Sleep loss: startling new info.
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• A goldmine of info by an expert from Harvard.
• Consequences of sleep loss are startling.
• What about sleep apnea and insomnia?
HARVARD SLEEP EXPERT. At Harvard University, sleep expert Dr. Charles Czeisler unveiled a new sleep class for all freshmen. His work has exposed results of sleep loss that are startling.
The following bullets come from a podcast on NPR’s Here and Now, on 12 October 2018:
• Insufficient sleep can be deadly: causing traffic accidents, contributes to obesity and diabetes,
• Harvard has a mandatory online sleep class for freshmen. It will soon be mandatory for upper classmen as well. Some reasons for the class are given below:
• Student pressures: Some study groups organize to meet at 1 am. Some students stay up all nite to complete papers due by 9 am. The football team gets up at 4:30 am to lift weights.
• The light from iPads and iPhones lies in the blue part of the spectrum, which tries to tell the brain its daytime (the light is a bit like the blue sky.) This resets the circadian rhythms and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Better: read a book.
MORE STARTLING RESULTS.
• Not sleeping can be fatal. 7,000 people die each year in sleep-related motor vehicle crashes. One in five injuries and deaths are sleep-related.
• Sleep and flu shots: Inadequate sleep weakens the shots — you only get half the antibiotic response.
• Sleep and heart attacks: If you’re only getting 5 hours sleep a nite, your coronary artery calcification increases by 300% over 5 years, which leads to more likelihood of a heart attack.
• Caffeine has a half-life of 6-9 hours (meaning you feel “wired” for 6-9 hours because over half of the caffeine intake is with you all that time.)
• Less sleep decreases your reaction time (I need more sleep to handle rapid volleys in pickleball).
• Consistent sleep schedule is important too. Irregular sleep schedule shifts your internal clock to California time, which means 8 am feels to you like 5 am, and you aren’t nearly as sharp.
• Firefighters who get more sleep reported 25% less injuries on the job and they called in only half as many disability days off.
WHAT ABOUT SLEEP APNEA?
• One of three men and one of six women have sleep apnea. If you can’t breathe and sleep at the same time, you won’t get the rest that you need.
• If sleep apnea is untreated, only 58% are still alive after 18 years as compared with 94% of those who didn’t have sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is treated, studies have shown that:
o It lowers risk of cardiovascular death by over 400%.
o It resolves depression.
o Marriages are improved.
WHAT ABOUT DEALING WITH INSOMNIA?
• CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is effective — it can be done online: two programs are called SLEEPIO or SHUTI.
• Dogs are disruptive if they sleep on the bed.
• Alcohol interferes with sleep, as it takes two hours to metabolize.
• A new-tech headband, called EBB, which actually cools the head can help (now approved by FDA). Click HERE for information.
• Over-the-counter melatonin to improve sleeping does NOT work
• An RA (rheumatoid-arthritis) doctor in Kansas told me don’t watch TV or use your iPad or iPhone before going to bed. Much easier to sleep if you read a book.
• For more info about poor sleep, read Why we Sleep by Matthew Walker (click on the title to preview book).
• Don and Julie left a bar of Swiss dark hazelnut chocolate in my frig last weekend. Although its late, I need to get up off the couch. I’ll bite off a couple of rows of the Swiss Chocs to wire me up to complete this blog. Who cares if I can’t sleep because of the caffeine… with a half-life of 6-9 hours, I’ll be able to bounce out of bed at 5 am to resume writing on my latest book.
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Thanks Ian. Good information that we can use. It’s good for us to be challenged to, in some cases, change the habits of a lifetime. I remember as a young man thinking so many people are going to grow up and become a member of one or more statistical categories because they chose not to examine how they were living their lives!
An interesting point Garrick — about deliberately examining our life to see where/how it could be changed. It got me thinking whether I’d done this recently. Thank you.
Great blog, Ian! Thanks for sharing. I featured a great book a couple of years ago, “The Sleep Revolution” by Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post). There’s a lot of info out there about the importance of quality and sufficient sleep. This Harvard doctor contributes beautifully. We all need to be mindful about it!
Thanks Karen. When I was growing up, my father emphasized getting 8 hours of sleep each nite, and he always tried to do that… but I laughed at this more than once. Now I have to eat my words!
PS: Karen puts out an alternative healing magazine called Truly Alive. You can find it at many grocery stores (its free).
Great blog. I look forward to listening to that podcast sometime. I’m surprised to hear melatonin doesn’t work, I always thought it worked for me. The chocolate would not have lasted as long in my fridge, day or night.
That’s interesting Brian. The RA doctor who recommended reading rather than TV or iPad or iPhone before bed also told me that melatonin did not work in many cases.
Thanks for the blog on your sleep loss info. I actually followed the “cooling caps” study from the first year it was discovered. I believe it is the very one coming out of University of Pittsburgh Medical School and Sleep Institute. At the time, it was in its first year of a five-year medical trial. So happy it is now FDA-approved.
Hi Patti. I have a friend who sometimes gets insomnia, and I’m going to tell her about this cooling headband. Thanks for sharing.