(Image source: Annals of Internal Medicine)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS

Get some rest!

That’s the takeaway from three big sleep stories this week, all demonstrating different ways sleep affects the body.

In the first study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied what happens to memory when mice aren’t getting enough sleep. ABC News discussed the story.

“Losing two hours of sleep a night can erase your memories…“
“Really.”
“But they say going from eight hours to six hours makes a huge difference.”


The scientists say the brain needs the time toward the end of our natural sleep cycle to file and sort our memories. That’s the time most likely to get interrupted by the alarm clock. A researcher tells the Daily Mail — it’s time people took sleep more seriously.

“I think what it really means for modern life is that sleep is not a luxury. … I think we often feel that if we could grab a cup of coffee and answer five more emails, we would have done everything we could do. Sometimes it might be better to go to sleep and deal with it after.”

That wasn’t the only recent study focusing on mice’s memories.

The second one sounds like science fiction — Stanford University scientists were able to erase traumatic memories in sleeping mice.

A Nature article explains, the researchers used a drug which slowed down part of the brain “associated with storage of fearful memories.” When combined with therapeutic techniques, the mice were essentially cured of PTSD while they slept.

Science blogs praised the study, comparing the research to the fictional Lacuna company from the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. (Sources: Popular Science, Gizmodo)

“Here at Lacuna, we have perfected a safe, effective technique for the focused erasure of troubling memories.” (Video via Focus Features)

Both of those studies were done on mice, meaning the effects aren’t necessarily the same in humans. But a third sleep study involved college students, which are at least partially human.

Researchers at the University of Chicago tested what happens to fat cells when the body doesn’t get enough sleep.

“The subjects had sleep reduced from eight and a half hours to four and a half hours per night.”
“What we found is that after four and a half hours of sleep in bed for four consecutive nights, there was a 30% reduction in insulin sensitivity.”
(Video via Annals of Internal Medicine)

That means the body’s fat cells were too tired to do their jobs.

CNN reports reduced insulin sensitivity “increases the risk of serious health problems including obesity and type II diabetes.”

So skipping sleep can not only lead to tiredness, hunger and crankiness, it can also promote weight gain and forgetfulness. Sounds like a good reason to catch some shut-eye.

Studies Show How Sleep Affects Weight Gain, Memory and PTSD

by Steven Sparkman
1
Transcript
Oct 17, 2012

Studies Show How Sleep Affects Weight Gain, Memory and PTSD

 

(Image source: Annals of Internal Medicine)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS

Get some rest!

That’s the takeaway from three big sleep stories this week, all demonstrating different ways sleep affects the body.

In the first study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied what happens to memory when mice aren’t getting enough sleep. ABC News discussed the story.

“Losing two hours of sleep a night can erase your memories…“
“Really.”
“But they say going from eight hours to six hours makes a huge difference.”


The scientists say the brain needs the time toward the end of our natural sleep cycle to file and sort our memories. That’s the time most likely to get interrupted by the alarm clock. A researcher tells the Daily Mail — it’s time people took sleep more seriously.

“I think what it really means for modern life is that sleep is not a luxury. … I think we often feel that if we could grab a cup of coffee and answer five more emails, we would have done everything we could do. Sometimes it might be better to go to sleep and deal with it after.”

That wasn’t the only recent study focusing on mice’s memories.

The second one sounds like science fiction — Stanford University scientists were able to erase traumatic memories in sleeping mice.

A Nature article explains, the researchers used a drug which slowed down part of the brain “associated with storage of fearful memories.” When combined with therapeutic techniques, the mice were essentially cured of PTSD while they slept.

Science blogs praised the study, comparing the research to the fictional Lacuna company from the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. (Sources: Popular Science, Gizmodo)

“Here at Lacuna, we have perfected a safe, effective technique for the focused erasure of troubling memories.” (Video via Focus Features)

Both of those studies were done on mice, meaning the effects aren’t necessarily the same in humans. But a third sleep study involved college students, which are at least partially human.

Researchers at the University of Chicago tested what happens to fat cells when the body doesn’t get enough sleep.

“The subjects had sleep reduced from eight and a half hours to four and a half hours per night.”
“What we found is that after four and a half hours of sleep in bed for four consecutive nights, there was a 30% reduction in insulin sensitivity.”
(Video via Annals of Internal Medicine)

That means the body’s fat cells were too tired to do their jobs.

CNN reports reduced insulin sensitivity “increases the risk of serious health problems including obesity and type II diabetes.”

So skipping sleep can not only lead to tiredness, hunger and crankiness, it can also promote weight gain and forgetfulness. Sounds like a good reason to catch some shut-eye.

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