The truth about sleeping with baby

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Source: The Guardian.com, Sarah Boseley
Date: Friday 16 October 2009Time and time again, mothers are warned of the dangers of sleeping with their infants. But has the science been badly misinterpreted?

Is it safe? ‘Surveys suggest that a quarter of parents routinely share a bed with their baby’.

It seems like the most natural thing in the world to bring your baby into bed with you and give this tiny scrap of humanity all the closeness, comfort and reassurance you can. Mothers who do it know it quietens a fretful baby, and allows them to breastfeed without having to stumble out of bed into the shocking chill of the early hours in a half-dazed, sleep-deprived state of resentment.

Authoritative bodies go against well designed research

But we must not do it, say authoritative bodies including the Department of Health and a leading charity. We must go against our instincts because we are risking our baby’s lives. Bedsharing is a risk for cot death.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) and the department say categorically that the safest place for a baby is in a cot in the parents’ bedroom. Babies must sleep alone. Breastfeeding mothers should wake up, get up in the cold grey dawn, pick them up, settle in a comfortable armchair, feed them and then put them back in the cot and hope they won’t wail piteously for long.

This message was strongly repeated by the foundation on the publication of a study this week by the British Medical Journal which FSID itself funded. “Latest findings by researchers from Bristol University . . . confirm that ‘the safest place for a baby to sleep is in its own cot’. This four-year study . . . found that in half of all unexpected deaths of children in the south-west of England, babies had died sleeping with a parent or carer,” said FSID’s press release.

What is worrying, the release went on, is that 25% of mothers in a survey “were not persuaded that bedsharing can increase the risk of cot death”.

But anyone who read the full paper, by a very experienced and well-respected team from Bristol and Warwick Universities, would be hard pushed to believe it either.

Do not sleep/ risk falling asleep on the sofa

Yes – the study found that 54% of cot deaths occurred while the baby was co-sleeping with a parent. But although the risk was strong if they had crashed out on the sofa, it was only significant among those in a bed if the parent had drunk more than two units of alcohol or had been taking drugs.

This is a serious, heavyweight piece of research by a team with impeccable credentials who have been working in this field for 20 years. They looked at all sudden unexplained infant deaths (Sids – often referred to as cot deaths) in the south-west of England between the start of 2003 and the end of 2006. After campaigns in the 90s on the dangers of putting babies to sleep on their fronts, the number of cot deaths has dropped dramatically – by half. But there were still enough deaths (79) in this study to make their conclusions valid.

Peter Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental physiology in Bristol, one of the study authors, was appalled by the misinterpretation, as he sees it, of the paper in the media this week. “I really felt quite uncomfortable about it,” he told the Guardian yesterday.

“My view is that the positive message of this study is that it says don’t drink or take drugs and don’t smoke, particularly for breastfeeding mothers. We did not find any increased risk from bedsharing. It is a very different message from the one the media picked up.”

You can say that half the deaths occurred while babies slept with their parents. You could also say that half the deaths occurred while babies were alone in their cots, he says, but: “I don’t see anybody saying, ‘Don’t put your baby in a cot.'”

Fleming has a particular reason for worry. The study showed that sleeping with the baby on a sofa really is a risk. Yet seven of the parents whose baby died say they had gone to the sofa to feed, aware that bedsharing is said to be dangerous, and had fallen asleep.

Do not feed your baby on the sofa in the middle of the night/ when you’re very tired

“Any advice to discourage bedsharing may carry with it the danger of tired parents feeding their baby on a sofa, which carries a much greater risk than co-sleeping in the parents’ bed,” says the paper. “Anecdotally, two of the families of Sids infants who had co-slept on a sofa informed us that they had been advised against bringing the baby into bed but had not realised the risks from falling asleep on the sofa.”

But despite Fleming’s concern, the FSID was sticking to the line agreed with the Department of Health yesterday: “The safest place for an infant to sleep is in a cot beside the parents’ bed.” It pointed out that the same sentence appears in Fleming’s paper, but did not mention what follows next: “Based on evidence from research into Sids it is questionable whether advice to avoid bedsharing is generalisable and whether such a simplistic approach would do no harm. Parents of young infants need to feed them during the night, sometimes several times, and if we demonise the parents’ bed we may be in danger of the sofa being chosen. A better approach may be to warn parents of the specific circumstances that put infants at risk.”

