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Sleep Aid

Study finds sleep vital for memory

Sleep AidJul 11 06

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania found that sleep benefits an individual’s ability to recall recently learned declarative memories, even when recall of these memories is challenged hours later by competing information.

This finding is particularly important for individuals with mentally demanding lifestyles, such as doctors, medical residents and college students, who often do not get adequate amounts of sleep.

The study appears in the July 11, 2006 issue of Current Biology.

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Study nixes Benadryl for putting babies to sleep

Sleep AidJul 04 06

An antihistamine most commonly sold as Benadryl does little to help infants sleep through the night even though parents and some doctors think it does, according to a study published on Monday.

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, said they based the findings on a test of 44 children age 6 to 15 months, whose parents had reported they woke up in their cribs two or more times a night.

In tests conducted in 2004 and 2005, some of the children were given diphenhydramine as the medicine is known and others an inert placebo. The parents were then asked to keep track of the children’s sleep habits.

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Rich folks get more sleep - blacks and men get less

Sleep AidJun 29 06

In a study of sleep characteristics in 669 adults in Chicago who were compared by sex and race, investigators found that blacks got less sleep than whites, while men got less sleep than women.

Furthermore, the wealthier you are, the more sleep you’re likely to get, Dr. Diane S. Lauderdale of the University of Chicago and her colleagues found.

“There was an expectation that people with very demanding jobs in terms of high status, high income, would be getting less sleep, and that was not true,” Lauderdale told Reuters Health in an interview. The findings could help explain why blacks suffer from more health problems than whites, she added.

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New sleep medication Ramelteon shows less potential to foster abuse and dependence

Sleep AidJun 28 06

As part of the effort to develop effective behavioral and medical sleep therapies, scientists consider the potential for dependence and abuse associated with prescription sleep drugs.

This line of research has produced findings showing that a recently approved prescription sleep drug may spare users the potential for dependence and abuse found with other sleep aids. Laboratory studies of the effects of ramelteon suggest that the drug’s targeting of the brain’s melatonin receptors rather than its benzodiazepine receptors make its subjective side effects different from those of old and new sedative hypnotics. The research is reported in the June issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

At the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, pharmacology researchers led by Charles P. France, PhD, assessed whether ramelteon instigated the same kinds of broad cognitive effects as other, more commonly prescribed sleep aids. That other group includes traditional hypnotics and newer drugs such as zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien), all of which bind to the brain’s benzodiazepine receptors and may result in impaired thinking, hangover, withdrawal symptoms and rebound insomnia.

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ROZEREM™ (ramelteon) Shown to be Effective in a First-Night-Effect Model

Sleep AidJun 19 06

Data presented at the SLEEP 2006 20th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies have shown that ROZEREMTM (ramelteon) reduced time to fall asleep with no evidence of next-day residual effects, including psychomotor and memory effects, in a first-night-effect model of transient insomnia. The results of this double-blind, randomized study were presented as a poster presentation.

“Some medications taken for sleep are associated with lingering effects the next day, which could make performing activities requiring mental sharpness difficult or dangerous,” said Gary Zammit, PhD, Director, Sleep Disorders Institute at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, New York. “These data suggest that ROZEREM can promote sleep in patients with transient insomnia without evidence of next-day psychomotor or memory effects.”

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Scientists find sleep hormone melatonin in red wine grapes

Sleep AidJun 19 06

Scientists in Italy say they have discovered that the grapes used to make some of the most popular red wines contain high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Melatonin is naturally secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, especially at night. It tells the body when it is time to sleep.

The discovery of melatonin in grape skin could explain why so many of us hit the bottle in the evening to wind down after a day’s hard slog. ‘The melatonin content in wine could help regulate the circadian rhythm [sleep-wake patterns], just like the melatonin produced by the pineal gland in mammals,’ says researcher Iriti Marcello at the University of Milan.

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Beating Insomnia

Sleep AidMay 31 06

Many Americans suffer from insomnia .

Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors, including consumption of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol; stress or anxiety; a change in sleep schedules; snoring or nightmares.

The American Sleep Association offers advice on how put this sleep disorder to bed.

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Melatonin, taken orally can improve ability to sleep

Sleep AidMay 03 06

Researchers from the Divisions of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study, that melatonin, taken orally during non-typical sleep times, significantly improves an individual’s ability to sleep.

This finding is particularly important for rotating or night-shift workers, travelers with jet lag and individuals with advanced or delayed sleep phase syndrome.

The findings appear in the May 1, 2006 issue of the journal Sleep.

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Sleeping Pills May Not Be Best Way for Seniors to Get Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep AidApr 06 06

Have trouble falling asleep at night? Before you reach for a pill you should hear the results of a recent study that found sleep medications are twice as likely to cause harm to a senior patient than they are to help them sleep better.

“Probably about 50 percent of older adults complain of sleep related problems,” says Jill Studley, M.D., gerontologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

Millions of seniors ask their physicians for sedatives or sleeping pills or even get them over-the-counter, but new studies demonstrate how dangerous taking these medications can be for older adults. According to recent research, these drugs are twice as likely to cause an accident than they are to help you sleep.

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Sleep problems under-studied in US, report finds

Sleep AidApr 05 06

Although more than 50 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, too few scientists study the problem and too few health-care professionals are trained to diagnose and treat it, a panel of experts reported on Tuesday.

Sleep troubles not only make people miserable—they cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars every year in medical expenses, lost productivity, accidents and other costs, the Institute of Medicine said in a report.

“Although sleep research and care for individuals with sleep disorders have expanded over the past several years, we currently don’t have the capacity to adequately diagnose and treat all who suffer from these problems,” said Harvey Colten, who chaired the committee that wrote the report.

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Lack of sleep linked to high blood pressure

Sleep AidApr 04 06

Skimping on sleep over a prolonged period appears to be an important risk factor for developing high blood pressure, according to a report in the medical journal Hypertension.

“People who sleep for only short durations raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate,” Dr. James E. Gangwisch, from Columbia University in New York, said in a statement. “This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure.”

Previous reports have linked sleep disorders with cardiovascular disease, but it was unclear if sleep deprivation in people who did not have a sleep disorder affected the likelihood of developing hypertension.

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Prescription Sleep Aids Not Always Best for Insomniacs

Sleep AidMar 27 06

Studies show that many Americans are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, and an increasing number of those people are turning to fast-acting prescription sleep aids.

Seeing a doctor for an instant insomnia “cure,” however, shouldn’t be the first course of action, says a Purdue University expert.

“When new products come out on the market, doctors tend to rely upon them because samples are readily available and doctors are short on time,” says Gail Newton, an associate professor of pharmacy practice in Purdue’s School of Pharmacy.

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Strange behaviour blamed on sleeping pills

Sleep AidMar 16 06

Reports of some very strange behavior by insomniacs taking a prescribed sleeping pill have been of concern and have raised safety questions about insomnia medications.

Much of the concern is centered around a class of drugs called sedative/hypnotics or sleep medications.

Zolpidem (Ambien) is one such medication and it affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced; it is called a called central nervous system (CNS) depressant because it slows down the nervous system.

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No evidence melatonin relieves jet lag

Sleep AidFeb 10 06

Melatonin is described as a natural nightcap but researchers said on Friday there is no scientific evidence that it relieves jet lag.

The hormone, which is available in over-the-counter supplements, helps regulate the body’s daily rhythms. Shift workers and air travellers take it to improve their sleep patterns.

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Oral devices recommended for milder sleep apnea

Sleep AidFeb 03 06

Mouth devices that aid breathing during sleep can be used as the first-line treatment for people with chronic snoring or milder cases of obstructive sleep apnea, according to new treatment guidelines.

The guidelines, published this week by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, recommend that oral appliances - similar to mouth guards used in sports - be offered as an initial treatment to people with mild to moderate OSA.

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