Tag Archives: engage

In Search Of Sleep

by on November 4, 2014

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But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”  Robert Frost

A relative of mine, Stewart, (not his real name) was driving home from LA, and fell asleep at the wheel. Stewart was 18 years old at the time, and on winter break from college. He drove to LA in the morning, and then, after spending the day there, drove home that night. Although he knew he was drowsy, he made the decision to drive home. The last thing he remembered was listening to a 49er Monday night football game before he dozed off without warning. His new 1996 Toyota Corolla was totaled when the car crashed into a barrier on the side of the highway as he was going at least 65 mph. The front of the car ended up at the windshield.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and 100,000 accidents each year. Younger drivers, age 16-24, are almost twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash compared to drivers age 40-59. Stewart was not unusual in that 55% of drivers who report falling asleep did so while driving on a high speed divided highway.

Often we take our need for sleep for granted, but getting sufficient sleep is as vital to our health as getting enough exercise and eating properly. In more immediate terms, lack of sleep can impair judgment, affect mood, decrease the ability to retain information, and increase the risk of accidents. In the long run, lack of sleep can lead to increased risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart problems. For example, if a person with high blood pressure has a single night of poor sleep, this can lead to high blood pressure throughout the following day- which, if it persists on a daily basis, can adversely affect the heart. Likewise, a single night of poor sleep can make a person irritable the next day, and chronic lack of sleep has been correlated with depression and anxiety.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, here are some healthy sleep tips which should become habits:

  1. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time even on weekends.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  3. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  4. Exercise daily, but not at the expense of your sleep!
  5. Create a comfortable sleep environment. Room temperature should be between 60-67 degrees, free from noise, and free from any light.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and use comfortable pillows.
  7.  Manage your circadian rhythms by avoiding bright light in the evening and seeking sunlight in the morning.
  8. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and heavy meals in the evening. Also, try to avoid caffeine late in the day. (In my patients whom I treat for chronic insomnia, I recommend eliminating caffeine entirely.)
  9.  Spend the last hour before bedtime doing a calming activity such as reading. If you are having trouble sleeping, avoid electronics such as laptops before bedtime or during the middle of the night.
  10.  If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. The common adage is to use your bed only for sleep or sex.

Stewart survived the car crash and ended up only with a bloody nose when the air bag deployed and punched him in his face. He had a friend in the front passenger seat who survived despite not wearing a seat belt because his airbag kept him from flying through the windshield. Stewart was ticketed by Highway Patrol for trying to pass someone on the right side of the highway where there was no actual lane. The officer had not realized that Stewart had simply fallen asleep. What did Stewart learn from this experience? “Rest before driving, switch off drivers, and take your time.”

Don’t let poor sleep affect your health or lead to serious injury. Getting enough sleep should be a priority in your life, not an afterthought as you try to accomplish everything else you want to do. Unlike Robert Frost, reject the attitude of “miles to go” before you sleep.

For more information about sleep and health, go to the National Sleep Foundation.

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo. He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years. While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education. He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff.

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider.

 

Pink & Powerful

by on October 21, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Everyone is wearing pink to bring attention to a disease that will touch over 280,000 women per year in the US alone.  Odds are high that everyone knows at least one person effected by breast cancer. While fighting and beating cancer is  the main goal when one is diagnosed, there is a long road of rehabilitatation following surgery that is so important to regaining strength and mobility.

In the following video, we hear a few inspirational stories from women who have taken on breast cancer and come out the other side with more strength, courage, and lust for life than before.

The PJCC is doing its part on October 26, 2014 with our Pink Ribbon Day.
We invite the whole community to come and support a great cause.

