How Does Sleep Protect Against Heart Disease? Mouse Study Offers Insight

Researchers say they are closer to solving the mystery of how a good night’s sleep protects against heart disease. In studies using mice, they discovered a previously unknown mechanism between the brain, bone marrow, and blood vessels that appears to protect against the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries—but only when sleep is healthy and sound. The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, will appear in the journal Nature.

The discovery of this pathway underscores the importance of getting enough quality sleep to maintain cardiovascular health and could provide new targets for fighting heart disease, the leading cause of death among women and men in the United States, the researchers say.

“We’ve identified a mechanism by which a brain hormone controls production of inflammatory cells in the bone marrow in a way that helps protect the blood vessels from damage,” says Filip Swirski, PhD, the study’s lead author who also is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, in a release. “This anti-inflammatory mechanism is regulated by sleep, and it breaks down when you frequently disrupt sleep or experience poor sleep quality. It’s a small piece of to a larger puzzle.”

Swirski notes that while other similar mechanisms may exist, the findings are nonetheless exciting. Recent research has linked sleep deficiency and certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, to an

Childhood Sleep Deprivation — 11 Ways it Can Affect Your Child

childhood sleep deprivationDo you have a tantrum-throwing, fussy, emotional child? If so, you may be dealing with a case of sleep deprivation. Sleep is incredibly important for all of us, especially our children.

Shorter Sleep Affects Academics and Behavior

Rebecca G. Astill of the Department of Sleep and Cognition at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience conducted a study researching the effects of sleep impairment in children.

In this study, Astill’s study examined more than 35,000 children ages 5 to 12. She was looking at how sleep affected school performance and behavior.

Astill found that shorter episodes of sleep resulted in poor academic performance, and that these same children had more behavioral issues than their well-rested peers.

“The suggestion that insufficient sleep in children affects cognitive performance and aggravates behavioral problems is of particular practical relevance given the increasing tendency towards curtailment of their sleep,” she concluded.

As if this were not motivation enough, there is evidence that lack of sleep can contribute to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity. Additionally, recent studies have shown that some children diagnosed with ADHD may actually be sleep deprived. So how can you tell if your child needs more sleep?

11 Signs of Sleep Deprivation in Toddlers and Children

  • Overly emotional (explosive temper tantrums, easily hurt feelings, no patience)
  • Difficult to wake in the morning
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing during play
  • Taking long, or excessive naps
  • Hyperactivity
  • Defiant or contrary behavior
  • Difficulty falling

Is There Love In Sharing A Bed Or Sleeping Apart?

With the day of ‘lurve’ just around the corner, nothing beats finishing off Valentine’s day curling up in bed with your partner – before kicking them out to go sleep in the spare bedroom! And who said romance was dead? According to our 2017 Great British Bedtime Report* while the majority of us (76%) still […]

The post Is There Love In Sharing A Bed Or Sleeping Apart? appeared first on The Sleep Council.

from The Sleep Council…

Itamar Medical Partners with CardioVisual

Sleep diagnostics company Itamar Medical Ltd has entered into a digital education partnership with CardioVisual to educate cardiovascular patients and physicians on the importance of diagnosing and treating sleep apnea to improve patient outcomes and streamline cardiology practice workflow.

Obstructive sleep apnea has been shown to increase the risk for stroke, sudden cardiac death and cardiovascular mortality.  The treatment of obstructive sleep apnea has also been shown to reduce AFib recurrence post ablation. The educational program is delivered through CardioVisual, a multimedia interactive heart health app created by cardiologists for both healthcare professionals and patients. Through the interactive app, videos describe the importance of diagnosing and treating sleep apnea and the clinical benefits of Itamar Medical’s WatchPAT home sleep apnea testing device.

“There are an estimated 36 million cardiovascular patients who have undiagnosed sleep apnea, putting them at further risk for cardiovascular mortality. Itamar Medical’s WatchPAT technology is recognized within the US cardiology community as a simple and reliable tool to accurately diagnose sleep apnea at home,” says Gilad Glick, president and CEO of Itamar Medical, in a release. “The addition of information about the dangers of undiagnosed sleep apnea and the simplicity, accuracy and reliability of WatchPAT in the CardioVisual app will support physicians’ efforts to educate patients about the importance of diagnosing sleep apnea to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. We are excited to partner with CardioVisual’s strong position within the cardiology community to build greater awareness amongst patients

Communicating About Noncommunicable Diseases [Editor’s Message]

Do your part to reduce sleep-related risk factors for the top 10 health threat of noncommunicable diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked noncommunicable diseases as one of the top 10 health threats in the world for 2019.1 Defined as chronic diseases resulting from a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral factors, noncommunicable diseases cause 15 million premature deaths each year of people who are between 30- and 69-years-old, the WHO states. Cardiovascular diseases account for the most deaths, followed by cancers, respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Among many things, this year WHO will work with governments worldwide to help them meet the global target of reducing physical inactivity by 15% by 2030.

