A previous study suggested that teenagers need between 7 1/2 – 8 1/2 hours of sleep each night.

Now, researchers are suggesting that teenagers may need as much as 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night – and those that aren’t getting enough sleep may be in danger of growing up obese.

This is of particular concern since it’s thought that as many as 85% of teens aren’t getting enough sleep each night.

Researchers analyzed the data of 10,000 individuals aged between 16 and 21. They found that those who didn’t get sufficient sleep at the age of 16 were 20% more likely to be obese by the age of 21.

Obese adults find it far more difficult to shed excess weight compared to obese teenagers. Furthermore, the longer someone is obese, the higher their risk for developing other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

A reminder that it’s important for parents of teenage children to make sleep quality a priority.

Source: The Journal of Pediatrics

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Oxazepam is a benzodiazepine that is commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia.

According to a Swedish study, this drug may be harming the environment.

Researchers exposed 2 year old Eurasian perch to high and low levels of Oxazepam. They also exposed the eggs of this fish to 3 different concentrations of Oxazepam.

Researchers found that mortality rates of the fish were significantly reduced by exposure to Oxazepam (even when exposed to levels below that measured in treated waste water).

This isn’t necessarily good news since increasing the survival rates of one species can affect an entire ecosystem.

It’s probably unfair to single out this one drug – in fact, the researchers of this study suggest similar results may be found if they were to test the effects of exposure to painkillers, hormones and antibiotics.

That being said, it just goes to show that sleeping pills may be affecting more than just you as an individual.

Source: Environmental Research Letters

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As we age, we typically find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep – yet we don’t really know why.

A new study set out to determine why seniors (and adults with Alzheimer’s disease) appear to be more susceptible to insomnia.

The study looked at the brains of 45 individuals over the age of 65 who had worn sleep tracking wristbands.

Researchers found that the brains of these individuals appeared to have fewer ventrolateral preoptic neurons.

It would appear that the loss of these specific neurons leads to increased sleep disruption.

This study was the first to discover that the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus appears to have a key role to play in human sleep. Interestingly, these neurons also appear to be reduced in number in those with Alzheimer’s disease which may also explain why insomnia is prevalent in those who suffer from that condition.

Hopefully this discovery will lead to new research (and potential treatment options) in the future.

Source: Brain

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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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Perhaps the moon doesn’t influence our sleep after all

by Martin Reed 22 October 2014

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 […]

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Is interrupted sleep just as bad as no sleep?

by Martin Reed 20 October 2014

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 […]

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