According to the US Center for Disease Control, about 70 million Americans have some type of sleep disorder, and I noticed this when colleagues in three different meetings discussed their variations of disrupted sleep.
One person described waking up in the middle of the night with “brain whirlies,” whereas others reported waking up with anxiety about Excel spreadsheet accuracy.
Many people are familiar with William Dement’s ground-breaking studies of REM and NREM sleep, sleep “architecture”, sleep disorders as the Director of Stanford University Sleep Research Center, and many may know of his research on sleep deprivation’s impact on mood, immune system functioning, work productivity and even public safety.
In fact, he asserts that 33% of traffic accidents and most all major industrial accidents are related to human error based on sleep deprivation.
Dement also shows the relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease and stroke.
He outlined his research and advocacy in The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep
Test your Sleep Savvy with his questionnaire by answering the following statements with “true” or “false”:
- Depriving people of dreams causes mental illness.
- Drowsiness, that feeling when the eyelids are trying to close and we cannot keep them open, is the first step and not the last step before we fall asleep.
- Generally, people need to sleep one hour for every two hours awake.
- Insomnia is a disease.
- The purpose of sleep is to rest the body, especially the muscles.
- Although sleep needs vary, people who sleep about eight hours, on average, tend to live longer.
- If you are well rested, it should take about five to ten minutes to fall asleep.
- The single symptom most frequently found in all severe sleep disorders is daytime fatigue.
- Sleep gets lighter and more fragmented as we age.
- We know what sleep is for, how it works, and how it affects us on a cellular level.
1,2,4,5,7,10 are false
3,6,8,9 are true
Fewer people may be aware of Dement’s mentor, Rosalind Cartwright, who founded the first accredited Sleep Disorder Service in Illinois in 1978 and wrote The Twenty-four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives
She amplified Dement’s linkage of sleep hygiene with normal mood when she noted that sleep dampens negative emotions “so the next day begins with a calmer frame of mind with which to face the waking world.”
Cartwright recommends behavior modifications to “reclaim healthy sleep” and suggests a three-week “sleep camp” including:
- Evaluating risk of sleep disorders
- Managing sleep “crises”
- Keeping a sleep diary
- Measuring sleep debt
Echoing the encouragement that “there’s an app for that,” technologists have summarized the most highly-rated Sleep Apps to measure sleep architecture , quality, and duration, and recommend possible behavioral changes to improve sleep quality and related daily experience:
-*What helps you optimize your sleep experience?
-*Which “sleep myths” do you think are NOT myths?