Friday November 15, 2019

Move Closer to God For Better Sleep Quality

Religion could decrease psychological distress, substance abuse and stress exposure, which are all associated with sleep outcomes

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Move Closer to God For Better Sleep Quality
Move Closer to God For Better Sleep Quality. Pixabay

Finding it hard to get a proper night sleep? A higher religious involvement can reduce stress levels and lead to healthier sleep outcomes, say researchers.

The findings showed that persons with a greater sense of assurance of spiritual salvation tend to enjoy better sleep quality and tend to have fewer negative sleep consequences due to stressful life events and chronic conditions.

It is because higher religious involvement — religious attendance, prayer and secure attachment to God — benefits mental health by reducing stress, promoting social engagement and support from fellow members.

It also provides psychological resources — hope, optimism, sense of meaning — and promotes healthier lifestyles — lower levels of substance abuse, the researchers explained.

prayer
Representational image. Pixabay

“This research is relatively unchartered territory that allows us to better understand the way in which religion and spirituality affect a person’s health and overall quality of life,” said Christopher Ellison in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

Ellison said much of the benefit of perceived spiritual salvation among the faithful is because these persons have lower levels of psychological distress, i.e., feelings of depressed affect and anxiety.

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For the study, published in the journal Sleep Health, the team reviewed several large studies of religious involvement and sleep-related outcomes that included people from different age groups and religions.

Religion could decrease psychological distress, substance abuse and stress exposure, which are all associated with sleep outcomes, Ellison said. (IANS)

Next Story

Not Neurons But Stress Hormone Control Your Body Clocks

The body clocks are controlled by the stress hormone

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Stress hormone
Stress hormone control everything from sleep needs to body temperature. Pixabay

Stress hormone, and not neurons, manage the fixed circadian rhythm that controls everything from sleep needs to body temperature, the researchers have found.

Our internal clock is controlled by some very distinct hereditary genes, known as clock genes. These genes are particularly active in the so-called suprachiasmatic nucleus area of the brain.

However, these areas of the brain are not directly linked by neurons, and this made researchers at the University of Copenhagen curious.

Using lab tests, the team demonstrated that the circadian rhythm is controlled by the stress hormone, corticosterone.

“In humans, the hormone is known as cortisol, and although the sleep rhythm in rats is the opposite of ours, we basically have the same hormonal system,” said Associate Professor Martin Fredensborg Rath from the Department of Neuroscience.

In the study with the stress hormone corticosterone, the researchers removed the suprachiasmatic nucleus in a number of rats.

As expected, this removed the circadian rhythm of the animals.

Stress hormone
Research demonstrated that the circadian rhythm and sleep cycle is controlled by the stress hormone. Pixabay

However, the circadian rhythm of the cerebellum was restored when the rats were subsequently implanted with a special programmable micropump.

In this case, however, the researchers used the pump to emit doses of corticosterone at different times of the day and night, similar to the animals’ natural rhythm.

“Nobody has used these pumps for anything like this before. So technically, we were onto something completely new,” said Rath.

With the artificial corticosterone supplement, researchers were again able to read a rhythmic activity of clock genes in the animals.

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“This is interesting from a scientific point of view, because it means that we have two systems – the nervous system and the hormonal system – that communicate perfectly and influence one another, all in the course of a reasonably tight 24-hour programme,” Rath elaborated.

The researchers now plans to study other rhythmic hormones in a similar manner, including hormones from the thyroid gland. (IANS)