Category: sleep and insomnia

Can Prebiotics Help you Increase Deep and REM Sleep in Stressful Times? 0

Can Prebiotics Help you Increase Deep and REM Sleep in Stressful Times?

To say these are stressful days is a radical understatement. We’re all under near constant stress. Many people are finding it difficult to manage their worry, fear, and anxiety—and finding it especially tough to get a good night’s sleep. I’m communicating with my patients remotely these days, and I’m hearing from so many of them about waking at 3 a.m. with a mind full of worried thoughts, or being too stressed out to fall asleep at all.

Amid all this unprecedented stress, some new research on prebiotics caught my eye. I’m always interested in the link between sleep health and gut health. Especially right now, in light of the stress we’re all facing, this new research seems particularly worth talking about.

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a fascinating study that shows how prebiotics can lower stress and help sleep, through feeding beneficial bacteria that lives in the gut microbiome. This study isn’t the first evidence of the value of prebiotics to sleep, but it is an important new piece of research that supports the connection between

Coronavirus and Nightmares: Why Bad Dreams Can Be a Good Thing 0

Coronavirus and Nightmares: Why Bad Dreams Can Be a Good Thing

Here’s something I think we can all agree on: these are abnormal times. So it would make sense that few people are getting what we’d consider “normal” sleep right now. 

As the coronavirus pandemic moves into late April, a flood of new research is coming in, looking at the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted our sleep. The verdict, according to one study from the U.K.: We’re dividing into two camps, those who have had their sleep completely thrown off, and those who are actually getting more sleep. 

According to a new survey of a few thousands Brits from King’s College London, 62% of people find themselves getting the same amount of, or even more, sleep than usual. 

You might’ve already guessed what’s behind the sleep surge: people are spending a lot more time at home. Those hours away from work and school are being replaced by a little more time in bed. 

This could turn out to be a nice health boost, too; getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, research has shown, dramatically improves how our

Can Melatonin Help Protect Against Covid-19? 0

Can Melatonin Help Protect Against Covid-19?

This question has been flooding my inbox and social media:

Dr. Breus, I’ve heard that melatonin can help me avoid Covid-19—is that true?

There’s a lot of information swirling around out there right now, about treatments and prophylactics, medications and supplements to protect against Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus now circulating the U.S. and the globe.

We’ve only known of this virus for a handful of months, but scientists have been working furiously to understand better how it operates and to find ways to treat it—that’s all in addition to the race to develop a vaccine. I read this article just the other day, which shows how Covid-19 research has overtaken nearly all of scientific study at this time, and has transformed—at least for now—the way scientists around the world collaborate.

One of the treatments that is under investigation, and showing some early promise, is melatonin. In this article, I’ll talk about that Covid-19 melatonin research and what it is revealing, as well as the underlying reasons why melatonin might be a promising candidate for a Covid-19

How To Get Great Sleep While You’re Stuck at Home 0

How To Get Great Sleep While You’re Stuck at Home

If I had one thing to tell everyone while stuck at home due to the coronavirus, it would be this: don’t let your new, abnormal schedule ruin your sleep.

Of course, that’s easier said than done right now. With millions of Americans suddenly finding themselves either working from home or looking for a new job during this downturn, our lives are very different at the beginning of April compared to the beginning of March.

Right now, about 9 out of 10 Americans are living under a stay-at-home order from their state or local government. Add in the fact that the news is constantly focused on the latest COVID-19 developments, and it’s easy to see why people are stressed out.

Another problem is there’s simply less to do currently, and people are looking to fill that void with less-than-ideal health choices. Alcohol consumption has increased more than 50%, weed sales have soared, time spent streaming TV has spiked, and, with gyms shut down, people are exercising less. Keeping that in mind, it’s imperative we don’t let our sleep patterns take …

Can’t Sleep? Here are 5 Surprising Sources of Insomnia 0

Can’t Sleep? Here are 5 Surprising Sources of Insomnia

Having a hard time falling asleep?

If so, you’re not the only one. Research indicates one in four Americans suffer from acute, or short-term, insomnia each year. This common sleep disorder includes symptoms like daytime fatigue, having a difficult time concentrating, and frequently waking up during the night. But insomnia is notorious for its best-known symptom: sufferers often have an incredibly hard time falling asleep at night.

Insomnia has been on my mind lately considering the emotional stress many people are dealing with as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Stress is often a catalyst for insomnia, and the weight of the stay-at-home orders, coupled with fears a loved one could potentially be affected by COVID-19 or an outcome of it, can be incredibly taxing.

I won’t be surprised at all if data later indicates cases of acute insomnia increased during this time period.

There are a number of ways insomnia can negatively impact your health, but the one thing I keep coming back to lately is how important quality sleep is — especially during a pandemic.

