Sleeping With Any Light Raises Risk of Obesity  Diabetes and More

Even dim light can disrupt sleep, raising the risk of serious health issues in older adults, a new study found. Dogs and cats who share their human’s bed tend to have a “higher trust level and a tighter bond with the humans that are in their lives. It’s a big display of trust on their part,” Varble said.

Sleep myths that may be keeping you from a good night’s rest. “Exposure to any amount of light during the sleep period was correlated with the higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity and hypertension in both older men and women,” senior author Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told CNN.

“People should do their best to avoid or minimize the amount of light they are exposed to during sleep,” she added. A study published earlier this year by Zee and her team examined the role of light in sleep for healthy adults in their 20s. Sleeping for only one night with a dim light, such as a TV set with the sound off, raised the blood sugar and heart rate of the young people during the sleep lab experiment.

An elevated heart rate at night has been shown in prior studies to be a risk factor for future heart disease and early death, while higher blood sugar levels are a sign of insulin resistance, which can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes. The dim light entered the eyelids and disrupted sleep in the young adults despite the fact that participants slept with their eyes closed, Zee said. Yet even that tiny amount of light created a deficit of slow wave and rapid eye movement sleep, the stages of slumber in which most cellular renewal occurs, she said.

Objective Measurements

The new study, published Wednesday in the journal Sleep, focused on seniors who “already are at higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said coauthor Dr. Minjee Kim, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement. “We wanted to see if there was a difference in frequencies of these diseases related to light exposure at night,” Kim said. Instead of pulling people into a sleep lab, the new study used a real-world setting.

Researchers gave 552 men and women between the ages of 63 and 84 an actigraph, a small device worn like a wristwatch that measures sleep cycles, average movement and light exposure. We’re actually measuring the amount of light the person is exposed to with a sensor on their body and comparing that to their sleep and wake activity over a 24-hour period,” Zee said. “What I think is different and notable in our study is that we have really objective data with this method.”

Fewer than half of the adults in the study got five hours of darkness at night. Zee and her team said they were surprised to find that fewer than half of the men and women in the study consistently slept in darkness for at least five hours each day. “More than 53% or so had some light during the night in the room,” she said. “In a secondary analysis, we found those who had higher amounts of light at night were also the most likely to have diabetes, obesity or hypertension.” In addition, Zee said, people who slept with higher levels of light were more likely to go to bed later and get up later, and “we know late sleepers tend to also have a higher risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.”

What to do

Strategies for reducing light levels at night include positioning your bed away from windows or using light-blocking window shades. Don’t charge laptops and cellphones in your bedroom where melatonin-altering blue light can disrupt your sleep. If low levels of light persist, try a sleep mask to shelter your eyes. Using melatonin for sleep is on the rise, study says, despite potential health harms. If you have to get up, don’t turn on lights if you don’t have to, Zee advised. If you do, keep them as dim as possible and illuminated only for brief periods of time.

Older adults often have to get up at night to visit the bathroom, due to health issues or side effects from medications, Zee said, so advising that age group to turn out all lights might put them at risk of falling. In that case, consider using nightlights positioned very low to the ground, and choose lights with an amber or red color. That spectrum of light has a longer wavelength, and is less intrusive and disruptive to our circadian rhythm, or body clock, than shorter wavelengths such as blue light.

Source: Sleeping with any light raises risk of obesity, diabetes and more, study finds – CNN

Heart rate increases in light room, and body can’t rest properly 

We showed your heart rate increases when you sleep in a moderately lit room,” said Daniela Grimaldi, MD, PhD, co-first author of the study and a research assistant professor of Neurology in the Division of Sleep Medicine. “Even though you are asleep, your autonomic nervous system is activated. That’s bad. Usually, your heart rate together with other cardiovascular parameters are lower at night and higher during the day.”

There are sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that regulate our physiology during the day and night. Sympathetic takes charge during the day and parasympathetic is supposed to control physiology at night, when it conveys restoration to the entire body.

