Page 8 - January February 2019 Edition
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Health & Wellness





              The Importance of Sleep                                                                Kate Thomsen MD, MPH



                                     have shown that problem solv-  rapidly from side to side (hence   IntegratIve and HolIstIc HealtH and Wellness
                                     ing is more successful in subjects  the name). This is the time when         ImprovIng Sleep
                                     with sufficient sleep vs those  most dreaming occurs. Heart-  •  Get your Sleep-Wake cycle on a schedule – go to bed and wake up
                                     who are sleep deprived. Sleep is  rate,  blood  pressure,  respiratory   at the same time each day. Research has shown that sleep variability
                                     also needed for restorative func-  rate and brain waves become   is one of the most important factors in determining how well we
                                                                                                    sleep.
                                     tions: growing muscle, repairing  similar  to  the  waking  state  but   •  Get some physical activity daily but don’t do exercise 3 hours prior
                                     tissue and synthesizing hor-  arms and legs are paralyzed so   to going to bed.
                                     mones. My favorite task of sleep  that one cannot act out their   •  Avoid caffeine, chocolate and nicotine later in the day. (Really -
                                     is detoxification. During sleep,  dreams. REM sleep should make   avoid nicotine completely!) Avoid too much alcohol too late in the
                                     spaces in the brain widen to  up about 25% of total sleep but   evening. (These recommendations vary in individuals.)
                                     allow  the  cerebrospinal  fluid  to  less time is spent in REM sleep   •  Avoid going to bed hungry or eating too late or too much before
                                                                                                    bed.
                                     provide us with a “brain wash” so  with age.
        Dr. Kate Thomsen and Silky   that accumulated debris (toxins   Each stage of  sleep is  rec-  •  Have some down-time before bed: read a (print on paper) book,
                                                                                                    take a bath with Epsom salts.
                                     and misfolded proteins including  ognized by its particular brain   •  Avoid  catching  the  “second  wind”.  This  is  a  cortisol  (stress
           Truthfully, I am usually half   beta-amyloid, the protein associ-  waves indicating different func-  hormone) release. It may help you meet your dead-line but research
        asleep by the time I am finished   ated with Alzheimer’s disease)  tions are occurring in the brain.   has shown that high levels of cortisol reduce REM sleep and that
        writing  these  health-related  can get cleared. This is one rea-  Stage 3 sleep is necessary in   people with chronic insomnia have persistently elevated levels of
        articles. I have bought into  the   son neurodegenerative diseases  order to feel refreshed in the   cortisol.
        American work ethic: work long   are associated with sleep depri-  morning. Most of it occurs in the   •  Lower exposure to blue light at least 2 hours before bedtime by
        hours, work on weekends, take   vation. Sleep disturbances are  first half of sleep, which is why   eliminating screens or using blue-blocking glasses and blue light
                                                                                                    screen-blockers  (f.lux  software  for  screens,  biohacked.com  for
        fewer vacations and get less   often an early sign of dementia.  it  is important to  have  the first   glasses). Dim monitor brightness settings and reduce blue tones.
        sleep. In medicine, this “expec-  According to the National  4 hours of sleep uninterrupted.   •  Create an optimal sleeping area: comfortable, cool temperature,
        tation” is embedded into the   Institutes of Health, adults from  Memory consolidation requires   quiet and dark with no TV, mobile phone, or computer screen
        culture of health profession-  19 to 64 years old need 7 – 9  both REM and non-REM sleep.   nearby. Change the lightbulbs to amber or red.
        als, just like nutrient-poor food   hours of sleep per night. After  Dreaming occurs mostly in REM   •  Use ear plugs, sound soothers or sound cancelling devices if needed.
        is  an expectation  of a hospital   age 60, the recommendation is  sleep. There is a genetic condi-  •  Working with your functional medicine doctor you can: balance
                                                                                                    neurotransmitters  with  5-HTP,  increase  the  relaxing  GABA
        stay. Kind of ironic isn’t it? The   7 – 8 hours as nighttime sleep  tion called REM-Sleep Behavior   hormone  or  use  supplements  like  valerian  root,  L-theanine,
        authorities who are providing the   is often shorter, lighter and with  Disorder where the usual limb   melatonin, phosphatidylserine, inositol, CBD, or magnesium.
        health guidelines don’t practice   multiple awakenings (often to  paralysis is overcome and people   •  Get  natural  sunlight  in  your  eyes  in  the  morning  to  turn  off
        what they preach. But even Ben-  urinate). The shorter duration  physically act out their dreams.   melatonin.
        jamin Franklin warned us about   may be due to taking medica-  This disorder is often associated               Office of Dr. Kate Thomsen
        the uselessness of sleep. In Poor   tions that interfere with sleep or  with the future development of           252 West Delaware Ave.
        Richard’s Almanac he wrote,   due to purposeful but often inad-  neurodegenerative diseases.                     Pennington, NJ 08534
        “there’ll  be sleeping  enough  in   vertent daytime napping. The   The sleep-wake cycle is                         609-818-9700
        the grave.” More currently, 40%   sleep recommendation for babies  controlled by 2 mechanisms:
