The rejuvenating power of sleep revealed

Many previous studies suggest that a good night’s sleep can rejuvenate the mind and body.


Now in a new study by Judith Carroll, from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA; California, USA), and colleagues reveals how partial sleep deprivation affects DNA and aging.

The researchers studied 29 men and women, ages 61 to 86 years, living independently in the community setting. Subjects underwent an experimental partial sleep deprivation protocol for four nights, including adaptation, an uninterrupted night of sleep, partial sleep deprivation (restricted 3 a.m. – 7 a.m.) and another uninterrupted night of sleep (recovery).

The researchers obtained blood samples each morning to assess peripheral blood mononuclear cells (pMBCs).

Results show that one night of partial sleep deprivation activates gene (PBMCs) consistent with increasing accumulation of damage that initiates cell cycle arrest and increases susceptibility to senescence.

The study authors write that: “These findings causally linked sleep deprivation to the etiology of biological aging, and further supports the hypothesis that sleep deprivation may be associated with elevated disease risk because it promotes molecular processes involved in biological aging.”

A good night’s sleep at last – how one reader found a novel cure for insomnia

One in three of us will suffer from some degree of insomnia in their lifetime. And it can cause a myriad of health issues including overweight and depression. In the UK our working day is longer that most of the rest of Europe and some employers even believing we should work through the night pinging us emails and texts!

Here reader Nicole Ettinger takes us through her journey to find a cure for her insomnia:

“As a little girl I shine a torch under my duvet and read while the house silently sleeps. At the time I thought it was exciting being the only one awake, but as the years passed it soon grew tedious.

“As an adult I found myself with the need to be constantly connected to the world through one of my Apple devices. The iPad, MacBook, and iPhone all come to bed with me and I check my emails, Facebook and Twitter throughout the night.

“Every now and again I search the internet for cures for insomnia but I am met with conflicting advice; some are adamant that you don’t get out of bed, but stay put until you fall back to sleep. This school of thought leads to me staring into the darkness, twitching with many ideas, watching the light gradually seep through the blinds until my alarm clock goes off. The others advise you to get up and do something else until you feel tired.

Even my dog now has insomnia

“I walk the dog (who now seems to have developed insomnia herself as she has come to think of “walkies” as a middle of the night activity), work , watch Seinfeld, or play along to Countdown (I marvel at how amazingly alert the brain can be at unearthly hours, as I get the conundrum). One activity leads to another and tiredness does not come but the day does.

Sheep, pills and herbal potions

“My Grandma says, “count sheep jumping over a fence,” but my sheep never quite make it to that fence, and run fast the other way! I try sleeping pills and although they work, they leave me like a zombie throughout the day. I try every conceivable herbal remedy but they have no impact.

“Vogue magazine promises that a ÂŁ70 silk lavender mask is the answer – I wait for it to arrive in the post, with great eagerness, convinced this will do it – the reality is my eyes swell up from the scent! A new product emerges called “Deep Sleep” by “This Works” – does it?! I douse myself in their oils, my pillow in a spray and virtually suffocate my partner, but nothing happens. I buy a new pillow every few months – a soft one, hard one, goose feather, memory foam but I cannot find peace in any of them.

Resigned to a life of sleepless I join a yoga class

“Just as I have resigned myself to a lifetime of no, or very little, sleep I hear about “Yoga for Better Sleep” and head to Islington’s Life Centre to join an all female group, who all look as if they have not slept for a very long time. It seems that insomnia does not discriminate but our ages range from twenties to fifties. We are united by a quest to find sleep and this is the one place where yawning is welcomed.

“The instructor, Lisa Sanfilippo, did not sleep properly for many years until she started practicing Yoga. She is small and toned, wide eyed, looking youthful and radiant with sleep. This is how we hope to be after the four-week course. Lisa gives us insight into how yoga helps to remove the day’s layers of tension that keep us activated and unable to fall asleep, training both brain and body into calmer, more sleep-ready states. She will teach us a combination of slow long held poses and breath work.


Yoga teacher Lisa Sanfilippo

Declutter the bedroom and use it only for sleeping or lovemaking

“We are told that the bedroom should be our sanctity, used for nothing other than sleeping or lovemaking. I think of my cluttered room; clothes spilling out the wardrobes, drawers so full with photos and scraps of paper that they will not close, books I will never read under the bed, and all the digital devices waiting to entertain me through my sleeplessness. Later when I get home, I declutter it, leaving nothing in sight but my bed and bedside tables.

