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Is shift work a risk factor for type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes rates are on the up, and there is real concern within the medical community that we are seeing something of a ‘diabesity’ epidemic that has considerable personal and social consequences. The usual focus regarding the prevention of type 2 diabetes is ‘diet and exercise’. But, other less well-recognised factors appear to influence […]

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Sleep appears to help the laying down of memory through new brain cell connections

I regular reader of this website (Chris) alerted me today to this BBC website report of a study which focused on the impact of sleep on memory. The study itself was conducted in mice [1]. The animals were taught a new skill (walking along a rotating rod). Then their brains were examined overnight. During sleep, […]

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Can light in the bedroom at night drive weight gain?

I came across and interesting report today, published on the BBC website here. In essence, this study found that in a large group of women, the more light they tended to have in their bedrooms at night, the heavier they tended to be [1]. This is an ‘epidemiological’ evidence, and does not prove therefore that […]

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Light – a doubled-edged sword for sleep

There have been reports in the UK press this week of a report that informs us that we are sleeping quite a lot less than we did a few decades ago, and the problems that may befall us as a result. Here’s a typical story which appeared in the UK broadsheet The Daily Telegraph. Short […]

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Is lack of sleep a potential factor in rising rates of obesity?

I noticed this news story yesterday, which reports on research published recently in the journal Obesity. The research, from Sweden, assessed the effects of sleep deprivation on food purchasing [1]. Fourteen men were given about $50 to spend on food in two settings: once after the men had a full night’s sleep, and once after […]

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How to improve sleep through seeking and avoiding light at the right times

I came across this report last week of a study into sleep-wake cycles. A group of adults were monitored in their normal environments (with electrical lighting, TV and electronic devices) and also had their levels of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin assessed [1]. It was discovered that in their normal environment, melatonin secretion was generally delayed […]

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Could this simple strategy stop snoring and sleep apnoea?

Have you ever started out looking for something on-line, got diverted, and then ended up at a completely unplanned and unrelated destination on the internet? I have to admit, for me, it happens a lot. It happened yesterday, in fact, when I was reading a piece about blood pressure treatment, and found myself clicking on […]

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More reminders that those wanting to control their weight might want to sleep more

I came across this report recently of a study which found that stopping men sleeping for a night led to them choosing bigger portions of ‘energy-dense’ food at a buffet [1]. Previous work from the same group at Uppsala University in Sweden found that sleep deprivation caused greater activity in the parts of the brain […]

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Alcohol can disrupt sleep and how to drink less without even trying

I came across this report this week, which focuses on research (as yet, unpublished) which, apparently, finds that alcohol has the ability to disrupt ‘rapid eye movement’ (REM) sleep. REM sleep is quite shallow sleep, and is usually the predominant form of sleep in the second half of the night. REM sleep seems to be […]

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Why are sleeping pills associated with an increased risk of dementia?

There’s an interesting study published in the British Medical Journal this week which concerns the relationship between use of drugs known as benzodiazepines and risk of dementia in elderly individuals [1]. Benzodiazepines are drugs which are usually used to treat anxiety and/or insomnia (diazepam – trade name Valium – is an example). In this study, […]

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