1. What motivated you to choose sleep health as the main focus of your studies and career?
"I grew up thinking I wanted to be a nurse, but it turns out, I do not do well with blood. When I realized I still desired a career in the medical field where I could help comfort others, I stumbled across a new program in my city to learn how to do Sleep Studies. I had never heard of this and decided to enroll- in the first minutes of my first class, I knew this was meant to be. I was instantly obsessed. I remember learning about the 4 different stages of sleep, hunched over my notebook writing furiously so as not to miss a thing and looking around at my classmates wondering why they were not nearly as excited as I was. The rest is history, and my obsession with learning about and helping people sleep has only grown since then."
2. How common are sleep disorders and who do they affect most?
"Sleep disorders are so much more common than people realize. It is estimated that over 70 million Americans have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. The 3 most common are Insomnia, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Restless Legs Syndrome. It is also estimated that around 50% of "Older Adults" have untreated sleep apnea. That being said, it is possible for absolutely anyone to have a sleep disorder."
3. What are the most useful sleep habits or rituals that you recommend to support sleep health?
"Most of us suffer from fatigue because we don't know anything about our sleep. We learn about other aspects of our health, such as diet and exercise from a very young age but we do not learn about sleep. The first thing we can do to help get better sleep is to understand that it is not just a part of being healthy, but it is the baseline for every aspect of our daily lives. Giving our sleep the attention that it deserves will help us live better in our waking hours.
Here are some good habits to focus on:
- Get the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night! Most of us know we should get about 8 hours, but the average American gets 6.5 hours of sleep each night. This is the easiest way to start eliminating daytime fatigue.
- Power down your devices! Again, we all know using electronic devices before bed is a bad idea. Unfortunately, especially as the pandemic wears on, most of us are on them all day every day until we go to bed. Yet the blue light that is emitted from our devices has multiple neurological implications that negatively impact our sleep. Turn off all devices 1 hour prior to bedtime to start seeing more consolidated and restful sleep.
- Limit alcohol intake, especially in the evening. Though many of us do enjoy a "nightcap" prior to bedtime, alcohol keeps our brains from achieving the deeper, more restful stages of sleep. Switch to a soothing herbal tea instead, such as https://alurx.com/collections/sleep/products/valerian-chamomile-and-lavender-tea
4. "Coronasomnia" is a new term being used to describe sleeplessness during the pandemic, is it a real thing?
Yes, it is very real. Coronasomnia is the term used to explain the lack of sleep we are all suffering from through this pandemic. Even though we have more "access" to sleep- our commutes to and from work have been eliminated, we can easily nap at home, etc., we are feeling even more sleep deprived than we used to. Prior to Covid, the CDC classified sleep deprivation as an epidemic. We were already an incredibly under-rested population, and it has only gotten worse due to the stress, anxiety and worry that we have experienced in the past year. All of these factors directly impact our ability to sleep well. So, if you feel you may be experiencing coronasomnia, you are not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions available with the right resources like Alurx Sleep Support products https://alurx.com/collections/sleep.