Heavy Texting and Social Media are linked to Sleep Problems and poor performance for University students

I recently highlighted the high incidence of sleep disorders in adults, particularly women, and also wrote about the worrying problems that lack of sleep and snoring can cause in children – but what about young adults – particularly students going away from home for the first time?

Sleep deprivation has always been regarded as a major problem for those leaving home to go to College and University – as part of their transition to campus life. Now, a new study in the USA has identified another problem when it comes to students and sleep problems. In a word, it’s Texting.

Sleep Problems and poor performance

In a recent article it was reported that texting was a direct predictor of sleep problems among first-year students in a study that examined links between inter-personal stress, text messaging behaviour, and three indicators of college students’ health: burnout, sleep problems and emotional well-being.

Although the results of this study showed that the impact of texting on a student’s psychological well-being very much depended on the level of interpersonal stress they were already facing, more texting was associated with poorer sleep regardless of their previous level of stress.

The students in the study were all in their first year away from home and answered questions that measured academic and social burnout, emotional well-being, and sleep problems. They were also asked to estimate how many text messages they sent and received on an average day.

The study’s findings on sleep were especially significant given the well-documented compromises in sleep that students experience throughout their time in higher education, but especially in the first year. Several recent studies have shown that 70 per cent of college students receive less than the eight recommended hours of sleep. A recent survey concluded that “Only 40 per cent of students feel rested on two days of the week”.

To assess the students’ sleep quality, a ‘Sleep Quality Index’ was used to fit the college sample. It measured multiple aspects of sleep quality such as sleep duration, the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, the amount of time actually spent sleeping while in bed, night-time disturbances, and any daytime sleepiness.

The key finding was that the higher the number of daily texts – the higher the index of the student’s sleep problems. It is worth noting that this finding reinforces previous evidence pointing to a direct association between the use of mobile phones and poor sleep in adolescents and emerging adults.

Among the possible causes for this connection are two tendencies: students’ feeling pressured to respond immediately to texts, no matter what time of day or night, and students’ sleeping with the phone nearby, thus being awakened by the alerts from incoming texts. Initial conclusions are that heavy text messaging could be problematic during times of stress. Although speculative, it could be argued that texting is a uniquely unsuitable mode of communication for coping with interpersonal stress in close relationships.”

For instance, it is suggested that the abbreviated language that is common in texting — so-called “textese” — lacks the ability to provide the kind of nuance that is important in discussing sensitive issues. In addition, texting fails to offer critical non-verbal indications and hints that would be part of a face-to-face conversation. The Report stated that:

“Text messaging may carry a high risk of producing misunderstandings and unproductive interactions during periods of stress. When interpersonal stress involves conflict, the conditions required for productive communication may be particularly difficult to achieve through texting.”

To put it simply, as well as distracting students from restful sleep, leaving them tired the next day, texts can very easily be misunderstood, and cause more problems than they solve in a conversation.

Texting, Social Networking and other Media use has also been linked to poor academic performance in a US Report which says the widespread use of media among college students — from texting, to chatting on cell phones, to posting status updates on Facebook — may be taking a very serious academic toll.

According to this new study, new women students spent nearly half their day — 12 hours — engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking. Researchers found media use, in general, was associated with lower grades an other academic problems. However, there were two exceptions: newspaper reading and listening to music were actually linked to a positive academic performance.

These findings were reported online in the journal Emerging Adulthood, and they offer some new insight into media use in early adulthood, at a time when many young people are living independently for the first time and have significant freedom from parental monitoring.

By John Redfern


Save yourself from anxiety and depression

Depression is “A mental disorder characterized by feelings of gloom and inadequacy” and anxiety is classified as ‘’a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”. Being anxious or depressed some of the time is normal and is a part of being human. However when anxiety and depression prolongs itself and starts to affect your daily life your relationships and self esteem that gets alarming and needs intervention, be it medical intervention or self help.

Depression is more than short term sadness. Feeling anxious is OK sometimes, before a job interview or before an exam for example but anxiety disorder becomes prolonged and lead to panic attacks. Our feelings are important physiological cues to us and they are gentle ways of nature to tell us about something, they are indicators that we need to amend the specific aspects of our lives and tuning up ourselves is needed.

These feelings of anxiety and negativity are signals for us. Mother Nature is telling us (and if we don’t listen yelling at us) TO DO SOMETHING. They are in fact trying to motivate you. Take the example of a person criticizing you. You will not like it, feel angry or hurt. That is your mind’s response in saving your well-being.

