Researchers have found that the type of sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronized, and heart rates and blood pressure drop.
“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganizing connections in the brain,” said study senior author Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology. “Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night.”
The findings, published this month in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, provide one of the strongest neural links between sleep and anxiety to date. They also point to sleep as a natural, non-pharmaceutical remedy for anxiety disorders, which have been diagnosed in some 40 million American adults and are rising among children and teens.
All of 2,300 employees working at Microsoft Japan had three-day weekends in August this year, as part of the company’s ‘Work Life Choice Challenge.’
Getting an extra day off every week made for improvements in several areas, including productivity and operational costs. Sales per employee, used to determine productivity, rose by 39.9 percent as compared to figures in August 2018, while remaining closed for an extra day reduced the firm’s electricity costs by 23.1 percent and saw a 58.7 percent decline in paper printing.
Given that employees had only four days to work, meetings were capped at 30 minutes, while remote conferences were increased to eliminate commuting where possible. The experiment also incorporated self-development and family wellness schemes and received positive feedback by the majority of employees, 92.1 percent of whom liked the shorter workweek.
“Sleep disorders and insufficient sleep contribute to Alzheimer’s decades before people develop the disorder,” Ruth Benca, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Irvine, said during a panel on brain health at the summit in Washington, DC.
Benca’s work has tracked the relationship between sleep—particularly the deep sleep known as rapid-eye movement (REM)—and its relationship to developing dementia later in life. In 2017, she and her team published work following healthy individuals with a variant of a gene called APOE that puts them at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They found that individuals who reported lower-quality sleep tended to have larger buildups of the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, called amyloid and tau, in the fluid surrounding their brains than those who reported sleeping well. It seemed, they thought, that the process of sleep might be clearing some of these buildups.
Subsequent work has backed up that theory. The same year, another study found that among a cohort of adults over 60, those who took longer to enter REM sleep and dreamt less were at an elevated risk of developing dementia. Last year, researchers from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland published the results of a study that found healthy participants who agreed to be woken up hourly for a night (yeesh) had higher levels of amyloid the following day. And earlier this year, a separate group from Washington University School of Medicine found that older adults who got less REM sleep were likely to have higher amounts of tau, too.
Dr. Ram Randhawa, a psychiatrist at the University of British Columbia’s Sleep Disorders Program, says about 30 per cent of Canadians struggle with getting to or staying sleep at any given time. The prevalence of insomnia does seem to be higher among women, he said.
For most people, sleep issues are a temporary problem brought on by stress or worry. For some, they can be a debilitating, life-long problem.
These actions have focused outrage and attention on the current U.S. Administration’s callous, racial, and white supremacist agenda.
What shocks me the most is not that these actions are supported by many Americans. The U.S.A. has a long history of problems over race. What shocks me the most is just how deep and wide the support really is.
This is the United States of America today. This is what is happening now. And there is a good chance this will continue for a while as there’s a good chance he will get reelected.
The horrific conditions under which immigrants and especially immigrant children are being held in US detention centers, rightly reminds us of the Nazi concentration camps. Lessons of the past have been forgotten.
What I’ve Learned: If their words don’t match their actions, trust their actions. More important than talk is how one lives their life and how they treat others.
Isaac Chotiner, writing for The New Yorker (paywall):
What most concerns you about what we have read about and seen from these border facilities holding children?
Oh, God, where do I begin? I think—to cut through all of the noise, the politics, the back-and-forth on the details—there are just two core issues that are screaming out. One is the fact that the forced and abrupt separation of children from their parents is a huge psychological trauma and assault. The magnitude of the nature of the crisis for a child’s health and well-being cannot be overstated. Abrupt separation from primary caregivers or parents is a major psychological emergency.
The second issue is the prolonged placement of children in institutional settings. Obviously, the two are linked in this particular situation. From the perspective of what we know about children’s health and well-being, what we know about trauma, abrupt separation is one area where we have a lot of research and a lot of evidence about its consequences. But prolonged institutionalization is a separate area in which we have an equally deep research base and knowledge about how damaging that kind of setting is for kids. We are dealing with two very well-studied, serious assaults on the health and well-being of children.
