Sleepless in London

RamosTony Ramos, Publisher

By the time you receive this issue of Sleep Review, the Flora 1,000 Mile Challenge will be history. In case you have not heard, the Flora 1,000 started on March 2 when six English men and women set out to replicate an event first made famous by Captain Robert Barclay back in 1809. These six runners will attempt to complete one mile on foot every hour of every day and night with no breaks for 1,000 hours. And you thought being a sleep technician was hard on your biological clock.

Taking off in front of London’s Buckingham Palace, the participants are scheduled to complete the race on April 13. Throughout the event, they are allowed to rest and sleep on a specially equipped coach, which will follow them throughout the course of the race. Trying to find time for minimal sleep and staying awake over the course of 1,000 hours will most likely be the biggest challenge the runners will face. While their legs and cardiovascular systems might hold up over the course of 1,000 hours, conquering extreme sleep deprivation could possibly lead to the downfall of at least a few of the participants. I can only imagine what short-term and possible long-term effects this 6-week race will have on their overall health.

According to a recent study published in the January 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which involved approximately 72,000 female participants over a 10-year period, women who averaged 5 hours or less of sleep a night were 39% more likely to develop heart disease than those who got 8 hours. Even those who slept 6 hours per night had an 18% higher risk of developing blocked arteries. Nine or more hours of sleep was associated with a 37% higher risk of heart disease and while researchers could not explain this, they suggested that those women might have slept more because of underlying illnesses. Najib Ayas, MD, a sleep disorders specialist who led the study says, “People should start thinking of adequate sleep not as a luxury but more as a component of a     healthy lifestyle.”

Other studies involving men and women strongly suggest that short-term sleep deprivation can raise blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower glucose tolerance, and lead to variations in heart rate, which are all precursors of heart disease. In the next issue of Sleep Review, Ayas will write a full-length article on the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study as well as other factors that are linked to sleep and hypertension.

SmithPaige Smith, Editor

If the Flora 1,000 Mile Challenge isn’t enough, the competitors will be invited to run the April 13 London Marathon, which coincides with the end of the Challenge. This idea was instigated by Captain Barclay, who, only 8 days after he completed his 1,000-mile effort, joined 40,000 other fighting men to set sail and continue the war against Napoleon. The next time I decide I am too tired to go for an early morning seven-mile run, I will remind myself of the Flora 1,000 Challenge participants and Captain Barclay.

Speaking of races, Sleep Review is helping readers keep up to speed on the information superhighway through its annual Web Resources Directory starting on page 46. This informative and easy-to-use directory contains the Web address and valuable information for each of the advertisers in this issue. Or simply go to where you will be able to access each of our advertiser’s Web sites either alphabetically or by product category. With more readers going directly to an advertiser’s Web site to learn more about the company, its products, and/or services, Sleep Review’s annual Web Resources Directory is an efficient and informative way to find the information that you are looking for.

Tony Ramos, Publisher
[email protected]
Paige Smith
[email protected]