously head of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, offers a different possibility. “At least some of our early human ancestors lived by estuaries, where life was very dependent on the tides in terms of seafood. A full moon means particularly high ‘spring’ tides and with the extra moonlight as well it would be worthwhile sacrificing some sleep at night for more food.”

    Whether one chooses to believe in the pull of the moon or the simple need to fend off hunger, there is no doubt that the full moon has a variety of impacts on humans.

    Other scientific studies that have pursued the impact of the full moon have shown that it is linked to higher levels of anxiety and depression, as well as physical symptoms including gout and bladder problems.

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