According to neuroscientist Matthew Walker, not sleeping enough makes you:
… makes you dumber, more forgetful, unable to learn new things, more vulnerable to dementia, more likely to die of a heart attack, less able to fend off sickness with a strong immune system, more likely to get cancer, and it makes our bodies literally hurt more. Lack of sleep distorts your genes, and increases your risk of death generally, he said. It disrupts the creation of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and leads to premature aging. Apparently, men who only sleep five hours a night have markedly smaller testicles than men who sleep more than seven.
“Sleep loss will leak down into every nook and cranny of your physiology,” he said. “Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity. It is your life support system.”
Getting a consistent seven- to nine-hours of sleep each night is the single most effective thing each of us can do for our health and wellbeing.
Matthew Walker, writing for The Guardian:
Related is the association between plentiful slumber and athletic performance. Sleep is perhaps the greatest legal performance-enhancing “drug” that few people are taking advantage of. Obtain less than eight hours of sleep a night, and especially less than six hours a night, and the following happens: time to physical exhaustion drops by 10 to 30%, as does aerobic output; limb extension force and vertical jump height are reduced; peak and sustained muscle strength decrease. Add to this the cardiac, metabolic and respiratory effects: higher rates of lactic acid buildup and reductions in blood oxygen saturation with converse increases in carbon dioxide, due in part to a reduction in the amount of air that the lungs can expire in a sleep-deficient state. And then there is injury risk. Relative to sleeping nine hours a night, sleeping five to six hours a night will increase your chances of injury across a season by more than 200%.
Routinely sleeping less than six hours a night also compromises your immune system, significantly increasing your risk of cancer. So much so, that recently the World Health Organization classified any form of night-time shiftwork as a probable carcinogen.
Inadequate sleep – even moderate reductions of two to three hours for just one week – disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Short sleeping increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path towards cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure.
All it takes is one hour of lost sleep, as demonstrated by a global experiment performed on 1.6 billion people across more than 60 countries twice a year, otherwise known as daylight saving times. In the spring, when we lose one hour of sleep, there is a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day. In the autumn, we gain an hour of sleep opportunity, and there is a 21% reduction in heart attacks.
It’s been repeatedly shown that sleep is essential to how we form memories.
The human brain requires we sleep roughly one third of every day to properly process and store thoughts so they can be remembered at a later time. Depriving ourselves of sleep, especially over the long term, can disrupt this process. And it can make learning more difficult.
Researchers at the Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa have found that once you drift off, your brain shifts information from the hippocampus, which is only used to store recent memories, to the prefrontal cortex. It’s how we learn new things, and remember them for the future.
A short night of sleep may translate into learning less. Our brain requires suffecient time to store everything it took in during the day. Researchers say it’s clear that if you want to be smarter, you may need to sleep more.
Evidence-based research has found three behaviors that lead to higher scores on tests of mental ability in children: at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, and no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time.
According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, for kids between the ages of eight and 11, it should include at least 60 minutes of physical activity, two hours or less of recreational screen time, and nine to 11 hours of sleep. Yet, in a new study, only one in 20 US children met all three of these recommendations.
The research, published on Thursday (Sept. 27) in the academic journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (paywall), used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a 10-year, longitudinal, observational study of over 4,500 children between eight and 11 years old, from 21 study sites across the US, and compared their daily exercise, technology, and sleep habits to the guidelines. The researchers then assessed the participants’ “global cognition” with standards developed by the National Institute of Health.
They found that only 5% of children met all three recommendations. Sixty-three percent of children spent more than two hours a day staring at screens, going over the screen-time limit; 82% of children failed to meet the guidelines for daily physical activity; and 49% did not get the recommended hours of sleep. Twenty-nine percent met none of the recommended standards.
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from Robert Vinet
Every day I dive into the internet cesspool and go through hundreds of news sources and extract the most fascinating stories. All stories are curated by hand. No large media organizations. No bots. No unambiguous algorithms deciding what you get to read.
The most fascinating stories about living a healthy lifestyle are published on Living 2.0.
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