RESOURCES

Pink Ribbon Program @ PJCC  - Postoperative workout designed to enhance recovery
Check Your Boobies – Dedicated to early detection and prevention

 

 

Hepatitis C – A Stealth Killer

by on October 14, 2014

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I recall my Great Uncle Sidney.  He loved to devour a delicious steak for dinner.   Eventually he had to undergo coronary bypass surgery for cholesterol-clogged arteries of his heart.   Within a decade he died!  His heart did not kill him.  He died of cirrhosis of the liver because of a blood transfusion contaminated with hepatitis C virus which he received during his bypass surgery.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is one of those conditions one hardly hears about because most people who have it don’t know they do.  Of the 3.2 million Americans who have hepatitis C, only 5-6% of them have been successfully treated.   It is 3 times more common than HIV in this country, and it is the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer.  The mortality from HCV has Continue reading

Cultivating Good Health

by on October 10, 2014

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Any time is a good time to cultivate good health by developing a wellness plan that will help you flourish. Don’t know where to begin? Draw inspiration from your garden and apply the same concepts to your health.

Preparation
Planning your garden is the first step to its success and the same holds true for your health. Buy a notebook and name it your health journal. Begin by writing down two goals that are attainable and aren’t overwhelming. For example, start preparing your afternoon snacks to bring to work instead of buying from the vending machine. This action alone can save you 200 Continue reading

Sukkot: Traditions of Wonder, Gratitude, & Justice

by on October 2, 2014

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Traditions of Wonder, Gratitude and Justice:
Reflections on Sukkot from the PJCC Garden Manager

‘Among the many things that religious tradition holds in store for us is a legacy of wonder.’ –    Rabbi Abraham Yehoshua Heschel

The fall is a season of abundance in the PJCC garden. Thanks to the hard work and heart of many volunteers, our garden is bursting with greens, tomatoes, squash, peppers, figs and strawberries – to name a few. Beginning my new position as Garden Manager during this rich time of year has given me a lot of joy, especially as it coincides with Sukkot. The holiday offers Continue reading

Homemade Honey & Oats Granola Bars

by on September 12, 2014

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Healthy, Tasty, Portable.  What’s not to like?

Finding a snack that will provide you with energy and is easy to pack and carry isn’t always easy.  Granola Bars fit the bill but can be pricey. This recipe for homemade granola bars will be satisfying and easy on the pocket book!

And, an added bonus, oats are known to lower cholesterol levels, provide fiber in your diet, Continue reading

The Meaning of Life – As Seen through The Eyes Of My Patients

by on September 3, 2014

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As we approach the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this month, I find myself becoming more reflective, particularly about what’s important in my life. Twenty years ago I was asked to complete a biographical survey for a physician newsletter about my personal interests, which included questions such as the latest book I read, my favorite movie, etc. There was one question that stood out, “What is the meaning of life?” My response, “God knows.” It occurred to me a few years later that I could delve into a better understanding of this existential question by probing my patients for their stories about what has been meaningful in their lives. You may wonder how during a 15-20 minute visit with patients I could have time for such a discussion. One cannot come out and say, “Tell me the meaning of your life,” but I felt I could approach the Continue reading

Container Gardening

by on August 19, 2014

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There’s nothing quite like fresh produce harvested at its peak. Even if you live in a space with only a small patio or balcony, containers provide a wonderful way to enjoy your favorite foods year round.

Make The Most Of The Space You Have
Most plants require between 5 –7 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. Choose a location that receives adequate sunlight, is protected from too much wind and temperature extremes, and is in a convenient location for care and harvesting. One of the benefits of container gardening is Continue reading

Monkey See, Monkey Do — How Behavioral Modeling Influences Health

by on July 1, 2014

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My 2-year-old granddaughter seemed to welcome her newborn baby sister with bland indifference. I observed her as she played with her blocks and other toys and did not appear to be perturbed by the presence of a new member in her family. After she had dinner, I was surprised when she set out deliberately for the couch, wrapped her mother’s pillow around her lap, lifted her shirt, and clutched her bear to her chest. It was dinner time for her bear! While it was fun to watch her precise imitation of breast feeding, it made me stop and wonder how we as adults subconsciously follow patterns of behavior that may not reach our cognitive awareness. Continue reading

Discover the Bay the Artsy Way

by on June 16, 2014

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It’s fun to play tourist in your own backyard. I mean if you are going to staycation, the Bay Area, a major vacation destination is a pretty great place to do it. But this summer, get to better know the sites through site-specific performances.

Now if I suggested you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and take in the view, you’d rightly say, “Kimberly, thanks, but EVERYONE knows that.” But how much time have you spent under Continue reading