Sleep is Key

Most of us are a bit cavalier about our nightly repose. We shouldn’t be. For most of us, skipping a few meals would be better especially in terms of safety. Missing sleep on a chronic basis can inflame the brain, cause mood disorders, impair our safety, and set us up for chronic illnesses.

Dr. Michael Howell in the journal Practical Neurology provides us with an informative quote from sleep expert Allan Rechtschaffen: “ If sleep doesn’t serve an absolutely vital function, it is the greatest mistake evolution ever made.”  I think most brain specialists would give that one two thumbs up!

While sleep disturbances can be trivial and situational, chronic issues can be part of a pretty serious “slow emergency”.  The biggest obstacle in addressing this enormous obstacle to good health and healthy aging is our bottomless lack of understanding of the vital importance of healthy sleep.

Dr. Howell’s article deals with doctors in training (residents) who hit a wall in their training. Most of the young physicians reached burnout, not because of doubt, the hours, mean teachers or hospital duty. It was the sleep deprivation! They just couldn’t stay focused, learn, remember or maintain normal dexterity.  It doesn’t bode well in their field!

Not just doctors have been studies but also professional athletes. Elite professional sports organizations (no budget restraints here) have a huge stake in maintaining high performance.  Their studies have shown sleep to be so important for performance that they have made enormous organizational transformations to insure that their “investments” are in top form. The NHL realigned their conferences to reduce sleep-robbing travel while MLB increased the length of the season to provide more rest and even started the Sunday game an hour earlier. The NBA also increased the season length (same number of games) but also prolonged the all-star break and began allowing two days rest between playoffs if the venue changed.

You may not be Maple Leaf material but, let’s face it, you are some kind of athlete.  We all are athletes in our own way and have our own areas of expertise. Don’t let insomnia wreck your creativity, performance or predispose you to chronic illness. If you suffer from chronic sleeplessness, get help.

Getting help means you're getting serious.

David B. Sudderth, MD

Adult Neurologist

Author
Dr. David Sudderth

You Might Also Enjoy...

Rehabilitate Your Spine With MedX

Do you have chronic back problems that haven’t responded to traditional treatment methods? With the MedX system, you can finally find effective and lasting relief. Take charge of your life with MedX today.

The Benefits of Biofeedback Therapy

Every function in your body is either voluntary or involuntary — raising your hand versus breathing, for example. With biofeedback therapy, we can help you control some of your involuntary functions for better health.

Getting Ready for Your First MRI

Are you getting ready for your first MRI? While they are safe, they can make you nervous if you haven’t had one before. Here’s information that will tell you what to expect from an MRI and hopefully, put your mind at ease.

What is TMS?

TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation is a type of neuromodulation.

My Hand is Numb

Numbness in the hand is one of the more frequently encountered symptoms in the medical field.