What to Do for a Good Night's Sleep | News | Loyola Medicine
Saturday, March 10, 2018

For a Good Night's Sleep, Turn Off Your Smartphone

MAYWOOD, IL – To get a good night's sleep, turn off your smartphone at least 30 minutes before going to bed, says Loyola Medicine sleep specialist Sunita Kumar, MD, in recognition of Sleep Awareness Week, March 11 – 17.

"Many Americans are chronically sleep-deprived," said Dr. Kumar, director of Loyola Medicine's sleep program. "Be it social obligations, work or our lifestyles, we are staying awake longer and longer now. We still need seven to eight hours of sleep a night on average. But too many people are getting by on six hours or less."

Lack of sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, weight gain, mood changes and accidents.

When you are sleep deprived, your cognitive throughput – how fast you respond to cognitive tasks – slows down. Consequently, small tasks seem to take longer. Studies also have found that going without sleep for long periods can hinder how your body regulates your feelings. This can cause mood changes that can make you anxious, confused, or irritable or focus on negative events.

Inadequate sleep also can cause weight gain. ”Sleep deprivation affects the food choices we make. We tend to go for the sugary doughnut after a night of poor sleep,” Dr. Kumar said.

Dr. Kumar recommends powering down smart phones, tablets and other electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light, she explains, interferes with circadian rhythms that control sleep and some studies have shown that it affects melatonin secretion, a hormone needed for sleep onset. Also when you are unable to fall asleep, one should avoid using these electronic devices. “Many of my patients think watching TV will help them fall back asleep when it can have the opposite effect.”

Dr. Kumar has noticed that more of her patients are using fitness trackers and smart watches to track their sleep.

"While these devices are great for encouraging an active lifestyle, I would be cautious when using them to track sleep," Dr. Kumar said. "You can use the information as a gauge of time spent in bed, but they are not as accurate as a sleep study performed in a sleep lab to determine different stages of sleep." Adding, "So obsessing about the amount of deep sleep or REM sleep, as shown by your fitness tracker, can cause unwanted anxiety.”

If you find you aren't getting enough sleep or feel tired during the day, Dr. Kumar suggests speaking with your doctor. "Often times, a pattern of poor sleep can be an indicator for an underlying sleep disorder," Dr. Kumar said. "If you have a sleep disorder, your doctor can help you with a treatment plan and get you back to a good night's rest soon."

Loyola Medicine's Center for Sleep Disorders provides a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating adult and pediatric sleep problems, including snoring, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. The multidisciplinary team of sleep specialists includes neurologists, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. The center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Kumar, Nidhi Undevia, MD, and Abid Khurshid, MD, are board-certified sleep specialists who treat a host of sleep-related conditions at the Loyola Outpatient Center and the Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.