On sleep

A lot of people are suffering from insomnia these days, myself included. Sleep is so important, and it can be hard to maintain.

There are many factors that affect sleep. Along with diet, exercise, and screen time before bed is stress and anxiety.

There’s no doubt about it, these are difficult times. COVID, poverty, income inequality, and racial discrimination have such a huge impact on our daily lives. Things are very tough, for many people. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So how to sleep through the night? Certainly there is an entire field of sleep medicine, and numerous pharmaceutical medications are prescribed, such as melatonin, zolpidem (Ambien); trazodone, etc. Perhaps these work for some people. But I’m not convinced that they get at the underlying issues, and we should take a biopsychosocial approach to sleep.

Bio- there was a recent issue of Science Magazine devoted to the issue of sleep. Sleep biology is a complex area, and scientists are only starting to understand the underlying mechanisms of sleep.

Psycho- certainly our moods affect our sleep. Insomnia, tossing, and turning, worry – we’ve all been there.

Social- our interpersonal relationships are important to the quality of the our sleep. So are the powerful social forces that affect people’s moods. Also, think about sleep from the perspective of a person experiencing homelessness. Living in a shelter, sleep is often difficult. And living on the street, in the cold, it is probably worse.

So what can we do to improve our sleep? We can talk about it. Think about it. Try to understand it. Pop a pill if you must, but try to become aware of what’s affecting your sleep.

That’s all I have for today. If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them below. And remember, my blog is entirely free. Thanks, Phil

7 thoughts on “On sleep

  1. This year — I am experimenting with an Oculus headset — in terms of physical fitness (trying to make it more fun / enjoyable) but also meditation and stress relief. There are even some apps that relate to preparation for sleep: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/gear-vr/1471880979518893/ There have been some studies to explore use of VR for better quality sleep – but also other studies that suggest that too much VR is likely not great and even worse for better sleep. The other night — I flew through a mountain scape with “wing-suit” sky divers, went on a space-walk, scuba with dolphins, and followed a weather balloon to the edge of space. This was mostly relaxing and not stressful — but one car ride up the switchbacks of a mountainside — created a motion sickness to some extent. I wonder if there may be potential for VR for insomnia, stress relief, and mental health — but there are also obvious risks and negatives as well. I would be curious if others have found positive / helpful apps – especially for children with ADHD as well.

  2. Thanks

    On Fri, Jan 7, 2022 at 6:42 AM Health and Healing wrote:

    > Philip Lederer MD posted: ” A lot of people are suffering from insomnia > these days, myself included. Sleep is so important, and it can be hard to > maintain. There are many factors that affect sleep. Along with diet, > exercise, and screen time before bed is stress and anxiety. ” >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s