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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