Rx for Sleep

September 14, 2017

This past month of travels reminded me that as much excitement that I absorb through my adventures, it is vital to sleep properly. I know for myself that if I do not sleep appropriately, I feel groggy, my concentration and focus wanes and I enjoy my work and travels less. I know in regards to my patients that sleep is a less common topic that we providers discuss as opposed to diet and weight loss. Here are my two cents for your improved health.

Quick Facts:

  • Average US adult sleep 6 hrs 57 min
  • 20% of US adults average less than 6 hours sleep per night
  • 60 million US adults report frequent difficulty sleeping
  • Estimated indirect costs from insomnia due to loss productivity $60 million annually
  • Short duration and disrupted sleep correlates:
    • elevated BMI and 2X fold risk in obesity
    • diabetes
    • cardiovascular events
    • decreased alertness and cognitive processing speeds, impaired memory and emotional distress.
    • major depression and bipolar and PTSD

What to do?

Rx:

  1. Maintain a regular sleep routine. Go to bed relatively the same time every night.
  2. Avoid stimulating distractions before bed. This includes exposure to TV, smartphones, physical activity, and alcohol.
  3. Maintain regular physical activity (150 mins of moderate activity per week) and outdoor sunlight exposure.
  4. Avoid eating after dinner, snacking, and caffeinated beverages before bed.
  5. Avoid high sodium foods during dinner, but also in general.
  6. Maintain a dark and cool room environment.
  7. Maintain a good stress reduction practice. Practice breathing exercises, meditation, guided imagery or slow music before bedtime.

Tell me your sleeping patterns and habits.

Much Love,

- Zhu

References:

  1. National Sleep Foundation 2002.
  2. J Clin Sleep Med 2007; 3(5): 519-528
  3. Carmelli et al. 2000.
  4. Spiegel et al. 2005.
  5. Cappuccio et al. 2008.
  6. Eur J Endo 2008; 159:S59-S66.
  7. J Clin Endo Met, 2004; 89(11): 5762-5771.
  8. JCSM 2007; 3(5):519-528.
  9. Circa Res 2009;105: 1047-1061.
  10. Sleep 2007; 30:1659-1666.
  11. Sleep 2009;32(1):19-26.
  12. Sleep 2012;35(1):61-68
  13. Egger G, Lifestyle Medicine 2011.
  14. J of Behavioral Med 2006 29:223-227.
  15. Neubauer, 2005.