Dr. Mark Brown's Sleep Challenge
I am going to challenge you to prove to yourself that sleep really is important to good health and well-being. I ask for 1 week of your life, Sunday through Friday. Follow these 10 recommendations and if you are not better rested, more productive, in a better mood, and feeling better in general by the weekend I want to hear about it. Really. Send me an email or letter to let me know what didn’t work. If you follow my suggestions I am confident you will understand the power of sleep.
- Prepare for bed every night thoughtfully. Make sure that you have time to wind down for bed every night this week. No last minute disruptions. When it is time to sleep, start getting ready and go!
- Follow the Eight Hour Rule. Every night, go to bed AT LEAST 8 hours before your alarm clock is set to go off. Don’t worry this week about what you are missing on TV. Record it and watch on the weekend if you must!
- Be cozy in your bed. Make sure that your mattress is comfortable, the sheets are clean, the pillows are fluffed, and your PJs are pressed.
- Your bed is sacred ground. This is your oasis from the stresses of the day. Sleep and sex and the only 2 activities allowed. Make a conscious effort to leave the day behind before you get ready to sleep.
- Keep the room as cool or as warm as you like it. Find the temperature that is conducive to your sleep and set it. Let your bed partner adjust to your temperature this week if they need to.
- Nap wisely. No naps late in the day. If you catch a little shut-eye, do it before 3 PM and make it short (less than 30 minutes).
- Eat smart. Have the last meal of your day at least two hours before bedtime. Going to bed with a stomach full of food is a recipe for indigestion and Insomnia.
- Exercise at the right time: early in the day. Exercising within an hour of bedtime can be stimulating, not relaxing.
- Caffeinate early (if you must). Caffeine is a stimulant. Avoid having it after 3 PM.
- Drink early (if you so choose). While alcohol makes you sleepy, it also interferes with healthy, regular sleep cycles. No alcohol after dinner. Water is your friend before bed.
Follow these 10 steps every night Sunday through Friday. By Saturday morning, you will be better rested. Honest. And as a result, you will perform better at home and at work and be in a better mood.
When you prioritize sleep, you will be happier, healthier and more productive. It just happens. If you do this Challenge and DO NOT feel better, there is likely more to your sleep problem than not taking care of yourself. Talk to your primary care doctor to make sure that there are no health problems looming that impact sleep.
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
Reprinted by permission from Mark T. Brown, MD from Smarter Sleep, Clear Answers, Science Based Solutions, Healthier Sleep. Old Wives Tales Publishing, 2015.
What is Radiofrequency Turbinate Reduction?
New developments in medical technology have made it possible to comfortably open your nasal airway under local anesthesia in your ENT’s office. Really. This approach saves time, money, and keeps you on your feet. It is even covered by insurance.
The procedure goes like this. When you are comfortably seated in the exam chair, local anesthetic is sprayed into your nose. When that has kicked in the same topical medication is soaked onto cotton and placed in there for a while to further numb your nose. Finally, more local anesthetic is injected into the turbinates directly.
After you are completely numbed, a slim probe is introduced into the nose using a small endoscope.
It is applied at 5 or 6 spots along the turbinate and radiofrequency energy is transmitted through the lining (mucosa) into the swollen tissues that cause your obstruction. That injury shrinks the turbinate so, when you are healed up, there is more space for breathing.
After the procedure, you walk to your car and drive home. Simple, effective, and quick.
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
Turbinate Reduction Surgery
Those pesky turbinates (normal structures that live on the side wall of your nose) can be enlarged and obstructive.
But all is not lost. If medical therapies to control allergies and nasal inflammation are not successful, they can be reduced in the office or in the operating room. Obviously, a procedure without an anesthetic in the OR sounds great. And it is possible to do using a radiofrequency probe to reduce the swollen tissues. But sometimes, turbinate enlargement is only part of the problem. The septum may also need to be corrected, which is something you can’t comfortably do in the office. In that case we can take care of your turbinates during the same surgery.
Surgery because my nose is blocked up? Really? Yes, really. If medications aren’t capable of helping you breathe comfortably, a procedure can make all the difference. Believe it or not, this has been studied scientifically. And the word from patients who have undergone the procedure is a significant improvement in their quality of life.
Surgery is a big deal, no doubt. But, it can make a big difference for your nose and your life. Yes, it requires a general anesthetic but the procedure is short, around 45 minutes. You get to go home the same day. It hurts but typically pain medicine, if needed, is taken only for 3-4 days. The biggest complaint people have is the post-operative congestion. When the plastic splints placed during the surgery are removed in the office, 7-10 days later, life gets immediately better. Lots of smiles when people can breathe like they never have before.
One final note, if you have allergies, this surgery will not fix them. You will likely have to be on the same meds you were on pre-op. However, most people report having better success with the control of their allergies after their septum is straightened.
Breaking News... Tonight at 10 Talk to Your Doctor About Adding 15 Years to Your Life!
We are all excited about new technologies in medicine. The press loves to create a stir over the latest chemotherapy, immune modulator, and surgical procedure. Often, though not always, these highly touted “advances” don’t pan out. It doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad ideas or the wrong approach. But, often a well-meaning journalist sees a report about something that may be groundbreaking. By the time it hits the airways, or the paper, or the Internet at preliminary report becomes the latest, greatest technique that will cure us all. But, using information from the popular press to help decide your healthcare carries risks.
It takes time, confirmation, and reconfirmation before an advance is seen as truly revolutionary. In an attempt to inform the public, the need for news 24/7/365 often bypasses this time-consuming and confirmatory process. Research is not sexy, but it is necessary to make sure we are treating you or your family with proven therapies, not just the fad of the moment.
Science is a messy business. It is long, arduous, and filled with misdirection and rediscovery. Every researcher wants to find the big truth and turn over the current thinking. They all want to make a difference and come up with new ideas and thinking to change the world. However, most of the time, one person in the lab doesn’t immediately change the world. It is the accumulated wisdom of many researchers, may labs, in collaboration that comes up with progress.
Be careful about making medical decisions from the evening new, Facebook®, or Twitter®. Inform yourself and ask your doctor about what is right for you. Use information to be healthy, but take it with a grain of salt (or not if you are on a low salt diet.)
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