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Sleep Archive


Sleeping five hours or less may raise dementia risk

Adults ages 65 and older who sleep less than five hours per night have almost double the risk of being diagnosed with dementia compared with those who sleep the recommended seven to nine hours.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia by telemedicine: Is it as good as in-person treatment?

Chronic insomnia affects between 10% and 15% of adults in the US. A specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of insomnia is becoming more accessible because it can be delivered remotely. A recent study investigated how this therapy delivered via telemedicine compared to the same form of therapy delivered in person.

Coming out of COVID

As Americans begin to slowly move out of the COVID-19 pandemic, they may face old and new challenges. People should use this transition period to prepare mentally and emotionally for a post-COVID world. Steps include planning how to safely return to social gathering, restarting health habits that have fallen away, and addressing mental health issues.

Plant-based diet quality linked to lower stroke risk

People who ate healthy plant-based foods had a 10% reduction in stroke risk, compared with people who ate unhealthy plant-based foods, according toa Harvard study published online March 10, 2021, by the journal Neurology.People who ate healthy plant-based foods had a 10% reduction in stroke risk, compared with people who ate unhealthy plant-based foods, according toa Harvard study published online March 10, 2021, by the journal Neurology.

Treating sleep apnea: Good for your heart and mind?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when soft tissue at the back of the throat temporarily blocks the airway during sleep. People with sleep apnea face a heightened risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, atrial fibrillation, and stroke. The condition can also affect mood, and some people diagnosed with depression may actually have sleep apnea. Treating apnea with positive airway pressure improves both high blood pressure and depression.

Is your daily nap doing more harm than good?

Naps can be healthy for adults who need to catch up on sleep or work odd hours, but they can also make it more difficult to sleep at night and be a sign of a sleep disorder. Naps should be short and limited to the early afternoon to prevent them from interfering with nighttime sleep. People who have the urge to nap daily should consider whether they need to improve their nighttime sleep habits.

Sleep to solve a problem

Are you the sort of person who gets into bed and fixates on a problem or an interaction you may have had that day? It's better to let your thoughts go and try to fall asleep — even though that might not be easy — because our brains are made to process and synthesize information while we are sleeping.

Sleep well — and reduce your risk of dementia and death

Although it has been known for some time that individuals with dementia frequently have poor, fragmented sleep, two new studies suggest that if you don't get enough sleep in midlife, you are at increased risk for dementia later in life.

Moonlight may affect sleep cycles

Research we're watching

Urban legends have linked full moons to everything from werewolves to erratic behavior, but a new study connects them to something else — sleep loss. A Jan. 27, 2021, study in Science Advances found that people fell asleep later and slept for less time over all in the three to five days leading up to a full moon. The effect was even more pronounced in areas where people had less access to artificial light.

To come to their conclusions, researchers studied people in three communities in Argentina: one on the outskirts of a city, a small rural settlement with limited access to electricity, and a group of people in a remote area who had no access to electric light. The study authors also analyzed the sleep of 464 University of Washington students who took part in a sleep study. All participants wore sleep-tracking devices for at least one week and in some cases up to two months. The researchers compared their sleep patterns to the moon phases. Individuals took from 30 to 80 minutes longer to fall asleep during the lead-up to the full moon, and people lost anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes of total sleep on those nights. The researchers said it's possible that the full moon made people more active at night, which is why sleep differences were more pronounced in communities with less access to electricity. Artificial light, they said, might produce a similar effect.

Regular afternoon naps can help wake up aging brains

In the journals

Afternoon naps can recharge a weary body; now research has found they also may boost cognitive function. An observational study published online Jan. 25, 2021, by General Psychiatry looked at 2,214 healthy people ages 60 and older in China, where afternoon naps are common. The participants were asked about whether they napped at least five minutes after lunch. Two-thirds took naps, and the others did not.

Everyone then underwent testing to measure various mental skills, such as memory, naming, attention, calculation, and orientation. The researchers then obtained more specifics about their napping habits, including how long they napped and how often per week.

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