Chapter 10. Biological Rhythms and Sleep

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By Catherine Offord River-dwelling populations of the Central American fish species Astyanax mexicanus sleep for more than 10 hours each day. But eyeless, cave-dwelling members of the same species barely sleep at all, and show no obvious health or developmental problems as a result. Now, researchers in the U.S. and in France have identified the signaling pathway behind this difference, offering a glimpse into the processes regulating sleep duration in vertebrates. The findings were published yesterday (February 6) in two papers in eLife. In one study, researchers at Florida Atlantic University compared the brains of cave-dwelling A. mexicanus with their surface-living cousins. They found that the number of neurons producing hypocretin—a neuropeptide linked to sleep-disorders such as narcolepsy when dysregulated—was significantly higher in the cave dwellers. What’s more, inhibiting hypocretin signaling genetically or pharmacologically increased cavefish’s sleep duration by several hours, while having minimal effect on surface-living fish. “These findings suggest that differences in hypocretin production may explain variation in sleep between animal species, or even between individual people,” study coauthor Alex Keene of Florida Atlantic University’s Brain Institute says in a statement. “It may also provide important insight into how we might build a brain that does not need to sleep.” © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Keyword: Sleep; Vision
Link ID: 24632 - Posted: 02.08.2018

By JOANNA KLEIN Plants don’t get enough credit. They move. You know this. Your houseplant salutes the sun each morning. At night, it returns to center. You probably don’t think much of it. This is simply what plants do: Get light. Photosynthesize. Make food. Live. But what about all the signs of plant intelligence that have been observed? Under poor soil conditions, the pea seems to be able to assess risk. The sensitive plant can make memories and learn to stop recoiling if you mess with it enough. The Venus fly trap appears to count when insects trigger its trap. And plants can communicate with one another and with caterpillars. Now, a study published recently in Annals of Botany has shown that plants can be frozen in place with a range of anesthetics, including the types that are used when you undergo surgery. Insights gleaned from the study may help doctors better understand the variety of anesthetics used in surgeries. But the research also highlights that plants are complex organisms, perhaps less different from animals than is often assumed. “Plants are not just robotic, stimulus-response devices,” said Frantisek Baluska, a plant cell biologist at the University of Bonn in Germany and co-author of the study. “They’re living organisms which have their own problems, maybe something like with humans feeling pain or joy.” “In order to navigate this complex life, they must have some compass.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Consciousness; Sleep
Link ID: 24611 - Posted: 02.03.2018

By NIRAJ CHOKSHI Years of scolding from health experts about a good night’s rest may be breaking through. Americans are finally getting more sleep — about 18 minutes more per weeknight compared with 2003. It may not sound like much, but researchers say it’s a positive sign. Weeknight Sleep, in Hours Americans gained an average 1.4 minutes per year in weeknight sleep between 2003 and 2016. “If we only got more sleep, we would then see that we actually perform better and would probably be more creative and more productive during the day,” said Dr. Mathias Basner, the associate professor of sleep and chronobiology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and the lead author of the analysis of federal survey data, published this month in the journal “Sleep.” The incremental gains took place over 13 years. Dr. Basner and his colleague, Dr. David F. Dinges, found that Americans gained about 1.4 minutes of sleep per weeknight each year between 2003 and 2016. People also slept more on weekends, though the improvement was not as great — an extra 50 seconds of sleep per weekend night per year, a total gain of about 11 minutes. On average, Americans get more than eight hours of sleep on weeknights and more on weekends, according to the data. But sleep length varies widely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of adults get insufficient sleep, which it defines as less than seven hours. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24588 - Posted: 01.30.2018

Nearly a third of older adults don’t get solid zzz’s, according to a University of Michigan poll of 1,065 people age 65 and older. To help them sleep, 36 percent report taking a prescription drug, over-the-counter aid or a dietary supplement such as melatonin. But research suggests the benefits are modest at best. A Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs analysis found that people taking prescription sleep medications such as Ambien (zolpidem and generic) or Lunesta (eszopiclone and generic) fell asleep only eight to 20 minutes faster than people taking a placebo. Worse, prescription sedatives and some OTC sleep aids can be risky, especially for older adults, with side effects that can include dry mouth, confusion, dizziness, next-day drowsiness, and impaired balance and coordination. Taking sleep meds may also cause dependency, increase the risk of car accidents, and more than double the risk of falls and fractures — common reasons for hospitalization and death in older adults, according to Consumer Reports’ Choosing Wisely campaign. Because of these dangers, the American Geriatrics Society includes the potent prescription sleep drugs — Ambien, Lunesta and zaleplon (Sonata) — on its list of medications that adults age 65 and older should avoid. Compounding those dangers is the tendency for many to use the medications for longer than recommended. In a 2015 Consumer Reports survey of 4,023 U.S. adults, 41 percent of people who used OTC sleep aids reported taking them for a year or longer. Most of these drugs should be taken for just a few weeks or less. That’s because mounting evidence suggests that long-term use of certain sleep meds that contain diphenhydramine, found in products including Sominex, Tylenol PM and ZzzQuil; antihistamines such as Benadryl; and some cold and cough medicines may increase the chances of dementia. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Sleep; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 24587 - Posted: 01.30.2018