“Sleep deprived I cannot follow the simplest of instructions, but Lisa is calm and patient, gently untangling me from my own mal-coordinated version of a pose, easing me into the correct yogic postures. I learn how to breath slowly and deeply and feel my heart rate decrease – count to three on inhale and to four on exhalation. At first it is a chore, as my breathing feels hopelessly restricted, but after a while in the candle lit studio, stretched out in pigeon pose, I feel my breath starting to soften to a wonderfully calming effect on my wired body and mind. Thoughts are slowing down and I start to feel lighter.


Nicole learns to relax and find her inner peace

“We are taught a few more poses, and as I lay in child’s pose over a bolster, I start to feel a stillness unfamiliar to my sense of being, and I share momentary peace with fellow insomniacs. I take this practice home with me and I am gradually eased into sleep. At first I still wake every few hours, but instead of further stimulating myself with the bright glare of a screen, I practice other yoga poses until I am tired enough to sleep more. After four weeks, I am in a routine of yoga before bed and if I stay in the poses long enough to quiet my body and mind I can achieve a full nights sleep.

How can I overcome my addiction to digital technology?
“However, as life gets very busy, the ideas are springing fast and the need to hop on my iPad at all hours overrides this newfound discipline. I find myself up once more, tapping away at my keyboard into the early hours of the morning. At the suggestion of a friend I try hypnosis to get me off the technology.

A man named Howard Cooper comes recommended to me and so I head to his Harley Street clinic. His consultation room is spacious and light, we sit on comfortable armchairs opposite one another. He has a calm way about him and when I tell him that it will be very hard for him to hypnotise me, he just nods and says, “I know” as if to say that is what you all think and I feel a little silly. Right from the start Howard speaks in soft tones that makes me want to slow down.

Howard Cooper Headshots

Howard Cooper took Nicole on a journey outside of her conscious state

“Howard explains that he is going to give me back control over my own neurology and the control to close my eyes and drift off, or back, to sleep at will. He puts headphones on me and speaks to me through a microphone with soft music in the background. He soothingly asks me to stare at a spot on the ceiling and become aware of the “rising and falling” of my breath. My eyes fall shut at his instruction and from there I only remember odd phrases such as “sleepy….slow down…stop your fast ideas… just relax.”

“He tells me that I am “doing well,” and I feel myself sink further into the armchair, drifting away somewhere I have never been before, nor could I explain where it is. There is a moment when I hear him tell me to move the middle finger of my left hand and a part of my brain tells me to resist but it twitches involuntarily – it is then that I realise I have fallen under his spell.

“When I open my eyes at Howard’s command, he asks me how long I think the hypnosis lasted for, and I reply, “around five or six minutes”, he looks satisfied and tells me it was for “twenty-six minutes”. I feel wonderfully sleepy and have an unfamiliar desire to retire to my bed, but it is the middle of the afternoon. I ask if this relaxed sensation will last until nighttime, and he assures me to carry on as usual and that I can anticipate a good nights sleep.

Sleep at last!

That night I fall into sleep faster than I can ever remember, and a few hours later when I wake up full of “ideas” that I think must be typed into my laptop at that precise moment, I can hear Howard’s voice telling me very slowly to “slow my thoughts down” and that “all good ideas will still be there in the morning.” I do not head to my iPad but I practice some yoga stretches in bed until both body and mind feel soothed and I sleep until morning.
Out of all the things I have tried over the years, I am now sleeping, almost uninterrupted, combining yoga and hypnosis. I do not know how long this blessing of finally being able to switch off will last for, but for now I am grateful to of found some kind of solace, and will catch sleep while I can.”

For more information on Howard Cooper
or for Lisa Sanfilippo

FREE sleep CD worth ÂŁ4.99 for every reader!


Pure Sleep is music for the mind, body and spirit. This unique hour of music has been created especially to help your mind and body prepare for peaceful, replenishing sleep. Tracks include: Pure Sleep, Distant Dreams, Dance with The Angels, Childhood Memories, Special Star, Moonlight Dreaming, A New Awakening and The Rising Sun.

This fantastic CD is FREEÂ…just pay ÂŁ1.62 postage! (Please note that this offer applies for mailings to UK addresses only).

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Turn back the clock with a good night’s sleep


Sealy are the worldÂ’s biggest bed company (one of their beds is sold somewhere in the world every 3 seconds) so itÂ’s fair to say they know more about sleep than mostÂ….

ThatÂ’s why their latest Posturepedic bed range, is the most technologically advanced, ever, with seven zones along the length of the bed and each zone tailor made to react to each part of the body.

