Dyslipidemia (otherwise known as high cholesterol) is a risk factor for a number of conditions, including stroke and heart disease.

A recent Chinese study suggests that insomnia is associated with higher rates of dyslipidemia – particularly among women.

The study in question involved over 10,000 Chinese adults who were asked to categorize their insomnia.

After accounting for factors such as age, gender, education, obesity, body mass index, physical activity, smoking habits, drinking habits, diabetes, and hypertension, researchers found that among men:

53.3% without insomnia suffered from high cholesterol, 54.3% with occasional insomnia suffered from high cholesterol and 54.5% with frequent insomnia suffered from high cholesterol.

Among women:

52% without insomnia suffered from high cholesterol, 54.8% with occassional insomnia suffered from high cholesterol and 61.2% with frequent insomnia suffered from high cholesterol.

The authors concluded that while the association between insomnia and cholesterol is not significant in men, frequent insomnia is associated with a greater prevalence of high cholesterol in women.

It’s important to remind ourselves that this study did not prove (or attempt to prove) cause and effect. It simply determined that an association exists between high cholesterol and self reported insomnia.

Additional research is required before we can determine whether insomnia causes high cholesterol (or vice versa).

Source: BMC Public Health

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Parenting has a huge influence on the sleep of our children. If we don’t pay attention to how our kids are sleeping (and put the right level of importance on sleep), childhood sleeplessness can develop into insomnia and other health conditions.

I recently came across an older study that investigated whether there’s a relationship between parenting styles and insomnia rates in teenagers.

The study involved 757 university students and found that those who had parents with a strict, uncompromising parenting style (authoritarian) were more likely to suffer from insomnia.

Those whose parents were more authoritative (firm but flexible) were less likely to be insomnia sufferers.

Interestingly, the parenting style of mothers and fathers influenced things as well. As a father’s permissiveness increased, insomnia decreased – however permissiveness of mothers had no effect.

Source: PubMed

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Nearly 2 years ago I reported on a small study that found 90% of insomnia sufferers experienced an abnormal sleep breathing event immediately before waking.

Now, a larger study has found that those who find sleeping pills have little effect on their insomnia may actually be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

This latest study involved 1,210 individuals with insomnia. Of these, an incredible 899 individuals were taking either over the counter or prescription sleeping pills but were not seeing any improvement in their symptoms.

Researchers found that as many as 90% of those objectively tested met the standard criteria for a moderate to severe sleep-associated breathing disorder.

This is a particularly important finding since the typical medical response to sleeping pill failure (increasing the dose) can actually increase airway obstruction and reduce sleep quality.

Although researchers still haven’t identified a defined relationship between insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing, if sleeping pills aren’t working for you it may be worth looking into whether sleep apnea could be to blame (this is normally diagnosed through a sleep study).

Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings

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Is the workplace inbox behind your insomnia?

by Martin Reed on 8 December 2014 in insomnia causes

It’s no surprise that today’s ‘always connected’ culture is putting pressure on people to be constantly available for work.

As a result, more of us are checking our work emails and accessing work documents from home in the evenings and on weekends.

A German study has determined that this is leading to higher rates of insomnia and increasing the likelihood of headaches, fatigue, anxiety and stomach problems.

The researchers even found a link between working outside normal hours and heart and muscular problems.

Perhaps it’s time for employers to be more proactive when it comes to limiting employee availability outside of regular work hours.

This could benefit both employer and employee, after all.

Source: Chronobiology International

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Did we just discover the brain’s secret sleep switch?

by Martin Reed 4 December 2014

We cycle between 2 basic sleep states when we sleep; rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Non-rapid eye movement sleep includes the deep sleep (or slow-wave) sleep stages. Scientists recently set out to discover whether nerves in our brainstem that are suspected of promoting slow-wave sleep are able to actually initiate and […]

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Are you an athlete struggling with insomnia?

by Martin Reed 20 November 2014

Exercise is one of the best natural insomnia remedies – yet many athletes find they struggle with sleep. One theory has now been put forward as to why this may be the case: energy drinks. Although I’ve written about the negative effects of energy drinks on teenagers before, a new study suggests that energy drinks […]

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