By Jennifer Hassan The first time sleep paralysis struck me was in the winter of 2012. My grandfather had recently died, and I was spending time at my grandmother’s house. After 60 years of marriage, she wasn’t used to being alone or to the sadness an empty home can bring. Determined to help her in any way I could, I moved into her spare bedroom. As night came, I tucked her into bed and turned out the light — a task she had done for me on countless occasions growing up. The role reversal saddened me but also gave me an overwhelming urge to protect one of the most important women in my life. I lay down in the next bedroom and listened to her muffled sobs. I woke up a few hours later, feeling cold. As I went to pull the blankets up around me, I realized I couldn’t move. I began to panic. What was happening to me? Why was my body paralyzed? I tried to lift my arms: Nothing. My head was cemented to the pillow, my body embedded, frozen. Then the pressure came, pushing against my chest. The more I panicked, the harder it became to breathe. Like something out of a bad horror movie, I tried to scream, but no words came out. Unable to move my eyes, I had no option but to stare upward into the darkness. I couldn’t see anyone else, but for some reason it felt as if I had company. There was a hidden presence and it was tormenting me, refusing to let me go. After what felt like hours but was probably just a few minutes, I was able to move again. Shaking, I switched the bedroom light on and sat upright in bed until morning came. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24580 - Posted: 01.29.2018

By LIZZ SCHUMER It happens every year, and every year, it’s a shock to the system. Nature throws itself one last party, festooning every tree in a crisp blaze of glory. After we’ve digested the last of the spiced cider, after the pumpkins have gone soft, the long, dark days of winter descend. In much of the Northern Hemisphere, December through March brings blustery cold that makes dreary days feel as if we’ve been banished to Siberia. Sound dramatic? Probably not to the roughly 6 percent of Americans suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal and his colleagues first put a name to the disorder in 1984. Today, it’s characterized as a seasonal pattern of major depressive episodes, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. SAD ranges widely in severity, from the doldrums Dr. Rosenthal calls the “winter blues” to disabling ennui. Its cyclical nature differentiates SAD from major depressive disorder. “We have a tendency to want to blame everything on psychological causes,” Dr. Rosenthal explained. “We overlook the obvious, which is that it’s dark as pea soup outside. That’s why I think [SAD] goes unrecognized — it’s right in front of our noses.” While SAD should be diagnosed and treated by a licensed medical professional, several treatment options have emerged in the decades since it was first recognized. Here are a few ways for patients and their doctors to address the disorder, ranging from most to least widely used. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Depression; Biological Rhythms
Link ID: 24558 - Posted: 01.24.2018

By Linda Searing That’s the number of babies in the United States who die each year as the result of a sleep-related issue, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The causes vary, but child health experts believe many of the deaths would be preventable if more parents adhered to safe-sleep practices. For instance, babies should be placed on their backs to sleep, but the CDC found that 22 percent of moms placed babies on their side or stomach. Soft bedding — blankets, pillows, bumper pads — should be kept out of the sleep area, but 39 percent of moms said they used soft bedding. And it’s a good idea to share a room with an infant but not a bed with a baby. Still, 61 percent of moms told the CDC they had slept with their babies. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24525 - Posted: 01.15.2018

