Things Sleep Doctors Want You to Know About Tracking Your Sleep

Should you trust the tracker data? Could it clue you in to underlying health conditions? Here’s what experts say about sleep-tracking devices.

Technology allows us to track more specific measurements of our health than ever before. Wearables can monitor daily steps, blood pressure, and now sleep. But experts warn that what you can learn from your sleep stats, at least currently, has its limits.

“The reality is that we live in an era in which we are obsessed with the notion ...

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What Is Causing Your Itchy Scalp?

Having a dry, itchy scalp is an annoying skin condition. Find out why your scalp is itchy so you can take steps to get some relief.

Is itchy ever a good thing? The answer has to be never. And when it comes to your scalp, this kind of irritation is often accompanied by embarrassing flakes. Here, skin and scalp experts explain what could be causing your scalp to itch.

The Usual Itchy-Scalp Suspects

Dandruff is the most common culprit to blame for an ...

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Troubled Sleepers at Risk for Soft Arterial Plaque

Frequency of plaques was much higher in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked with cardiovascular disease, but it also may be linked with the deadliest type of coronary artery plaque, a small study suggests.

Of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 63 percent had noncalcified or mixed plaques compared with 16 percent of those without OSA, according to Sunil Sharma, MD, of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and colleagues.

“The broad confidence interval was most likely due ...

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Traffic May Keep City Dwellers Awake, Harming Health

Sleep disturbance could lead to greater risk for heart attack and high blood pressure, researchers say.

Nighttime noise pollution — in particular the din of traffic — in urban areas puts city residents at risk for disrupted sleep and annoyance, researchers report.

Such chronic sleep disturbance could lead to serious health consequences, including increased risk for heart attack and high blood pressure, according to the new study. In addition, nighttime noise can also lead to poor sleep quality, which can cause morning ...

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Sleeping Pill Linked to Hospital Falls

Mayo Clinic phasing out Ambien because of study findings.

The sleep drug Ambien (zolpidem) greatly increases hospital patients’ risk of falling, a new study finds.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., looked at data on more than 16,000 hospitalized patients and found that the fall rate for those who took Ambien was more than four times higher than for those who did not take the drug — just over 3 percent compared with 0.7 percent.

Ambien is a commonly used sleep ...

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Sleep Positioners Linked to Infant Suffocation

These devices endanger babies’ lives and should not be used, U.S. agencies warn.

Parents should not use commercially available “infant sleep positioners” unless they are prescribed by their pediatrician. The devices have been associated with suffocation deaths, U.S. health officials warn.

The U.S. Centers of Disease and Prevention released a report detailing one such case and including findings from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has documented 13 deaths linked to infant sleep positioners in a 13-year period.

“Infant sleep positioners pose ...

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Sleep Meds Linked to Hip Fractures in Nursing Home Residents

Researchers linked the class of sleeping pills that includes Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata to a higher risk for hip fractures in a new study, but experts say insomnia and a poor sleep environment may be to blame, not the sleep drugs.

Some sleep-inducing medications may be tied to an increased risk of hip fractures, according to a study published today in the the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

A research team led by Sarah D. Berry, M.D., M.P.H., of Harvard ...

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Sleep May Be Brain’s ‘Cleaning’ Time, Mouse Study Suggests

Is waste-removal system at work during slumber?

Why do humans need sleep? That age-old question may have an answer, with scientists finding that slumber seems to help the brain clear away potentially harmful waste that builds up during the day.

The new study of mice found that by “taking out the trash” during sleep, the brain clears away toxins thought to be responsible for brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and ...

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Sleep May Aid in Brain Repair, Mouse Study Finds

Meanwhile, sleep deprivation appeared to harm brain cells

The reproduction of cells involved in brain repair is boosted during sleep, according to a new study of mice.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that sleep increases the process by which certain cells, known as oligodendrocytes, form myelin. Myelin is the insulation on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that allows electrical impulses to move rapidly from one cell to another.

In conducting the study, published in the Sept. 4 ...

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Sleep Affects Concussion-Testing Results, Study Finds

Athletes with the least shuteye had lower baseline scores.

Getting too little sleep the night before undergoing baseline concussion testing can skew results, a new study finds.

Baseline concussion testing depicts an athlete’s basic mental abilities, such as reaction time, working memory and attention span. Athletes who suffer a concussion retake the test, and if there is a large decrease in the score, they are typically banned from play until their score improves.

The study included more than 3,600 high school- and college-aged ...

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