Joyce Epstein, director of FSID, says this is too complicated. “If you can get people’s attention for more than three seconds you would like to give the whole story every time, but at what point do you lose everybody?” she says. From their perspective, the simple direct message – put your baby to sleep in a cot near the bed, not in the bed, is the key.

The new study, she says, is just one study (although in a Lancet 2006 paper the Bristol team also found a link to drink and drugs). George Haycock, professor emeritus of paediatrics at St George’s hospital in London, who is FSID’s scientific advisor, points to nine previous studies that have looked at co-sleeping and cot death and concluded that sharing a bed is risky.

“You can’t say there is no risk,” says Haycock, even if it is small for non-smokers. And he is tacitly critical of the “breastfeeding lobby” for defending bedsharing, when there is no concrete proof that it increases the numbers of women who breastfeed.

Ground breaking research

But Fleming says this study breaks new ground. Nobody in the past has gathered reliable information about drug-taking. “The advantage of this study is that because we did a death-scene evaluation, three to four hours after the baby died, we were able to look at all sorts of factors which in the past we couldn’t look at.” When the researchers talked to the parents, offering sympathy without blame and the possibility of explanations for their tragic loss, the parents told them everything, including what they had drunk and what drugs they took the night before. “People are very willing to share that information with you at that time,” he says. “You get the real picture.”

Co-sleeping around the world

The paper adds that the findings may explain some of the quirky cultural associations between co-sleeping and Sids. Among black African populations in the United States and Maori and Aboriginal people, where babies commonly sleep with their parents, cot deaths are high, yet in other bedsharing communities, such as Japan, Hong Kong and among the Bangladeshi and other Asian peoples of the UK, deaths are low. The difference is in their smoking, drinking and drug habits.

FSID’s raison d’etre is to eliminate sudden unexpected infant deaths and that is what they believe their advice on putting babies in cots, on their backs, “feet to foot”, on a firm mattress with no pillow, will help do. But other organisations think there may be real benefits to taking your baby into your bed. The National Childbirth Trust (NCT), the country’s leading parenting organisation (and champions of breastfeeding), openly defends bedsharing.

“The study shows that risks for babies whose parents did not smoke or consume alcohol or drugs but who did share their bed with their baby were not different from that for babies in a separate cot,” says its head of research Mary Newburn in a statement responding to the BMJ publication.

The reality of parenting

The NCT’s position is a response to the real world of its members. “Many parents share their bed with their baby when they are young and this can be done safely,” says Newburn. “It is clear from surveys that around half of parents sleep with their babies at some point in the first six months, and around a quarter do so routinely, so we need to help them to do this in the safest way possible.”

Rosie Dodds, NCT senior public policy officer, says they understand FSID’s position. “They are really worried about the number of babies dying and want everybody to be as safe as possible,” she says. “But there are likely to be advantages to babies sharing a bed with parents.” Although she acknowledges that there is no scientific evidence establishing that bedsharing increases breastfeeding, there is an association, and breastfeeding on its own has been shown to lower the risk of cot death.

Deborah Jackson, author of Three In A Bed, says she thinks we are, in the UK, “fixated on the bad aspects of sharing a bed with the baby”, which is strange because “the history of bedsharing or shared sleeping places with the baby is as old as humanity itself”.

Her research, together with her own experiences of bedsharing with her three children, have persuaded her it is profoundly beneficial for both mother and child. The mother is aware of her baby as she is sleeping and reacts to her. “[Once] I was asleep,” says Jackson. “[One of my children] was sleeping next to me. I suddenly sat up in the night and held her over the bed and she was sick,” she says. Somehow she had known the baby was about to be unwell.

But there are clear dangers if the mother has been drinking or taking drugs. “All the things that make it good can make it really dangerous if you are not incredibly sensible. That’s true of everything in parenting,” she says.

We all want the same thing

Cot death is devastating and everybody is on the same side – they want to see fewer tragic families who have lost their babies. But there is clearly not one single road that everybody can march down together. In the end, a single prohibitive message for parents may even be counter-productive. This may be one of those cases where the public should be given credit for their intelligence and allowed to make up their minds on the basis of rather fuller information.

Sport helps women ward off midlife sleep disturbances

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Source: Medwire News.com By Lucy Piper
Date: 30 September 2013Women can protect against midlife sleep disturbances by regularly exercising, findings from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Sleep study show.

