Sleep in the News
- Posted on July 29, 2012
Early Alzheimer’s disease associated with too little or too much sleep.
New research, from data collected in the Nurses’ Health Study, has found that very long or very short sleep durations over time may contribute to cognitive decline and changes of early Alzheimer’s disease.
With 7 hours considered “average”, participants who slept 5 hours per day or less and participants who slept 9 hours per day or more had lower average cognition than those with average sleep duration. In the women studied, too little or too much sleep was equivalent to cognitive aging of 2 years.
An early biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease brain changes was measured in the blood of a subset of subjects. There was a decrease in the ratio of these blood protein markers in subjects that slept either more than or less than 7 hours per night.
The long term effects of too little or too much sleep may be more important than we have previously realized.
Linked in Conversation
- Posted on July 31, 2012
The use of Provigil
The AASM has issued the following statement on the use of the stimulant provigil: http://bit.ly/OuZdRZ. This statement is in response to an ABC Nightline segment about the use and abuse of Provigil as a "secret success drug" that boosts energy and focus for health Americans. According to the AASM, the drug is approved only for the treatment of excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea or shift work disorder. Provigil should not be purchased or prescribed off-label for cognitive or performance enhancement.
I posted this information from the AASM on our sleep center facebook page, and it resulted in more visits by far than any other item ever posted on our site. Thanks to the AASM for responding to this Nightline segment so quickly. As medical professionals we are responsible for informing the public about the appropriate usage of medication, particularly those with a potential for abuse such as modafinil.
Bright Screens could Delay Bedtime
- Posted on February 11, 2013
Bright Screens Could Delay Bedtime.
Using a tablet or computer in the late evening disrupts the body's melatonin production.
By Stephani Sutherland
If you have trouble sleeping, laptop or tablet use at bedtime might be to blame, new research suggests. Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her team showed that two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness was enough to suppress people's normal nighttime release of melatonin, a key hormone in the body's clock, or circadian system. Melatonin tells your body that it is night, helping to make you sleepy. If you delay that signal, Figueiro says, you could delay sleep. Other research indicates that "if you do that chronically, for many years, it can lead to disruption of the circadian system," sometimes with serious health consequences, she explains.
The dose of light is important, Figueiro says; the brightness and exposure time, as well as the wavelength, determine whether it affects melatonin. Light in the blue-and-white range emitted by today's tablets can do the trick—as can laptops and desktop computers, which emit even more of the disrupting light but are usually positioned farther from the eyes, which ameliorates the light's effects. The team designed light-detector goggles and had subjects wear them during late-evening tablet use. The light dose measurements from the goggles correlated with hampered melatonin production.
On the bright side, a morning shot of screen time could be used as light therapy for seasonal affective disorder and other light-based problems. Figueiro hopes manufacturers will "get creative" with tomorrow's tablets, making them more "circadian friendly," perhaps even switching to white text on a black screen at night to minimize the light dose. Until then, do your sleep schedule a favor and turn down the brightness of your glowing screens before bed—or switch back to good old-fashioned books. This article was originally published with the title Bright Screens Could Delay Bedtime.