Smoking Takes Our Good Sleep Away

Smoking and SleepOur bad habits bring us some happy and relaxing moments, but they are destroying our health day by day. A lot is known about harmful effects and risks linked to smoking, including increased chances to suffer from lung cancer and others. According to the findings of a recent study, there are also strong links between smoking and sleep. A few days ago, an expert team from Charite Berlin medical school in Germany has published the report about their new research saying that smokers have fewer hours and lower quality sleep compared to those who do not have this nasty habit. The report appeared in the journal Addiction Biology and was reprinted by many popular mass media in Europe and the United States, causing quite a vivid public reaction.

German researchers analyzed the data on 1,100 chronic smokers and 1,200 non-smokers collected during the study aiming to establish the links between smoking and sleep. The participants were offered to answer a set of questions related to their sleep quality and duration. It turned out that among smokers, every one of four participants reported about very low sleep quality, and about 17 per cent claimed that they can not sleep for more than 6 hours a day. At the same time, among non-smokers one in five participants is reported to suffer from chronic disturbed sleep, and only 7 per cent reported sleeping less than 6 hours a day. At that, it was estimated that all smokers had much higher risks of suffering from insomnia compared to those of the participants who do not smoke.

This study demonstrates for the first time an elevated prevalence of sleep disturbance in smokers compared with non-smokers in a population without lifetime history of psychiatric disorders even after controlling for potentially relevant risk factors,’ said Stefan Cohrs, one of the study leaders and an expert from Charite Berlin medical school. He underlined that during the study, it became apparent that those people who smoke more than 20-25 cigarettes a day suffer from chronic disturbed sleep, and in conjunction with other related factors (excessive stresses, increased caffeine consumption, bad sleeping habits, staying up late, leading inactive lifestyle, and so on), smoking can bring to really serious outcomes and cause quite serious sleep problems for moderate and heavy smokers.

According to Cohrs, during the study his expert group did not manage to find direct criteria to prove that smoking impairs sleep and  strictly linked to disturbed sleep. However, he underlined that there were reasons to believe that the established connections between smoking and sleep problems can be caused by stimulating effects of nicotine. Cohrs says that our sleep can be affected by many other factors, including our body mass, age, alcohol consumption, etc. But still, according to the experts, the links between nicotine consumption (smoking) and sleep were the sheerest. Cohrs is convinced that the findings of his scientific team will make all smokers around the world think deeper about their health and give another reason to quit this nasty habit. Find more information about the study and the findings of German experts in this report.

Disturbed Sleep Can Be Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease

Disturbed SleepSleep problems and various sleep disorders like insomnia (chronic or occasional), sleep apnea, inability to rest at night, inability to follow a normal sleep cycle, inability to fall asleep on time, etc., are very well familiar to most of modern people. Our busy and stressful business life, numerous problems in our families and in our friend’s life, sedentary lifestyle, bad habits and unhealthy nutrition, taking certain medications, our ailments and health conditions – those are the most common causes of our chronic sleep disorders and sleep problems. Disturbed sleep can be named as a curse of our times, and millions of people around the world are affected by sleep disorders, to one or other extent.

There is a great deal of risks and dangers connected with chronic sleep disorders. In particular, inability to sleep and have enough of rest leads to low energy levels, chronic fatigue, stresses and psychological problems. In addition, as a recent study has shown, disturbed sleep can be associated with early signs of such a serious mental disorder as Alzheimer’s disease. This health condition reveals itself with severe memory loss and mental functions decline, but it is usually linked to aging. According to the findings of a group of scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, disturbed sleep, inability to sleep properly at night and spending most of night time awake can signal about brain plaque formation which is a sign of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

It was found out before that a chronic lack of sleep causes beta-amyloid marker build-up in the brains of animals. A group of specialists led by Yo-El Ju, MD, started their experiments in order to confirm or dis-confirm the idea that the same thing happens in human brain when we suffer from disturbed sleep. Ju and his colleagues invited about 100 volunteers to participate in their study, at that, 50 per cent of those participants had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. The participants were asked to use an actigraph for 14 days, which could help the scientists to measure sleep quality of the experiment participants. Also, they were asked to fill up special questionnaires and their sleep dairies. Finally, their level of amyloid beta-42 in cerebrospinal fluid was thoroughly monitored by the scientists in the lab.

It turned out that after just 2 weeks of experiment, 25 per cent of those who suffered from chronic sleep problems and disrupted sleep, started developing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. On average, the participants spent about 8 hours sleeping, but those who reported about sleep problems could sleep no more than 6 – 6.5 hours every night. Those of the participants who used to wake up 5 and more times a night, demonstrated the worst results and showed the signs of development of amyloid plaques in the brain. “Further research is needed to determine why this is happening and whether sleep changes may predict cognitive decline,” Ju commented on the work of his colleagues. The findings of American scientists were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans earlier this spring.