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January 2011



Recent Posts



Tolerance of Sleep Deficits Linked to Genetics

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on October 27, 2010

We all know the type of person who can get by on four hours of sleep without a loss of function. However, for many, four hours of sleep is a nightmare with seriously diminished quality of life. Why the difference?

It may be in our genes, according to new research and an accompanying editorial published in the journal Neurology.

The study looked at people who have a gene variant that is closely associated with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness.

However, having the gene variant, called DQB1 *0602, does not mean that a person will develop narcolepsy; depending on the population, 12 to 38 percent of those with the variant do not have the sleep disorder and are considered healthy sleepers.

Also, people without the gene variant can develop narcolepsy, though this is less common.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/10/27/tolerance-of-sleep-deficits-linked-to-genetics/20203.html


A Study Analyses The Relation Between Sleep Disorders And Risk Perception By Drivers Suffering From This Disorder

Article Date: 29 Oct 2010 – 1:00 PDT

Within the framework of a recent research project, University of Granada researchers will analyse how sleep disorders affect risk perception in driving. To such purpose, three last-generation simulators provided by the Faculty of Psychology will be employed.

The purpose of the first study will be to analyse how a specific sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects risk perception in driving, as well as the efficacy of the therapies in development to treat it. Concretely, University of Granada researchers will study how different treatments for OSA improve risk perception in simulated driving. To such purpose, they employed the motorcycle simulator Honda Riding Trainer (HRT) using a multidimensional methodology (psychological, physical, behavioural and subjective measurements).

At present, the University of Granada counts on the only research centre in Europe devoted to study the mental mechanisms leading individuals to risky behaviours when riding a motorcycle. This study could be useful in the future to modify and avoid such behaviours. The Faculty of Psychology was provided with three last-generation simulators in 2009 usually employed to study this type of disorders, within the framework of an agreement signed with the company Honda Motor Co. (Europe).

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206088.php


An Interview with Barry Krakow, M.D., on PTSD and Sleep

David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 31st 2010

Initially trained as an internist and emergency room physician, Dr. Krakow’s interest in treatment of sleep disturbances developed after he pursued an interest in medication side effects related to sleep problems. He has since become a sleep researcher, and runs a sleep clinic in Albuquerque, NM specialized in the treatment of sleep problems co-occurring with PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. Though PTSD is associated with nightmares, successful treatment of these nightmares does not necessarily improve sleep. Instead, PTSD (particularly long-term PTSD) often co-occurs with independently diagnosable and treatable sleep disorders including insomnia and apnea. His research suggests that many chronic insomnia patients also have undiagnosed apnea like conditions they are not aware of. He frequently prescribes an imagery technique for treatment of nightmares called Imagery Rehearsal Therapy or IRT. In IRT, patients are taught that nightmares are habitual learned behaviors and therefore modifiable. Patients are then instructed to change their nightmares however they wish and to practice this between sessions. The technique is associated with symptom relief. IRT has no exposure therapy component, but Dr. Krakow does think incorporating one might be helpful. Other sleep disorders are treated using appropriate techniques including use of breathing assistance machines such as adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV), which PTSD patients more readily tolerate than CPAP. Imagery techniques are taught as distraction devices to help patients cope with the discomfort associated with breathing machines. Addressing co-occurring sleep disorders helps PTSD patients rally and cope better during waking hours.

David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by Mentalhelp.net, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I’m a clinical psychologist and your host.

Links Relevant To This Podcast:

Read in Full/Listen to Podcast:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=39747&cn=100


Bedtime Texting, Internet Use, Disturbs Sleep And Mood In Teens

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Article Date: 03 Nov 2010 – 4:00 PDT

More than half of children and teenagers who text, or surf the internet at bedtime are likely not only to have problems falling asleep, but experience mood, behavior and cognitive problems during the day, said US researchers at a conference in Canada this week, who also found that on average, a teenager sends a total of over 3,400 electronic messages at bedtime every month.

The pilot study, by lead author Dr Peter G. Polos and and colleagues, from the JFK Medical Center, in Edison, New Jersey, was presented at the CHEST 2010, the 76th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), which is taking place this week in Vancouver, from 30 October to 4 November.

Polos told the media that one of the most surprising things they discovered was the number of texts and emails each child sent per night, on average they found this to be 33.5.

