Online seminar recap: Tired of being tired?

Keys to quality, healthful sleep

Drs. David Caspari and Alain Sotto led this Medcan online seminar on July 14, 2016.

Sleep deprivation is getting a lot of airplay these days, and for good reason. We are a nation of under sleepers and it’s affecting our health, happiness, productivity, and safety. And even when we are aware that we need more, sleep can still be elusive. This online seminar guides you to creating a sleep-friendly routine, and gives you clues as to when it may be wise to seek medical guidance.

Sleep is the third leg in the health and wellness three-legged stool. The impact of poor sleep can offset healthful eating and regular exercise. And the impact of sleep deprivation can affect our relationships and work performance.

Impact of sleep deprivation

Sleeping less than 6 hours a night can lead to:

    • Decrease in productivity and decision making
    • Impaired memory and cognitive brain functions
    • Exaggerated emotions or mood
    • Reduction in reaction times and motor skills
    • Greater risk of injury or automobile accidents

With over 25 years of experience as a physician at Medcan, Dr. Caspari has seen countless men and women complaining of low moods, diminished libido or erectile dysfunction, or disengaged behaviour that always comes back to fatigue. Exercise feels like a chore, and a high carbohydrate diet fuels the day.

Drs. Caspari and Sotto addressed (i) sleep deprivation and its impact on your health; (ii) insomnia and how to manage it, which they called “the devil you know”; (iii) solutions for better sleep; and (iv) sleep apnea, referred to as the “devil you don’t know.”

You can watch or just listen to the online seminar below.

You’re not alone, we are a nation of under sleepers

The Canadian Sleep Review 2016, a study commissioned by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, paints a picture of a very tired country: 74% of Canadians sleep less than seven hours a night (sleep deprivation is defined as anything less than 6 hours).

Different approaches to short-term and long-term sleep deprivation

Short-term sleep deprivation is classified as having poor sleeps for less than three months. Anything over six months would be considered long-term sleep deprivation. The medical solutions for each type vary. Medications are usually recommended for short-term sleep deprivation. Melatonin was also discussed as an option. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) was discussed as a hugely effective approach to diminishing and ultimately solving long-term sleep issues.

Dr. Caspari moved into solutions – read here the simple routine changes you can make to improve your sleep.

Sleep apnea: the silent strangler

Dr. Sotto addressed the symptoms, causes and impact of sleep apnea, which is a concerning condition because those who suffer from it can go undiagnosed and unaware for years. Here’s the good news: once it’s identified, there are effective ways to prevent it from continuing.  Which means your quality of life can drastically improve. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to morning headaches, erectile dysfunction, daytime and inappropriate sleeping in front of TV, at the movies or theatre or falling asleep while driving. Left untreated your heart and overall health can be severely impacted.

Mastering your sleep is possible

    • Measure the duration and quality of your sleep to get an accurate sense of your sleep patterns
    • Apps are helpful, but don’t leave technology on nightstand (i.e. SleepBot or FitBit)
    • Create sleep supportive routines and environments
    • Seek medical guidance when needed
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