Posts

Sleep can help beat the Coronavirus

Sleep Can Help Beat The Coronavirus

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP CAN HELP YOU FIGHT VIRUSES

Sleep is always important, but right now it plays an integral role in our immune system. Eating right, exercising, and quality sleep all increase the body’s immune system. Quality sleep can also affect how fast a person recovers if they do get sick. Whereas lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making people more vulnerable. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold, or Coronavirus.

In these times of crisis and stress, our basic needs sometimes go out the window. People are struggling with the myriad of changes in their daily lives due to COVID-19.  From healthcare workers working extra-long and stressful hours. Parents at home with children, struggling to keep them busy. Or those locked down at home binge watching shows or Doomscrolling day and night.

These stresses can significantly impact the quality and duration of our sleep. Lack of sleep, whether from added stress or a significant change in your daily schedule, can have a severe impact on our physical and mental health at a time when we need to be our strongest. A sleep-deprived immune system just doesn’t work as well. Long-term lack of sleep also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and cardiovascular disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35.2% of adults in the United States are getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

It can be easy to lose sight of how changes in our daily habits influence our ability to sleep well. The concept of sleep hygiene focuses on how to use your habits and routines to your advantage when it comes to sleep. It also includes optimizing your sleep environment so that you can relax and rest easy when you turn in for the night.

Here are some tips for getting a better night’s sleep:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule – same bed/wake time, even on the weekends
  2. Dim the lights 2-3 hours before bedtime to stimulate the release of melatonin
  3. Power off all electronic devices 60 minutes prior to bedtime
  4. Create a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
  5. Watch nighttime fluid intake – drink enough fluids, but not so close to bedtime
  6. Avoid naps especially in late afternoon
  7. Exercise daily- but if possible, not within 2-3 hours of bedtime
  8. Get plenty of sunshine
  9. Create a comfortable sleep environment
  10. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening
  11. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired
  12. Keep a sleep diary to help evaluate common patterns.

 

Stress and sleep are closely linked. We hope that these trying times soon will pass. But if your sleep issues continue, contact one of our Sleep Medicine Professionals. Stay safe out there.

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Heart Health?

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Heart Health?

February is American Heart Month, so here at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center it is time to focus on your cardiovascular health.

Unfortunately, heart problems are a leading cause of illness and death in the United States. While factors like poor diet, limited exercise, and smoking can harm the heart, there is growing recognition of the dangers of lack of sleep or poor sleep on your heart health.

Getting enough quality sleep is necessary for our physical and mental wellbeing. Sleeping just 60 to 90 minutes more per night can make you a happier and healthier person. It is estimated that over 35% of adults don’t get enough sleep (7 hours per day) according to the CDC.

What health conditions are linked to a lack of sleep?

  • High blood pressure. During normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. Having sleep issues means your blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time. High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke. About 75 million Americans—1 in 3 adults—have high blood pressure.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar to build up in your blood, a condition that can damage your blood vessels. Some studies show that getting enough good sleep may help people improve blood sugar control.
  • Obesity. Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy weight gain. This is especially true for children and adolescents, who need more sleep than adults. Not getting enough sleep may affect a part of the brain that controls hunger.

What sleep conditions can hurt my heart health?

Sleep ApneaSleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This increases the risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can also lead to a host of other problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diabetes, depression, hypertension, and obesity.

  • 25 million S. adults suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimated that sleep apnea is probably responsible for 38,000 cardiovascular deaths
  • Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.

 Insomnia – Insomnia refers to difficulty falling sleep, staying asleep, or both. As many as 1 in 2 adults experience short-term insomnia, and 1 in 10 may have long-lasting or chronic insomnia. Insomnia is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart, including higher stress levels, less motivation to be physically active, and unhealthy food choices.

What is the best heart healthy sleep advice?