With research1 showing just over 50% of us only get a really good nightÂ’s sleep just once a week and the repercussions this undoubtedly has on our everyday health and wellbeing, we need to do as much as we can to help ourselves remedy this situation.

Scientists say the body needs to gently move 35 times a night in order to reoxygenate its muscles and keep the blood circulating smoothly. This movement, however, is not the same as tossing and turning which uses energy and leaves us feeling more tired when we wake up than when we went to bed!

Tossing and turning happens because some parts of our bodies are heavier than others, creating areas of concentrated weight and pressure. This pressure causes loss of circulation leading to numbness and pins and needles and the automatic reaction by the body is to move and turn over to lay in a different positionÂ…. But, the more supportive your mattress, the more pressure points are created, and the more pressure relief offered, the less support you get. To eliminate these pressure points, ideally you need both push-back support and maximum pressure relief. The problem is that there are all sorts of different types of bed available to choose from and each offers different options to help you sleep, but,

• Memory foam beds relieve pressure but give poor support and can also be very warm

• Pocket sprung beds provide comfort but poor pressure relief

• Traditional continuous coil beds provide good support but limited comfort

The solution to all this is a bed with a mattress that answers all the problems by dealing with them in the appropriate zones. Sealy undertook a pressure mapping exercise – the biggest ever undertaken around the world, in some 50 countries – to investigate height, weight and BMI, side sleeping positions and duration of positions and involving literally thousands of people of every size and shape imaginable to research how we all sleep.

This has now resulted in Sealy Posturepedic beds which are divided into 7 zones… individually designed to provide maximum pressure relief but with the push-back support that is equally important – and of course also providing maximum comfort and temperature and moisture control to stop you feeling too hot or too cold. These are the only beds that tick all the boxes to help you get a Sealy better night’s sleep….

Don’t be a hot sleeping beauty


London: Beat summer insomnia with top tips plus advice from the free consumer ‘Good Sleep Guide’, in association with Dr Chris Idzikowski.

The Great British Summer is well and truly upon us, to the delight of many, but the warmer weather can be extremely detrimental to our sleep patterns.

Fewer hours of darkness and a rise in temperature mean that getting a good night’s sleep becomes far more difficult than it would usually be.Poor quality sleep is known to lead to problems with learning, memory, concentration and low mood.
Keeping cool at night and blocking out early morning sunshine is essential for a good night’s sleep according to the experts. With this is mind, TEMPUR offers some top tips on how to beat summer insomnia, including some advice from sleep expert and director of the Edinburgh Sleep Center Dr Chris Idzikowski, taken from ‘The Good Sleep Guide’, a free consumer advice guide to the perfect night’s sleep*:

Control room temperature

Scientists have discovered that a slight dip in body temperature is a trigger for sleep – Dr Chris Idzikowski suggests the ideal sleeping temperature is between 17 and 18°C. According to The Sleep Council**, our deepest sleep occurs when our biological clock temperature is at its lowest – usually around 4am, making a cool bedroom key to a good night’s sleep.

TIP: In hot weather that’s not always easy to achieve, so close curtains and open windows during the day to help prevent heat building up inside and leave your bedroom window open at night to let the cool air in Save the sunshine for your waking hours.

Exposing your eyes to light during sleeping hours affects the brain’s production of the hormone melatonin which promotes sleep.

TIP: Minimise early morning sunshine with blackout blinds and distance light sources at night such as alarm clocks with strong LED displays Make time for sleep Warm, summer nights might provide the perfect excuse to stay up late, but findings in the UK*** over the last 40 years show the average daily sleep for adults is about 7ÂĽ hours – the same it was a hundred ago. Mortality seems to be lowest in those sleeping around 7 hours a night so getting a good night’s sleep can literally be a life-saver.

A good mattress matters

Adults spend up to a third of their lives in bed**** and while there is no perfect bed, pillow or position that is right for everyone, a quality mattress is vital for a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend mattresses be changed every eight to ten years.

On conventional mattresses the body needs to adjust during the night due to unrelieved pressure, which restricts blood flow, with warm summer bedrooms leading to more tossing and turning than in the winter months.

TIP: Invest in a mattress made of pressure-relieving material which moulds to the exact shape and position of the body. TEMPUR Mattresses support the spine in the correct position, easing back pain, arthritis and sciatica and providing optimum support throughout the night. TEMPUR Mattresses have been shown to reduce tossing and turning by 83%. Some mattresses retain heat which can make them very warm, whereas TEMPUR Mattresses have been specially designed to allow air to pass through the material freely- ensuring a cooler, more comfortable night’s sleep.

