November 8, 2009 |
It's a universal truth: When you're in your 20s, you can stay out all night and look fresh the next morning. Unfortunately, as we age, lack of sleep affects us more deeply and shows more prominently on our faces -- lackluster complexions, dark circles, fine lines and, in more extreme cases, rashes and eczema. Progressive loss of cellular water may be one reason sleepless nights affect our skin more visibly as we age, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad. Water retention is key to keeping skin moisturized and supple, which can translate to fewer lines and a smoother complexion.
February 8, 2010
It's wise to pay attention to your blood pressure -- but don't lose sleep over it. That may make matters worse. A five-year study published last year found that among nearly 600 adults (average age 40 at the start of the study) the fewer hours of sleep people got, the higher their blood pressure was likely to be and the more likely it was that their blood pressure would increase over time. For every hour less sleep participants got, their chances of developing high blood pressure over the study period zoomed up by 37%. Another study of more than 10,000 adults ages 35 to 55 found that women who averaged six hours of sleep a night were 42% more likely to develop high blood pressure than women who averaged seven hours -- though it found no such effect for men. A 2006 study reported a similar finding for both genders: Of those who slept five hours a night or less, 24% developed high blood pressure during eight to 10 years of follow-up, versus 12% of those who slept seven or eight hours.
July 26, 2011 |
Forgotten how to do something you just learned yesterday? Consider the possibility that last night's sleep was punctuated by mini-awakenings, robbing you of the ability to commit that new skill to memory. You might have gotten eight hours of sleep, and may not even feel tired. But when sleep is interrupted frequently--as it is in a wide range of disorders, including sleep apnea, alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease--the ability to learn new things can be dramatically impaired, says a new study conducted on mice.
August 10, 2009 |
My 88-year-old husband was prescribed Ambien for insomnia. After the first dose, he fell while getting up to go to the bathroom, gashed his head and had to go to the emergency room for stitches. A year later, I gave him a half-dose (again prescribed), and within minutes, his legs collapsed on him. I had the hardest time getting him into bed. Ambien? Never again! Your experience reminds us that sleeping pills may pose a serious risk for older people who have to get up at night to go to the bathroom.
January 18, 2010
Even a good night's sleep doesn't totally compensate for many weeks of sleep loss. And it's the late-night period when the accumulation of sleep loss may be most apparent. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital examined the effect of weeks of insufficient sleep on performance. They scheduled nine healthy volunteers to live for three weeks on a schedule consisting of 43-hour periods in which they were awake for 33 of those hours. That equals about 5.6 hours of sleep for every 24 hours.
October 1, 2013 |
For those who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, anxieties and other fearful memories, the bedroom may be the next big battleground. Researchers are finding that sleep may allow us not just to escape our cares temporarily, but to defang some of the fearful memories that hobble those with such anxiety disorders. Two studies published in the past week break new ground in the effort to take the fright out of frightening memories, both of them exploring the opportunity afforded by sleep to do so. They proceed from two relatively recent neuroscientific insights about memories: that they change a little every time they are taken out, revisited and returned to storage; and that sleep is a time when old memories and new experiences alike are processed, prepared and filed into the brain's long-term storage vault.