We all know the myth behind turkey and sleepiness. Certain foods such as turkey contain an amino acid called tryptophan that causes sleepiness, potentially resulting in post-Thanksgiving dinner naps everywhere. There is some doubt over whether that is true. Some believe turkey doesn't contain enough tryptophan to be effective. But were you aware that other foods, like popcorn, may have a similar effect?
Adults these days may not remember their parents yelling at them "Turn off that television/computer and go to sleep!" But they probably find themselves handing out that advice to their children on a nightly basis. And for a good reason, as research conducted by the University of Haifa and Jezreel Valley College in Israel has found that kids who have a television or computer in their room sleep less during the school year compared with their peers who don't. Researchers followed 444 middle school children with an average age of 14 and found the average bedtime was 11:04 p.m.
Researchers at Oxford University have found that nerve cells in the eye use the level of brightness in a person's environment to control sleepiness, according to an article in ScienceDaily. Much of our sleep patterns — feeling sleepy at night and awake during the day — are regulated by light and darkness. Light is the most powerful regulator of our biological clock. However, according to the article, drugs that have been developed to modify sleep-wake cycles target many chemical pathways and different parts of the brain at the same time, resulting in side effects.
Did you have trouble falling asleep last night? Did you experience difficulty staying asleep or did you wake up too early? If your answers were "yes," "yes" and "all the time," you have something in common with your fellow Americans. A survey of 1,466 adults conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 44 percent of the respondents reported those problems — for many, repeatedly. The survey, to be published in the Consumer Report's September issue, also found that many people turn to medicine to treat sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
Everyone has experienced stress at one time or another, and it's not hard to imagine that too much stress can make you more susceptible to sickness. But why? According to a recent study in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers believe they've found a mechanism that alters the body's immune response when under stress. The researchers examined two groups — one composed of caregivers of family members with cancer and the other composed of individuals without that type of stress.
According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, co-ingestion of large amounts of caffeine with carbohydrates after an exhausting workout rapidly replenishes glycogen, the muscle's primary fuel source. The study, conducted by researchers in Australia, looked at subjects who completed a cycling workout followed by a low-carb diet. The next morning they were asked to complete the workout again, but this time subjects either followed the workout with more carbohydrates or carbs plus caffeine.
Custom-made oral appliances are more effective than thermoplastic devices in treating mild sleep apnea, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study examined 35 patients during four months of treatment with both devices and discovered that the success rate was higher with custom-made devices and snoring was reduced to a greater extent. Also, 82% of patients preferred the custom devices after the study concluded.
How many times have you fallen asleep with the lights, or television on, or even stayed up late to use your computer right before going to bed? A key factor in regulating sleep and your biological clocks is exposure to light or to darkness so falling asleep with lights on may not be the best thing for a good night's sleep. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake.