Are we in the midst of a Great Sleep Recession? Sleep deprivation is common and serious but not always appreciated. One of the tipoffs that people may not be getting adequate sleep is that they wake up tired, have difficulties paying attention and may frequently be in a bad mood. But can people really learn how to sleep?
Our guest, Dr. Rafael Pelayo, says the old rules for sleep hygiene don’t really work because they are too general. The new sleep rules are based in sleep science to help people learn better, smarter sleep patterns for the long term. The most successful approaches are rooted in the biology of sleep and tailored to the individual insomniac’s life situation.
Paying attention to light exposure may seem arcane, but it can make a significant difference in figuring out how to sleep well. Recognizing that you can learn this like any skill is a good step. Sleep is an active process rather than a time when the brain “turns off.”
Dr. Pelayo reminds us that snoring is never normal. If snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea, as it often is, the usual treatment is a CPAP machine. (CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.) We discuss the national recall of one of the most popular models of this type of machine. Being able to adjust the technology to suit the individual is an important step towards improving sleep.
Rafael Pelayo, MD, is a clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in the division of Sleep Medicine. Since 1993 he has been a part of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Clinic, the best-known sleep clinic in the world, and he divides his time between working with patients and teaching at the university. He has served on advisory boards and in leadership positions for the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the NIH, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the National Sleep Foundation, and the California Sleep Society. Dr. Pelayo is the author of How to Sleep: The New Science-Based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night.
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