Eat to sleep

Avoid summer food favourites containing tyramine (cheese, ham, aubergines, pepperoni, raspberries, avocado and red wine) which can keep you awake at night as they release norepinephrine, a brain stimulant.

TIP: If you get the munchies close to bedtime, eat something that triggers the hormone serotonin, which helps to promote sleep. Carbohydrates such as bread or cereal will do the trick.

TEMPUR, the manufacturer of pressure relieving pillows and mattresses, has got together with respected sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski – Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre with more than 20 years experience in sleep research and medicine – to create ‘The Good Sleep Guide’, an easy-to-follow leaflet to help you get the perfect night’s sleep.

For FREE copies of ‘The Good Sleep Guide’ for you, your friends or family, or for more information about TEMPUR Products, please contact TEMPUR on 08000 111081 or email

Other useful sites for sleep issues:
** Sleep Council
*** Loughborough Sleep Research Centre
**** Edinburgh Sleep Centre


Mattresses are made from unique TEMPUR Material, a proprietary, open celled, temperature sensitive material that conforms to and supports the individual user by evenly distributing body weight. The basis for the TEMPUR pressure relieving material was originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts against G Forces during lift off and re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Today TEMPUR is the only producer of mattresses and pillows worldwide to be endorsed by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation.
TEMPUR Products are recommended by over 30,000 medical professionals worldwide, and their beneficial properties are supported by clinical research. A trial at the Institution for Clinical & Physiological Research at the Lillhagen Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden tested 23,000 patients over an eight year period of home and clinical use of the TEMPUR Mattress and Pillow. Patients suffered less pain, experienced enhanced deep sleep, and an 83% reduction in tossing and turning when using TEMPUR Products.

A whole host of celebrities are now claiming they have found the perfect sleeping partner – their TEMPUR Mattress including George Michael, Jane Seymour, Paris Hilton, The England Rugby Team, Paul McCartney, David Blaine, The Ozbournes, Kyran Bracken, Claire Sweeney, Charlie Dimmock, Susan Hampshire and Noel Gallagher.
TEMPUR Mattress prices start from ÂŁ675, and TEMPUR Pillows are priced from ÂŁ69.95. For more information about TEMPUR Products, call 08000 111081 or visit Tempur

Mobiles disrupt sleep, says new report


London: Mobile phones severely disrupt sleep patterns, according to scientific research into their impact on human rest, funded by the Mobile Manufacturers Association.

The research undertaken by the Electromagnetic Academy based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the United States, exposed 71 men and women, aged between 18 and 45, to mobile phone radiation as they prepared to sleep.

According to the study, monitoring under laboratory conditions showed the initial ‘light’ phases of sleep in the subjects were affected. In addition, “exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals, components of sleep, believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear, are adversely affected.”
The research also found that those exposed to mobile phones during their sleep appear to have more headaches, than those not exposed.

The findings coincide with calls from UK company Exradia, manufacturers of the first device proven to neutralize potentially dangerous mobile phone radiation, for more government research into the health issues being raised.

David Schick, Exradia chief executive, said, “This study is yet another example of how using mobile phones can have a detrimental effect on humans.
It is critical that the UK Government now undertakes a formal public inquiry into this issue.”

France recently became the latest country to advise against excessive use of mobile phones, particularly by children. Other countries whoÂ’ve issued similar advice include Sweden, the UK, Israel and India.

More information:

“The Effects of 884 MHz GSM Wireless Communication Signals on Self-reported Symptom and Sleep (EEG)” was sponsored by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum and published in the Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS) from the US Electromagnetics Academy based at MIT in Cambridge USA. The research was undertaken by six scientists from the following Universities/bodies – Wayne State Univertisy & Uppsala University, USA; Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and Foundation IT’IS, USA.

More details of the research can be found here :

The Exradia Angel™ www.exradia.comis a replacement battery containing a chip and coil that actively superimposes a random noise field over the radio waves emitted by the cellular antenna. The Angel costs £24.99 and is available for 80% of the popular mobile phones available today from Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung.

Six leading American Universities, including Columbia University, New York, have independently tested the Angel technology in research between 1993 and 2005. All the studies confirmed that radiation emitted from mobile phones does cause biological changes in animals and that the Angel technology neutralized the changes in every case.

Sleeping problems? – get free expert advice from the Sleep Clinic in today’s web chat


London: Are you one of those people who find it difficult to switch off before bedtime? How many nights have you lain in bed awake with your mind racing? Or gone to bed later than you should have and ended up with very little sleep? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

A new report, commissioned by Horlicks and set to be released at the end of October, is expected to reveal that millions of Brits are suffering from ‘semisomnia’, a new term coined in the report to describe daytime tiredness or low-grade exhaustion, thought to be caused by our inability to wind down before bedtime.

