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The Sense Of Smell Never Sleeps

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, September 22, 2008 11:24 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Sleep, Sleep Disorders, Sleep Apnea, Living Well, Anti-Aging, Obesity, FDA and Prescription Drugs

sleep and the smell of roses increased pleasant emotions in dreams.



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©iStockphoto/ sleeping woman/ author: graphixel


If you want to have sweet dreams, sleep with flowers in the bedroom.

German scientists looked at slumbering volunteers who reported having pleasant emotions in their dreams when the smell of roses was in the room.

The opposite effect was found when 15 women slept amid the odor of rotten eggs. The sleep was analyzed for a total of 30 nights.

The results are being reported at the American Academy of Otolaryngology, meeting in Chicago.

The scientists from the University Hospital Mannheim now plan to study people who experience nightmares to see if exposure to pleasant smells helps make their dreams more pleasant.

In the experiment, researchers waited until the subjects entered the rapid eye movement or REM, phase of sleep and exposed them to the scented air for 10 seconds before being waking them up one minute later. 

They were then asked about their dreams and how they felt.  Recall of dreams is more vivid right after being awakened.

None of the women dreamed of smelling anything in particular, but the emotional tone of the dream changed. Other studies have shown that sound, or vibration can also change the emotional tone of a dream.

Professor Tim Jacob, an expert in smell and taste at Cardiff University tells BBC News, "Smell is the only sense that doesn't 'sleep'. Information continues to reach the limbic system of the brain and that includes the hippocampus, or memory area and the amygdala,that is involved with emotional response. Other senses have to pass through the 'gate' of the thalamus, which is closed when we sleep."

The group also reports that pediatric obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem for adults and can be present in children.

Parents should consider snoring to be a symptom of disordered breathing, especially if it is present every night regardless of sleep position. Approximately ten percent of children are reported to snore and one-tenth of those children will have obstructive sleep apnea.  A child deficient in sleep will have mood changes, trouble in school and may lack physical energy, instead opting for television rather than activities.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine finds an increasing number of obese youth are not getting enough sleep. Obesity rates among children and teens have doubled in the last 30 years and AASM says sleep may be as important a component in fighting fat as diet and exercise.  #

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