How nighttime light during sleep can lead to diabetes and obesity

Investigators found insulin resistance occurred the morning after people slept in a light room. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, your blood sugar goes up. An earlier study published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at a large population of healthy people who had exposure to light during sleep. They were more overweight and obese, Zee said.

“Now we are showing a mechanism that might be fundamental to explain why this happens. We show it’s affecting your ability to regulate glucose,” Zee said. The participants in the study weren’t aware of the biological changes in their bodies at night. “But the brain senses it,” Grimaldi said. “It acts like the brain of somebody whose sleep is light and fragmented. The sleep physiology is not resting the way it’s supposed to.”

Exposure to artificial light at night during sleep is common

Exposure to artificial light at night during sleep is common, either from indoor light emitting devices or from sources outside the home, particularly in large urban areas. A significant proportion of individuals (up to 40 percent) sleep with a bedside lamp on or with a light on in the bedroom, or keep a television on.

Light and its relationship to health is double edged.

“In addition to sleep, nutrition and exercise, light exposure during the daytime is an important factor for health, but during the night we show that even modest intensity of light can impair measures of heart and endocrine health,” Zee said. The study tested the effect of sleeping with 100 lux (moderate light) compared to 3 lux (dim light) in participants over a single night. The investigators discovered that moderate light exposure caused the body to go into a higher alert state.

In this state, the heart rate increases as well as the force with which the heart contracts and the rate of how fast the blood is conducted to your blood vessels for oxygenated blood flow.

Zee’s top tips for reducing light during sleep

  1. Don’t turn lights on. If you need to have a light on (which older adults may want for safety), make it a dim light that is closer to the floor.
  2. Color is important. Amber or a red or orange light is less stimulating for the brain. Don’t use white or blue light and keep it far away from the sleeping person.
  3. Blackout shades or eye masks are good if you can’t control the outdoor light. Move your bed so the outdoor light isn’t shining on your face.

More contents:

6 clever tips for a great night’s sleep NewsNet5, Ohio

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How To Stay Cool at Night, Even When You’re a Hot Sleeper

You might recognize a particular sensation: You climb into bed and drift off to sleep, your head comfortably rested on the cold side of the pillow. And then, in the middle of the night, you’re roused awake, your limbs sweaty as you toss the covers aside. The struggle for hot sleepers is real.

The good thing is there are measures you can take to reduce your chances of having consistent unpleasant wake-up calls: Your bedding, mattress, and even the time you eat dinner have an affect on your body temperature as you sleep. Here are a few myths to stop believing—and what to do instead to get the best, perfectly cool sleep.

Myth: You Should Only Take Cold Showers

“Contrary to popular belief, a warm shower or bath is a great way to cool down,” says One Medical provider and regional medical director Natasha Bhuyan, M.D. Once you step out of the shower, your body will naturally start to cool down. Cold water might feel great at night on an especially hot day, but since it’s stimulating rather than relaxing, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep, she adds.

Myth: Memory Foam Always Overheats

You’ve likely heard that memory foam mattresses trap heat, making it hard to maintain a reasonable temperature at night. But not all memory foam is made equally. “Look for one with temperature-regulating fibers or a layer of cooling gel,” says Craig Schmeizer, CEO and founder of Idle Group (which includes companies Idle and Haven). Because they’re denser than traditional coil mattresses, many memory foam options allow for less circulation—hence, higher temperatures for sleepers. But the right materials can allow for optimal airflow.

Myth: Being a Hot Sleeper Is Always Natural

Always end up feeling hot when you’re trying to fall asleep? It could just be your natural body temperature—but don’t necessarily jump to that conclusion. “There could be aggravating factors at play,” says Bhuyan. If your room temperature is above average, if you eat right before bed, and if you drink alcohol or caffeine, you can experience restless or hot nights. If you’ve ruled out any other possibilities, then it could be hormonal fluctuations.

Myth: Mattress Protectors Don’t Matter

It’s not just your mattress that matters. “Starting at the base of your bedding is an easy way to make sure every layer of your sleep situation is as cool as ‘the other side of the pillow,’” says Schmeizer. He recommends using a mattress protector made with Tencel fiber, which wicks away excess moisture, leading to overall more comfortable sleep.

