The very latest scientific discoveries about sleep that will shock you

Did you know? Meditating, eating your veggies or slurping down a glass of milk extracted from sleepy cows may help you get a better night’s snooze? We reveal the very latest disoveries to help you sleep better.

The results from the annual Australasian sleep conference are just in. We report on the latest findings in sleep. Ready, set .... Zzzz. 

“Sleep is one of the few vital ingredients, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, that human’s need for good health,” says Sarah Biggs, chair of the conference hosted by the Australasian Sleep Association.

“But as much of this research suggests, Australians are not getting enough good quality sleep thanks to video games, mobile phones, their diet and arguments with their husband or wife.” 

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Maybe you need to consider couples therapy if it's affecting your sleep

Did you know? Arguments keep couples up at night
Want to solve your sleep problem? The solution could lying under the doona beside you. A literature review by Melbourne sleep psychologist, Allie Peters has found links between relationship conflict and insomnia.

Couples who argue more commonly have disturbed sleeps, probably because the emotional distress interferes with both falling asleep and staying asleep. The findings indicate that insomnia therapists should consider marital problems as part of treatment.

Timing tough discussions and working on your relationship may help solve your sleep issues, Dr Peters says.

Did you know? Women are hit hardest by lack of sleep
Sleep deprivation takes a tougher toll on women than it does on men, a lab study shows. Monash researchers investigated how men and women tolerate shift work by depriving 136 healthy people of sleep for 50 hours.

Tests conducted throughout sleep deprivation showed the women had significantly more lapses of attention compared with men. This shows women are more sensitive to the effects of acute sleep deprivation than their male counterparts, indicating they might need access to more intense alertness strategies when doing shift work, researcher Parisa Vidafar says.

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High testosterone means you need more time for rest

Did you know? Manly men need more snooze time
Men with high levels of the sex hormone testosterone need more sleep and are more prone to making mistakes and grumpiness if they don’t get enough, research shows.

A study of 14 Australian men revealed those with high testosterone within the normal range tend to sleep longer at night and need that extra shut eye to maintain good mood and clear thinking.

The lead Adelaide researchers couldn’t be sure if the men were sleeping more because of their testosterone levels, or vice versa, but say their findings shed new light on the relationship between the hormone, sleep and cognitive function.

Did you know? Snoozing makes you socially smarter
Don’t want to forget that face? A good snooze could be in order. A study by Adelaide researchers has found that sleep doesn’t just help boost your cognitive learning and motor skills – it also helps to limit forgetting of relevant social information such as faces.

The team from University of South Australia tested facial recognition on 16 people aged 19 to 29 who were given unknown faces to ‘learn’ and then asked to pick them out of a series of intermixed old and new faces after a sleep and an awake period.

Results showed those who slept were considerably better at accurately identifying faces than those who didn’t.

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A well rested mind can help with memory and boosting your overall mental health

Did you know? Insomniacs need not fear night waking
Whether you’re a napper or an insomniac, a new sleep discovery brings welcome news for you. Researchers at Flinders University studied sleep in 13 healthy young men to investigate how briefly flipping the ‘sleep switch’ from being awake to asleep, or vice versa, can be helpful for both alertness and sleep.

They found that this process, dubbed Process O, explains not only why a 10-minute daytime nap is so refreshing but also why the mirror experience, a brief awakening at night, may actually help you sleep longer and more deeply.

The findings will be useful for insomniacs who fear waking before dawn, lead researcher Leon Lack says.

Did you know? Mobile phone chats effect our sleeping brains
Having a chat on your mobile phone before bed alters your brain activity during sleep but scientists still don’t know if this exposure is doing you damage.

Sleep scientist Sarah Loughran from University of Wollongong reviewed international literature on mobile phone emissions and sleep and found definitive evidence that brain activity during sleep is altered following a short exposure to mobile phone radio frequency electromagnetic field emissions. Despite the find, there’s still no evidence to suggest that mobile phone use is detrimental to health or in any way affects sleep quality.

What are your biggest sleep concerns? Join the conversation below.