June 22, 2018
As we head into the weekend, take some time to relax, refresh, and catch up on the most interesting new sleep-related reads of the week. We hope you continue enjoy this weekly roundup!
At Bustle, Brandi Neal examines the effects the summer solstice may have on your sleep. Spoiler: light inhibits the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so these long summer evenings may be cutting into your shut-eye. Experts often recommend black-out shades in the bedroom during the summer months, but Bucky’s feather-weight sleep mask also does a wonderful job of keeping you in the dark.
In addition to excess light, ambient noise can be a major sleep disrupter. Lee Bell introduces BOSE’s new high-tech solution, noise canceling “Sleepbuds.” If you’d like to go lower tech, Madeleine Burry has a great roundup of the “7 Best Earplugs for Better Sleep” at Prevention online.
Despite all the dire warnings about how lack of sleep affects our health and productivity (as Kevin Dickinson reports for BigThink, “Bad sleep habits will cost the U.S. $434 billion in 2020") we still don’t truly understand the physiological mechanisms behind this biological need. We’ve made a huge leap forward, however, with the new discovery of a group of proteins dubbed SNIPPs (Sleep Need Index PhosphoProteins). Researchers at the University of Texas, Southwestern, the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing, China, identified about 80 proteins that accumulated phosphate groups during periods of wakefulness and released these groups during sleep. Especially interesting is that the majority of SNIPPS are implicated in the communication between neurons, including synaptic plasticity regulation, note one of the study’s authors, Quinhua Liu of the University of Texas Southwestern. Synaptic plasticity has long been believed to be a mechanism through which the effects of sleep, and sleep deprivation, are manifested.
Of course, in addition to biological factors, environment plays a huge roll in how well we sleep. Samuel Stebbins reports the results of combing through CDC statistics to rank all 50 US states in terms of what percentage of adult residents experience insufficient sleep. NYC—the City that Never Sleeps—surprisingly comes in at only number 14, while the top spot of most sleep-deprived state goes to Hawaii. The best-slept state in the nation? South Dakota. Check out where your state falls here.
As Stebbins notes, stress level also affects our ability to sleep well, which is why he also tracked financial security in his report. Spenser Mestel examined a difference source of stress that correlates with poor sleep in an article for the Washington Post titled “Study finds connection between race and sleep.”
If you’re seeking to improve your sleep habits, you may have heard reports that napping can help. At Priceonomics, Nick Meyer introduces the original NASA studies that first revealed the positive health and performance results of napping. And regardless of whether you prefer to get your shut-eye during the afternoon or only at night (short as it may be this time of year), you might want to consider adding some greenery to your sleeping space. Houseplants have long been known to improve air quality and boost mood; Kate McKenna rounds up “10 Houseplants That Will Actually Help You Sleep” at MSN.com
Enjoy the start of summer, but make sure to get some sleep, too! Wishing you sweet dreams this weekend!
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