Rakesh Bhattacharjee is an assistant professor of pediatrics at The University of Chicago's Divisions of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. In answer to my questions, he shared his insights on the link between breathing and sleep health, social factors that can affect children's sleep, and the importance of teaching your children healthy sleep habits.
Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory is a highly sought expert in the sports world. In answer to my questions, she shared insights on how athletes at every level can boost performance by getting more sleep, what's behind the recent surge in interest in athletes' sleep habits and how non-athletes can incorporate these lessons into their lives.
Helene Emsellem is one of our leading experts on how to understand and treat sleep disorders, especially in adolescents. In answer to my questions, she shared her insights on how sleep deprivation affects young people's health, what she's learned in decades of clinical experience, and how sleep is related to diagnoses of ADD and ADHD.
Though the need for sleep has been a constant throughout human history, how we feel about it has gone through dramatic changes over the years. We're now in the process of renewing our estranged relationship, especially as science, in the last two decades or so, has validated much of the ancient wisdom about the importance of sleep. Now that we have the means to get, relative to most of human history, the most unprecedentedly blissful sleep ever, we should allow ourselves to enjoy it. We live in a time in which we're plugged in and hyperconnected, often from the moment we wake up until the instant we drift off. Let's savor and safeguard sleep, not just for its performance benefits but for the special way it allows us to connect with ourselves. During the daytime technology allows us to travel across distance and space, but during the nighttime our dreams allow us to travel across time, spanning and connecting different parts of ourselves, allowing our senses of intuition and wisdom to flourish.
Sleep and pain exist in a complicated relationship to one another. Pain can interfere with sleep, making it harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Poor quality and insufficient sleep contribute to pain in several ways, decreasing tolerance for pain, increasing its intensity and discomfort, and in some cases raising the risk for the development of chronic-pain conditions.
The National Sleep Foundation has released its annual Sleep in America Poll. This year, the poll examines sleep in the modern American family. What are the challenges facing families in their pursuit of high-quality, plentiful sleep? What are the strategies that parents are using to help their children sleep, and how well are those strategies working?
Many parents and school officials will likely have their own schedules and routines affected by any changes. But even small delays in favor of students can have significant effects on the quantity and quality of their nightly rest, their physical and emotional health, and their performance at school during the day.