By Diana Kwon Centuries ago, humans believed that seizures were tied to the lunar cycle. Although scientific evidence for this association is scarce, physicians have long suspected that temporal patterns connected with epilepsy may exist. These days, the condition’s link to our sleep-wake cycles, or circadian rhythms, is well-documented, primarily through observations that seizures are more prevalent at night or tend to occur at specific times of day. Scientists now report the existence of seizure-associated brain rhythms with longer periods, most commonly within the 20- to 30-day range, in a study published today (January 8) in Nature Communications. “People have made these observations since antiquity and have wanted to speculate and explain these oscillations for a long time,” study coauthor Vikram Rao, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, tells The Scientist. “But only recently [have we gotten] the tools that might allow us to actually unravel this.” Rao and his colleagues analyzed data collected from one such tool—the NeuroPace device, an FDA-approved, implanted brain stimulator that continuously monitors neural activity and sends electrical pulses when a seizure is imminent. It acts, in some sense, like a “pacemaker for the brain,” Rao says. The device detects and records both seizures and interictal epileptiform discharges, pathological brain activity associated with these events, using electroencephalography (EEG). “In between seizures, we see electric discharges that signify irritability of the brain and a propensity to have seizures,” Rao explains. “It’s like seeing sparks from a match, where you say, wow, that looks like there’s potential for a fire but it’s not the fire itself.” © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Keyword: Epilepsy; Biological Rhythms
Link ID: 24513 - Posted: 01.10.2018

Want to eat better? Sleep more. Increasing the amount of sleep a person gets has been linked to eating fewer sugary foods, and making better nutritional choices. Wendy Hall, at King’s College London, and her team enlisted 42 volunteers to help them investigate the link between sleep and diet. Half the participants were given advice on how to get more sleep – such as avoiding caffeine before bed, establishing a relaxing routine, and trying not to go to bed too full or hungry. This advice was intended to help them boost the amount of sleep they each got by 90 minutes a night. The remaining 21 volunteers received no such advice. The team found that, of those who were given the advice, 86 per cent spent more time in bed, and around half slept for longer than they used to. These extended sleep patterns were associated with an average reduction in the intake of free sugars of 10 grams a day. People who were getting more sleep also ate fewer carbohydrates. There were no significant changes in diet in the control group. Free sugars include those that are added to foods by manufacturers or during cooking at home, as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice. “The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets,” says Hall. © Copyright New Scientist Ltd.

Keyword: Sleep; Obesity
Link ID: 24510 - Posted: 01.10.2018

By Nicole Edison Worried you might say something you regret when talking in your sleep? Your concerns may be justified: According to a recent study from France, your midnight mumblings may be more negative and insulting than what you say while awake. In the study, researchers found that sleep talkers said the word “no” four times as often in their sleep as when awake. And the f-word popped up during sleep talking more than 800 times more frequently than while awake. To study sleep talking, the researchers recorded nearly 900 nighttime utterances from about 230 adults during one or two consecutive nights in a sleep lab. Because sleep talking is a relatively rare event, the majority of people in the study had certain types of sleep disorders, or parasomnias, which are unusual behaviors that happen during sleep, the researchers noted. Once recorded, the nocturnal episodes were analyzed for such factors as wordiness, silences, tone, politeness and abusive language. These results were compared to see how sleep speech matched up to everyday spoken French in form and content. The researchers found that the majority (59 percent) of the nighttime utterances were unintelligible or nonverbal, including mumbling, whispering and laughing. But among the utterances that were intelligible, a surprising amount of what was said was offensive or aggressive: 24 percent contained negative content, 22 percent had “nasty” language and almost 10 percent contained the word “no” in some form. (By comparison, the word “no” accounted for 2.5 percent of awake language.) © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24498 - Posted: 01.08.2018

Veronique Greenwood TSUKUBA, Japan—Outside the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, the heavy fragrance of sweet Osmanthus trees fills the air, and big golden spiders string their webs among the bushes. Two men in hard hats next to the main doors mutter quietly as they measure a space and apply adhesive to the slate-colored wall. The building is so new that they are still putting up the signs. The institute is five years old, its building still younger, but already it has attracted some 120 researchers from fields as diverse as pulmonology and chemistry and countries ranging from Switzerland to China. An hour north of Tokyo at the University of Tsukuba, with funding from the Japanese government and other sources, the institute’s director, Masashi Yanagisawa, has created a place to study the basic biology of sleep, rather than, as is more common, the causes and treatment of sleep problems in people. Full of rooms of gleaming equipment, quiet chambers where mice slumber, and a series of airy work spaces united by a spiraling staircase, it’s a place where tremendous resources are focused on the question of why, exactly, living things sleep. Ask researchers this question, and listen as, like clockwork, a sense of awe and frustration creeps into their voices. In a way, it’s startling how universal sleep is: In the midst of the hurried scramble for survival, across eons of bloodshed and death and flight, uncountable millions of living things have laid themselves down for a nice, long bout of unconsciousness. This hardly seems conducive to living to fight another day. “It’s crazy, but there you are,” says Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen of the University of Helsinki, a leading sleep biologist. That such a risky habit is so common, and so persistent, suggests that whatever is happening is of the utmost importance. Whatever sleep gives to the sleeper is worth tempting death over and over again, for a lifetime. (c) 2018 by The Atlantic Monthly Group.