However when these feelings of anxiety and depression get out of control and you feel your productivity is being affected and you don’t want to come out of the bed and just want to vanish or disappear when you think that your existence does not matter to any one and the world would be better off without you this is the kind of feeling you should get rid of and treat.

Getting free from anxiety and depression

Depression is a very painful situation. The agony and the suffering a depressed person undergoes is immense and the good news is that it can be cured. Below is some advice on dealing with the situation:

  • Reprogram your mind: the negative feelings the feeling of worthlessness are all in your mind. Fight them, counter them and do this firmly. Tell yourself again and again that you are a wonderful amazing and unique person. Kill those negative thoughts that let you down and make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Get inspired by people: keep a good company, one that will motivate you, let you learn and grow and excel in life.
  • Get connected with nature: nature has a magical way of healing. Go for a walk, hiking go to the beach or just stroll in a park.
  • Help others: when you lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate than you are you will feel blessed and thankful and happy.
  • Eat happy: take vitamins, fresh fruits, and maintain a healthy well balanced diet.
  • Exercise: A 30 min walk in the park will boost your mood a lot. Make it a habit to do physical exercise daily and this will relax you and lessen your anxiety.
  • Write it down: a great way to do purification is to write down everything or anything that comes to your mind in a private diary and one feels less stressed. This method is especially helpful if you are having communication problems and find it hard to communicate verbally. This journal therapy is a great way to de stress yourself
  • Live your own life: we have many responsibilities and roles that we are juggling in our daily lives and each responsibility demands a lot from us. Sometimes in the midst of these commitments we neglect our selves drastically and when this gets prolonged we get depressed. It happens that we are doing what pleases our parents our spouses our boyfriends or girl friends or someone else and in all this effort the person getting neglected severely is OUR OWN SELF. So take time for your own self, make yourself happy and LIVE YOUR DREAM.
  • Stop comparing yourself with others: that will just make matters worse for you. You can`t comprehend what problems other people have faced so be grateful for what you have and concentrate on your own life. This way you shall defeat both the anxiety and depression. The grass always looks green on the other side of the fence, but it isn’t.

About the Author:

John Paul is a writer who specializes in sleep disorders. You can check his Sleep Deprivation website, where you can find valuable and latest information about sleep disorders, and much more.


Orthodontists have a big role to play in stopping children snoring

Many more people are now aware of the serious health dangers for both adults and children that are signaled by snoring. It’s not just a matter of sleepless nights and poor rest for your children but also poor behavior and learning difficulties are also likely.

A recent Conference held in New Zealand featured strongly on this subject and the key role that the family orthodontist can play. One of the main topics was the problem of obstructive sleep apnoea, especially in children, and the role of orthodontists in helping to diagnose and treat the problem.

The statistics are similar in Australia and New Zealand to those for the United Kingdom. We are aware that approximately one in 25 men, and one in 50 women, are affected, but that significant numbers of others remain totally undiagnosed and therefore receive no treatment – a dangerous situation.

The main objective was to better educate the medical profession as far as snoring and sleep apnoea is concerned, an area where Australasia, and also the UK, lags far behind the USA and Canada in recognition and advice.

Sleep Apnoea - Children and Sleep Disorders

It is generally believed that about 35 per cent of children who snored more than three times a week have obstructive sleep apnoea, and that weight and environmental factors like allergies could increase the risk.

“If a child is snoring more than three nights a week then parents should be concerned.”

It was stated that if sleep apnoea went untreated, as well as behavioural and learning problems, it could cause other problems in the muscle and skeletal structure of the face.

A speaker from from the leading New Zealand Children’s Hospital said that often parents weren’t too concerned about snoring, but it could be a sign of bigger problems and it was important to have it diagnosed and treated.

“If parents feel that their child is having difficulty breathing while asleep, or are worried they are not getting enough air, then those are worrying signs that the child might have obstructive sleep apnoea. Because the breathing problem leads to sleep disturbance, children often have difficulty concentrating during the day and are more likely to have behaviour problems, temper tantrums and moodiness.”

The belief is that in many cases it is being picked up far too late, and because of that, problems like behavioural issues remain after treatment because they had become so entrenched over time.

It is in this area that the Conference believed that orthodontists have a key role to play.

Children with nasal obstruction, leading to snoring, sleep apnoea and daytime mouth breathing, can develop changes in the shape of the face that results in problems with the alignment of teeth. In some cases parents might not be aware that breathing is an issue and the first profession they might see could be an orthodontist.

Conference said “Orthodontists have an important role in asking about snoring and breathing problems during sleep and referring children to their doctor for tests and treatment where there is concern.”

By John Redfern


Researchers say that there is such a thing as 'Beauty Sleep'.