While the subject of sleep is often written about, past studies have tended to focus on the minority of people who suffer from chronic sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnoea. Sleep research has traditionally failed to provide advice for the average person, but this report seeks to redress the balance.

Dr Neil Stanley, the report’s author and former chairman of the British Sleep Society, has reviewed more than 30 years of bedtime behaviour and will be joining us online to reveal his concerns on the impact that the nation’s poor sleep habits are having on our health and wellbeing. He’ll also be sharing key hints and tips on how to wind down more effectively at the end of the day and unlock the key to a better night’s sleep.

You can put your problems to the experts in our exclusive webchat Chat date: Tuesday 30th October 2007 Chat time: 14.00 (GMT). Your concerns will be answered by Dr Neil Stanley, who will be live online at Speak with Dr Neil Stanley about your concerns o

For more information on healthy sleep visit

If you can’t wait until the chat – here are some pointers to get you started:

Resolve – what is on your mind and how can you put it aside until tomorrow?

Relax – what helps you stop, sit down and take time out from your day?

Release – what helps your mind switch off from your day-to-day pressures and allows you to drift and think about nothing in particular?

Anti-ageing hormone found in Welsh plant


London: A natural food supplement called Asphalia, composed of completely plant-derived materials which are grown and produced in South Wales and are naturally rich in melatonin, has been proven to aid the bodyÂ’s ability to achieve REM sleep faster than any other sleeping tablets and with no adverse side effects.

It is a well known that melatonin plays an important role in the regulation of the circadian rhythms of the body. It has also been proven to be a powerful, potent and natural antioxidant – five times as powerful as Vitamin C and twice as strong as Vitamin E, as well as helping to strengthen the immune system and providing cardiovascular protection. Melatonin however, is best known for its role in jet lag and in maintaining healthy sleep.

Available over the counter in the US, synthetic melatonin has become one of the most popular remedies for insomnia and jet lag. However, in the UK, synthetic melatonin supplements were banned several years ago, as they were classed as a hormone and are now only available on prescription.

In a published study reporting that some plants were rich in natural melatonin, the gramineous plant Festuca arundinacea, a meadow grass with unique properties, was shown to contain far more melatonin than any of the other 24 plants that were tested. (Hattori, Migitaka et al., 1995)

An independent Welsh laboratory, Coghill Research Laboratories, established in the early 1980s, has been growing this plant for several years and has now developed Asphalia as a food supplement based on its leaves. This natural plant-derived melatonin is proving more effective than its synthetic equivalent.

Asphalia contains melatonin in physiological doses (in the sub-microgram range), which have been shown to remain efficacious for longer than the pharmacological doses (in the milligram range). The latter usually applies to melatonin supplements made from synthetic chemicals.

Besides helping to regulate sleep, Asphalia also promotes wellbeing in people suffering from exposure to electromagnetic pollution, since it contains such a strong anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants provide protection against extremely low frequency (“ELF”) electromagnetic fields (“EMFs”) found near power lines, domestic wiring and electric appliances and also against higher frequency radiations from radar, radio waves, cell phones and masts. A new DoH-funded committee (SAGE) has recently advised of the publicÂ’s need to mitigate exposure to EMFs.

It is also especially beneficial for people over 40, as melatonin declines with age – from the age of 70, the body only makes 10% of the normal adult concentration, a principal cause of the ageing process.

Approved by the MHRA as an over-the-counter food supplement, AsphaliaÂ’s Greensward anti-oxidant formula is made purely from Festuca arundinacea .

Asphalia products are now available from independent health food stores across the UK, by mail order and online at T. + 44 (0)1495 752122. Costs ÂŁ11.75 for 30 capsules (one monthÂ’s supply) plus ÂŁ2.50 p&p within the UK.

Stress free sleep with advice on buying the right bed from the experts at the Sleep Council

Despite the fact that we spend around eight hours a day in bed, most of us are surprisingly complacent about our place of rest.

In fact a poor bed can lead to worse things than a lumpy night. Tiredness, back problems, bad moods and a strained relationship with your partner are just some of the consequences, so it really is important for our health and wellbeing that every now and then we give our beds an MOT of sorts.

The Sleep Council has re-launched its web site at with a fresh, easier to navigate new look and some fresh new features – including a brand new interactive bed selector, which aims to point you in the right direction for buying the right new bed.

