22 January 2013 Last updated at 21:35 ET By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online Alcohol changes our sleep patterns A tipple before bedtime may get you off to sleep faster but it can disrupt your night's slumber, say researchers who have reviewed the evidence. The London Sleep Centre team says studies show alcohol upsets our normal sleep cycles. While it cuts the time it takes to first nod off and sends us into a deep sleep, it also robs us of one of our most satisfying types of sleep, where dreams occur. Used too often, it can cause insomnia.
Never underestimate the value of a good night's sleep. Not only does a lack of shut-eye leave you irritable, it has been linked to diabetes and weight gain , though no one understood why. To investigate, Matthew Brady at the University of Chicago and his colleagues tested fat cells taken from the bellies of seven adults after four nights of sleeping up to 8 and a half hours, and then again after four nights on a measly 4 and a half hours. The team found that after sleep deprivation fat cells from the same person were on average 30 per cent less responsive to insulin – a hormone that makes muscle, liver and fat cells take up glucose after a meal. High blood glucose levels are linked to diabetes. Fat cells also normally release the appetite-regulating hormone leptin.
11 April 2012 Last updated at 17:10 ET By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News Night working has been linked to poorer health Shift workers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of diabetes and obesity, according to researchers.
1 March 2012 Last updated at 01:03 GMT The study involved more than 150,000 people The belief that older people tend to suffer worse sleep may be false - in fact the reverse may be true, according to US researchers. A telephone survey of more than 150,000 adults suggested that, apart from a blip in your 40s, sleep quality gets better with age. Those in their 80s reported the best sleep, says the study in Sleep journal. A UK sleep researcher said while poor health could affect sleep, it was a "myth" that age alone was a factor.
22 February 2012 Last updated at 11:58 ET By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.
1 July 2011 Last updated at 02:36 ET The true value of sleep is often overlooked, researchers say The value of sleep has been reinforced by yet another scientific study. Research published in the journal Sleep suggests that sleeping longer can markedly improve physical performance. When Stanford University's male basketball team was asked to sleep for 10 hours a night for around six weeks, their shooting accuracy improved by 9%.
25 July 2011 Last updated at 17:20 ET Continuous sleep is important for memory formation Broken sleep affects the ability to build memories, a study of mice suggests. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science findings could help explain memory problems linked to conditions including Alzheimer's and sleep apnoea. The Stanford University research found disrupting sleep made it harder for the animals to recognise familiar objects.