You might remember …

Answering 5 Common Sleep Questions, Including Tips on How to Fall Asleep Quicker 0

Answering 5 Common Sleep Questions, Including Tips on How to Fall Asleep Quicker

How’s everyone doing this week? Like millions of others, I’ve spent much of the last few weeks self-isolating at home with my family, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

If you’re doing the same, you’re probably feeling a bit restless, just like I am. But this downtime has also given me a great opportunity to reflect on some of the most frequently asked questions I receive on a day-to-day basis — and I wanted to share a few responses with you this week.

Whether it’s handling nightmares or how to approach your teenager about sleeping in, here are a few questions I hear on a routine basis. Alright, let’s jump right into it:

I have a hard time falling asleep at night. Do you have any tips for getting to sleep faster?

This might be the most frequently asked question about sleep that I get. And luckily, I have a few things you can try.

First off, always consider melatonin. Melatonin is the engine for sleep. I recommend taking 1 to 1.5 milligrams of melatonin about a half hour before bed, …

Cortisol and its Effects on Your Sleep 0

Cortisol and its Effects on Your Sleep

It’s a hot topic in sleep research: the relationship between cortisol and the quality and patterns of sleep. I’ve been talking about cortisol for a while, but I’ve never devoted a stand-alone article to this important topic. It’s time to correct that. Today, I’ll talk about the role that cortisol plays in the sleep-wake cycle, how disruptions to healthy cortisol levels interfere with sleep and contribute to sleep disorders—and how poor sleep, in turn, negatively affects cortisol. I’ll also discuss ways to encourage healthy cortisol levels, for the benefit of your sleep and broader health.

What does cortisol do?  

Cortisol is a stimulating, alerting hormone. It’s the body’s primary stress hormone—that’s the role that gets cortisol most of its attention. Urged on by a complex network that incorporates elements of the central nervous system and the adrenal system, cortisol drives the body’s fight-or-flight response, in the presence of a threat or stressor. But cortisol does more than spur fight-or-flight. This hormone has a number of other functions, including:

  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Balancing blood sugar
  • Influencing inflammation
  • Regulating energy levels
  • Contributing
Why a Regular Sleep Schedule Matters to Your Health 0

Why a Regular Sleep Schedule Matters to Your Health

It’s been a week that’s felt more like a month — or maybe even a year for some of us. The coronavirus outbreak has, at least temporarily, upended many of our day to day lives and wiped away many of the daily routines we’re so used to.

Working out at the gym, going to a great restaurant, and seeing your favorite band or basketball team in action… for many of us, it’s all on pause. Right now, while we continue to collectively grapple with the fallout from COVID-19, there are a number of things that are out of our control. Making sure we continue to get quality sleep, however, isn’t one of them.

In reality, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best measures you can take to keep your body and immune system running on all cylinders.

This is something we touched on recently in our post on sleep’s influence on immunity. Research has shown, you might remember, that people who sleep 6 hours or less each night are 4.2 times more likely to catch the …

Coronavirus Update for Our Patients 0

Coronavirus Update for Our Patients

At Sleep Dallas, the health and well-being of our patients and team members has always been of utmost importance. We understand the concerns and uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our community as the situation evolves and more information is provided.

We want to inform all of our patients that we are continuing to see patients at this time and reassure you that we are taking all the necessary precautions recommended by the CDC and local health agencies in the area. In a small, controlled environment such as our offices, it is easy to quickly and swiftly implement new emerging protocols as those recommendations become available. We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We will keep you updated on any changes and continue to provide a safe, healthy and relaxing environment.

We do request that any patients with symptoms associated with COVID 19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) or who have been in close contact recently with anyone with these symptoms to please notify us so that we

Sleep Awareness Week Spotlight: Americans Are Constantly Sleepy 0

Sleep Awareness Week Spotlight: Americans Are Constantly Sleepy

Early March is easily one of my favorite times of the year. Not only is spring right around the corner — I can already hear the beach calling my name! — but the clocks jump ahead, giving us that extra amount of sunlight we’ve been missing at night during winter.

This is important to me for another reason, too: Daylight Saving Time directly leads into Sleep Awareness Week, which we’re wrapping up today.

Sleep Awareness Week is a great opportunity to both draw attention to the challenges many people run into with getting a good night’s sleep, as well as promote tips for getting better rest.

On that front, something grabbed my attention this week: a new survey from the National Sleep Foundation shows millions of Americans are sleepy. I’m talking about consistently tired, where it’s something they’re dealing with multiple days per week.

If you rely on a good cup of coffee at noon, or find a way to sneak in a quick nap after lunch to get that pep back in your step, you already know what I’m …