“It is significant that these children are engaging in stimulating activity when they should be in an environment to promote sleep,” he added.

Polos and colleagues analyzed questionnaire responses from 40 children and young people aged between 8 and 22 and found that those who used electronic technology to do things like text, send emails, surf the internet and play online games at bedtime not only experienced sleep-related problems such as excessive movements, leg pain and insomnia, but also had a “high rate of daytime problems, which can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties”, said Polos in a statement.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206546.php


Extraverts Are More Vulnerable To Effects Of Sleep Deprivation After Social Interaction

Article Date: 02 Nov 2010 – 5:00 PDT

A study in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP found that vulnerability to sleep deprivation is influenced by the interaction between waking social activity and individual personality traits.

Results show that extraverts who were exposed to 12 hours of social interaction were more vulnerable to subsequent sleep deprivation than those who were exposed to an identical period of isolated activity. Speed on the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) for extraverts in the socially enriched group was significantly slower at 4 a.m., 6 a.m. and noon compared with speed for extraverts in the socially impoverished condition. Introverts’ speed on the PVT was relatively unaffected by prior social exposure.

“Extraverts exposed to socially enriched environments showed greater vulnerability to subsequent sleep deprivation than did extraverts exposed to an identical but socially impoverished environment,” said principal investigator and lead author Tracy L. Rupp, PhD, research psychologist in the Behavioral Biology Branch of the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md. “The ability of introverts to resist sleep loss was relatively unaffected by the social environment. Overall, the present results might also be interpreted more generally to suggest that waking experiences, along with their interaction with individual characteristics, influence vulnerability to subsequent sleep loss.”

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206407.php


Wake Up, Mom: Gender Differences in Accepting Sleep Interruptions

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2010) — Working mothers are two-and-a-half times as likely as working fathers to interrupt their sleep to take care of others. That is the finding of a University of Michigan study providing the first known nationally representative data documenting substantial gender differences in getting up at night, mainly with babies and small children.

And women are not only more likely to get up at night to care for others, their sleep interruptions last longer — an average of 44 minutes for women, compared to about 30 minutes for men.

“Interrupted sleep is a burden borne disproportionately by women,” said sociologist Sarah Burgard, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). “And this burden may not only affect the health and well-being of women, but also contribute to continuing gender inequality in earnings and career advancement.”

For the study, Burgard analyzed time-diary data from approximately 20,000 working parents from 2003 to 2007, drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey.

The gender gap in sleep interruptions was greatest during the prime childbearing and child-rearing years of the twenties and thirties, she found.

Among dual-career couples with a child under the age of one, 32 percent of women reported sleep interruptions to take care of the baby, compared with just 11 percent of men. The proportion reporting interrupted sleep declined with the age of the child, with 10 percent of working mothers and 2 percent of working fathers with children ages 1 to 2 reporting sleep interruptions, and just 3 percent of working mothers and 1 percent of working fathers with children ages 3 to 5.

“What is really surprising,” Burgard said, “is that gender differences in night-time caregiving remain even after adjusting for the employment status, income and education levels of each parent. Among parents of infants who are the sole breadwinner in a couple, for example, 28 percent of women who are the sole breadwinner report getting up at night to take care of their children, compared to just 4 percent of men who are the only earner in the couple.”

In related research, Burgard and colleagues found that women get slightly more sleep compared to men. But getting about 15 minutes more total sleep a day may or may not compensate for the greater sleep interruptions women face.

“Women face greater fragmentation and lower quality of sleep at a crucial stage in their careers,” Burgard said. “The prime childbearing years are also the time when earnings trajectories are being established, and career advancement opportunities could well be foregone if women reduce their paid work time or see their workplace performance affected because of exhaustion. As a result, sleep interruption may represent an under-recognized ‘motherhood penalty’ that influences life chances and well-being.”

The findings also have implications for public health interventions to improve sleep. “Generally, these interventions target individual behaviors, such as the use of alcohol, caffeine or tobacco,” said Burgard. “Or they focus on nightly routines that help people to relax and fall asleep or stay asleep more successfully.

“But for parents of young children, the best approach might be discussions and negotiations about whose turn it is to get up with the baby tonight.”

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101116182057.htm

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