It is a known fact that many people sometimes use alcohol as an effective and fast sleep inducer. Drinking a glass or two of wine before going to bed always helps to relax and feel slight calls for falling asleep. In addition to that, many people who are aware about health effects of high quality red wine, which is filled with antioxidants and their health effects, find nothing bad about drinking a glass or two of wine at dinner. However, as the scientists suggest, using alcohol, even as healthy as high quality red wine, is not healthy and can not guarantee you having great sleep. The point is that after drinking some wine or stronger alcohol beverages, it can be easier to fall asleep, but it is actually much harder to have a good sleep st night and feel properly rested after the sleep.
A group of experts at the London Sleep Centre carried out a study with the main objective to to analyze the connections between consuming alcohol and sleep, and focused their thorough attention on how alcohol actually leads to sleep disruption and sleep disorders. As their findings have shown, consuming alcohol before going to bed on a regular basis can have very serious negative consequences and change normal sleep cycle of such a person. Moreover, the researchers led by Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, are convinced that those who use wine and other alcohol beverages for helping them to fall asleep faster, are at much higher risk of suffering from sleep disorders, including insomnia and other related ones. “One or two glasses might be nice in the short term, but if you continue to use a tipple before bedtime it can cause significant problems,” says the study leader and the medical director at the London Sleep Centre.
“If you do have a drink, it’s best to leave an hour and a half to two hours before going to bed so the alcohol is already wearing off,” he said. Dr. Ebrahim warns that using wine or alcohol beverages as sleep inducers can also stimulate dependence which will lead to absolutely terrible consequences. In addition to that, as the analysis by the researchers has demonstrated, consuming alcohol before the bedtime is a factor which stimulates snoring. It turned out that increasing doses of alcohol can have suppressing effects on our breathing, therefore, it can make people who never suffered from snoring start experiencing this common sleep problem. Moreover, those snorers who use alcohol as sleep inducing solution can develop a problem known as sleep apnea, a serious condition linked to short breathing interruption during sleep, thus reduced oxygen amounts coming to the brain and increased risks of very serious health conditions.
The findings of this interesting study were recently published in one of the issues of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Other specialists gave very high value and underlined the importance of the findings. “Alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night’s sleep. Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn’t expect better sleep with alcohol,” Chris Idzikowski, a Scottish expert and an official from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre commented on the findings. Remember about the mentioned links and the connections between alcohol and sleep discovered and reported by British scientists. Beware of negative effects of alcohol beverages consumed right before the bedtime, regardless of their alcohol content or possible health benefits.
Could you every imagine that a good night’s sleep can be a secret to a happy marriage? So say the scientists from the University of Berkeley, California, who studied sleep patterns and family life of American couples in order to find out the links between their sleep and success of their marriage. It was discovered that the couples free from sleep deprivation and other common sleep disorders demonstrated much better performance in various teamwork related tasks, including working together or encouraging each other. However, those who suffered from insomnia, distorted sleep or other common sleep problems tended to take marriage for granted, never showed appreciation and failed in demonstrating love and care to their partners. In addition to that, those participants who reported suffering from chronic and severe sleep problems like chronic insomnia were found to have very high chances of facing serious problems in their marriage, and possibly even ending up with a divorce.
Those are the conclusions that the scientists came to after analyzing the data collected on 60 American married couples of various ages, from 18 to 55. The participants were asked to make detailed reports about their sleep routine, sleep hours, and also about all their activities and emotional sides of living together. In addition, the participants were offered a few decision making and problem solving assignments counted on demonstrating clear teamwork skills. According to the findings presented on the last week of January 2012 at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychologists in New Orleans, there are very strong links between good sleep or being free from sleep disorders and better performance in married life. Berkeley University experts are convinced that their findings should be considered of a great importance since they explain the role that good sleep plays for developing healthy marriage relationships and living a long happy marriage.