Myth: Fans Lower the Temperature in Your Space

If you’re not cranking the AC, Bhuyan recommends opening the window and using a fan to circulate the air in your space. “Although that won’t lower the temperature of the room, it can definitely create a sensation of cooling,” she says. If you’re using an overhead one, make sure it goes counterclockwise for the optimal effect.

Myth: Silky Sheets Are Always Cooling

Slippery satin or microfiber sheets might seem like they would offer the chillest night’s rest, but it’s best to stick to the classics: “Cotton pajamas and sheets are the most breathable and can help keep us cool at night,” says Bhuyan. Percale sheets have a looser weave than sateen, so are best for hot sleepers, and bamboo, hemp, and linen sheets are great options, too.

By: Rebecca Deczynski

Source: How to Stay Cool at Night, Even When You’re a Hot Sleeper

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Related Contents:

Technology in the Bedroom

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Music and Sleep

Humidity and Sleep

Sleep Dictionary

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Teeth Grinding

How to Sleep When it’s Hot Outside

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Content Resources:

Harding, E., Franks, N., & Wisden, W. (2019). The Temperature Dependence of Sleep. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 13. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6491889/

Szymusiak, R. (2020). Handbook of Clinical Neurology (Vol. 156). Elsevier. Retrieved fromhttps://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-63912-7.00020-5

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019, August 13). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/understanding-Sleep

Walker, H. K., Hall, W. D., & Hurst, J. W. (1990). Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations (3rd ed.). Boston: Butterworths.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21250045/

Okamoto-Mizuno, K., & Mizuno, K. (2012). Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 31(1), 14. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427038/

Breus, M. J. (2017, November 30). Hot Nights Can Disrupt Your Sleep. Psychology Today. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201711/hot-nights-can-disrupt-your-sleep

National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. (2011, September). In Brief: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf

How Much Do I Need To Sleep? It Depends on Your Age

Do you find yourself dozing off at your desk, even after what you thought was a good night’s rest? Then you probably have the same question as so many others: How much do I need to sleep? The answer of how many hours you need is not so straightforward, said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.Sleep needs are very individualized, he said, but the general recommendation — the “sweet spot” — is to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Recommendations really change as people age, however.”Sleep needs vary over the lifespan,” said Christina Chick, a postdoctoral scholar in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.

CDC’s sleep guideline

Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a night, but 1 in 3 of them don’t, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor sleep has been associated with long-term health consequences, such as higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia. In the short term, even one day of sleep loss can harm your well-being, according to a recent study. People who get poor sleep might also be predisposed to conditions such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, Dasgupta said.”There are chronic consequences, and there are acute consequences, which is why sleep is more than just saying, ‘The early bird gets the worm,'” he said. “It’s much more than that.”

Sleep for kids and teens

If it feels like babies are sleeping all day, they pretty much are. In the first year of life, babies can sleep 17 to 20 hours a day, Dasgupta said. Infants 4 months to 12 months need their 12 to 16 hours of sleep, including naps, according to Chick. Toddlers, who are between the ages of 1 and 3, should get 11 to 14 hours of sleep, according to Dr. Bhanu Kolla, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Mayo Clinic with a special interest in sleep. Children ages 3 to 5 should sleep for 10 to 13 hours, he added, and from ages 6 to 12, they should sleep nine to 12 hours. For kids up to age 5, these sleep recommendations include naps, Chick said. Teenagers should get eight to 10 hours of sleep, Kolla said. This recommendation has sparked a debate in recent years about start times for school.

“As children move toward adolescence, they naturally prefer to go to sleep later and wake up later,” Chick said. “This is why school start times are such an important focus of debate: If you can’t fall asleep until later, but your school start time remains the same, you’re going to get less sleep.” The quantity of sleep is important, but so is the quality of it, Dasgupta added. Getting deeper sleep and hitting the rapid eye movement (REM) stage helps with cognition, memory and productivity throughout the day. REM is the sleep stage where memories are consolidated and stored. It also allows us to dream vividly. People can sometimes get the right quantity of sleep but still feel fatigued, and this might mean they aren’t reaching these sleep stages.

