Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Reducing work-family conflicts in the workplace helps people to sleep better | EurekAlert! Science News

Reducing work-family conflicts in the workplace helps people to sleep better | EurekAlert! Science News.

From the 26 January 2015 press release

New York, NY, January 26, 2015 — A multi-institution team of sleep researchers recently found that workers who participated in an intervention aimed at reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities slept an hour more each week and reported greater sleep sufficiency than those who did not participate in the intervention. Their study is published inSleep Health, Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

“Increasing family-supportive supervision and employee control over work time benefited the sleep of hundreds of employees, and even greater effects may be possible if sleep is overtly addressed in workplace interventions,” explained lead author Ryan Olson, PhD, of Oregon Health & Science University. “The Work, Family, and Health Network Study intervention was designed to reduce work-family conflict. It did not directly address sleep, yet sleep benefits were observed.”

The invention focused on the U.S. employees of an information technology firm. Groups of randomly selected managers and employees participated in a three-month, social and organizational change process that included interactive sessions with facilitated discussions, role-playing, and games. Managers were also trained in family supportive supervision and self-monitored how they applied the training on the job. Data were collected through qualitative interviews 12 months after the intervention was introduced and by actigraphy, the measurement of individuals’ sleeping and waking patterns using a monitor attached to participants’ wrists. Actigraphy measures of sleep quality and quantity were taken at the beginning of the intervention, to establish baseline measures for participants, and 12 months after the intervention. Each of the 474 participants’ activity recordings were evaluated by two scorers, who identified periods of sleep relative to each participant’s waking activities.

“I applaud the methodological rigor of Olson and colleagues’ approach to assessing the Work, Family, and Health Network Study’s effect on the sleep duration and quality of a real world population,” commented Dr. Lauren Hale, Editor-in-Chief of Sleep Health. “This study demonstrates that interventions unrelated to sleep can improve sleep in the population. Furthermore, these findings serve as a reminder that there are opportunities to deploy innovative interventions to improve sleep.”

The authors had hypothesized that both sleep duration and insomnia would be improved in the study’s twelfth month; secondarily, they hypothesized that any improvement in sleep quality and duration would be mediated by employees’ enhanced control over their work time and reduced work-family conflict assessed at the sixth month after baseline. Researchers created a statistical mediation model that accounted for the multiple temporal aspects of actigraphic sleep data and participant characteristics.

“Here we showed that an intervention focused on changing the workplace culture could increase the measured amount of sleep employees obtain, as well as their perception that their sleep was more sufficient,” noted lead investigator Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD, Pennsylvania State University (with secondary appointments at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital). “Work can be a calling and inspirational, as well as a paycheck, but work should not be detrimental to health. It is possible to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of work by reducing work-family conflict, and improving sleep.”

Digicorp workplace

Digicorp workplace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Health News Items, Medical and Health Research News, Psychiatry, Psychology, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog]Trouble Sleeping? Go Camping

800px-Camping_at_Merlin_Meadows_-_Flickr_-_Graham_Grinner_Lewis

From the 2 August 2013 article at Scientific American

Artificial light sources can negatively affect circadian rhythms, scientists say

By Joel N. Shurkin and Inside Science News Service

This story was originally published byInside Science News Service.

Throughout most of human history, humans went to bed shortly after the sun went down and woke up in the morning as it rose. There were candles and later oil lamps, but the light was not very bright so people still went to bed early.

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder found that if you live by the sun’s schedule, you are more likely to go to bed at least an hour earlier, wake up an hour earlier, and be less groggy, because your internal clock and external reality are more in sync. The sun adjusts your clock to what may be its natural state, undoing the influence of light bulbs.

The work is published in the current issue of the journal Current Biology.

The disconnect between the outside environment and sleep is one reason why even native Alaskans have problems sleeping in the almost endless days of the Arctic summers, and get depressed during the long nights of winters.

The subjects in the Colorado study lived more normal lives.

Read the entire article here

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why The Circadian Rhythm Affects Health

 

Overview of biological circadian clock in huma...

Overview of biological circadian clock in humans. Biological clock affects the daily rhythm of many physiological processes. This diagram depicts the circadian patterns typical of someone who rises early in morning, eats lunch around noon, and sleeps at night (10 p.m.). Although circadian rhythms tend to be synchronized with cycles of light and dark, other factors – such as ambient temperature, meal times, napping schedule and duration, stress and exercise – can influence the timing as well. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 30 August 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

Disruptions to the circadian rhythm can affect the growth of blood vessels in the body, thus causing illnesses such asdiabetesobesity, and cancer, according to a new study from Linkoping University and Karolinska Institutet.

The circadian rhythm is regulated by a “clock” that reacts to both incoming light and genetic factors.

In an article now being published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, it is demonstrated for the first time that disruption of the circadian rhythm immediately inhibits blood vessel growth in zebra fish embryos.

Professor Yihai Cao leads a research group, which has demonstrated that the breaking point is the production of a very important signalling substance: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The formation of this substance requires a normal circadian rhythm…

..

“The results can definitely be translated into clinical circumstances. Individuals with disrupted circadian rhythms – for example, shift workers who work under artificial lights at night, people with sleep disorders or a genetic predisposition – should be on guard against illnesses associated with disrupted blood vessel growth,” says Lasse Dahl Jensen (pictured), researcher in Cardiovascular Physiology at Linköping University (LiU), and lead writer of the article.

Such diseases include heart attackstroke, chronic inflammation, and cancer. Disruptions in blood vessel growth can also affect foetal development, women’s reproductive cycles, and the healing of wounds.

 

 

September 4, 2012 Posted by | environmental health, Workplace Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feel-Good Glass for Windows

No mention of cost…also wondering if this would give a false sense of improved health…not sure if our bodies were meant to be inside so much!

From the 3 July 2012 article at Science Daily

Daylight acts on our body clock and stimulates the brain. Fraunhofer researchers have made use of this knowledge and worked with industry partners to develop a coating for panes of glass that lets through more light. Above all, it promotes the passage through the glass of those wavelengths of light that govern our hormonal balance.

July 5, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is napping good for you? – Ask Doctor K, Harvard Medical School

Is napping good for you? – Ask Doctor K, Harvard Medical School.

Excerpts from the article

 

POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2011, 5:00 AM
napping-112411

DEAR DOCTOR K:

As I’ve gotten older I don’t sleep as well as I used to. I’m retired, so I have the time to take an afternoon nap. But I’m worried that if I sleep during the day, I’ll have even more trouble sleeping at night. What do you think?

DEAR READER:

I’m not surprised that you don’t sleep as well as you used to. Our sleep changes as we get older.

After about age 60, we have less deep sleep. We awaken more often and sleep an average of two hours less at night than we did as young adults.

It was once thought that older people didn’t need as much sleep as younger ones. But that’s not the case; we need it just as much. We just have a harder time getting it.

Regardless of age, we typically need seven and a half to eight hours of sleep to function at our best. So if you’re not getting enough sleep at night, what about daytime naps? Or, as you asked, does napping disrupt the sleep cycle? Will napping ultimately lead to less sleep and more daytime drowsiness?

Everybody’s different, and napping is both good and bad, depending on who you are. If you have trouble sleeping nearly every night, and as a result feel tired during the day, napping in the evening is a bad idea. Evening naps make it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. Long naps at any time of day often make you sleep less soundly that night.

On the other hand, suppose you have an occasional bad night’s sleep….

 

 

Read the entire article

 

 

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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