Sleep Study

  • A Sleep Study’s Eye-Opening Findings

    Posted by Sleep Review Staff | Aug 4, 2021 

    A new MIT study looks at how the length of time a person sleeps may impact their sense of well-being.

    Subjectively, getting more sleep seems to provide big benefits: Many people find it gives them increased energy, emotional control, and an improved sense of well-being. But a new study co-authored by MIT economists complicates this picture, suggesting that more sleep, by itself, isn’t necessarily sufficient to bring about those kinds of appealing improvements.

    The study is based on a distinctive field experiment of low-income workers in Chennai, India, where the researchers studied residents at home during their normal everyday routines — and managed to increase participants’ sleep by about half an hour per night, a very substantial gain. And yet, sleeping more at night did not improve people’s work productivity, earnings, financial choices, sense of well-being, or even their blood pressure. The only thing it did, apparently, was to lower the number of hours they worked.

    “To our surprise, these night-sleep interventions had no positive effects whatsoever on any of the outcomes we measured,” says Frank Schilbach, an MIT economist and co-author of a new paper detailing the study’s findings.

    Get the full story at news.mit.edu.

  • Adults Sleeping Under 6 Hours A Night Have Greater Dementia Risk

    April 21, 2021 | Original Article: MindBodyGreen

    It’s no secret that sleep is essential for a number of our body’s functions—from cellular repair to muscle growth and, of course, brain health. And one study published in the journal Nature Communications just put forward some new evidence on the link between sleep duration and dementia risk in middle-aged adults. Here’s what it found.

    Studying the connection between dementia and sleep.

    This research analyzed existing data from a long-term study on nearly 8,000 British people since 1985, conducted by University College London. As part of the research project, participants reported how long they slept multiple times over 25 years. Some of them also wore sleep-tracking devices to make sure they were giving accurate numbers on their sleep duration.

    A team of researchers then looked for any correlation between poor sleep and a greater risk for dementia down the line.

    Researchers have long suspected that there is a link between sleep and dementia risk, but they’ve been unsure where that link begins. That is, we don’t know if a lack of sleep can predispose people to dementia or if dementia throws off people’s sleep.

    The important thing about this study is that it started following the sleep patterns of people who were in their 50s, presumably before dementia had set in.

    What they found.

    Sure enough, a correlation was found—though the study authors are careful to note their research still can’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between sleep and dementia.

    That said, within the group of almost 8,000 participants, researchers found that middle-aged adults who consistently clocked low sleep durations were 30% more likely to develop dementia—regardless of sociodemographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic, and mental health factors. 

    The study authors considered seven hours to be a normal sleep duration, compared to six hours or less, which was considered short.

    The takeaway:

    While the jury is still out on whether this connection is a direct cause-and-effect, it’s certainly a good reason to consider getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, particularly if you’re in your 50s or 60s and/or have a history of dementia in your family.

    The study authors note that more research is needed to better understand the relationship between sleep and dementia risk, but given how important sleep is for so many bodily functions, there’s really no reason not to aim for a full night of quality sleep, every night.

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  • Short Sleep May Harm Bone Health

    Written by Catharine Paddock, Ph.D. on November 20, 2019 – Fact checked by Jasmin Collier

    Can insufficient sleep be harmful to bone health? New research in postmenopausal women has found that those who slept for no longer than 5 hours per night were most likely to have lower bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis.

    A team from the University at Buffalo, NY, led the study of 11,084 postmenopausal women, all of whom were participants in the Women’s Health Initiative.

    A recent paper in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research gives a full account of the findings.

    The investigation follows an earlier one in which the team had linked short sleep to a higher likelihood of bone fracture in women.

    Our study suggests that sleep may negatively impact bone health, adding to the list of the negative health impacts of poor sleep. I hope that it can also serve as a reminder to strive for the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep per night for our physical and mental health.

    Heather M. Ochs-Balcom, Ph.D. Lead Study Coordinator

    Bone remodeling and osteoporosis

    Bone is living tissue that undergoes continuous formation and resorption. The process, known as bone remodeling, removes old bone tissue and replaces it with new bone tissue.

    If you are sleeping less, one possible explanation is that bone remodeling isn’t happening properly.

    Ochs-Balcom

    The term osteoporosis means porous bone and refers to a condition that develops when the quality and density of bone are greatly reduced. Osteoporosis is more common in older adults, with older women having the highest risk of developing it.

    In most people, bone strength and density peak when they are in their late 20s. After that, as they continue to age, the rate of bone resorption gradually overtakes that of formation. The bone density of women reduces more rapidly during the first few years after menopause.

    Worldwide, around 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in their 50s and older are at risk of experiencing bone fracture due to osteoporosis, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

    The most common sites of fracture in people with osteoporosis are the hips, wrists, and spine.

    Spinal fractures can be serious, resulting in severe back pain, structural irregularities, and loss of height. Hip fractures are also of concern, as they often require surgery and can lead to loss of independence. They also carry a raised risk of death.


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