  • Avoid caffeine near bedtime
  • Engage in physical exercise, preferably earlier in the day if possible
  • Turn off the computer, phone, and TV at least 30-60 minutes before going to sleep. Blue light from these devices makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Lastly when it comes to your sleep, make sure you do not have a sleep disorder. Follow up with your physician or our sleep medicine professionals.

If you are experiencing sleeping issues you should speak to your doctor or call Comprehensive Sleep Care Center at 703-729-3420 to see one of our sleep medicine specialists. We have 9 locations in Alexandria, Arlington, Chantilly, Dumfries, Lansdown and Woodbridge Virginia and Bethesda and Germantown Maryland. We are now offering TeleMedicine visits to new and returning patients. Comprehensive Sleep Care Center offers expert diagnosis, treatment, and care for sleep disorders with the goal of providing a better night’s sleep and a better day ahead.

SLEEP ISSUES AND CORONAVIRUS

SLEEP ISSUES AND CORONAVIRUS

As we try to navigate the day to day complexities of the Coronavirus pandemic and our new normal, it’s only natural to worry and this can cause you to have sleep issues.  Many are experiencing uncertainty and a loss of control. People are afraid for themselves, their loved ones and their jobs. Coronavirus and sleep issues seem to be working together to cause even more problems.

The Coronavirus pandemic has created so much uncertainty in our lives, it’s leading to many disruptions and is taking a toll on our sleep. Good, quality sleep is essential.  It is a key to wellness, both physical and mental, helping to beat back stress, depression, and anxiety.

Most adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. But millions of people suffered from insomnia before the coronavirus, and unfortunately, the pandemic creates a host of new challenges even for people who previously had no sleeping problems.

Whether you’ve had sleeping problems before COVID-19, or if they’ve only come on recently, there are many steps that you can take to help improve your sleep quality during this global pandemic.

Improve Your Sleep Issues:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, roughly the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. This is also important for kids during the pandemic upheaval.
  • Turn off technology before bedtime including the television, tablets, smartphones and other devices. The blue light that is emitted can delay the release of melatonin in the body, increase alertness and can even reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule, disrupting the natural circadian rhythm. In addition the constant stream of bad news can make falling asleep difficult.
  • Exercise daily. Regular physical activity can greatly improve the quality and duration of your sleep. It can also help control your stress and anxiety. However, exercising immediately before bed can stimulate your body, so be sure to finish your workout several hours before bed.
  • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine
  • Try a calming app. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, try utilizing a relaxation app during the day to help with any anxiety, fear or apprehension. Don’t be afraid to incorporate some relaxation techniques into your bedtime ritual.
  • Avoid or limit naps. Frequent napping can affect the quality of nighttime sleep. However, if you do enjoy a nap make sure it’s no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Regulate temperatures. Make sure the temperature in your bedroom or home isn’t too hot. It’s been suggested that the optimal bedroom temperature should be between 66-69 degrees Fahrenheit for ideal sleeping conditions.
  • Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you. Also, remove any objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  • No food or drink right before bed. It’s best to avoid alcohol and stimulants like caffeine or nicotine. The effects of these items could last for hours and cause difficulty initiating sleep or even cause frequent awakenings. Also, try not to eat large meals or spicy food before retiring for the night. These could activate your digestive system, causing reflux or heartburn and keep you awake.

Look For the Good News

Despite all the bad news that you may come across, try to find some positive stories, such as how people are supporting one another through the pandemic. You can use technology to stay in touch with friends and family so that you can maintain social connections despite the need for social distancing.

Contact Your Doctor if Necessary

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to call one of our sleep medicine specialists here at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center. It could be a more serious sleep disorder like sleep apnea or chronic insomnia. Our doctors are available for virtual telehealth visits as well as in-person appointments.

