Tuesday June 25, 2019

Sleep Disturbances Associated with Mental Health Problems Among Natural Disaster Survivors

The researchers surveyed survivors for two years after the earthquake and found that 94 per cent participant reported experiencing insomnia symptoms and subsequent risk after the disaster

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Sleep, Mental Health, Students
Insufficient sleep is associated with a wide range of mental health issues. Pixabay

Sleep disturbances are associated with mental health problems among survivors of a natural disaster even two years after the tragedy, according to a study.

Published in the journal Sleep, the study involved 165 participants (52 per cent men) with an average age of about 31 years. Participants were living in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, one of the areas affected by the 2010 earthquake.

According to the survey, it was the most devastating earthquake in the country’s history. The disaster killed almost 200,000 people and displaced more than 1 million residents.

“This is one of the first epidemiological studies to investigate the prevalence of sleep disturbances among survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake,” said study lead author Judite Blanc from the New York University.

Students, CLass,
A graduate from Columbia University’s School of Engineering sleeps during the university’s commencement ceremony in New York, May 16, 2012. VOA

“Our study underscores the strong association between common trauma-related disorders and comorbid sleep conditions among a group of survivors,” Blanc said.

The researchers surveyed survivors for two years after the earthquake and found that 94 per cent participant reported experiencing insomnia symptoms and subsequent risk after the disaster.

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Two years later, 42 per cent showed clinically significant levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and nearly 22 per cent had symptoms of depression. Resilience did not appear to be a buffer against sleep disturbance.

“Findings from our study highlight the need to assess and treat sleep issues among disaster survivors, as they are highly prevalent after a natural disaster and are related to mental health conditions, our work supports the importance of sleep in disaster preparedness programs globally,” said Blanc. (IANS)

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Unable to Sleep at Night? This One Trick Can Help Advance Snooze Time by 2 Hours

Having a late sleep pattern puts you at odds with the standard societal days

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Sleep, Night, Trick
Such changes can also lead to improved performance in the mornings. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a simple tweak to the sleeping patterns and maximising outdoor light during the mornings for a period of three weeks can help night owls — people with extreme late sleeping and waking habits – bring forward their sleep/wake timings by two hours.

Such changes can also lead to improved performance in the mornings, better eating habits and a decrease in depression and stress among people with late sleeping habits, showed the findings.

The study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, showed that it was possible to shift the circadian rhythm of ‘night owls’ using non-pharmacological and practical interventions.

“Having a late sleep pattern puts you at odds with the standard societal days, which can lead to a range of adverse outcomes – from daytime sleepiness to poorer mental wellbeing,” said study co-author Andrew Bagshaw from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Sleep, Night, Trick
A simple tweak to the sleeping patterns and maximising outdoor light during the mornings for a period of three weeks can help night owls. Pixabay

The researchers wanted to see if simple things could solve this issue.

In an experiment with a small group of participants that spanned for three weeks, the group were asked to wake up two-three hours before regular wake up time and maximise outdoor light during the mornings.

They were also asked to go to bed two-three hours before habitual bedtime and limit light exposure in the evening, have fixed sleep/wake times on both work days and free days and have breakfast as soon as possible after waking up, eat lunch at the same time each day, and refrain from eating dinner after 7 p.m.

“We wanted to see if there were simple things people could do at home to solve this issue. This was successful, on average allowing people to get to sleep and wake up around two hours earlier than they were before,” Bagshaw said.

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“Most interestingly, this was also associated with improvements in mental wellbeing and perceived sleepiness, meaning that it was a very positive outcome for the participants.” (IANS)