A power nap of about 20 minutes can give you all the benefits of sleep!
HEALTH TIPS FOR BUSY PEOPLE
The Pulse delivers fresh insights every month to help you make healthy changes and live your best life. Got 5 minutes? The Pulse from 1Med can make you healthier.
"Flaming June" by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Who doesn't look forward to sinking into their bed after a long day and drifting off to sleep? Unfortunately, for many of us, the hope for a long and restful sleep is (excuse the pun) just a dream. The hard truth is that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. Our sleeplessness has gotten so bad that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes insufficient sleep as a “public health epidemic”, linking a lack of sleep to a multitude of health problems.
Even more alarming, the World Health Organization has classified any form of nighttime shift work as a carcinogen, because it disrupts your sleep-wake rhythms.
With these sobering facts in mind, and in honor of World Sleep Day on March 18th, this month’s issue of The Pulse will review why sleep is not only beneficial to our health but a non-negotiable biological necessity!
Kirk and the 1Med Team
Viewed by more than 18 million people, sleep scientist Dr. Matt Walker’s talk on sleep is a must watch. Dr. Walker explains how sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.
Interested in learning more?
This excellent article offers another reminder of the importance of sleep on our health: Sleep Essentialism ~ Oxford Academic
Sleep is a delicate and precarious state, vulnerable to disruption by many factors. Before considering other causes for your sleepless nights, it's important to rule out underlying medical conditions that may be interfering with your ability to sleep well. Chronic pain, frequent urination and shortness of breath can all interfere with sleep. There are also specific sleep disorders that need to be considered as possible causes, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Medications such as antidepressants, steroids, and stimulants used for ADHD can negatively impact your sleep. And perhaps most commonly, anxiety and other mood disorders sabotage our sleep all too often by causing us unnecessary worry or stress during the day that keeps us up at night. So, if you are having trouble sleeping, first make sure that there are no underlying medical conditions causing your sleepless nights.Having trouble sleeping? Contact your 1Med team for a comprehensive sleep review!
There are several steps you can take to ensure a better night's rest. The first is avoiding alcohol, caffeine and other forms of stimulation late in the day. The 10-3-2-1-0 sleep rule is a simple way to help you establish some pre-sleep habits. It’s not always practical to follow this formula strictly every day, but it’s good for reinforcing behavior that should soon become second nature. After this, the two most important factors are regularity and temperature.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, whether it's a weekday or a weekend. Regularity is king and it will anchor your sleep, and improve the quality and quantity of that sleep.
Next, keep it cool. Your body needs to drop its core temperature by about 2° or 3° to initiate sleep and then to stay asleep. It’s a reason you will always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold rather than too hot. So aim for a bedroom temperature around 65° or 18°C. That’s going to be optimal for most people.
If you are interested in learning more about the optimal sleep routine, then check out this excellent article.How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule ~ - sleepfoundation.org
The debate over sleeping pills is complex. Some medical experts believe they are blunt instruments that do not produce naturalistic sleep. To make matters worse, most sleeping pills cause side effects such as mental fogging and memory problems during the day. Most importantly, most of these medications are addictive.
However, having untreated insomnia also comes with risks. Insomnia can have a devastating effect on your relationships, job and mental health. So if other strategies such as improved sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioural therapy haven't helped, then patients are left with little choice.
Luckily, a new class of prescription drugs called orexin receptor antagonists have recently been approved for use in Canada. These drugs target the brain circuits that keep you awake. They block the effects of orexin, a chemical messenger that keeps you alert. As a result, it becomes easier to fall asleep. Researchers suggest that this kind of treatment will be less likely than older medications to cause side-effects such as confusion or memory problems during the day.
It's encouraging to know that a safer solution may be available for people who suffer from resistant insomnia. If you're interested in learning more, please contact the 1Med team.
It is impossible to explain to the sound sleeper what it is like to not sleep. It’s horrible. Chuck Palahniuk, whose novel Fight Club was inspired by insomnia, would have to imagine picking and losing fights in order to drift off. F Scott Fitzgerald, not a writer prone to hyperbole, described insomnia with sullen childishness as “the worst thing in the world”. Vincent van Gogh would pour a turpentine-like liquid on his mattress, a decanting intended to cast the spell of sleep. WC Fields claimed he could only fall asleep to the sound of rainfall, and his dutiful lover Carlotta Monti would spray water from the garden hose against the bedroom window till he dropped off. For anyone who suffers from insomnia, it may be comforting to know that some of history's greatest artists and leaders have struggled with the same affliction.
Read More about famous insomniacs.10 Famous Insomniacs ~ The Week
“Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity. It is your life-support system and it is Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality."
~ Matt Walker