The researchers suggest that having a good night’s sleep is important to a happy marriage since a lack of proper rest at night causes plenty of negative emotions which very often turn into negative attitude towards life and everything that surrounds chronic insomniacs, including even their family members. ‘Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritise our own needs over our partner’s. You may have slept like a baby but if your partner didn’t, you’ll probably both end up grouchy. Make sure to say thanks when your partner does something nice. Let them know you appreciate them,’ that’s how Amie Gordon, one of the study leaders and a psychology expert at the University of Berkeley commented on the findings of his research group. He also underlined that this study was the first of its kind, to study the effects of good sleep on personal relationships of married people, regardless of other factors like their social status, occupation, income, the number of kids, ethnic origins, and so on.
According to the latest estimations, over two thirds of modern people reported suffering from minor or severe sleep problems, which very often interfere with their normal life development and cause serious other problems related to overall and psychological health. As the survey of 2011 by the scientists from the Mental Health Foundation has demonstrated, less than 35 per cent of modern people around the world say that they can regularly benefit from a good night’s sleep, and the specialists are afraid that poor sleep quality can very soon turn into a very serious public health concern, especially in the most developed countries of the world. A number of previous studies examined the links between bad sleep and psychological condition of people. In particular, it is reported that those who suffer from chronic sleep disorders are three times more prone to having mood swings, as well as four times more often have to face problem in interpersonal relationships compared to those people who have no sleep disorders and sleep well every night.
Working nigh shifts is a very common practice for certain occupations like miners, phone agents, doctors, and many others. Certain industrial enterprises around the world usually have a non-stop manufacturing routine, which requires workers work shifts both in daytime and at night. It is estimated that in the modern industrial sector of the United States of America, about 3.6 million male workers (or about 14 per cent of the working population of the country) have to work shifts meaning getting involved in regular work at night. There are plenty of dangers and risks linked to using this kind of working routine and regularly working night shifts. In particular, according to the findings of a scientific group from Harvard Medical School and the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, those workers who have to work at night are exposed to higher risks of diabetes and higher risks of obesity. Another study published this summer in the British Medical Journal has shown that working shifts can increase risks of strokes and heart attacks by almost 40%.
Recently, the findings of one more study related to the issue were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and reported in many world’s leading mass media. It turned out that working night shifts exposes men’s health to much more dangers and risks of suffering from very serious health conditions. A group of Canadian scientists at the University of Quebec conducted a series of studies in order to research the effects of working night sifts on men and on women. Earlier this year, the findings of their firts study was published saying that working at night is linked to very high risks for breast cancer in women. According to the present findings received after analyzing the data on men working at night, this type of working routine is linked to increased risks of prostate caner in men. In addition, as the findings of the study have shown, night workers are at increased risks of suffering from other common types of cancer, including bowel cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and others.
The scientists have chosen quite an interesting approach to their scientific work. They gathered extensive data for the last ten years on about 3,135 Canadian men diagnosed with prostate cancer along with similar kind of data on 500 totally health men. That included eating habits and daily diet, daily exercise routine, the specifics of work and occupation, other important social, economic, environmental, personal, cultural and other factors. Analyzing and comparing the collected information gave the scientists an opportunity to understand that working night shifts is linked to more than three times higher risk for prostate cancer in men, as well as almost twice higher chances to be diagnosed with bowel cancer. To make the things worse, it is reported that such working routine is associated with up to 70 per cent higher risks of bladder cancer and up to 76 per cent higher risk for lung cancer, one of the most common types of cancer which leads to death in the most of the cases.
The Canadian scientists underline that their findings should not be neglected and must bring many employers to revising their working routine. They explain the discovered phenomena by the property of the body to suppress the effects of melatonin which takes place when a person is awake and needs to get focused on working at night. Melatonin is a hormone produced in human body and plays a role of a natural regulating agent of sleeping and being awake condition. It works great only in case when a person follows a stable and regular sleep-awake routine and gets affected when a person has to stay awake or has chronic sleep disorders. At that, the Canadian experts underline that making changes to the daily routine similar to the ones of working day and night shifts for over a 10-year period of time can cause very serious changes in the body and be linked with the above mentioned risks of serious diseases. Those who are wondering about the details and want to learn more about the findings of this interesting study can check out the original report in this webpage.
