Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Make friends and sleep

If you can't sleep, connect with an endearing community of insomniacs. There's bound to be such a chat room somewhere on the Internet. And if a great night's snooze leaves you little time to bond with friends over dinner, don't lie awake worrying that your health will suffer. Matters not whether you're sleeping or networking, researchers have proven that either activity will enhance your health.

Previous research has shown that poor sleep raises body levels of an inflammatory molecule called interleukin-6 (IL-6). On the other hand, another study found that old guys who hung out with their buddies had less IL-6 than the isolated curmudgeons. IL-6 levels are directly correlated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.*

Dr. Elliot Friedman and colleagues asked 135 aging Wisconsin women about their relationships with their friends and their beds. They then correlated those results with blood levels of IL-6. Those women who enjoyed both early evenings with others AND late evenings with covers had almost no IL-6 noted compared to their sleepless, disconnected colleagues. Fortunately, either good friends or great sleep was also enough to reduce IL-6 to "virtually undetectable" levels.
*Cardiologists at the University of Pittsburgh reported in the November, 2005 issue of the American Heart Journal that women at risk for heart disease with the highest levels of two or more inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, IL-6, or serum amyloid A) were more than four times as likely to die during their 5 year study compared with similar women who had no such laboratory signs of increased inflammation.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

This is interesting and good news for some insomniacs I know.