        of Americans (including myself)   is 16 – 18 hours per day and for  the 24-hour  circadian  rhythms   www.drkatethomSen.com
        agree that sleep is as important as   school-aged children and teens it  and  homeostasis. The  circadian   Additional articles on holistic health topics
                                                                                                                 can be found on the website
        diet and exercise to overall health   is 9.5 hours per night.  rhythms are biological clocks that
        and well-being.                 The places to go, things to  control sleep-wake cycles, body                         of cancer, diabetes, heart dis-
           Yet we’re all sleeping less.   see, expanding “to-do” lists and  temperatures, metabolism, and   hygiene is clarifying its influ-
        Children are sleeping about 100   information overload seem to  release of hormones. The cen-  ence on weight. Too little sleep  ease and obesity. Blue wave-
        minutes less than they were 100   enable many of us to sacrifice  tral circadian clock in our brain   has been associated with over-  length light was absent in light
        years ago. Adults are sleeping   sleep time. Even if we choose to  influences many other peripheral   eating, unhealthy food choices,  sources of long ago (candles,
        1½ hours less than they were 50   prioritize sufficient quantity of  circadian clocks including those   and weight gain. A 2016 study  lanterns and fires). However, our
        years ago (from 8 ½ to just under  sleep it does not guarantee proper  in the liver, pancreas, fat tissue,   showed that sleep loss increases  evenings (and night times) are
                                                                                                levels of the chemical signal  washed  in  blue  light  from  our
        7). We seem to be reluctant to  quality of sleep. Researchers tell  heart, intestines, muscle, white   2-AG. This endocannabinoid  electronics with screens (TVs,
        give up 1/3 of our lives to this  us that sleep architecture is made  blood cells, kidney, and breast.   enhances the pleasure of eating  phones, tablets and computers)
        non-productive state of sleep. But  up of 2 different kinds of sleep:  Influence  on these  peripheral               and our energy efficient lighting
        sleep is far from non-productive.  REM (rapid eye movement) and  organs  is  why  circadian  sleep   – mostly sweet, salty and fatty   (LED bulbs especially). Lifestyle
           Sleep is actually an active  non-REM sleep (in 3 stages). We  disorders are associated with so   snack foods!!!   changes that reduce blue light
        period for restoration, strength-  cycle though these 3 stages and  many other indicators of poor   Perhaps the biggest sabo-  in the evening and night are an
        ening and processing. During  REM sleep several times during  health. Homeostasis is the body’s   tage to 21st century sleep is our   important part of sleep hygiene
        sleep we move tidbits of informa-  the night (ideally 4 – 5 times).  adjustments to  attain balance   over-exposure to light. Our cir-  and  overall health  promotion
        tion from short-term temporary  Stage 1 non-REM sleep is the  and it keeps track of the need for   cadian clock is very sensitive to   – especially for us night-owl
        memory to long-term memory  brief falling asleep stage where  sleep (and other functions) when   light. It increases melatonin (the   worker bees. I’m getting my own
        in a process called consolida-  heartrate, respiratory rate and  we disregard the biological clock.   hormone that promotes sleep   message...
        tion. In one study, researchers  eye  movements  slow.  Muscles  Many factors can influence circa-  onset) in darkness and inhibits
        asked subjects to play a com-  relax and may twitch a bit. Stage  dian rhythms including genetic   melatonin in the presence of   Dr. Kate Thomsen’s office for
        puter game for several hours  2  non-REM  sleep  is  light  sleep  vulnerability, age, sleep disor-  light. It is most responsive to   holistic health care is located
                                                                                                                               in Pennington, NJ. She is
        per day over a few days. When  where body temperature drops  ders, light, melatonin, physical   the short wavelength blue light.   trained in Family Medicine,
        the  subjects  were  purposefully  and eye movements stop. A lot of  activity, feeding, socialization,   Blue wavelength light during the   and Board Certified in
        woken while falling to sleep,  time is spent in this stage. Stage  psychological  well-being,  work   day promotes healthy attention,   Integrative Medicine, and is
        they recalled images of the game  3 non-REM sleep is deep sleep.  schedules, certain medications   reaction times and mood. Blue   an Institute for Functional
        during this Stage 1 sleep. This  The  heart  rate  and  respiratory  and drugs including alcohol.  light during the “dark hours”   Medicine Certified
        consolidation process helps us to  rate are at their lowest in this  Many of my patients don’t real-  tells our brains it is daylight and   Practitioner. She has been
        retain relevant information and  stage. It is difficult to be awo-  ize that the factor contributing to  inhibits melatonin production.   practicing Functional
                                                                                                                                 Medicine for 20 years.
        improve memory. Researchers  ken. REM sleep does not occur  their frequent waking at 2 or 3am  This alters our circadian rhythms   For more information see
        have  learned  that  lack of sleep  until about 90 minutes after fall-  is the 2 glasses of wine they had  and disrupts sleep with all of the   www.drkatethomsen.com
        impairs a person’s ability to focus  ing asleep. Although the eyelids  in the evening. Another incentive  health consequences described   or call the office at
        and learn efficiently. Studies  are closed, the eyes are moving  I  use to  encourage better  sleep  above including increased risk   609-818-9700.

        Mercer County Woman                                                     8                                             January/February 2019
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