Doomscrolling it’s Affecting your Sleep Health

Doomscrolling it’s affecting your Sleep Health

 Doomscrolling is a new term referring to the habit of scrolling through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Large numbers of people are finding themselves reading continuously bad news. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this habit with people stranded in their homes increasing  the ever scrolling of Google news, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  The news cycle has gotten more intense and the constant stream of bad news and social media never ends. And so, unfortunately, so does our morbid curiosity or fear of missing out on something important. This self-destructive behavior of Doomscrolling can seriously disrupt your sleep and your overall health.

This constant barrage of bad news can lead to difficulty falling asleep and eventually insomnia. Poor sleep can provoke symptoms of depression in some individuals. Chronic sleep problems can exacerbate depression, leading to a negative cycle between depression and sleep that can be challenging to break.

Doomscrolling can increase levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones. Research has shown that chronic levels of elevated stress hormones are associated with many physical health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

So, what can you do to scroll without so much doom?

It is important to our overall health and wellbeing that we practice self-care and find balance in our lives. One good solution is by logging off. Start by cutting back and creating boundaries for your social media and news scrolling use. Do your best to not scroll the 2 hours before bedtime. It is not only the doom and gloom of the media, but using tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), which suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.

10 Tips to Better Sleep

Swap out the doom and gloom with happier things

Whether it’s connecting with family or sending funny memes to friends, these are the things we should try and spend more time doing. This will help to build up more positive emotions in our lives. And who couldn’t use more of those?

If you feel you may have a sleep problem. Call our office and make an appointment with one of our sleep medicine professionals. We currently have Tele Medicine Virtual visits as well as in-office appointments. Let us help you to Say Hello to Sleep Again.

Comprehensive Sleep Care Center has 9 locations in Virginia and Maryland (Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, Chantilly, Dumfries, Germantown, Lansdowne, Manassas, Woodbridge).

Kids, Sleep and COVID-19

Kids, Sleep and COVID-19
Boost your child’s immune system during COVID-19 Pandemic with quality sleep

Research shows that quality sleep is essential when it comes to health for both children and adults. Ensuring that your child gets an adequate amount of quality sleep can help boost their immune system and keep families healthy. This is a high priority during COVID-19, but also vital for health year-round.

Many kids today are struggling because of schooling issues, not being able to see their friends or play sports. They are not expending the same levels of energy as before COVID-19. Everyone’s routine has changed. Children may feel our stress or be anxious from listening to the news. All this can lead to poor sleep resulting in more meltdowns and unwanted behaviors.

A child’s poor sleep can be due to many issues like:

  • Lack of stimulation (physically and mentally)
  • Increased screen time with TV, computers, video games
  • Increased feelings of stress and anxiety

If your child is consistently not getting enough sleep,
they are three times more likely to get sick.

Sleep helps your body (adults and kids) produce immune-boosting cells to protect us.

That’s why, when we get sick, we also get tired. Your body is telling you that you need sleep to heal.
While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your child’s immune system, leaving them more susceptible.

The National Sleep Foundation has these recommendations for children:

Under 1 year of age: 12 to 16 hours a day
1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours a day
3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours a day
6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours a day
13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours a day

5 TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP

  1. Make a schedule for sleep and daily activities (for both you and your children) – and do your best to keep consistent.
  2. Stop screen time 60 minutes before bedtime- Intense, close-up light exposure in the evening will delay sleep by not allowing the body to produce melatonin, the good sleep hormone. This is especially important since our kids are using more screen time during the day.
  3. Get sunlight- Try and get outside. Open up your blinds, take a walk, or play outside. The sun controls our internal 24-hour clock that tells our body when to be awake and when to be asleep. If your child’s body doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will mix up their days and nights.
  4. Your child needs physical activity – Kids days have likely gone from active to sedentary. The harder they play, the more their body will need to recover, and the better they’ll sleep.
  5. Create a calming routine – This routine should be at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Things like a warm bath, a good book, (no screen time), do a puzzle or something quiet. The best sleep results come from a routine that’s calm and technology-free.

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than just getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice stay-healthy strategies too.

