March 4th, 2011
By: Catherine Donaldson-Evans
Taking a daytime cat nap for up to an hour may be good for your heart and its reaction to psychological stress, new findings suggest.
Sleeping during the day seems to help the heart repair itself after a stressful event, according to a study by researchers at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.
The authors say that participants who took a stress test and then slept at least 45 minutes had lower blood pressure on average than those who didn’t sleep at all after the exercise.
“Daytime sleep may offer cardiovascular benefit by accelerating cardiovascular recovery following mental stressors,” the researchers wrote in the paper, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
Co-authors Ryan Brindle and Sarah Conklin looked at 85 healthy college students, dividing them into two groups. One was given the chance to nap for up to an hour after taking a mental stress test in the lab; the other wasn’t.
Participants also had to fill out surveys asking about the quality of their sleep and do a cardiovascular reactivity test, which asked them to complete a difficult mental math problem, according to a summary of the findings.
The students’ pulse rates and blood pressure were taken regularly throughout the exercise.
The authors found that daytime naps seemed to rejuvenate the students who were able to sleep, with those subjects reporting lower levels of sleepiness than the group that stayed awake. And while the blood pressure and pulses of both groups increased after the stress test, the nappers had much lower blood pressure readings on average than those who didn’t sleep.
Brindle and Conklin say more work needs to be done to pinpoint the link between daytime naps and cardiovascular health and examine why a short daytime sleep may help the heart recover from stress.
Previous research has uncovered a link between lack of sleep and obesity, depression, cardiovascular problems and hypertension.
August 27th, 2010
The Epoch Times
By: Stephanie Lam and Chowa Choo
The Finnish National Institute for Health (THL) proposed suspending vaccinations for H1N1 swine flu, due to suspected links to increased narcolepsy in children and adolescents, the body announced this week.
Six cases of narcolepsy, a chronic disorder causing excessive daytime sleepiness and extreme fatigue, have been reported after patients had been receiving the Pandemrix vaccine.
Six cases of narcolepsy is consistent with annual averages, reports THL, but all of these patients were affected after being vaccinated, and there are nine additional cases that have not yet been confirmed.
The precautionary measure will take effect until the actual cause of the current health issue can be established. Preliminary results of the investigation will take several months to be known, says the THL.
“A number of different reasons may be behind the observed rise in the incidence of narcolepsy: A(H1N1) infection, vaccination, a compound effect of infection and vaccination, or some other factor entirely. Infections in general are known to cause narcolepsy,” said a THL press release.
In Sweden, the Medical Products Agency started a similar investigation on Aug. 19 for the same reason. Sweden has bought 18 million doses of the vaccine, sufficient for everyone in the country to have two injections. In Europe, about 30 million people have been vaccinated, and worldwide at least 90 million.
Last winter, 29 million children in the United States were given a seasonal influenza shot that incorporates the swine flu vaccine, but according to Tom Skinner, press officer of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, narcolepsy associated with the vaccine has not been reported.
According to Marjo Renko, chairwoman of Finland’s national group of experts on vaccines, a substance was identified as possibly cause narcolepsy, but later denied it.
“There is no proof that the increase in narcolepsy would be linked with the vaccines. We do not suspect anything. This is mere speculation,” she said, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
November 06, 2009
By David Gutierrez
Television viewing before bed is a significant contributor to chronic health problems, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Although most adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night, as many as 40 percent of U.S. adults fail to get this much. Lack of sleep is a major contributor to chronic health problems, including obesity, heart disease and depression.
In an attempt to find easy ways for people to get more sleep, researchers surveyed 21,475 people over the age of 15 on their activities in the two hours immediately before going to sleep and the two hours immediately after waking up. They found that most people went to work within two hours of waking up, while nearly 70 percent spent at least part of the two hours before bed watching television.
On average, people in the United States spend one of their last two waking hours in front of the television set. While the researchers expected this result, they were surprised to find that people were significantly more likely to set their bedtime based on TV schedules rather than sleepiness or a need to get up at a certain hour.
“They just wait till the show ends” before going to sleep, researcher Mathias Basner said.
“Given the relationship of short sleep duration to health risks, there is concern that many Americans are chronically under-sleeping due to lifestyle choices,” researcher David Dinges said.
The researchers also found that people living in the Mountain or Central time zones, where most TV shows play an hour earlier, tend to get more sleep than those living in the Pacific or Eastern zones.