They say ‘Snoring makes you look old, ugly and dopey.’

  • Study of sleep apnoea patients shows that treatment makes them more noticeably attractive to others
  • Voters asked to rank pictures of patients before and after treatment
  • Snoring and poor sleep increased facial puffiness and redness
  • Commonly-held signs of sleepiness such as dark circles did not increase

According to an article published this week in the Science section of The Telegraph, and also in The Daily Mail, “Snoring not only keeps your partner awake at night, it also makes you more haggard and ugly.”

Coming from such creditable sources as these – How can we doubt it?

We have all become very aware these last few years of the many dangers of heavy snoring and sleep apnoea – but this is something new. Snoring can be more than just an annoyance to anyone sharing your bed – it is a very major health risk.

 

sleep apnoea

Some snorers will stop breathing numerous times during the night, and because they do, the usual oxygen supply to their hearts and brains is temporarily cut off. This is the condition known as sleep apnoea, the cause of which is the relaxed tissues in the soft palate at the back of the throat blocking the airway, and this causes their breathing to be interrupted. Sleep apnoea is much more common among obese people but is easily treatable, firstly by losing weight, or alternatively by wearing a simple device like a gum shield that keeps the airways open during sleep.

The evidence came from a study made of middle-aged sleep apnoea patients, where they found that two-thirds of those who were treated for this condition were judged to be much more attractive in their “after treatment” pictures than in the “before treatment pictures.”

Detailed analysis of the panel was made by a sensitive “face mapping” technique usually used by surgeons, and then asking the opinion of a panel of independent ‘appearance raters.’ The changes were noted just a few months after they began treatment to help them breathe better during sleep and overcome chronic sleepiness.

Patients’ foreheads were found to be less puffy and their faces less red following treatment for the sleep apnoea and they were assessed to have fewer wrinkles. The researchers also perceived, but did not have a way to measure, a reduction in forehead wrinkles after treatment.

The results were jointly published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine by the University of Michigan Health and Technology Departments, in which the article stated that the raters found that patients in the post-treatment photos looked more alert, more youthful and more attractive. The raters also correctly identified the post-treatment photo two-thirds of the time.

This report underlines just one more benefit of getting treatment for sleep apnoea with its many dangers. Sleep apnoea affects millions of adults – most undiagnosed – and puts them at higher risk for heart-related problems, other serious illnesses and daytime accidents caused by drowsiness.

By John Redfern


New evidence that sleep apnoea is one of the main causes of diabetes

Some recent research conducted in France has reached the conclusion that if a person suffers from obstructive sleep apnoea, (OSA), then they will have a much higher chance of having diabetes.

One of the main problems of sleep apnoea is that the person who has it will stop breathing many times during the night, and will snore loudly, often complaining the next day of a poor night’s sleep. Often they do not realize why as they are not aware of having stopped breathing, perhaps several hundred times during their sleep.

The research team, based at the University of Angers, in western France, concluded that sleep apnoea is more often than not undiagnosed and therefore goes untreated, and it could well be one of the key causes in the development of diabetes.

Sleep Apnoea and Diabetes Test

They tested the glucose levels, and studied approximately 700 men, a major problem group for sleep apnoea, particularly those men who were overweight and middle aged. All those tested had been referred by their doctor to sleep clinics, because of the suspicion of sleep apnoea in varying degrees of severity.

Most tested positive for sleep apnoea but around half of them also had diabetes or insulin resistance, which is a glucose abnormality that usually continues to become diabetes later. The link between the sleep disorder and diabetes was clearly established and the more serious their sleep apnoea, the higher their insulin resistance.

What is more important is that the research seems to have established an explanation for the link between the two. Despite many respondents being overweight this was not the cause, merely incidental. It has been proposed that the primary cause is the fall in oxygen when breathing repeatedly stops and this disturbs the glucose metabolism of the body.

It is already accepted that if sleep apnoea, however mild, is treated, usually by wearing an ant-snoring oral appliance at night, then health and quality of life for both those suffering from the problem, and their partner, shows immediate improvement, as well as safeguarding long term health. More severe cases that develop, usually because the problem has not been treated early will require the use of CPAP breathing apparatus through the night. Many sufferers dislike using this equipment for a number of reasons.

It is now recommended in France, since this research, that all snorers be immediately screened for diabetes. The researchers say that snoring should not be dismissed as a nuisance with no medical significance. If OSA is present, it should be diagnosed and treated. By simply wearing an oral appliance similar to a sports-style gum-shield whilst sleeping, severe health problems such as diabetes, along with others, can be prevented.

By John Redfern