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Monday, November 21, 2011

6 Surprising Facts About Sleep

Most of us are very aware of the importance of sleep (and getting enough of it), but here are some surprising facts you may not have heard before about sleep:

1. Flu-Z's
If you're sleep-deprived before getting your flu shot, it can take three to four weeks for the vaccine to kick in. Those who don't get appropriate rest have a weaker immune system, which hinders the vaccination's effectiveness.
Source: University of Chicago and Ohio State University study.

2. Take This to Heart
Poor sleep is more dangerous to women than to men. Women experience higher risks of cardiovascular problems when they don't get enough rest and they're also more susceptible to psychological distress, depression, and anger.
Source: Duke Medicine

3. Late Night Shifts
There's a link between those who work night shifts and breast cancer; researchers say they think it's because melatonin is suppressed, which is necessary for protection against some cancers. "Shift work that involves circadian disruption" is officially listed as a probable carcinogen.
Source: World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer

4. Sleep Apnea
Not only does lack of sleep hurt your ability to learn, but there's also a link between sleep-disordered breathing (i.e. sleep apnea) and dementia in women. Mental impairment is consistently associated with hypoxia, which is when the brain gets less oxygen due to breathing disruptions.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

5. Car Accidents
Auto accidents increase by 17 on the Monday after Daylight Saving Time occurs, which is when people "lose" an hour of sleep. Heart attacks increase by approximately 5 percent.
Source: University of British Columbia and New England Journal School of Medicine

6. Pillow Talk
For couples who sleep together (a whopping 23 percent don't), one partner typically loses about 49 minutes of sleep every night, due to disruptive behaviors. These could include anything from a companion's tossing and turning, the TV being on, the room's temperature being too hot or cold, and more.
Source: National Sleep Foundation

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