Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. According to the National Sleep Foundation 15-35% of the general population suffer with insomnia. But you don’t have to suffer with insomnia if youRead More
April is national and world autism awareness month. Nearly 80% of children with autismRead More
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If you are between the ages of 10-18 years and you fall asleep early in the morning (2 a.m.) and have difficulty waking up on weekdays (6:00 a.m.) but no problem waking up if allowed to sleep later (8-10 a.m.) you might haveRead More
1 in 4 people have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Here's a simple questionnaire to see if you might have obstructive sleep apneaRead More
When I tell people I’m a sleep specialist, many want to share stories about their sleep. I love it! I meet fascinating people living awesome lives and I learn some very interesting things about most of the people in the room. I enjoy a unique opportunity to learn about the lives of others, learn some DIY tips for treating insomnia and I love sharing what I’ve learned through years of helping people sleep better.
This holiday season I met many people willing to share stories about their sleep but I want to share one story in particular.Read More
The prostate is a small gland situated at the opening of the bladder. As a man ages, the prostate may grow to twice its original size. Because of its location, an enlarged prostate can affect urine flow.
The most common cause of an enlarged prostateRead More
Lately many patients come into my office wearing some type of sleep tracking device. The person is usually concerned about the quality of sleep recorded on the device. Most sleep trackers are good at monitoring total sleep time at best. Details such as the percentage of deep sleep (slow wave sleep) or the onset of dream sleep (REM sleep) are less reliable. Here are some examples of why I'm concerned about people putting so much faith into a sleep tracker.
A 78 yr old patient refused to believe her sleep tracker was not accurate, even after I explained to her that it is highly unlikely for an adult, especially a person older than 50, to have 50% of the total sleep as deep sleep. When I reviewed the polysomnogram (PSG) results with another patient, the patient refused to believe the results of the polysomnogram. Unbeknownst to me, he had worn a sleep tracker during the in-lab, full montage polysomnogram attended by a certified sleep technician and performed in an accredited sleep lab. The PSG results did not match information recorded on his sleep tracker. I didn't mind that he wore a sleep tracker during the PSG. But I must admit I was surprised at how confident he was about the information recorded by his device and not information recorded on the $15,000-20,000 medical equipment.
I'm not against using a sleep tracker but some people carry the idea to extremes. When you pay more attention to your sleep tracker than how you actually feel, you might be missing the purpose of wearing a sleep tracker. Some people become anxious and worried about sleep tracker data and this becomes the impetus for insomnia.
You can check the accuracy of your sleep tracker by recording an old fashion sleep journal. Mark when you go to bed and when you wake up. You can look at the clock for these times. Then turn the clock away. In the morning estimate how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times did you wake up, how long were you awake. At the end of you sleep period note how you feel upon awakening: tired, slightly tired, very tired, well rested. Ideally, you should do this for two weeks. If you just can't leave the sleep tracker alone for two weeks, record a manual sleep diary for at least one week. Do not review the diary. Put the diary away. Next step is to wear your sleep tracker.
Now wear your sleep tracker for two weeks and at the same time record another manual sleep diary. At the end of two weeks, compare both sleep diaries and the data from you sleep tracker. This exercise will give you some idea about the accuracy of your sleep tracker. The most reliable way to check your sleep tracker is to wear it while having a PSG.
If your sleep is fragmented and of poor quality, review my posts for DIY sleep tips. If your sleep does not improve after two weeks of home remedies, see a sleep doctor.
Every now and then we all have a little difficulty falling asleep. More than 30% of people coming to a sleep specialist seeking help for insomnia have tried to treat themselves. The most common self medication is alcohol. Alcohol is not a good choice because although it induces sleep, once metabolized alcohol causes you to wake up. Alcohol fragments your sleep, suppresses dream sleep and can leaving you feeling less refreshed. If you can’t sleep for more than 2 nights you might benefit from herbs that induce sleep. Here are 4 herbs that could help you fall asleepRead More
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People like working night shift for various reasons. Mainly the boss is not around! But working night shift can take a toll on your body.Read More
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There are over 90 prescription and over- the-counter medications used to treat insomnia. Before you take medication here are some things you can do:Read More
Some people are never without their cell phone. Even at night, while asleep, the cell phone is nearby. But sleeping near your cell phone can adversely affect your sleep. Here are two reasonsRead More
If you find yourself struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you are not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control, sleep loss is a public health epidemic.
More than 2/3 of people with insomnia tryRead More
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Recently I saw a patient for a complaint of insomnia. The patient described excessive daytime sleepiness and inability to sleep at night. He wouldRead More
Harry is 20 years old. When I met Harry he was so energized about starting college. He hadn’t slept the entire night in weeks. He talked excessively about his plans and the excitement of living away from his parents. The second day of classes he called home to share the good news the he had met “the love of my life” . Harry was certain he’d met the girl he would marry. By the third week of classes the novelty of school had worn off. He lost interest in his girlfriend and regretted his decision to go so far from home. He was tired all the time and could barely get out of bed. .
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by mood swings. The condition starts in the late teens or during early adulthood. 5 million Americans suffer with bipolar disorder.
Symptoms are divided into symptoms that occur during the manic phase and symptoms that occur during depression. Mild bipolar disorder can be difficult to detect. During the manic phase, insomnia di is common. Other symptoms include extreme happiness for long periods of time, excessive talking, inability to concentrate , easily distracted , impulsive behavior that is often risky, overconfidence in ones abilities.
Depression is associated with a feeling of sadness for prolonged periods of time, feeling hopeless or that life is not worth living, loss of interest in being with friends and family or usual activities, excessive fatigue or sleepiness. Suicidal thoughts sometimes occur during the depression phase.
Sleep disturbance is a key feature of both phases. The manic person requires very little sleep. But during the depression phase excessive sleepiness or fatigue is characteristic. Researchers are now finding that during periods between mood swings, sleep may help stabilize mood swings.
Bipolar disorder usually requires medications to stabilize mood swings. In addition to medication practice good sleep hygiene. Details about sleep hygiene appear on an earlier post. Get adequate amounts of sleep.
Changes in sleep patterns may be an early warning of impending mental health illness such as bipolar disorder. If you think you or a loved one has bipolar disorder, seek qualified medical help.
Harvey, A, Talbot L, Gershon (2009). Sleep Disturbance in Bipoar Disorder Across the Lifespan. Clin Psychol 16(2):256-277
Gabapentin is a prescription medication developed to treat seizures. It is approved for treating pain caused by diabetic neuropathy and pain occurring after shingles. However,Read More