Consistently high levels of recreational activity or sports significantly improved sleep quality and increased sleep continuity, efficiency, and depth, the researchers report. And the benefits gained increased if such activity was sustained over multiple years.

Indeed, high levels of recent recreational activity or sports reduced a woman’s risk for insomnia by 32%, while high levels maintained over 5 to 6 years reduced the odds by 74%.

“Based upon our results, focusing on recreational physical activity for sleep improvement seems warranted,” say researcher Martica Hall (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania) and colleagues.

As reported in Sleep, 93 (27.4%) of 339 participants of the SWAN Sleep Study showed consistently high levels of sports or exercise activity. This was based on having Kaiser Physical Activity Survey domain scores in the top tertile.

These women had significantly better sleep quality than women with inconsistent or moderate activity patterns and those with consistently low activity patterns, scoring an average 4.5 on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index versus 5.7 and 6.6, respectively.

Their sleep efficiency – both subjective and objective – was also significantly better, with average scores of 94.0% according to sleep diary entries and 87.2% according to polysomnography versus a corresponding 90.9% and 82.9% for those with consistently low activity patterns. Other significant improvements included sleep continuity and depth.

The researchers note, however, that the sleep benefits associated with consistently high recreational activity did not extend to high levels of active living or household activity.

It may be that “these domains of physical activity are of insufficient intensity to affect sleep,” they suggest, whereas the “adoption and/or maintenance of adequate recreational physical activity may help to improve sleep and protect against sleep disturbances that arise during midlife in women.”

The Claim: Lying on Your Left Side Eases Heartburn

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Source: The New York Times, By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Date: October 25, 2010THE FACTS For people with chronic heartburn, restful sleep is no easy feat. Fall asleep in the wrong position, and acid slips into the esophagus, a recipe for agita and insomnia.

Doctors recommend sleeping on an incline, which allows gravity to keep the stomach’s contents where they belong. But sleeping on your side can also make a difference — so long as you choose the correct side. Several studies have found that sleeping on the right side aggravates heartburn; sleeping on the left tends to calm it.

The reason is not entirely clear. One hypothesis holds that right-side sleeping relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, between the stomach and the esophagus. Another holds that left-side sleeping keeps the junction between stomach and esophagus above the level of gastric acid.

In a study in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, scientists recruited a group of healthy subjects and fed them high-fat meals on different days to induce heartburn. Immediately after the meals, the subjects spent four hours lying on one side or the other as devices measured their esophageal acidity. Ultimately, the researchers found that “the total amount of reflux time was significantly greater” when the subjects lay on their right side.

“In addition,” they wrote, “average overall acid clearance was significantly prolonged with right side down.”

In another study, this one in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, scientists fed a group of chronic heartburn patients a high-fat dinner and a bedtime snack, then measured reflux as they slept. The right-side sleepers had greater acid levels and longer “esophageal acid clearance.” Other studies have had similar results.

THE BOTTOM LINE Lying on your right side seems to aggravate heartburn.

Can’t get comfortable lying on your side? Well you can now with the Mumanu Pillow. Buy yours today for the most comfortable night’s sleep.

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Best Diaper Changing Technique for Newborns to Reduce Crying and Colic

Almost every parent changes their newborn with the double leg-lift technique, which looks convenient but might not be right for your baby. The roll technique, especially with newborns until they start crawling, may be a better option. Dr. John Edwards from Mama’s Chiropractic Clinic demonstrates the technique and explains why.Dr. Edwards is a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.
ADDRESSING COMMENTS & QUESTIONS ABOUT COLIC: I usually see a few reasons why a baby has colic in my office. This video is intended to show parents of newborns a technique they can do to reduce one of those factors- repetitive stress to the spine where the nerves for the intestines come out.

Optimal Foetal Positioning (for an easier birth)

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Source: Optimal Foetal Postitioning
By Jean Sutton, New Zealand MidwifeThe Optimal Foetal Position is our term for the First Vertex; Vertex Left Occipito Anterior; Vertex L.O.A. The position most commonly chosen by near term babies when they are able. [In every day terms it means baby is head down with their spine at the front of the belly on the left side]

Optimal Foetal Positioning, or OFP for short, is the term coined by myself (Jean Sutton ) and Pauline Scott to describe ways a mother can assist her baby to assume the best position if he/she is to have the simplest, safest birth. Today we are told that human babies always need help to be born, but why?

