Dr. Michael DeSanctis, PhD, LP, ABPP, DBSM, Licensed Psychologist April 2021 What price do we pay for irregular sleep-wake patterns and circadian clock mistiming? One cost is an unhappy and dysregulated gut. Our central circadian clock, residing in a concentration of cells in the hypothalamus of our brain and referred to as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, engages in cross-talk with all our peripheral organs, including the liver and gastrointestinal tract. This communication occurs along hormonal and neural pathways with signaling playing an important role in our mental and physical wellbeing. The gut operates on a daily rhythm just like our alertness,
It’s the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when daylight length and sun angle relative to the horizon shrink to their lowest levels of the year, and the darkness of night descends in the late afternoon hours. And with that comes the mental doldrums of winter Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Individuals vulnerable to seasonal effects may experience anxiety, sadness, sleep problems, loss of focus, mental fog, weight gain and loss of energy or drive. Suicidal thinking is always a factor to consider when significant depression sets in. Body image can take a hit as there may be a
Sleep deprivation is pervasive in our fast tempo, 24/7 culture of commerce and daily activities. This article discusses two potentially serious consequences of disrupted sleep or prolonged wakefulness. The first issue concerns Insomnia, a condition that involves difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep and/or awakening prematurely in the early morning hours. Insomnia is a common source of misery for millions of Americans at one point or another in their lives. For some the problem is chronic, for others, it may be triggered by situational factors. In response to the invisible and relentless COVID-19 virus circling the globe, citizens have become vulnerable
As a behavioral sleep health specialist, I am compelled to write about the existential challenge of our moment: the war we are waging against the COVID-19 pathogen and the need to protect our vulnerable populations. This blog is about the impact of the pandemic on the sleep of older, single individuals, beyond 65 years of age, dwelling in independent living environments where constant caregiver attention is not available or necessary. The vast majority of senior living residences are now subject to mandated lockdowns, creating social distancing between the general public and elderly resident to curb community transmission of the COVID-19
Sleep debt is common today, affecting millions of US adults at some point in their lives. You cannot re-finance or pay off this debt except by making sleep a priority in your life. Many Americans try to compress their sleep time as much as possible, thinking you can streamline the sleep process and squeeze more quality wake time into the 24-hour day. Doesn’t work that way. 7-9 hours of sleep on average for adults is recommended, based on a consensus of sleep professionals.