Steps to Keep Children and Others Healthy

  1. Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
  3. Put distance between your children and other people outside of your home. Keep children at least 6 feet from other people.Consider postponing visits or trips to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters.
  4. Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) the other everyday preventive actions listed above.
  5. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (like tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, desks, toilets, and sinks).
  6. Launder items including washable plush toys, as needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
    Make sure your children are up to date on well-child visits and immunizations.

Following guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be particularly difficult for children. Stay patient. Be a good role model and your child will be more likely to follow your lead. And remember, you children will be able to bounce back faster if they get sick if their body is well rested.

If your child continues to have sleep issues, or if you are concerned that your child may have a sleep disorder, the pediatric sleep medicine physicians at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center are here to help. Give us a call today. We are offering in-office as well as virtual office visits.

10 Tips to Better Sleep

10 Tips to Better Sleep

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Better Sleep helps to strengthen your immune system. But sleep can be elusive, especially during COVID-19 (Coronasomnia).

Here are 10 tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. This is also important for kids during the pandemic upheaval.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoonPower napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise dailyVigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your roomDesign your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 66 and 69 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and  Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  7. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the eveningAlcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  8. Wind downYour body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
  9. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tiredIt is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
  10. If you’re still having trouble sleeping you may benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to call one of our sleep medicine specialists here at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center. It could be a more serious sleep disorder like sleep apnea or chronic insomnia.

 

 

 

 

INSOMNIA -Why Can’t I Sleep?

INSOMNIA-Why can’t I sleep?

Insomnia is a problem for many during normal times, but factor in a pandemic and global unrest and it has become much more widespread. Insomnia is a sleep disorder where a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and/or they wake up too early in the morning. Insomnia can drain your energy level and mood, but also negatively impact your health, work performance and quality of life. How much sleep you need varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to eight hours a night.

Insomnia is characterized based on its duration. Acute Insomnia typically lasts short-term while Chronic Insomnia can last a long time.

Acute Insomnia

Lasts from one night to a few weeks and can come and go. It often happens due to life’s circumstances (Coronosomnia) or when you can’t fall asleep the night before an exam or after receiving stressful or bad news. Many people experience short term insomnia and it tends to resolve without any major treatment.

Chronic Insomnia

Happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more. It can have many causes. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, certain medications and medical disorders can lead to a long-term pattern of sleep deprivation.

Insomnia Symptoms may Include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

Common Causes of Insomnia Include:

  • Stress-Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma also may lead to insomnia.
  • Travel or work schedule-Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
  • Poor sleep habits-Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
  • Eating too much late in the evening-Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable. Many people also experience heartburn which may keep you awake.
  • Mental health issuesAnxiety disorders may disrupt your sleep. Insomnia often occurs with other mental health disorders as well.
  • Medications-Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, such as certain antidepressants and medications for asthma or blood pressure. Many over-the-counter medications such as some allergy and cold medications, and weight-loss products can contain caffeine and other stimulants that can disrupt sleep.
  • Medical conditions- Examples of conditions linked with insomnia include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Sleep-related disordersSleep apnea causes you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, interrupting your sleep. Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your legs and an almost irresistible desire to move them, which may prevent you from falling asleep.
  • Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol- Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening can keep you from falling asleep at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.
  • Changes in sleep patterns- With age, your internal clock often advances, so you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. But older people generally still need the same amount of sleep as younger people do.
  • Changes in health- Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis or back problems, can interfere with sleep. Issues that increase the need to urinate during the night, such as prostate or bladder problems, can disrupt sleep. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome become more common with age.

 If you are experiencing insomnia symptoms you should speak to your doctor or call Comprehensive Sleep Care Center at 703-214-0318 to see one of our sleep medicine specialists. We are now offering TeleMedicine visits to new and returning patients. Comprehensive Sleep Care Center offers expert diagnosis, treatment, and care for sleep disorders with the goal of providing a better night’s sleep and a better day ahead.