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24495 - Posted: 01.06.2018

By Joshua Rothman One day in the nineteen-eighties, a woman went to the hospital for cancer surgery. The procedure was a success, and all of the cancer was removed. In the weeks afterward, though, she felt that something was wrong. She went back to her surgeon, who reassured her that the cancer was gone; she consulted a psychiatrist, who gave her pills for depression. Nothing helped—she grew certain that she was going to die. She met her surgeon a second time. When he told her, once again, that everything was fine, she suddenly blurted out, “The black stuff—you didn’t get the black stuff!” The surgeon’s eyes widened. He remembered that, during the operation, he had idly complained to a colleague about the black mold in his bathroom, which he could not remove no matter what he did. The cancer had been in the woman’s abdomen, and during the operation she had been under general anesthesia; even so, it seemed that the surgeon’s words had lodged in her mind. As soon as she discovered what had happened, her anxiety dissipated. Henry Bennett, an American psychologist, tells this story to Kate Cole-Adams, an Australian journalist, in her book “Anesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness.” Cole-Adams hears many similar stories from other anesthesiologists and psychologists: apparently, people can hear things while under anesthesia, and can be affected by what they hear even if they can’t remember it. One woman suffers from terrible insomnia after her hysterectomy; later, while hypnotized, she recalls her anesthesiologist joking that she would “sleep the sleep of death.” Another patient becomes suicidal after a minor procedure; later, she remembers that, while she was on the table, her surgeon exclaimed, “She is fat, isn’t she?” In the nineteen-nineties, German scientists put headphones on thirty people undergoing heart surgery, then, during the operation, played them an abridged version of “Robinson Crusoe.” None of the patients recalled this happening, but afterward, when asked what came to mind when they heard the word “Friday,” many mentioned the story. In 1985, Bennett himself asked patients receiving gallbladder or spinal surgeries to wear headphones. A control group heard the sounds of the operating theatre; the others heard Bennett saying, “When I come to talk with you, you will pull on your ear.” When they met with him, those who’d heard the message touched their ears three times more often than those who hadn’t. © 2018 Condé Nast.

Keyword: Consciousness; Sleep
Link ID: 24493 - Posted: 01.05.2018

By RONI CARYN RABIN A. Studies have found a link between low levels of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in a wide range of bodily processes, and sleep disorders. But if you are concerned you aren’t getting enough magnesium, changing your diet may be a better option than taking a supplement, as “there is really sparse evidence that taking super-therapeutic doses of magnesium will give you a benefit,” said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a professor of pulmonary and sleep medicine at the University of Southern California. The mineral is widely available in both plant and animal-based foods, and the kidneys limit urinary excretion of magnesium, so deficiencies are rare in healthy people. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains are good sources of magnesium; fish, chicken and beef also contain magnesium. Older adults and people with certain disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and alcoholism, however, may have inadequate amounts. “Magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety and difficulty relaxing, which are key ingredients to getting good sleep at night,” Dr. Dasgupta said. He noted that magnesium interacts with an important neurotransmitter that favors sleep. One small double-blinded clinical trial of 43 elderly people in Tehran who were randomly assigned to receive either 500 milligrams of magnesium or a placebo for eight weeks found that those who received the supplement fell asleep faster and spent more of their time in bed asleep, but their total sleep time was not necessarily longer. An even smaller study of 10 people done nearly 20 years ago found that taking a magnesium supplement helped people with restless leg syndrome get more sleep. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24489 - Posted: 01.05.2018

Shankar Vedantam Decades ago, Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days. He broke a record in the process, but the teenage stunt has come back to haunt him. At 71, he offers wisdom about staying up past your bedtime. NOEL KING, HOST: And this next story is about something we think about a lot at MORNING EDITION. It's about sleep. It's actually about the lack of sleep. Decades ago, a teenage boy named Randy Gardner stopped sleeping for 11 nights. And because of that, scientists were able to learn something about the price we pay when we don't get enough rest. NPR's Shankar Vedantam has the story. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Our story begins in 1963, when Randy Gardner moved to San Diego. He was 17. It was the last in a long line of childhood moves. RANDY GARDNER: I'm the oldest of four siblings in a military family. VEDANTAM: In every town he lived in, Randy entered the science fair. GARDNER: I was a kind of a science nerd when I was young. When we came to this town, San Diego, I thought, boy, this is a big city. VEDANTAM: If he wanted to win the science fair here, he'd have to pull out all the stops. The idea he came up with? Going without sleep for 264 hours, exactly 11 days - long enough to break a world record. He recruited two of his friends... GARDNER: Bruce McAllister, and Joe Marciano. VEDANTAM: ...And asked them to stay awake on rotations around the clock to help him stay awake. GARDNER: If you're on your own, you're going to succumb. You're going to fall asleep. © 2017 npr