Sleep for college students and adults

The stereotypical image of the college student usually includes messy hair, undereye bags, and a coffee or energy drink in hand. It doesn’t matter if they stay up all night partying or cramming for an exam — both result in sleep deprivation. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s almost like a rite of passage in a college student to pull the perennial all-nighter even though we know that’s not what you’re supposed to do,” Dasgupta said. He and Kolla concur that seven to nine hours of sleep is best for adults, though Kolla added that older adults may be better at coping with some sleep deprivation.

As an exception, young adults may need nine or more hours on a regular basis because their brains are still developing, Chick said, and adults of any age may also need nine or more hours when recovering from an injury, illness or sleep debt. There are also “natural variants,” Kolla said, referring to some people who require more than 10 hours of sleep and others who get less than four and function normally. If you’re wondering whether it matters if you’re an early bird or night owl, Chick said it depends on “whether your lifestyle is compatible” with your preference. “If you are a night owl, but your job requires you to be in the office at 7 am, this misalignment is less than ideal for your physical and mental health,” she wrote in an email. “But it would be equally problematic for a morning person who works the night shift.”

How to improve your sleep

Are you not getting enough sleep? Here are a few ways to solve that:

1. Stick to a bedtime routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. You can even keep a journal to log these sleep times and how often you wake up at night, Dasgupta said, so you can have an idea of what works for you. You should also make sure your room is dark, cool and comfortable when you go to sleep.

2. Turn off the electronic devices. Do this as early as possible before bed, Chick added, as light exposure can affect your body’s sleep-wake cycle. “Particularly if you are aiming to fall asleep earlier, it’s important to expose yourself to bright natural light as early as possible in the day, and to limit exposure to light in the hours before bedtime,” she said. “Electronic devices mimic many of the wavelengths in sunlight that cue your body to stay awake.”

3. Try mindfulness techniques. Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga can also support sleep, Chick added. Her recent study showed that mindfulness training helped children sleep over an hour more per night.

4. Set good food and exercise habits. Finally, eating healthy and keeping a daily fitness regimen can support better sleep at night, Dasgupta said. “Always try to be consistent with exercise during the day,” he said. “Exercise relieves stress, it helps build up your drive to sleep at night, so there’s many good things there.”

Source: How much do I need to sleep? It depends on your age – CNN

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More Contents:

Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

a woman on her phone late at night

As a self-proclaimed night owl, I’m rarely surprised when I lift my eyes from Instagram and see that it’s well past when I intended to go to sleep. Here’s how I explain it to myself: I’ve always stayed up late, and now the only time I get to myself is when my husband and daughter are asleep. Here’s what’s actually going on: I’m procrastinating.

Some researchers call this bedtime procrastination or while-in-bed procrastination, while the Chinese word for it translates to “revenge bedtime procrastination.” No matter what you call it, in my case, it involves a combination of technology and anxiety; I worry that I won’t be able to fall asleep quickly, so I tell myself that I’ll just scroll through social media until I’m exhausted. It is this—along with a lack of what researchers refer to as self-regulation—that makes me a textbook sleep procrastinator.

How Sleep Procrastination Happens

The idea of sleep procrastination was first introduced in a 2014 study from the Netherlands, defining the act simply as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” Revenge was added to the title in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, but as a concept, it has actually been around for much longer.

According to Alessandra Edwards, a performance expert, revenge bedtime procrastination is quite common in people who feel they don’t have control over their time (such as those in high-stress occupations) and are looking for a way to regain some personal time, even if it means staying up too late.