Babies managed for countless years before midwives and doctors were involved.

They know what to do, but not how to tell us how to help them. Or have we stopped listening? Parents-to-be today are bombarded with advice from all sides. Ante-natal classes teach many ways of managing labour; mothers build up an expectation of the perfect birth, but few teach about the baby’s role.

This is what optimal foetal positioning is – encouraging the baby to move into the optimal position for labour and birth.

OFP was conceived to encourage birth practitioners to view the mother’s pregnancy and the baby’s birth from the baby’s perspective. We accept that the baby is in control of the growing part, so why shouldn’t he/she largely manage the birth process?

Traditional birth wisdom and old textbooks held the view that the baby’s position at the beginning of labour predicted the result.

They divided the possible positions into vertex (head down) breech (bottom first) and a few other highly unusual angles. The most common positions came first, and the rest followed. The first choice was head down, back between Mother’s left hip and umbilicus. Vertex L O A left occipito anterior or Optimal Foetal Position. Amazingly, 75% of babies chose this position. Around 10% chose to be on Mother’s right side–this is only possible for second and later babies. That meant that only a few were facing forward,or R O P right occipito posterior, and even fewer were breech.

When mothers stayed mobile during labour, and the baby was the right way round, labour tended to start on time and proceed smoothly to a tidy birth.

If baby is to get himself/herself into the best position, baby needs mother to spend most of her time with her abdomen ( tummy ) forward, and her knees lower than her seat. Then baby will, during the last few weeks of pregnancy, be most comfortable lying with his/her back to mother’s front. Mothers aren’t keen on this, as they end up with a bulgy abdomen, a saggy back, and a “duck waddle” walk!!
Still, if they want as simple a birth as possible that’s what is needed. Today, mothers want to stay as “tidy” looking as possible for the whole pregnancy. This only happens when baby is in a posterior position (facing forward) with his back straight, or is sitting as a “bottom down” baby.

Why has the change happened?

Sometime around the 1960′s, people’s lives began to change. The modern world and technology brought us comforts undreamed of, but we may have forgotten the amazing wisdom of our ancestors. Television has us sitting in comfortable armchairs instead of upright furniture. Motorcars became common. Fewer people walked or cycled to work. Modern employment needed people with more education, so girls were at school for much longer, and not looking after smaller siblings. Work changed, sitting at a desk became the norm, and as computer use spread,we spent even more time sitting. Household chores were made easier by wetmops and vacuum cleaners. No more hands and knees–no more tubs of washing!

Now many more babies had little choice but to lie with their back against mothers. One can’t lie on one’s face in a hammock. The scene is set for problems. Overdue, long and painful labours, made worse because mothers were put to bed on their backs. The cascade of intervention became the norm.

The babies don’t like today’s way of birth.

When things go according to their expectations, they come out with the most beautiful triumphant look on their faces. Today, many come out looking confused, bewildered, or frightened. My hope is that if enough people understand the baby’s point of view, we will again see more of those lovely expressions.

Babies are my passion. They have only one birth, and it should be as safe and as pleasant as we can make it.

Optimal Foetal Positioning is not a new concept. The origins of it can be found in old midwifery text books or by talking with midwives who trained as apprentices with older, wiser and more experienced midwives. What has changed since the days of apprentice-trained midwives, is that our contemporary lifestyle has meant that mothers are at risk more than ever before. At the same time, childbirth wisdom from our past has almost disappeared. As midwives seek independence and recognition as the specialists of normal pregnancy and birth, ways to decrease the rate of medicalised labour are in everyone’s interest. The concept of OFP is very timely in our present climate of financial restraint and increasing reliance on technology.

Babies who commence their journey in the optimal position make the birth process an exciting adventure, rather than a harrowing experience for all involved.

Find out how to use your body to help baby into a good position for an easier and safer birth. We’ve had some feedback from those who have used the pillow during their labor and each of them have had fast and natural births.

