It turns out that morning people are more likely to cheat and behave unethically at night.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University and the University of Washington set out to examine the relationship between the ethical decisions people make based on whether they are early risers or night owls.

Early risers were found to be more ethical in the morning and more dishonest at night.

Night owls were found to be more honest at night and less honest during the day.

In other words, people were found to be more dishonest when they were outside of their preferred time of day.

So, the conclusion is this:

Don’t trust morning people at night and don’t trust night owls in the morning!

Source: Psychological Science

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I’ve not mentioned the moon’s influence on sleep since 2013 – and that’s because there isn’t much out there in the way of firm evidence to prove a genuine link.

The often quoted study that I wrote about in 2013 states that a full moon reduces sleep time by an average of 20 minutes.

Yet other studies haven’t found any link whatsoever.

In fact, researchers at the Max Planck Institute analyzed data from over 1,000 people and 26,000 nights of sleep.

They found no correlation.

I suspect we need to see more studies before we can come to any definitive conclusion about the moon’s influence on our sleep.

Source: University of Gothenburg

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Researchers in Israel recently set out to figure out why interrupted sleep can be just as bad as getting no sleep at all.

They found that interrupted sleep patterns lead to reduced cognitive ability, reduced attention spans and bad moods.

In fact, the researchers determined that interrupted sleep was about as good as no more than 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Participants in the study slept a normal 8 hour night, then experienced a night in which they were awakened 4 times during the night, for 10-15 minutes each time.

The following morning, participants filled out questionnaires to determine their mood and completed computer based tasks to determine their levels of attention and alertness.

A direct link was found between reduced levels of attention and negative mood after only 1 day of interrupted sleep.

A reminder that sleep quality is usually far more important than sleep quantity.

Source: Sleep Medicine

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The best insomnia remedy for cancer survivors

by Martin Reed on 15 October 2014 in insomnia cures

A recent study set out to determine which insomnia treatment was more effective for cancer survivors: mindfulness-based stress reduction (a combination of yoga and mindful meditation) or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

The study involved 111 Canadian adults with nonmetastatic cancer who were at least 1 month away from finishing their cancer treatment. Each behavioral therapy (MBSR and CBT-i) lasted for 8 weeks.

At the end of the therapy, researchers found that MBSR was less effective than CBT-i, but after 3 months it was just as effective.

At this 3 month follow-up, it was found that those who took the MBSR therapy were falling asleep 14 minutes faster than before and those who took the CBT-i therapy were falling asleep 22 minutes faster than before.

Total sleep time increased by almost 45 minutes for the MBSR group and around 36 minutes for the CBT-i group. Sleep efficiency improved by around 8% for the MBSR group and 12% for the CBT-i group.

In both groups, stress levels decreased and there were measurable mood improvements.

To conclude, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia worked faster, but at 3 months the mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy offered comparable results.

This difference is probably down to the fact that MBSR techniques can take slightly longer to learn and practice effectively.

I talk more about both MBSR and CBT-i in my free sleep training course for insomnia.

Source: The Oncology Report

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The flowering plant that wants to relieve your insomnia

by Martin Reed 10 October 2014

Stachytarpheta cayennensis is a flowering plant in the verbena family that is thought to have anti-anxiety and sedative properties. The plant, also known as cayenne porterweed, snakeweed or false verbena is considered by some to be a natural alternative to benzodiazepines. In order to experience the plant’s sedative effects, the leaves are used to make […]

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How insomnia affects the sexes and the social classes

by Martin Reed 5 October 2014

Rates of anxiety and depression tend to be more prevalent among those in less advantaged social positions – especially for women. Anxiety and depression (grouped together by the term ‘psychiatric distress’) often predicts insomnia symptoms, and vice-versa. An interesting study out of the UK looked to determine whether there really is a link between psychiatric […]

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