We've all heard myths about sleep. Sometimes they can be characterized as "old wives' tales," but there are other times the incorrect information can be serious and even dangerous. For example, it's often believed that snoring is common, and it's often portrayed in movies and television shows in a comical manner. However, snoring can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep.
You always hear about health problems associated with people not getting enough sleep, but what about getting too much sleep? According to a study in the European Journal of Neurology, sleeping nine hours or more every day might increase your risk for dementia. The study, conducted by researchers in Spain, followed 3,286 adults age 65 and over for three years. Participants were screened for dementia and reported their daily sleep duration, which included night-time sleep and daytime napping.
The Today Show recently featured a segment on drowsy driving among teenagers. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2006 Sleep in America poll, 51 percent of all adolescents who drive reported that they had driven drowsy at least once in the past year. Among those adolescents, 5 percent had nodded off or fallen asleep while driving in the past year, and 27 percent of those respondents had an accident or near accident due to drowsiness while driving.
A recent video on YouTube showing a sleepwalking dog that runs into a wall may be comical but it also highlights potentially serious sleep disorders that can affect pets, according to a press release by Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The video, titled "Sleepwalking Fail," shows a sleeping dog that starts to "run" in his sleep, only to suddenly jump up and run head first into a wall. According to the press release, the dog is most likely displaying signs of a sleep disorder and it could be a dangerous condition.
If you're looking to avoid the cold or the flu this fall, make time for sleep! Studies show that sleep deprivation has an adverse effect on immune function, and chronic sleep loss can increase an individual's vulnerability to infectious diseases. Past Sleep in America polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicate that children and the elderly, identified as high-risk populations and first in line for the flu vaccine, are often sleep-deprived.
A study conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University suggests that infant sleep patterns might be a response to parental expectations, according to the New York Times' Motherlode blog. By gathering information through a combination of questionnaires, sleep diaries and monitoring through infant ankle monitors, researchers studied 85 families to determine the role parents may have in the development of infant sleep patterns.
If you've ever lost a bet because you forgot something or remembered an event incorrectly, take note: Sleep can reduce false memories and even increase accuracy of episodic memory, according to a study in the journal Learning and Memory. Researchers at the University of Chicago, Illinois, and Michigan State University, East Lansing, examined three experiments that tested subjects' memories of studied words.
We've written a lot in the past couple of weeks about how going back to school can affect the sleep-wake patterns of teens and younger children. But what about older students who face a more rigorous academic and social schedule? Late-night studying and partying can take a toll on college students, Dr. Michael J. Breus recently wrote on the news site the Huffington Post. Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on college students' health, academic performance and safety.
Did you know that for teenagers to function best, it is suggested that they get nine and a half hours of sleep every night? With the school bell ringing as early as 7 a.m., your child would need to be in bed around 9 p.m. in order to leave enough time for getting ready in the morning. For most parents, it would be an amazing feat to get your child into bed that early. One study found that only 15 percent reported sleeping eight and a half hours on school nights.
The president has designated former National Sleep Foundation Secretary Christopher A. Hart as the National Transportation Safety Board's new vice chairman, according to a press release by the agency. Hart, who served on the National Sleep Foundation's board from 1999 to 2008, also formerly served as deputy director for the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Air Traffic Safety Oversight and FAA Assistant Administrator for System Safety, where he was responsible for identifying and addressing key safety issues and emerging trends affecting aviation safety.