Back in 2010 I wrote a post that raised the idea that perhaps you’re sleeping just fine, even when it feels as though you’ve been tossing and turning all night.

It would appear that I may have been onto something.

An article in New Scientist magazine recently went into detail about a condition known as pseudoinsomnia.

Sufferers of pseudoinsomnia feel as though they’re lying awake, trying to sleep night after night. In fact, they’re actually falling asleep and staying asleep.

Interestingly, these individuals aren’t imagining things. They’re suffering from an unusual form of insomnia.

Although the conventional methods of measuring brainwaves would suggest these individuals are sleeping normally, when analyzing brainwaves using a different algorithm it appears that the sleep cycles of those suffering from pseudoinsomnia are being interrupted by brainwaves that are commonly associated with anxiety, fear and wakefulness.

As a result, it’s thought that although these individuals are sleeping, their brains are never really switched off.

Furthermore, brainwave patterns in pseudoinsomniacs were similar to those who suffer from anxiety and chronic pain.

This suggests that when we are unable to switch off our brains, we may be increasing our risk of developing a number of nervous symptoms (including an inability to enjoy healthy sleep).

Source: New Scientist (subscription required)

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Insomnia may be a risk factor for suicide

by Martin Reed on 24 September 2014 in insomnia information

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania believe that insomnia and nightmares are significant risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In fact, they argue that just being awake at night may be a risk factor for suicide.

The study in question involved an archival analysis of the National Violent Death Reporting System and the American Time Use Survey.

Over 35,000 suicides were examined for the study.

Researchers found that suicides peaked between 2am and 3am (16% of all suicides). 10% of suicides occurred after midnight whilst the hourly suicide rate between 6am and 11.59pm was only 2%.

When placing suicides into 6-hourly blocks, researchers found that the frequency of suicide between midnight and 5.59am was almost 4 times higher than expected.

Interestingly, previous studies have suggested that most suicides occur during the day – however, the authors behind this newer study argue that those studies didn’t account for the proportion of the population that’s awake at each given hour.

Source: Clinical Psychiatry News

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Are night owls more prone to depression?

by Martin Reed on 19 September 2014 in insomnia information

There’s a definite link between sleep deprivation and depression.

A new study now suggests that those who tend to be active at night are more likely to suffer from depression.

Researchers in Finland recruited over 6,000 individuals aged between 25 and 74. They found that those who tended to carry out their daily activities in the evening were 2.7 to 4.1 times more likely to show indicators of depression.

These indicators included a diagnosis of a major depressive episode, diagnosed depression, treated depression and the use of antidepressants.

The key takeaway from this research (for me, at least) is that we should be using the evenings to unwind – that means no stressful or stimulating activity and minimal use of technology.

The result is likely to be a better chance of getting a good night’s sleep and perhaps even a reduced risk for depression.

Source: PubMed

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It turns out Jennifer Lopez may have been onto something.

Way back in early 2010 I wrote that Jennifer Lopez claims to look 10 years younger than her real age thanks to a solid 8 hours of sleep every night.

Research suggests there could be something to this claim.

According to researchers at the Skin Study Center in Ohio, sleep deprived women are more likely to suffer from premature skin aging and their skin is less able to repair itself after exposure to the sun.

The study involved 60 women aged between 30 and 49. Half weren’t getting enough sleep.

Researchers found that women who were sleep deprived had twice the level of sking aging than those who slept well. This meant more fine lines, uneven skin tone and slackening of the skin.

The skin of these women also took longer to recover from sunburn.

Women who weren’t getting enough sleep were also more likely to have a negative opinion of their own skin and even their facial appearance.

The study was funded by Estée Lauder – which is ironic when it would appear that if you want to reduce your fine lines and improve the look of your skin, you don’t need a cabinet full of creams, liquids and potions.

All you really need is a good night’s sleep.

Source: University Hospitals

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When insomnia is caused by chronic pain

by Martin Reed 11 September 2014

Unsurprisingly, those living with pain often find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. If your insomnia is caused by chronic pain, you may want try some self-administered shiatsu pressure techniques on your hands. A small pilot study in Canada found that individuals who were taught basic shiatsu techniques fell asleep faster and stayed […]

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Could marijuana use harm your sleep and cause insomnia?

by Martin Reed 9 September 2014

Marijuana is not a good sleep aid. Like alcohol, it can help you fall asleep but that sleep will be of poor quality. Withdrawal can also lead to rebound insomnia. Now a new study suggests that marijuana use could be responsible for a variety of sleep problems. Researchers reviewed self-reported data from individuals aged between […]

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