Healthier lifestyles 'would cut cancer rates by a third'

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Re: Healthier lifestyles 'would cut cancer rates by a third'

Post by kenobewan » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:55 am

Get The Most Out Of Your Naps

In recent years, the nap has become better accepted — and better studied. According to a Pew Research Center study, one-third of adults in the United States take naps, and more men report napping than women.

Although naps for adults may be gaining acceptance, Dr. Patrick Troy, a pulmonologist at Hartford Hospital specializing in sleep disorders, says most people would be better rested if they turned their attention to getting a good night's sleep.

Yet even that is often easier said than done, especially in the age of electric lights and television.

"You sleep for two reasons," Troy says. The first is that you are tired and the second is that your "brain believes it is time to sleep."

Each of us has a "biologic clock" that dictates our sleep cycle, that is when we sleep and when we don't. That clock follows a circadian rhythm that is heavily influenced by light, both natural and man-made. Less light signals the brain to produce melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.

But even with melatonin, you won't sleep unless you are tired, a condition that results from the buildup of adenosine, the byproduct of energy consumption, in the body.

A good night's sleep, which includes getting rid of the adenosine, depends on not just the quantity of sleep a person gets, but also its quality, Troy says. During sleep, the brain passes through several stages of activity, known broadly as non-REM and REM sleep, that cycle predictably throughout the night. Anything that breaks that cycle short-circuits those processes that maintain most bodily functions, not to mention mood and memory.

Most of those who nap do so because for one reason or another they are sleep-deprived, which seems to be an ever-present condition of modern life. Instead of tackling the sleep problem head on, many are finding the nap an acceptable alternative.

And New York-based MetroNaps has installed "sleeping pods" for Google, Huffington Post and other organizations, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald implemented a mandatory nap time on game days, and is now credited with more victories than any previous Northwestern football coach.

Naps can improve mood, alertness and performance as well as boost creativity, reduce stress and aid in weight loss.

"A nap allows information to move from temporary storage to more permanent storage, from the hippocampus to the cortical areas of the brain," explains Rebecca Spencer, neuroscientist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and an advocate for reinstating naps in preschools. "You've heard the phrase, 'You should sleep on it.' Well, that's what we're talking about." As a result, the hippocampus is cleared of recent learning to make room for more. Sleeping before learning also primes the brain to absorb more.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends a nap of 20 to 30 minutes to improve short-term alertness. A NASA study found that a 40-minute nap improved pilots' performance by 34 percent and alertness by 100 percent. And a recent study in the journal Sleep, comparing the benefits of naps of different lengths and no naps, found that a 10-minute nap produced the most benefit in reduced sleepiness and improved cognitive benefit without causing post-nap grogginess or interfering with nighttime sleep.

But long naps come with greater risk of grogginess — what's called sleep inertia or "sleep drunkenness." Helen Emsellem, medical director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Maryland, described "the edge we live on: It's the in-between zone of 45 minutes to an hour that can make you feel poorly." And, warning that long naps too late in the day can cause "huge problems with the sleep cycle, making it hard to go to sleep and pushing you into the land of the night owl." She suggests the best napping hours are from 2 to 4 p.m.

How best to nap? Most experts advise finding a place with limited noise and light, and sleeping at least partially upright to reduce sleep inertia. They also suggest drinking a caffeinated drink before napping to smooth the transition back to a waking state and to avoid the post-nap inertia. In a study on the effectiveness of naps and/or caffeine, the combination of the two had the most beneficial effect.

Sleep deprivation can reduce cognitive functions and impair memory. When focused, someone who is severely sleep-deprived can deliver the same results as someone who is not; but when the brain starts to lose focus, the healthy sleeper can compensate and increase attention; the sleep-deprived brain has more trouble righting itself. According to experts at Stanford University School of Medicine's Sleep Center, "a tell-tale sign of being very sleep-deprived" is dreaming during a nap that lasts 20 minutes or less.

Naps are not for everyone. People who take longer naps and wake very groggy can have trouble if they must perform immediately, and sleep inertia can be worse and last longer in people who are very sleep-deprived. Also, some people have trouble sleeping anywhere other than a bed, or during the daytime. Research on people who do not nap shows that these individuals move more quickly into deeper sleep stages when compared with experienced nappers, who are better at keeping their nap sleep light. The latter also show greater improvements in performance after napping than non-nappers.

The nap stigma still exists: Some people believe naps indicate laziness or low standards. Emsellem noted that a "startling number" of companies with facilities for napping found that these were unused, and some have changed the nap rooms back into work rooms. "The media and public education can make napping more acceptable," she said. "But attitudinal changes take time." ... story.html

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Re: Healthier lifestyles 'would cut cancer rates by a third'

Post by kenobewan » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:31 am

Rich people in America sleep better than poor people, study finds

Rich people get more sleep than people with lower incomes, a study revealed.

Ethnic minority students, along with students from lower-income families or those living in urban areas get less sleep compared to wealthier white males, according to the Columbia University study.

Researchers surveyed 270,000 students in America from both public and private schools between 1991 and 2012, and asked them: How often they slept for more than seven hours a night and how often they sleep less than they should.

The recommended amount of sleep for adolescents is nine hours, however students from lower-income families and ethnic minorities did not report having more than seven hours of sleep a night.

This could be due to housing quality, obesity and conditions that disrupt sleep, according to researchers

Surprisingly, while these students received less than the recommended amount, they reported they felt they had received enough rest.

This disparity could mean those from lower-income families and ethnic minorities have not received enough education on the importance of sleep when it comes to health.

Students from middle and higher-income families who had parents that received a high school education regularly reported having more than seven hours of sleep.

The study also found that girls had less hours of sleep a night compared to boys.

Over the years, 15-year-old children had the biggest drop in sleep as it decreased a total of nine per cent - from 71.5 per cent in 1991 to 63 per cent in 2012.

And generally, there has been a decline in adolescents who are not getting enough sleep, one-third, which could be a public health concern.

Factors that are potentially contributing to the decline of recommended sleep includes the increase use of the Internet and social media, and demands of school and extracurricular activities. ... finds.html

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