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24467 - Posted: 12.29.2017

By Sally Abrahams BBC News For years, Mary Rose struggled to get off to sleep or to stay asleep, because she felt like she was being attacked by insects. "Imagine having a swarm of bees buzzing inside the skin of your legs, biting you," she says, describing the sensation that overwhelmed her. "It's really very, very painful." Now in her 80s, the art historian has a condition called restless legs syndrome (RLS), which tortures her at night. "It makes you want to scratch your legs and get up and walk about - it was just impossible to lie down and sleep because one's legs were twitching in this uncontrollable way," she explained. The symptoms were so severe, she didn't want to go to bed at night. 'No sleep at all' Mary Rose can't remember when the problem began, but the condition went undiagnosed for years. "People would say 'oh you've got cramp; you must take quinine or sleep with corks in your bed'. And I did all these things." Of course, they had no effect. She also tried rubbing ointment into her legs to ease the stinging sensation, but that never lasted long enough to let her sleep through the night. Visits to her GP also failed to bring relief. Eventually, she was referred to the sleep clinic at Guy's and St Thomas's hospitals in London, where she's now being treated by neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner. "Restless legs syndrome is a common neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move, particularly at night, and is often linked with unpleasant sensations in the legs," Dr Leschziner explains. "It affects up to one in 20 adults," he continues, "and can cause severe sleep deprivation." At its worst, Mary Rose was surviving on only a few hours' sleep at night, sometimes even less. "I have had complete nights without any sleep at all," she says. © 2017 BBC

Keyword: Sleep; Movement Disorders
Link ID: 24457 - Posted: 12.26.2017

Jon Hamilton Older brains may forget more because they lose their rhythm at night. During deep sleep, older people have less coordination between two brain waves that are important to saving new memories, a team reports in the journal Neuron. "It's like a drummer that's perhaps just one beat off the rhythm," says Matt Walker, one of the paper's authors and a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. "The aging brain just doesn't seem to be able to synchronize its brain waves effectively." The finding appears to answer a long-standing question about how aging can affect memory even in people who do not have Alzheimer's or some other brain disease. "This is the first paper that actually found a cellular mechanism that might be affected during aging and therefore be responsible for a lack of memory consolidation during sleep," says Julie Seibt, a lecturer in sleep and plasticity at the University of Surrey in the U.K. Seibt was not involved in the new study. To confirm the finding, though, researchers will have to show that it's possible to cause memory problems in a young brain by disrupting these rhythms, Seibt says. The study was the result of an effort to understand how the sleeping brain turns short-term memories into memories that can last a lifetime, says Walker, the author of the book Why We Sleep. "What is it about sleep that seems to perform this elegant trick of cementing new facts into the neural architecture of the brain?" To find out, Walker and a team of scientists had 20 young adults learn 120 pairs of words. "Then we put electrodes on their head and we had them sleep," he says. The electrodes let researchers monitor the electrical waves produced by the brain during deep sleep. They focused on the interaction between slow waves, which occur every second or so, and faster waves called sleep spindles, which occur more than 12 times a second. © 2017 npr

Keyword: Sleep; Learning & Memory
Link ID: 24433 - Posted: 12.18.2017

Scientists have identified differences in a group of genes they say might help explain why some people need a lot more sleep — and others less — than most. The study, conducted using fruit fly populations bred to model natural variations in human sleep patterns, provides new clues to how genes for sleep duration are linked to a wide variety of biological processes. Researchers say a better understanding of these processes could lead to new ways to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia and narcolepsy. Led by scientists with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, the study will be published on Dec. 14 in PLOS Genetics. “This study is an important step toward solving one of the biggest mysteries in biology: the need to sleep,” says study leader Susan Harbison, Ph.D., an investigator in the Laboratory of Systems Genetics at NHLBI. “The involvement of highly diverse biological processes in sleep duration may help explain why the purpose of sleep has been so elusive.” Scientists have known for some time that, in addition to our biological clocks, genes play a key role in sleep and that sleep patterns can vary widely. But the exact genes controlling the duration of sleep and the biological processes that are linked to these genes have remained unclear. To learn more, scientists artificially bred 13 generations of wild fruit flies to produce flies that were either long sleepers (sleeping 18 hours each day) or short sleepers (sleeping three hours each day). The scientists then compared genetic data between the long and short sleepers and identified 126 differences among 80 genes that appear to be associated with sleep duration. They found that these genetic differences were tied to several important developmental and cell signaling pathways. Some of the genes identified have known functions in brain development, as well as roles in learning and memory, the researchers said.