But even armed with these tips, buyers should beware the seven deadly sins of bed buying, says The Sleep Council!

1. Not doing any homework before buying a bed. There’s as many different beds as there are sandwich fillings so work out what kind of bed you want first (divan or bedstead; springs or foam; adjustable or static; with or without storage etc

2. Buying a bed without first testing it out – you wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive – and you spend as much if not more time in your bed!

3. Spending as little as you can get away with instead of as much as you can afford. You get what you pay for (think of it like this: over seven years a ÂŁ700 bed costs less than 4p a night. What can you buy these days for 4p!)

4. Buying a standard 4’6″ (135cm) double bed instead of a roomy five footer that ensures less partner-disrupted sleep.

5. Forgetting a BEDroom is exactly that. A place to rest, relax and sleep and not a room packed with sleep distracting gadgets and TVs.

6. Not taking care of your bed – it’s hardly high maintenance so follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to make the most of it.

7. Ignoring the seven year itch – even the best of beds will not retain the same levels of comfort as the years go by – it deteriorates gradually and you and your support and comfort needs change, too. So don’t ignore the warning signs (dips, roll-together and neck or back ache etc) – invest in a new bed before your sleep quality starts to suffer.

Make sure you have the perfect place to relax for comfort for your body and mind. Then you can tackle the day in the best health available to you!

Join Jessica Alexander from the Sleep Council and Pauline Rawlings at SleepCouncilwebchat to choose the right bed for you

Women grumpier than men first thing

London: Women are grumpier than men in the morning. They are not only grumpier more often than men but they are grumpier for longer, according to a new survey from the UK’s Sleep Council.

It reports that 24% of men say they never wake up in a bad mood as opposed to only 14% of women. The fairer sex is also more likely to stay grumpier for longer with 13% of them staying in a bad mood for two to four hours (men 10%). The survey, published ahead of National Sleep In Day on October 29 – the day the clocks go back and we all get an extra hour in bed – found 41% of us believe lack of sleep is the main reason for grumpiness in the morning.

“As men appear to sleep better than women (15% get a good seven nights’
sleep a week as opposed to only 9% of women), perhaps it’s not surprising that more women than men get out of bed on the wrong side,” says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council.

Overall nearly one in five of the population (18%) say they never really get a good nightÂ’s sleep: and techniques for doing so show a male/female split too. A worrying one in five men use a stiff drink (18%) and/ or sex (19%) to get off to sleep while women are more likely to read (57%), take a hot bath (28%) or have a sleeping pill (7%). A quarter (24%) of those questioned cited general stress and worry as a reason for early morning moodiness while 15% couldnÂ’t face climbing out of a cosy, comfortable bed.

“The comfort of a bed was quite a significant factor in these results,” says Jessica Alexander. “Because while many people find it hard to tear themselves out of a comfortable bed in the morning, another 10% of participants cited a bad bed as a reason for poor sleep. Clearly these people either need to replace their bed more often or pay more for something in which they spend a third of their lives.”

The over 45 age-group fares worst of all in the sleep starvation stakes with a massive 44% saying they never get a good nightÂ’s sleep. Could this be connected to the fact they are the most likely people to have teenagers?And teenagers are the moodiest of all with 25% staying so for up to four hours.

There are clear regional differences too with London home to Great BritainÂ’s Grumpiest: a whopping 19% maintain a bad mood for two to four hours while Northern Ireland leads the way in sheer numbers. More than a third (35%) of respondents here feel crabby for the first hour or so after waking. Worst areas for bad sleepers are Yorkshire and the North East where only 6.8% and 6.7% get seven nights of good sleep. In the South East and East, people get twice as much good sleep with 14% enjoying seven sound nightsÂ’

“In London, 27% believe that when they wake up in a bad mood, stress is the most likely cause,” says Jessica. “This is interesting because Londoners, along with the rest of the South East, generally tend to be better sleepers. The fact that 18% of people in the North East never feel at their best compared to 7% in London represents a huge regional difference. We suspect the south’s better sleep patterns may be linked to greater wealth, better diet, more exercise – perhaps even higher spending on beds.”

Londoners also exercise most in the morning to get their day off to a good start while North Westerners are the swiftest at getting ready for work – more than a third (35%) do so in just 10 – 20 minutes. In Scotland they check their emails more than anywhere else and in the South West they ensure the house is spick and span before they leave.

