Tag sleep

What does a Sleep Doc do When He Can’t Fall Asleep


Photo Credit: YogaSportDallas.com

Photo Credit: YogaSportDallas.com

Well, there are times even a sleep doc can’t fall asleep! This happens most commonly prior to a big trip or sometimes after a page from the hospital or a phone call from the sleep lab. I used to get frustrated and worried about the busy day next day, which in turn would make matters worse.

Now, I have learned to relax. I do progressive muscle relaxation starting from my scalp muscles all the way down to my toe muscles; I contract them one by one, and feel them relaxing while I breathe slow and deep. This whole process if done leisurely would take 10-15 minutes. After I am done with this, I just lay there limp, completely atonic.

Then I work on my racing mind. I practice complete detachment (Vairagya). I observe these thoughts as a third person. They arise and they subside. I do nothing with them. I give up all the worries, desires, expectations, and anger to Almighty, to the Higher Power, and I just lay there completely relaxed.

This is called Savasana, which literally means “corpse posture.” When I do this, I get the physical, mental, and spiritual rejuvenation despite being awake.

I may fall asleep; I may not fall asleep. I do not worry. I do not care. Sleep is a natural phenomenon. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I don’t care. I trust the Lord. I have been through tougher times with little sleep in the past. I can do that again with the help the Lord.

Well, I hope you don’t have difficulty falling asleep, but if you do, I urge you to try this. If you find it beneficial, share this post and spread the wealth!

Sleep Well, Live Well.

7 Strong Reasons to Take a Power Nap Today


Winston Churchill in Downing Street giving his...

“A nap in the afternoon gives you two days in one.”

While talking to Dan Rather of CBS News in 1993, Bill Clinton said, “If I can take a nap—even fifteen or twenty minutes—in the middle of the day, it is really invigorating to me. On the days when I’m a little short of sleep, I try to work it out so that I can sneak off and just lie down for fifteen minutes, a half hour, and it really makes all the difference in the world.”

Because of our internal circadian rhythm, our alertness and, hence, our performance dips in the afternoon. This nadir is deeper when we are sleep deprived and when we are traveling across multiple time zones. If we can fight this drowsiness with a strategically placed power nap, then we can maximize our  efficiency and avoid fatal mistakes. (Most fatal vehicular accidents occur in the midafternoon and after midnight.)

Studies prove that a fifteen-minute power nap provides benefits lasting up to 150 minutes, including:

  1. Improved alertness, both subjectively and objectively
  2. Reduced fatigue and improved vigor
  3. Enhanced creativity and problem solving
  4. Improved perception
  5. Facilitated learning
  6. Improved declarative and procedural memory
  7. Positive mood and emotions, clearer communication, humor and optimism, and situational awareness

If a fifteen-minute nap gives you 150 minutes of improved executive function, how can you resist such an investment? Click here to learn the technique of PREM power nap.

Are You Awake? I Don’t Think So!


Photo Credit -Alex Bramwell

Photo Credit -Alex Bramwell

Several years ago, a patient surprised me, and the staff, “Doc, this is the first time I came to your clinic. I wasn’t here last week.” He, in fact, was seen at the clinic the prior week (he had filled out all the necessary paperwork, and had a progress note to prove his visit) and was sent to the sleep center for a sleep study! But, he was so sleep-deprived that he was living in a truncated level of wakefulness that he did not remember to coming to the clinic at all. For people like this, a quote shared by another patient comes true, “It feels like when I went to bed I was 18, and when I woke up I was 81!”

If you take care of your sleep, only then you can reach the highest wakefulness, a state full of lasting energy, enthusiasm, vigor, and vitality. At that highest level of wakefulness, you can squeeze out one magical moment after another from this greatest gift called life. If not, then your whole life will feel like a fleeting moment.

Here is how you can get started.

  1. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet.
  2. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex only. Keep work-related items out of the bedroom.
  3. Always maintain a consistent time to rise, even when circumstances prevent you from going to bed at your normal time. And, yes, that includes weekends.
  4. Avoid consuming alcohol three hours before bedtime.
  5. Avoid eating a heavy meal before bedtime because the process of digestion will interfere with falling asleep and may reduce the amount of deep sleep.
  6. Sweat for sound sleep.  
  7. Stay away from caffeine, certainly after one o’clock. 
  8. Do not nap after two o’clock, and do not nap for longer than twenty minutes.
  9. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Listen to the music. Read a nice book. Take a warm shower because the cooling off promotes sleep.
  10. Pray on the pillow. 

