Google Reader at 3am: sleep related stories


Garfield has the right idea…

After several weeks of blissfully normal sleep patterns, I've fallen back into a serious rut when it comes to being able to sleep properly, if at all. It seems that for at least one week every month I have to have sleep troubles, as if it's part of some devious lunar plot. During this designated week, even though I get up at roughly the regular time, I lie in bed wide awake as I watch the clock tick past 01:00, then 02:00, then 03:00, then 04:00…

Both my parents and my grandmother on my mum's side have admitted to having serious sleeping problems, but as convenient an excuse it would be for me, I just can't see genetics as playing a part in this. I definitely need to start doing some inward focused analysis… if that makes any sense.

It's hard to make sense at 3am when you can't sleep so instead of talking myself, I thought I'd use the power of Google Reader to look into the subject of sleep. Isn't science wonderful?

The first article is from Reuters (Insomnia drug helps jet-lag, shift-work troubles) which coincidently Jerry Novak on Twitter forwarded to me after seeing my early morning tweets yesterday. It discusses a new treatment possibly being developed for people suffering from sleep trouble. I resolved never to take any sleeping pills simply because I don't want to develop a nasty dependence, but I might be keeping an eye on this:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An insomnia drug that helps the body produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin may improve sleep for jet-lagged travelers and shift workers, researchers reported on Monday.

Maryland-based Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported on two studies of its drug tasimelteon, also known as VEC-162, that showed it helped patients sleep longer and more deeply than a placebo.

They said that people with so-called circadian rhythm disorders could be helped. These disorders are common causes of insomnia that affect millions of people […]

Another recently published article about an unrelated study from the Australian ABC (New sleep drug brings hope for shift workers) also shows some promising new developments happening here in Australia:

A study into sleep disorders shows a new drug can help people affected by jet lag or shift work.

The Monash University research says the drug tasimelteon can shift the rhythm of melatonin levels in the body.

Melatonin is a marker of the internal biological clock and helps regulate circadian rhythms.

Sleep disorder expert Dr Shantha Rajaratnam says the drug could help patients fall asleep even when they are out of their normal time zone.

And finally we fly to Britain for this unconventional BBC Health report (Pop tunes used to calm babies) on how toddlers are being helped to sleep not with lullabies, but with pop songs!

Rocking a baby to sleep has been given a whole new meaning as some mothers ditch traditional lullabies for popular pop and rock tunes.

Songs such as Robbie Williams’ Angels and Oasis anthem Wonderwall proved popular in the poll of 2,000 mothers.

The survey found nearly two-thirds thought pop ballads could be better for getting babies to sleep than lullabies like Rock-a-Bye Baby.

According to the BBC, the top five most commonly sung songs for kids are Patience by Take That; Angels by Robbie Williams; I Kissed a Girl by Kate Perry; You're Beautiful by James Blunt and Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley. I can definitely see exactly how all these songs would be calming.

Robbie Williams Angels single

And funnily enough, Angels is one of my favourite Robbie Williams songs; it's got some gorgeous lyrics. Perhaps I need to load up the old iPhone, park it next to the bed and do some musical loops. After I regulate my melatonin and shell out a fortune for some experimental American sleeping drugs of course. Then again, perhaps a glass of cold water and a pleasant stroll around the block and back will suffice.

Do you reckon I'll ever find an angel? Oh dear, perhaps it's time I tried sleeping again. G'night everyone.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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