“Which brings us right back round to why women are the grumpier sex in the morning,” says Jessica. “Our survey showed that 28% of them as opposed to only 5% of men do any housekeeping before going to work. It also tends to be them that prepares the breakfast, spends time with the children, check their emails and attend to their beauty regime. Women far outweigh men in having a busy and packed morning.”

So what do men do? Apparently just get up and go out: 17% of them spend only 10 minutes on their wake up and get out routine.

Said Jessica: “As a nation we are simply not taking time in the morning to exercise, chat to the kids, our partners or even our pets. This would suggest that people don’t have the time in the morning to do this because they are probably going to bed too late at night, sleeping in too late and not achieving the quality of sleep they need to feel and perform at their best. “One in 10 people told us they are never at their best in the morning but the cure to that isn’t rocket science. It’s about good diet, good exercise, and good sleep in a good bed.”

REGIONAL RESULTS: East 14% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 52% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 19% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

15% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 14% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

42% find reading helps them to get to sleep 13% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 11% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep London 13% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 63% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 26% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

13% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 16% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

54% find reading helps them to get to sleep 19% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 13% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep Midlands 20% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 58% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 21% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

14% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 17% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

48% find reading helps them to get to sleep 15% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 14% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep North East 21% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 63% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 30% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

25% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 15% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

48% find reading helps them to get to sleep 15% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 8% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep North West 17% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 56% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 21% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

18% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 15% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

48% find reading helps them to get to sleep 11% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 13% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep Northern Ireland 17% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 69% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 21% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

17% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 14% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

59% find reading helps them to get to sleep 7% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 10% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep Scotland 22% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 48% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 18% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

15% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 14% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

51% find reading helps them to get to sleep 13% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 9% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep South East 17% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 55% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 26% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

14% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 15% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

53% find reading helps them to get to sleep 17% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 15% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep South West 21% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 59% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 30% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

19% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 12% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

43% find reading helps them to get to sleep 16% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 13% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep Wales 24% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 54% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 16% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

13% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 13% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

52% find reading helps them to get to sleep 11% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 17% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep Yorkshire 22% never get a really decent sleep in a typical week 53% blame stress/worry for the reason they have trouble sleeping 25% blame their partnerÂ’s snoring for the reason they have trouble sleeping

15% blame back pain for the reason they have trouble sleeping 18% blame having to climb out of a cosy, comfortable bed for feeling grumpy

46% find reading helps them to get to sleep 13% list sex as a technique to get to sleep 19% find having a stiff drink helps them to get to sleep.

The Sleep Council’s ‘Grumpy Old Women’ survey was conducted online by Tickbox between October 2nd and 11th 2006 with a sample base of 2105. The Sleep Council is a generic body that aims to: • Raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health
and wellbeing. • Provide helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep quality. • Provide helpful advice on choosing the right bed for optimum
sleeping comfort.

The Sleep Council is funded by the National Bed Federation, the trade association for British bed manufacturers. The Sleep Council, High Corn Mill, Chapel Hill, Skipton, BD23 1NL UK Tel:
01756 791089. Web.

Lack of sleep may trigger childhood obesity

Bristol: Soaring levels of obesity might be linked to children sleeping fewer hours at night than they used to, claims a researcher in the medical magazine, the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Dr Shahrad Taheri of the University of Bristol, blames the increasing availability of computers, mobile phones, TVs and other gadgets on the diminishing nightly quota of sleep, and suggests they should be banned from childrenÂ’s bedrooms.
Dr Taheri cites the emerging body of research on the impacts on the body of a fall in the nightly quota of sleep, which reflects circumstances in real life, rather than sustained sleep deprivation, which tends to be more extreme.

This research shows that shorter sleep duration disturbs normal metabolism, which may contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Even two to three nights of shortened sleep can have profound effects, the laboratory data suggest.

One study indicated that insufficient sleep at the age of 30 months was associated with obesity at the age of 7, suggesting that this could programme the part of the brain regulating appetite and energy expenditure, says Dr Taheri.

But it is also a problem for teenagers in whom the need for sleep increases during this critical developmental period, he says.

Another piece of research shows that levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat tissue when energy stores are low, were more than 15% lower in those sleeping five hours compared with those clocking up 8.

Similarly, ghrelin, a hormone released by the stomach to signal hunger was almost 15% higher in those with a five hour sleep quota.

Sleep loss also disturbs other hormones, including insulin, cortisol (stress hormone), and growth hormone, says Dr Taheri, who adds that hormonal changes could boost the desire for carlorie rich foods.

And poor sleep sets up a vicious cycle. It leads to fatigue, which leads to reduced levels of physical activityÂ….which leads to lower energy expenditureÂ…..which leads to obesity, which itself leads to poor sleep, he adds.

