Looking to catch up on the latest discussions and research in the world of shuteye? I've got you covered. Here's this week's Nightcap:
Is ADHD actually a sleep disorder?
After finding that a new narcolepsy drug, called Mazindol, managed ADHD symptoms better than stimulant meds, French researchers are wondering if we've misclassified the common disorder. Like the smart drug Modafinil, Mazindol works by mimicking the effects of the wakefulness-promoting brain chemical orexin. So a drug intended to keep people awake also helped them focus. How does this make ADHD a sleep disorder? Well, it's possible, researchers suggested, that circadian rhythms are misaligned in those with ADHD, leaving them sleepy during the day and wired at night. [New Scientist]
Would you hire a sleep coach?
A mom of three talks about hiring a sleep coach to help sleep-train her infant daughter after round-the-clock parenting turned her into a forgetful zombie. [Washington Post] And, over at Refinery29, a fed-up insomniac looks back on the three months she spent working with a sleep coach. With her coach's help, the author worked to improve her sleep hygiene and escape the "anxiety-insomnia feedback loop" fueling her long, sleepless nights. [Refinery29]
The sleep-starved brain is a cannibal
In a study on mice, researchers from Italy found that sleep deprivation triggered a type of brain cell, called astrocytes, to go hard on pruning unnecessary brain connections. In the short term, cleaning shop might do the brain a solid by protecting its healthy connections against wear and tear. But, in the long term, Konmari-ing the brain might pave the way for neurodegenerative disease. This finding might help explain why chronic sleep loss appears to increase one's vulnerability to developing dementia. In sum: Too little of a good thing (sleep) —> too much of a good thing (brain waste management). [New Scientist]
Let's call it the "Larry David Sleep Syndrome"
Neuroticism, a personality trait marked by fun things like negativity, over-thinking and anxiety, has consistently been linked to poor sleep quality. Now, researchers are examining the particulars of the relationship between being a nervous nitpicker and struggling with shuteye. [Van Winkle's]
Put the phones down, kids (vol. XXX)
Teens who Snap the night away get worse sleep than good kids who relinquish their smart devices at bedtime, according to a recent study. Researchers from Griffith and Murdoch Universities in Australia spent three years tracking late-night phone use and mental health in Aussie teens. They found a direct link between nighttime phone use and poor sleep quality. And, in turn, researchers found that crappy sleep lead to crappy outcomes, including reduced self esteem and increased moodiness. [Hindustan Times]
This is what insomnia looks like
Rather than stare at the ceiling all night long, Michael Massaia, a photographer and chronic insomniac, fled to Central Park in the wee hours of the night. There, he snapped photos of the empty urban sanctuary in order to capture the loneliness of insomnia. He compiled the images for a photo series intended to call attention to the can't-sleep disease. [Huffington Post]
You know you want to read this list
Of the most interesting people in sleep — 15 researchers, writers and cultural figures who are shaping our resting lives. [Van Winkle's]