Tuesday, May 8, 11 am
It’s 3 am and there you lie in bed… wide awake. You’re exhausted after a busy day, but your mind is still running through your to-do list for tomorrow. You worry how you’ll get through the day if you don’t get some sleep, but the worry only adds to your sleeplessness.
All joking aside, sleep problems are no laughing matter. As if the dark circles and bags under eyes aren’t bad enough, sleep issues can create myriad other health problems—from diabetes to weight gain— enough to keep anyone awake from worry. According to the Sleep Doctor, Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., a sleep specialist and author of two sleep-related books, “We know that sleep has restorative, cognitively-enhancing effects. We also know the absence of sleep can have detrimental effects on brain function.”
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine recently found a direct link between sleep and the creation of longterm memories. On this, Breus says, “A sleep-inducing switch for our brains sounds like the stuff of science fiction. But, this study is a dramatic step toward developing an answer to that elusive question of why we sleep. The more we understand about the underlying reasons for sleep, the better able we’ll be to explore and develop safe, natural solutions to sleep problems.”
As the subject of sleep gains greater momentum in our sleep-deprived society, Breus has become a widely recognized leader in this evolving field. Dedicated to raising awareness of both sleep disorders and what he calls “disordered sleep,” Breus is on a mission to develop innovative education and communication programs.
Sleep timing also has an effect on diet and weight gain, according to a study published in 2011. Researchers at Northwestern University found that late bedtimes lead to late mealtimes, and that sleeping later and eating later make poor diets and weight gain more likely. In the study, sleeping less, going to sleep later in the night, and eating more heavily after 8 pm were all associated with higher Body Mass Index (BMI).
“Sleep helps regulate hormones that govern appetite and metabolism. It helps keep judgment sound and willpower strong,” Breus says. “A full night of sleep allows you to wake feeling energized and ready to jump into your day, hopefully with calorieblasting exercise. What’s more, during REM sleep, the body burns more calories than when you’re awake lying in bed.”
In his latest book, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep, Breus delves into the science behind a sleep– weight-loss connection, explaining exactly how sleep boosts metabolism, ignites fat burn, and decreases cravings and overall appetite, and he presents a realistic action plan to help get the best sleep—and best body—possible. He shows how to overcome personal sleep obstacles with a slumber-friendly evening routine, stress management techniques—even recipes for healthy meals and snacks—to help falling asleep easier.
“Establishing positive, sustainable sleep routines now will improve your health today, and also can set you up with the fundamental tools you need to manage your sleep as you age,” Breus says. Breus will speak as part of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s 8th Annual Week of Healthy Living. “Sleep…Your Way to Health and Happiness” will take place at the Simon Family JCC. The program is free, but registration is required. Call 321-2222 to register. This program is sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Dozoretz.
JFS 8th Annual Week of Healthy Living’s Presenting Sponsor is TowneBank; Diamond Sponsors are: Lee & Bernard Jaffe* Family Fund of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation; Copeland and Klebanoff Families; and Lori and Michael Glasser Family.
*Of blessed memory.
Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.