Helping people to fall asleep is one of the most widely reported uses for ASMR videos and ASMR triggers.
This is bad news because it highlights the fact that many people are having difficulty getting the right quantity and/or quality of sleep.
And yet, it is also good news because sleep is so important and ASMR could someday be widely supported by clinicians as a sleep aid.
This post will cover several recent research studies about the recommendations, challenges, and problems related to getting a proper quantity and quality of sleep.
And it will conclude with an example of how someone might construct a research study to demonstrate if ASMR can help improve sleep quality.
Lets begin with this question: Do you know how much sleep you should be getting each night?
Last month, the National Sleep Foundation (US-based organization) published age-specific recommended sleep durations. These recommendations were based on evidence from 300 recent scientific publications on appropriate sleep.
Here are the recommendations for hours of sleep per day by age groups:
- Newborns (ages 0-3 months): 14-17 hours
- Infants (ages 4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (ages 1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (ages 3-5): 10-13 hours
- School age children (ages 6-13): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (ages 14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (ages 18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (ages 26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (ages 65+): 7-8 hours
So what happens if you don’t get a proper quantity and/or quality of sleep?
We all know that you will feel groggy, irritable, and have trouble focusing on tasks.
But a bunch of new research results announced in the past few months highlight a lot of other problems which you may not be aware of.
Problems for infants and young children:
- Chronic sleep loss may result in increased body fat by age seven. Those children with the lowest sleep amounts had the highest amounts fat. To be published in Pediatrics. Click HERE to read more.
- Another study found something similar, with a twist. Children getting less sleep were more likely to be obese. And children who weren’t getting enough sleep were also more likely to have parents who weren’t getting enough sleep. Published in Frontiers in Psychology. Click HERE to read more.
Problems for teenagers:
- Teenagers getting insufficient sleep are at a higher risk for alcohol consumption, drinking and driving, and poor sexual decisions. Published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Click HERE to read more.
- Teenagers with regular sleep problems are more likely to struggle academically in school. Published in Sleep Medicine. Click HERE to read more.
- Teenagers with insomnia were more likely to have depression and panic disorder. Published in Sleep Medicine. Click HERE to read more.
Problems for middle-aged adults:
- Adults who stayed up all night had higher levels of an Alzeimer’s Disease-related protein in their spinal fluid than those adults whom had a full night’s sleep. Published in JAMA Neurology. Click HERE to read more.
- Adults who stayed awake for 24 hours had schizophrenia-like symptoms. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Click HERE to read more.
Problems for older adults:
- Older adults with sleep disturbances are more likely to die of suicide than older adults without sleep disturbances, and quite surprisingly they are also more likely to die of suicide than older adults with depression. Published in JAMA Psychiatry. Click HERE to read more.
So how could someone design a sleep study to show if ASMR could be beneficial to sleep quality?
My usual recommendation is to find a recently published study that accomplishes something similar and follow their lead. The benefit of this approach is that the exact methodology is detailed out for you and its publication validates it used appropriate methods.
In this case, I would recommend the recent publication that appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine titled, “Mindfulness meditation appears to help improve sleep quality.”
The study was well designed because they compared their intervention (mindfulness meditation) with a standard non-pharmacological therapy (sleep hygiene education). They also used validated tools like the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
The mindfulness meditation group, compared to the sleep hygiene education group, had better outcomes for sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, depression symptoms, fatigue interference, and fatigue severity.
So anyone interested in doing a well-designed study on the potential benefits of ASMR on sleep quality would be wise to use a similar methodology as this mindfulness meditation study.
Click HERE to read more about the mindfulness meditation sleep study.
Click HERE to see a cool infographic and read more about the recently published sleep recommendations for all age groups by the National Sleep Foundation.
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