If you follow these tips consistently and religiously, only then you can be at the highest level of wakefulness and only then you can proclaim, “I am awake.”

So, Are you awake yet?

Your Valentine Wants You to Get Treated for Sleep Apnea!


IMG_3841

She has been telling you for months to get your sleep apnea diagnosed and treated, but you have been putting it off. You have argued, “I don’t snore. I am not tired. It is just stress. I have been working too much.”

But, you have been dozing off in the recliner. You are cranky, nervous, and irritable. You are inattentive to her needs. Your sex drive is down. Your problem-solving skills, innovative ability, interpersonal skills, and your energy level are down. It is about time you listened to her and got treated. That would be the true Valentine’s day gift that will keep on giving for the rest of your life.

Sleep apnea, a serious and fatal yet severely under diagnosed disorder affects approximately 20 percent of the adult population. Snoring, daytime fatigue, witnessed apnea (cessation of respiration for more than ten seconds), morning headaches, dry throat, and waking up gasping for air are common features of this disorder, which is being increasingly recognized as a formidable enemy of a full and joyous life. It prevents the person from reaching deep and restorative stages of sleep, making the person grumpy, irritable, nervous, forgetful, inattentive, and tired.

It also increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death because of nightly struggle to breathe, which causes frequent elevation of blood pressure and sustained drop in blood oxygen level while simultaneously increasing the oxygen consumption of the heart muscles. Untreated, the sleep apnea increases the risk of motor vehicular and industrial accidents. It can also contribute to erectile difficulties.

Use the STOP questionnaire to determine your risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

  • S … Do you snore loudly?
  • T … Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?
  • O … Has anyone observed you stop breathing during sleep?
  • P … Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, then you are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea, and you should talk to your doctor.

To make an accurate diagnosis, you may need an overnight sleep study in a sleep lab where your respirations, the oxygen level, heart rate, EKG, leg movements, and sleep stages will be monitored all night long without using needles. Now, there is also a convenient and economical alternative in Apnea Link, a home sleet test. Talk to your doctor about it.

The commonest and most successful treatment includes wearing a mask hooked to a machine, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which acts as a pneumatic splint and prevents your throat from collapsing at night. Weight reduction, oral appliance (a customized denture that keeps your lower jaw pulled forward), and ENT surgery are the other options.

It is extremely rewarding to be treated for sleep apnea. Patients tell me:

  • “Doc, I did not know how sleepy I was until I started wearing CPAP.”
  • “A hazy screen has been lifted off from my eyes.”
  • “I thought it was all stress and aging, but now I feel young again.”
  • “I am thinking clearer. I am planning better. I am getting more done at work and home.”
  • “I have so much energy that I don’t know what to do with it.”
  • “My blood pressure is better; my sugars are better controlled.”
  • “I should have done this a long time ago.”

Listen to your Valentine and please talk to your doctor and get treated. It will give you a new life.

If you need additional information, please visit http://www.md4lungs.com. If you are in Michiana, please call our clinic at 574-534-9911.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

8 Activities to Avoid if You Suffer from Insomnia | Yatin J. Patel MD MBA


Jacob Williams, MS (the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.) and his colleagues published an excellent review article in this month’s CHEST journal. Authors recommend that you should avoid these activities especially if you suffer from insomnia.
1. Frequent napping 

2. Variable bedtimes and wake times 

3. Frequently spending an excessive length of time in bed 

4. Use of stimulants near bedtime (alcohol, tobacco, caffeine) 

5. Stimulating activities too close to bedtime (working, talking about stressful topics, paying bills) 

6. Use of bed for nonsleep-related activities (watching television, reading, snacking) 

7. Poor bedroom environment (uncomfortable bed, too much light or noise, too cold or too warm)

8. Allowing oneself to persist in sleep-preventing mental activities while in bed (thinking, planning, reminiscing) 
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