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  • The Reasons that we Yawn

    Yawning has always been associated with sleepiness, boredom, or both but new studies are starting to point to a variety of other reasons behind the behavior. Though we often find ourselves apologizing for yawning, especially if we do it in socially situations where we are expected to be alert and attentive, the truth is that yawning may have little to do with our level of interest in the people that we are with or the content that we are listening to, and instead may be an unconscious response to stress or an attempt to keep ourselves particularly alert. It turns out that yawning is something that happens to nearly all animals, and it has a variety of causes and reasons behind it.  Continue reading

  • Lawsuits Claim Vaccine Caused Narcolepsy

    In 2009, there was a pandemic of H1N1 ‘swine flu’ in Europe, and in response, millions of doses of a special vaccine were used throughout several countries on the continent. Mysteriously, soon after the vaccine was administered it was discovered that over 800 children in those countries who had received the vaccine were diagnosed with narcolepsy, a brain disorder that disrupts the body’s sleep/wake cycle.  People who have this sleep disorder exhibit excessive daytime sleepiness, and experience uncontrollable bouts of sleeping in the middle of the day. The condition is thought to be caused by an autoimmune destruction of hypocretin-producing neurons that stop the brain from functioning normally. Today several lawsuits were filed against the State of Ireland, the pharmaceutical company that created the vaccine, and the Irish health minister claiming personal injury caused by the vaccine. Continue reading

  • Betting on Baseball? Check the Players’ Sleep Schedule

    Baseball season is nearly over and we’re approaching the championship season, so before you place your bets or pick your favorite team, it may be a good idea to find out what time each player hits the sack at night and wakes up in the morning. At least that’s the result of some preliminary research done by scientists at the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their study showed that morning people – also referred to as early birds or ‘larks’ – tend to get their best batting in early in the morning, and as it gets later in the day their abilities tend to wane.

    Though this may seem like an obvious conclusion that did not require extensive research, W. Christopher Winter, medical director of the program and lead author of the study defends his research and points out that it has never been carefully analyzed before. Though a fair amount of research has studied how increasing sleep quantity and quality may improve an athlete’s performance, little has been done that links a player’s genetic tendency towards early morning or late night alertness with their athletic ability. 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. Continue reading

  • Myths that cause you to lose sleep

    If you’re trying to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep then you’re not alone. With more and more studies being published every day about how important it is to get high quality rest, people are turning in earlier and turning to high-tech devices to give them a leg up. But sometimes adding new behaviors isn’t as important as doing away with old ones, or getting your head straight on mistaken beliefs that you’ve been carrying around with you. In the interest of helping you get a better night’s sleep, here are several sleep myths that you need to be on the right side of.

    You Can Make Up for Lost Sleep

    How many times have you told yourself that it doesn’t matter that you stayed up late every night this week because you’ll make up for it on the weekend? The idea sounds great in theory, and there’s no doubt that it feels great to sleep in an extra hour or two on Saturday or Sunday (or both), but the truth is that if you’ve shorted yourself more than an hour or two of sleep, then you’re simply not likely to be able to make up for your sleep debt. Not only that, before you ever get to the weekend you’re likely going to be seeing the impact of your sleep deprivation. Though your extra sleep on the weekend may make you feel a bit more refreshed, it will not be enough to restore your attention, memory and cognitive performance to where it should be. Continue reading

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