[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 12-Jun-2007
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Contact: Jim Arcuri
jarcuri@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Slow wave activity during sleep is lower in African-Americans than Caucasians

WESTCHESTER, Ill. Slow wave activity (SWA), a stable trait dependent marker of the intensity of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, is lower in young healthy African-Americans compared to Caucasians who were matched for age, gender and body weight, according to a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

Dr. Esra Tasali and colleagues at the University of Chicago collected overnight polysomnographic data from 12 African-Americans and 12 Caucasians, none of whom had any sleep complaints or disorders. The authors found that African-Americans had markedly lower SWA as compared to Caucasians.

"The current findings provide evidence for ethnic differences in the intensity of NREM sleep," said Tasali. "Lower levels of SWA in African-Americans could be related to their reported poor sleep quality and higher risk for insulin resistance."

The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.

Persons who think they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician, who will refer them to a sleep specialist.

The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.

More than 1,000 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The four-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.



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