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Rethinking Sleep

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Source: The New York Times Sunday Review By DAVID K. RANDALL
Date: September 22, 2012SOMETIME in the dark stretch of the night it happens. Perhaps it’s the chime of an incoming text message. Or your iPhone screen lights up to alert you to a new e-mail. Or you find yourself staring at the ceiling, replaying the day in your head. Next thing you know, you’re out of bed and engaged with the world, once again ignoring the often quoted fact that eight straight hours of sleep is essential.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Thanks in part to technology and its constant pinging and chiming, roughly 41 million people in the United States — nearly a third of all working adults — get six hours or fewer of sleep a night, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And sleep deprivation is an affliction that crosses economic lines. About 42 percent of workers in the mining industry are sleep-deprived, while about 27 percent of financial or insurance industry workers share the same complaint.

Going to bed early may not be the solution

Typically, mention of our ever increasing sleeplessness is followed by calls for earlier bedtimes and a longer night’s sleep. But this directive may be part of the problem. Rather than helping us to get more rest, the tyranny of the eight-hour block reinforces a narrow conception of sleep and how we should approach it. Some of the time we spend tossing and turning may even result from misconceptions about sleep and our bodily needs: in fact neither our bodies nor our brains are built for the roughly one-third of our lives that we spend in bed.

The idea that we should sleep in eight-hour chunks is relatively recent. The world’s population sleeps in various and surprising ways. Millions of Chinese workers continue to put their heads on their desks for a nap of an hour or so after lunch, for example, and daytime napping is common from India to Spain.

One of the first signs that the emphasis on a straight eight-hour sleep had outlived its usefulness arose in the early 1990s, thanks to a history professor at Virginia Tech named A. Roger Ekirch, who spent hours investigating the history of the night and began to notice strange references to sleep. A character in the “Canterbury Tales,” for instance, decides to go back to bed after her “firste sleep.” A doctor in England wrote that the time between the “first sleep” and the “second sleep” was the best time for study and reflection. And one 16th-century French physician concluded that laborers were able to conceive more children because they waited until after their “first sleep” to make love. Professor Ekirch soon learned that he wasn’t the only one who was on to the historical existence of alternate sleep cycles. In a fluke of history, Thomas A. Wehr, a psychiatrist then working at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., was conducting an experiment in which subjects were deprived of artificial light. Without the illumination and distraction from light bulbs, televisions or computers, the subjects slept through the night, at least at first. But, after a while, Dr. Wehr noticed that subjects began to wake up a little after midnight, lie awake for a couple of hours, and then drift back to sleep again, in the same pattern of segmented sleep that Professor Ekirch saw referenced in historical records and early works of literature.

Enjoy the time between sleeps

It seemed that, given a chance to be free of modern life, the body would naturally settle into a split sleep schedule. Subjects grew to like experiencing nighttime in a new way. Once they broke their conception of what form sleep should come in, they looked forward to the time in the middle of the night as a chance for deep thinking of all kinds, whether in the form of self-reflection, getting a jump on the next day or amorous activity. Most of us, however, do not treat middle-of-the-night awakenings as a sign of a normal, functioning brain.

Doctors who peddle sleep aid products and call for more sleep may unintentionally reinforce the idea that there is something wrong or off-kilter about interrupted sleep cycles. Sleep anxiety is a common result: we know we should be getting a good night’s rest but imagine we are doing something wrong if we awaken in the middle of the night. Related worries turn many of us into insomniacs and incite many to reach for sleeping pills or sleep aids, which reinforces a cycle that the Harvard psychologist Daniel M. Wegner has called “the ironic processes of mental control.”

As we lie in our beds thinking about the sleep we’re not getting, we diminish the chances of enjoying a peaceful night’s rest.

This, despite the fact that a number of recent studies suggest that any deep sleep — whether in an eight-hour block or a 30-minute nap — primes our brains to function at a higher level, letting us come up with better ideas, find solutions to puzzles more quickly, identify patterns faster and recall information more accurately. In a NASA-financed study, for example, a team of researchers led by David F. Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found that letting subjects nap for as little as 24 minutes improved their cognitive performance.

Napping improves your memory

In another study conducted by Simon Durrant, a professor at the University of Lincoln, in England, the amount of time a subject spent in deep sleep during a nap predicted his or her later performance at recalling a short burst of melodic tones. And researchers at the City University of New York found that short naps helped subjects identify more literal and figurative connections between objects than those who simply stayed awake.

