House Calls

WIN 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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The Science of Slŗp Though seemingly a mere shutdown, sleep is actually a complex period of restoration for our bodies. "Proper sleep is essential for nearly all of our physical and mental functions," stresses Dr. Carswell. "You should wake feeling refreshed and not sleepy during the day." Of course, a good night's sleep is defined by both quality and quantity. During a seven-hour stretch (the National Sleep Foundation's minimum recommendation for adults 18 and older), we progress through four to five sleep cycles, each time transitioning through four distinct stages. Stage one, the lightest sleep, makes up just five percent of our total slumber. Stage two, which accounts for half of our time asleep, takes us into a deeper doze with a lower body temperature and regular breathing and heart rate. Stage three covers a quarter more and involves our deepest and most restorative sleep. 24 { winter 2018 } h o u s e c a l l s "As a sleep doctor, I see a lot of sleepy people, and in general, if you're sleepy, you're not getting enough sleep," says Dr. James Carswell, a Roper St. Francis affiliated pulmonologist and board certified specialist in sleep medicine. So how much sleep is sufficient, what happens when we get a shortage of shut-eye, and how can we perk up our repose? Dr. James Carswell THE SCOOP ON SNORING Snoring is the sound that's produced when airway tissue vibrates as air flows into the lungs, and it's most common among men who are overweight or aging. If you snore only occasionally, breathe a sigh of relief knowing it's likely not a sign of a medical problem (though it may mean trouble from your bed partner). Habitual snoring, however, can indicate obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing momentarily stops throughout the night. If you routinely snore and feel drowsy rather than refreshed upon waking up, talk to your doctor about arranging a home sleep study. During this "slow-wave sleep," so-called for how it reads on an EEG (electroencephalogram) test, blood pressure drops, breathing slows, muscles relax, blood supply to the muscles increases, tissue growth and muscle repair take place, and energy rebuilds. The body also releases hormones such as growth hormone for muscle development, ghrelin (AKA "the hunger hormone") and leptin to balance appetite, insulin and cortisol to promote hunger and regulate our stress response, and prolactin to boost the immune system. Stage four, or REM sleep, marks our dive into dreamland. During this period, our muscles are immobile and our eyes dart quickly to and fro (REM stands for rapid eye movement). The result of all of these processes? A night of ample, quality sleep allows us to concentrate, make thoughtful decisions, and engage fully in work and social environments during our waking hours. P H O T O G R A P H ( D R . C A R S W E L L ) B Y C O C O A R A E D A V I S

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