There is a big public interest in the issue of possible links between sleep and weight loss. At the first sight, the link can seem obvious: the more we sleep, the less we move, so the higher risks of obesity and weight gain we actually have. After giving a second thought to the issue, some can come up with the idea that a lack of sleep or sleeping insufficient amount of time can also be bad for weight loss since improper or insufficient sleep is linked to feeling weak and lacking energy for proper physical activities during the day. The findings of an expert team of scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have proven the fact that a lack of sleep is linked poor nutrition, as well as higher risks for weight gain and serious cardiovascular problems. Recently, the findings of one more interesting study were published explaining the effects and the role of sleep for weight loss.
The links between sleep and weight loss were studied by a team of experts at the University of Washington. For their experiment, they invited 1088 pairs of twins, trying to eliminate genetic differences as an important weight loss or gain factor. It is a known fact that our genetics plays one of the main roles in our body’s patterns of storing energy, that is why using twins was thought to be the best idea for researching the effects of sleep for weight loss. A half of the participants was offered to have a less than 7 hours of daily sleep, and other participants were asked to have prolonged sleep of 9 and more hours a day. At that, some pairs of twins were supposed to have certain genetic predisposition to weight gain and being overweight, and some pairs were free from such factor, having normal body mass.
It turned out that those of the twins who were asked to sleep 9 hours and longer demonstrated much better results in weight loss and maintaining normal body mass, compared to those participants who slept 7 and less hours a day. At that, the influence of genetic factors in the links of sleep and weight loss was twice greater in those who slept for a shorter period of time every night compared to those who had a long sleep of more than 9 hours a night. Therefore, as the findings suggest, sleeping more than 9 hours can assist those of us who have a strong genetic predisposition to being overweight, remain in healthy body mass and reduce all related health risks. The findings of American scientists were published earlier this summer in one of the issues of the journal Sleep.
This was one of the first studies to research genetic connections between sleep and weight loss, and the scientists managed to find out a lot of new information about the genes associated with weight gain and obesity. Those carry valuable information about processing and storing fat, using sugar in the body, feeling of being full after eating, and so on. According to Dr Nathaniel Watson, one of the study leaders and an expert at the University of Washington: “The shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity related genes.” The study authors recommend all of us do not count on the stated effects and benefits of sleep for weight loss, because prolonged sleep as a natural weight loss boosting factor can work out only in conjunction with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
A great deal of experts have pointed to the fact that actually our sleep and learning abilities are quite closely linked with each other. Do you remember your college times and how sleepy you could feel by the end of certain lectures? One could think that such things happen only when the lesson is too boring or too long. However, falling asleep right after getting certain information means nothing but perfectly absorbing and learning this kind of new information very well. That is why experts recommend studying and learning something right before going to sleep. Exam preparation, learning something by heart, studying for tomorrow’s lesson or preparing for tomorrow’s office presentation – those are the activities should be done right before the bedtime, in order to maximize the effectiveness of learning process.
A group of scientists from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, attempted to study the links between our sleep and learning. The experiment involved 208 students who studied in various educational establishments and always had 6 hours of sleep at night. The core of the experiment was showing the participants pairs of words (sometimes related to each other and sometimes totally different ones) and asking to remember as many of the words as possible. The tests were taking place before and after sleep, after rest and after breaks of various length. It is reported that recalling the pairs of words was slightly better after a 12-hour break between the tests. The longest break between the tests was as much as 24 hours.
At the same time, after the experiments with word memorizing tests before and after going to sleep on the second stage of the study, it became apparent that memorizing words right before going to bed can be much more successful, regardless of how long break was taken before and after the test. The benefits of sleeping after receiving new information are very long term, the scientists suggest. Also, as the experiment has shown, memorizing the words before the bedtime can be effective both for the pairs or related and the pairs of not related words. Thus, this study has proven that our sleep and learning are closely related and we can use these links for our benefits when studying or learning something new.
‘Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory.’ commented Jessica Payne, one of the study leaders and a psychologist from the University of Notre Dame. She said that especially effective can be repeating the information that we need to keep in mind right before going to sleep. Exam study materials, oral presentation or speech, poems or other information that is necessary to keep in mind can be remembered in the most effective way after a series of pre-bedtime repetitions, she said. Payne describes this technique as ‘telling our brain the things to remember’. You can read more about this interesting study and its findings in one of the latest issues of the specialist journal PLOS One.