Robert Stickgold, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, proposes that sleep — including short naps that include deep sleep — offers our brains the chance to decide what new information to keep and what to toss. That could be one reason our dreams are laden with strange plots and characters, a result of the brain’s trying to find connections between what it’s recently learned and what is stored in our long-term memory. Rapid eye movement sleep — so named because researchers who discovered this sleep stage were astonished to see the fluttering eyelids of sleeping subjects — is the only phase of sleep during which the brain is as active as it is when we are fully conscious, and seems to offer our brains the best chance to come up with new ideas and hone recently acquired skills. When we awaken, our minds are often better able to make connections that were hidden in the jumble of information.

Napping at work will increase productivity

Gradual acceptance of the notion that sequential sleep hours are not essential for high-level job performance has led to increased workplace tolerance for napping and other alternate daily schedules.

Employees at Google, for instance, are offered the chance to nap at work because the company believes it may increase productivity. Thomas Balkin, the head of the department of behavioral biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, imagines a near future in which military commanders can know how much total sleep an individual soldier has had over a 24-hour time frame thanks to wristwatch-size sleep monitors. After consulting computer models that predict how decision-making abilities decline with fatigue, a soldier could then be ordered to take a nap to prepare for an approaching mission. The cognitive benefit of a nap could last anywhere from one to three hours, depending on what stage of sleep a person reaches before awakening.

Most of us are not fortunate enough to work in office environments that permit, much less smile upon, on-the-job napping. But there are increasing suggestions that greater tolerance for altered sleep schedules might be in our collective interest. Researchers have observed, for example, that long-haul pilots who sleep during flights perform better when maneuvering aircraft through the critical stages of descent and landing.

Strategic sleeping helps overcome jetlag

Several Major League Baseball teams have adapted to the demands of a long season by changing their sleep patterns. Fernando Montes, the former strength and conditioning coach for the Texas Rangers, counseled his players to fall asleep with the curtains in their hotel rooms open so that they would naturally wake up at sunrise no matter what time zone they were in — even if it meant cutting into an eight-hour sleeping block. Once they arrived at the ballpark, Montes would set up a quiet area where they could sleep before the game. Players said that, thanks to this schedule, they felt great both physically and mentally over the long haul.

Strategic napping in the Rangers style could benefit us all. No one argues that sleep is not essential. But freeing ourselves from needlessly rigid and quite possibly outdated ideas about what constitutes a good night’s sleep might help put many of us to rest, in a healthy and productive, if not eight-hour long, block.

Can’t sleep because of back pain or hip pain? Purchase the Mumanu Pillow today for the most comfortable night’s sleep, as recommended by Osteopaths

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Go to sleep; it’s important!

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Source: Manila Standard Today.com By Ed Biado
Date: September 29, 2013We all know that having a good night’s sleep is better than only having a couple of hours of shuteye. We wake up feeling energized, more alert and focused, and less cranky. Basically, when we’re not sleepy the whole day, we feel better and happier. Sleeping well also has plenty of health benefits, and positive physiological and psychological effects.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine adds a notch to the long list of benefits. According to the research, not getting enough sleep reduces and may even undo the effects of dieting. Enough sleep is defined as seven hours per night.

In the study, subjects were put on a specific diet and sleep schedules. Those who had adequate sleep were found to have lost twice as much fat as those who were tasked to sleep less. Further, the latter reported feeling hungrier and less satisfied after meals, which were controlled to be constant among all subjects. They also had less energy to exercise than the group that had better sleeping habits.

Meanwhile, a separate study, published in Sleep journal, looked into the negative effects of sleep deprivation on physical appearances and, consequently, social interactions.

“Since faces contain a lot of information on which humans base their interactions with each other, how fatigued a person appears may affect how others behave toward them,” explained Stockholm University researcher Tina Sundelin.

Sundelin’s team took photographs of 10 people on two occasions—after “normal sleep” and after “31 hours of sleep deprivation following a night with five hours of sleep.” The pictures were then showed to 40 individuals, who were asked to rate the images based on several facial cues, and appearance of fatigue and sadness.

The sleep-deprived faces were observed to be punctuated by “more hanging eyelids, redder eyes, darker circles under the eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles/fine lines, and more droopy corners of the mouth.” What’s more, they were perceived by the observation participants to look sadder and more fatigued.

“The results show that sleep deprivation affects features relating to the eyes, mouth and skin, and that these features function as cues of sleep loss to other people. Because these facial regions are important in the communication between humans, facial cues of sleep deprivation and fatigue may carry social consequences for the sleep deprived individual in everyday life,” the study concluded.