“When it comes to the evening, they categorically refuse to go to bed early, at a time they know will suit them best and enable them to get adequate restorative sleep and feel better,” explains Edwards. “Nevertheless there is a sense of retaliation against life, so there is an idea of revenge to stay awake and do whatever fills their bucket.”3

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It’s late at night, you’re tired, but you just don’t want to go to sleep! Why do we all procrastinate when it comes to when we go to bed? Join Tara as she explains this new phenomenon and why it occurs. Follow DNews on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dnews Follow Tara on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/taralongest Read More: Bedtime Procrastination: Introducing a New Area of Procrastination http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journa… “Procrastination is a prevalent and problematic phenomenon that has mostly been studied in the domain of academic behavior.”
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How Your Personality May Contribute to Insufficient Sleep

Behavioral scientist Floor Kroese, an assistant professor in Health Psychology at Utrecht University and lead author on the study that first introduced bedtime procrastination, notes that there is also a link between procrastinating in daily life and sleep procrastination.

“An interesting difference may be that people typically procrastinate on tasks they find aversive—housework, homework, boring tasks—while sleeping for most people is not aversive at all,” says Kroese. “It might be the bedtime routines that precede going to bed that people dislike or just that they do not like quitting whatever they were doing.”

In an additional study from 2014, performed with a wider number of participants, Kroese and team argued that lack of self-regulation—associated with personality traits such as being impulsive or easily distracted—is a possible cause of sleep procrastination. While self-regulation and procrastination may sound like opposite sides of the same coin, they are actually different; one study from 2019 differentiates the two by defining procrastination as delaying an action, while self-regulation refers to “thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that guide individuals to set personal goals.”

For those unable to self-regulate, Edwards adds that the time before bed may be the only time to process the emotional backlog from the day, including “frustration and anger, or fear and anxiety they may have felt during the day but shut out.”

Kroese’s research indicates that “self-regulation interventions” could be helpful at improving sleeping behavior, and therefore reducing sleep procrastination. Getting adequate sleep requires more than just setting a bedtime (especially considering that self-regulation comes with thoughts and feelings, and not just behaviors).

This is where sleep specialists such as Michael Breus—known professionally as “the Sleep Doctor”—diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, come in.

How a ‘Power-Down Hour’ Can Reduce Sleep Procrastination

Breus studies the science of helping people sleep, and he helps patients with a technique he calls the “Power-Down Hour.” Featured in his first book, Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, it is a strategy to slow your mind down while getting you to step away from technology and address daily procrastination (that could lead to sleep procrastination).

The Power-Down Hour is composed of three 20-minute segments:

  • The first 20 minutes are dedicated to things that need to be done.
  • The second 20 minutes are set aside for hygiene (such as a hot bath).
  • The final 20 minutes are for relaxation (such as meditation, prayer, or journaling).

The order of each segment is what Breus claims is “the secret ingredient.” With this technique, you are not only addressing specific behaviors of self-regulation; you are also considering the thoughts and feelings element. While this may seem like a simple solution for those of us who find ourselves scrolling late into the night, Breus acknowledges that there is an added element of FOMO, due in part to the pandemic, making the Power-Down Hour seem a bit more daunting.

“I understand that people are not having any real alone time right now, and that scrolling on your phone is fun, but you lose track of time,” says Breus. “My big question is: If you want some ‘me’ time, why not schedule it? If you just can’t figure that out, set a timer and give yourself a pattern interrupt. When the timer goes off, go brush your teeth, come back, and—if you just have to scroll—set it for 15 minutes and try again.”

Breus’s Power-Down Hour is in line with others’ findings, Kroese says a specific if-then plan (“If it is 11 pm, then I will go upstairs to brush my teeth”) and sleep hygiene habits, “such as making sure to end your day with relaxing activities, dimming the light, and keeping your bedroom distraction-free,” is a promising strategy for those who are experiencing bedtime procrastination due to self-regulation issues.

By breaking up the last hour before you want to be asleep, you are not only enacting a clear plan but also addressing any tasks you may have missed or pushed. You’re taking charge of your health with a routine and managing any potentially suppressed emotions from the day. And all of this is to get ample rest and tackle the next day head-on (no revenge needed).

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Ashley Lauretta is a journalist based in Austin, Texas. Her work appears in The Atlantic, SELF, ELLE, elemental, espnW, Men’s Journal and more.
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