Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sleep Health in ‘Whole Living’

Recently I spoke with journalists at ‘Whole Living’ along with other sleep specialists. It’s a great article, filled with information and skills that adults need to sleep well. Here’s a few highlights:
– Go to bed at your ideal bedtime
– Create a great place to sleep
– Avoid alcohol, the snooze button and oversleeping
– Learn to calm yourself back to sleep
More information on the many ways sleep impacts your health (think weight gain, heart disease, and wrinkles) can be found in the full article in the October issue. http://www.wholeliving.com/

Teen Sleep

Remember your sleep in high school? Staying up late, then sleeping late on weekends is what lots of people remember. Unfortunately, another common memory is struggling to get out of bed for school.

It all happens because during puberty, our intrinsic body clock shifts later. Our body clock sets the rhythms in many of our systems, from when our melatonin and cortisol peak, to when we are most mentally sharp and physically coordinated. New research has shown that this swing to later timing is actually one of the first things that happen in puberty, even before physical changes can be observed.

Impact of teens sleep

The difficulty comes when teens (and tweens) need to be on an earlier schedule than their body is programmed for. When school starts early, students are in class, trying to pay attention and learn while their body and mind are asleep. Challenging, eh? Teens’ sleep basically gets squeezed between their later body clocks, and their early schedules. When high school start times were moved on hour later in Minnesota, there was an increase in amount of nightly sleep and subsequent improvement in school success: with improved attendance and most importantly increased graduation rates.

Other studies have looked at the amount of sleep teens get and many health parameters. Teens who get less sleep are:

Less motivated to exercise, contributing to the epidemic in childhood obesity
Get lower grades
Are more depressed
Many other negative effects
How to improve student sleep

The basic principle is to sleep and wake in accordance with the intrinsic body clock. So first of all, honor that teens are on a later schedule, and then set routines that help them be on as early as possible.

Avoid scheduling early morning activities when possible. Advocate for your children when parents and coaches are scheduling events.
Set a sleep / wake schedule, and stick with it.
Get bright light, preferably outdoor light, soon after waking each morning. This is most important in setting the body clock.
Sometimes these measures won’t have a big enough impact. There are medical interventions that can help teens sleep and wake on their early school schedule.

Natural Solutions for Chronic Insomnia

It is a common experience to have some transient sleep disturbanceses with life’s challenges. However, for some people this becomes a chronic problem. Although pharmaceutical sleep aides can provide short term relief, natural medicine is needed to treat the cause so the patient is able to sleep well on their own. This talk will discuss the various causes of chronic insomnia, and behavioral, nutritional and other natural solutions.

This month I’ll be speaking for The Greater Seattle Integrative Medicine Group which includes holistic MDs, NDs, Lac, nutritionists, counselors and body workers.  Please join us.

Date: Thursday, September 15, 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Swedish Cultural Center, 1920 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Cost: $15
CEUs for NDs = 1.5
RSVP: IntegrativeMedGroup@yahoo.com