Keyword: Sleep; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 24426 - Posted: 12.15.2017

By KAREN WEINTRAUB Q. For working parents, it’s difficult to find time to exercise during the week, and early morning is often the only time slot available. Is it better for my overall health to get eight hours of sleep per night during the week but not have time to exercise, or to get six and a half to seven hours of sleep per night and fit in a morning workout? A. “That’s a terrible choice,” said Dr. Charles Czeisler, a sleep expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Both sleep and exercise are key components of a healthy lifestyle and shouldn’t be pitted against each other, Dr. Czeisler said. Sleep is important for workouts, he noted, reducing the risk of injury and allowing muscles to recover from exercise. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system, making people more likely to become sick — which means missing workouts. Sacrificing sleep has also been tied to weight gain, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among other health problems. Of course, regular exercise provides a lot of benefits, too, including sounder sleep. Dr. Czeisler also noted that going to bed late, particularly if you’re using electronic devices and sitting under bright lights before bedtime, shifts the body’s circadian rhythms later. But people still need around eight hours of sleep per night. So if you get up after six and a half hours to work out, “you’re essentially exercising during your biological night,” he said. Research from Northwestern University suggests that muscle cells also have circadian rhythms, and that they perform and recover much better during the biological daytime than the biological night. “So, getting up during your biological night to exercise is counterproductive,” Dr. Czeisler said. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24406 - Posted: 12.08.2017

Terry Gross This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Here's how my guest describes his work. He writes, (reading) I am an anesthesiologist. I erase consciousness, deny memories, steal time, immobilize the body. I alter heart rate, blood pressure and breathing, and then I reverse these effects. I eliminate pain during a procedure, and I prevent it afterwards. I care for sick people, and I have saved lives, but it's rare that I'm the actual healer. That's from the opening of Dr. Henry Jay Przybylo's new memoir, "Counting Backwards: A Doctor's Notes On Anesthesia." He specializes in pediatric anesthesiology and estimates he treats about 1,000 children a year from micropreemies (ph) to teenagers. He's dealt with benign conditions, like the removal of a skin mole, as well as potentially fatal ones, like clipping a cerebral artery aneurism and heart transplants. He's also an associate professor at the Northwestern University School of Medicine. Dr. Przybylo, welcome to FRESH AIR. Your book is called "Counting Backwards." So why do anesthesiologists ask patients to count backwards from 100? HENRY JAY PRZYBYLO: You know, I'm not sure. I searched the Internet and everything to try and find the answer to that, and the closest I can come to is that around 1940s, we came up - medicines were developed to induce anesthesia that were given through veins - IV - and they were extremely quick-acting. And I think sometime, some anesthesiologist somewhere just wanted to see how long it would take and asked the patient to start counting backwards from a hundred, realizing they never made it out of the 90s before they were anesthetized, and I think that just stuck. © 2017 npr

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24375 - Posted: 11.29.2017

Patricia Neighmond As the months grow colder and darker, many people find themselves somewhat sadder and even depressed. Bright light is sometimes used to help treat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Researchers are now testing light therapy to see if it also can help treat depression that's part of bipolar disorder. It's unclear how lack of light might cause the winter blues, although some suggest that the dark days affect the production of serotonin in the skin. The idea with light therapy for depression is to replace the sunshine lost with a daily dose of bright white artificial light. (Antidepressants, psychotherapy and Vitamin D help, too, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.) The light box is actually more like a screen, the size of your average desktop computer. Some people call it a "happy box." To test its usefulness in treating bipolar disorder, researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University enrolled 46 patients who had at least moderate bipolar depression. Half of participants were assigned to receive bright light therapy. The other half received a dim red placebo light. They also kept taking their regular medication. © 2017 npr

Keyword: Biological Rhythms; Schizophrenia
Link ID: 24368 - Posted: 11.27.2017