Closer to home, sleep professionals can do their part to reduce sleep-related risk factors for these chronic and deadly diseases. Here are some places to start.

Familiarize yourself with the literature on the links between sleep disorders and the most deadly noncommunicable diseases. An easy way to do this is to sign up for a free NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) account at, then set up email alerts for PubMed search terms such as “sleep AND ‘cardiovascular disease.’”

You can also attend events hosted by groups such as the American Academy of Cardiovascular Sleep Medicine (, American Cancer Society (, American Association for Respiratory Care (, American Diabetes Association (, and American Academy of Sleep Medicine (

Sleeping Through the Night — Why Did My Baby Stop?

sleeping through the night

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep problem video:

Hi! I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady. Today, I’m going to answer an exhausted mom’s email question about her 10-month-old baby’s sleep problem. She didn’t give me her name. So, I’m just going to call her ‘mom’:

“I have a 10-month-old daughter and most nights, she goes to sleep beautifully at bedtime. She takes a bath, PJs, stories then to bed sleepy but awake. She fusses a little but usually she falls asleep no problem. She used to be a very good sleeper, often sleeping for 9 or 10 hours at night, not every night but a lot of times. Lately, her sleep is getting worse and not better.

“She wakes up screaming in the middle of the night and goes onto her knees and screams more. We don’t know what to do. She is still in the bedroom with us as we live in a one-bedroom apartment so this is our only option right now. She is in a crib right next to the bed. So, I don’t think it’s separation anxiety. Help! We’re exhausted.”

Rule Out Reflux

I want you to rule out reflux, just in case. I don’t have a lot of information about your situation but I would find out from your pediatrician if he/she thinks that your baby might have reflux …

Must Try Snoring Remedies

Snoring is an annoying habit. The deafening buzzing sound can drive you insane and won’t allow you to sleep a wink at night. Habitual snoring can affect your sleep quality leading to sleep deprivation and daytime fatigue. You may feel constantly drained of energy and always drowsy during the day, so you are unable to focus on your tasks and even puts you at risk of accidents like falls as well as road accidents if you drive to get to and from work.

Snoring is especially common among older adults and it can also keep the people around you awake, tossing and turning in bed for hours on end and imagine them having to go through this on a daily basis. While there is no known cure yet for snoring and sleep apnea, the condition that causes one to snore habitually, there are remedies you can try to at least reduce snoring and make it easier for you and your partner to finally sleep soundly at night.

Aside from making lifestyle modifications, another remedy you can try is to assume specific sleeping positions that are known to deter snoring. Find out which sleeping positions are best against snoring and which ones to avoid because they can significantly improve your sleep and it is not just limited to sleeping on your sides.

Snoring could be stopped by adopting certain sleeping positions.

The condition is “very common” said the NHS in a

Should School Start Later For Teens?

This Monday (February 11 2019), there will be a Parliamentary debate on whether schools should start at 10am as ‘teenagers are too tired’ following an online petition of more than 180,000 signatures. Over the past few years there have been all kinds of reports looking at whether schools should start later to see if it […]

The post Should School Start Later For Teens? appeared first on The Sleep Council.

from The Sleep Council…

Should School Start Later For Teens?

This Monday (February 11 2019), there will be a Parliamentary debate on whether schools should start at 10am as ‘teenagers are too tired’ following an online petition of more than 180,000 signatures. Over the past few years there have been all kinds of reports looking at whether schools should start later to see if it […]

The post Should School Start Later For Teens? appeared first on The Sleep Council.

from The Sleep Council…

Study: Sleep Apnea More Dangerous for Women’s Hearts

Obstructive sleep apnea, which often comes with severe snoring, is a common yet dangerous sleep disorder. According to one recent study, this condition may be especially dangerous for women’s heart health.

The study looked at data on 4,877 people available through UK Biobank. Results showed that for men and women who reported obstructive sleep apnea or snoring, heart imaging revealed an increased thickness in the left ventricular wall, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber.

However, the difference in thickness was greater for women.

Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., Director of Sleep Disorders Research at Cleveland Clinic, did not take part in the research, but said sleep apnea risks do vary between men and women. “There are known sex-specific differences in obstructive sleep apnea, in terms of risk across the lifespan and symptoms,” she said. “We know that obstructive sleep apnea is 2-5 times more common in men than it is in women; but when women become post-menopausal, their risk for obstructive sleep apnea actually increases.” 

Dr. Mehra said the study results suggest the changes in the hearts of the snoring group could be an indication of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea in these women.

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from Sleep Review…