Dr Taheri acknowledges that the mechanisms behind obesity are likely to be complex. “Sleep is probably not the only answer to the obesity pandemic, but its effect should be taken seriously, as even small changes in energy balance are beneficial,” he says.

“Good sleep could be promoted by removal of gadget distractions from bedrooms and restricting their use,” he suggests.

Scientists discover link between sleep and Parkinson’s

Washington: People who sleep longer are more at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new US study.

Scientists at the National Institute of Health tracked the health of 80,000 fe,a;e nurses over a a 24 year period and discovered that those who sleep at least nine hours a night are almost twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease as those who get by on six hours or less. The study also showed that working night shifts may help prevent the disease.

All those tracked were free of Parkinson’s at the start of the study. They were asked about their sleep, smoking and dietary habits and weighed. By the end of the study, 181 had developed Parkinson’s.

The results which revealed a link between the length of sleep and a heightened risk of Parkinson’s are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

People who slept more than nine hours were more at risk and 80% more likely to have the condition than those who slept six hours or less. Sleeping eight hours equated to a 60 per cent chance of Parkinson’s and seven hours 10 per cent.
Sleeping longer and working night shifts reduced the risk.

Previous studies have shown that night-shift workers have lower levels of the hormones melatonin and oestradiol. At higher levels, they may contribute towards the development of Parkinson’s.

Lead researcher Dr Honglei Chen, admitted that the results were puzzling and that further research was required to examine the results.

Sleep deprivation may cause weight gain

New York: Women who sleep less than five hours put on more weight than those who sleep for longer, says a new study comparing sleeping patterns with obesity.

The study. which took place over a 16-year period, was presented at the recent American Thoracic Society International Conference. It found that women who slept for five hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain, such as an increase of 33 pounds or more, and 15% more likely to become obese, compared with women who slept seven hours. Women who slept for six hours were 12% more likely to have major weight gain and 6% more likely to become obese compared with women who slept seven hours a night.

The study included 68,183 middle-aged women who were enrolled in the Nurses Health Study. They were asked in 1986 about their typical night’s sleep, and were then asked to report their weight every two years for 16 years.

On average, women who slept five hours or less per night weighed 5.4 pounds more at the beginning of the study than those sleeping seven hours and gained an additional 1.6 pounds more over the next 10 years.

“That may not sound like much, but it is an average amount–some women gained much more than that, and even a small difference in weight can increase a person’s risk of health problems such as diabetes and hypertension,” said lead researcher Sanjay Patel, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Patel noted that this is by far the largest study to track the effect of sleep habits on weight gain over time. “There have been a number of studies that have shown that at one point in time, people who sleep less weigh more, but this is one of the first studies to show reduced sleep increases the risk of gaining weight over time.”

The researchers looked at the women’s diets and exercise habits to see if they could account for part of the findings. “Prior studies have shown that after just a few days of sleep restriction, the hormones that control appetite cause people to become hungrier, so we thought that women who slept less might eat more. But in fact they ate less,” Dr. Patel said. “That suggests that appetite and diet are not accounting for the weight gain in women who sleep less.”

The researchers also asked women about how much they participated in exercise activities such as running, jogging or playing tennis. But they didn’t find any differences in physical activity that could explain why women who slept less weighed more.

“We don’t have an answer from this study about why reduced sleep causes weight gain, but there are some possibilities that deserve further study,” Dr. Patel said. “Sleeping less may affect changes in a person’s basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn when you rest). Another contributor to weight regulation that has recently been discovered is called non-exercise associated thermogenesis, or NEAT, which refers to involuntary activity, such as fidgeting or standing instead of sitting. It may be that if you sleep less, you move around less, too, and therefore burn up fewer calories.”

Sleep helps lower blood pressure

New York: Older people who have less than five hours sleep increase their risk of high blood pressure, according too new research from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The new study, published in the journal of Hypertension, began by investigating 5,000 people with normal blood pressure. Over the next decade researchers noted their sleeping patterns and blood pressure. They fuond that 24 per cent of those aged between 32 and 59 who had five hours or less sleep each night developed high blood pressure. It was concluded that they faced double the risk of getting the condition compared to those who have the recommended eight hours because the heart has to work harder.

Only 12 per cent of those who had seven or eight hours of sleep each night had the condition.

Lead researcher James E Gangwisch said that sleep allowed the heart to slow down and therefore blood pressure to drop and that there was a clear messsage about getting a good night’s sleep.