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Weight ManagementIt also hurts "executive function" — the ability to make clear decisions, said Dr. Philip Eichling, a sleep and weight-loss specialist at the University of Arizona who also is medical director of the Canyon Ranch, a spa in Tucson that offers health and weight management programs, especially for business executives.
Pediatric CareThose little naps could really help people who work irregular hours. More than 20 million Americans work nights or evening shifts, and studies have shown that they are much more likely to have sleep problems. That’s bad enough if you’re, say, a night watchman, but catastrophic if you’re a bus driver, an airline pilot or, ironically, a medical resident—recent medical-school graduates who spend three to seven years training in a specialty like pediatrics or cardiology and often work more than 100 hours a week all around the clock. Just last month, the group that accredits the nation’s teaching hospitals imposed strict new limits on their hours—although the new rules will still mean grueling schedules of up to 80 hours a week with as little as 10 hours of rest between shifts.
Primary CareAlthough there are hundreds of sleep clinics like Matheson’s accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, primary-care physicians are often slow to refer patients who complain of sleep problems. That’s because sleep is still largely ignored in the typical medical-school curriculum. As a result, people with sleep problems are too often incorrectly diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, like depression, or dismissively told that they should take a nice, long vacation. Dr. William Dement, a pioneer in sleep research and the founder of the Stanford University Sleep Research Center, finds this ignorance particularly frustrating, since our knowledge of sleep has expanded so dramatically. “My mission, passion and total disgruntlement,” he says, “is that the public should know the things we’ve known for a quarter of a century.” Dement’s colleague at Stanford, the French-born neurologist Christian Guilleminault, recalls one of his medical professors in Paris vigorously trying to discourage him from going into the field. “Sleep,” the professor told Guilleminault, “is for dreamers.”
Sleep DisordersNEWSWEEK senior editor and self-proclaimed insomniac Barbara Kantrowitz undergoes tests at the Sleep Disorders Clinic at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
NeurologyDr. Zvonkina performed her undergraduate work at University of California - Davis, receiving her B.S. in Physiology in 1997. She attended medical school at Albany Medical College in Albany, NY, where she received her M.D. degree in 2002. Following her internship (2002-2003) at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, she completed a neurology residency (2003-2006) at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix,AZ.
Internal MedicineDr. Kin M. Yuen, a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, is an Adjunct Faculty member for the Stanford University School of Medicine. She has been a sleep specialist in private practice in California for the past 10 years. Before spending two years in a research fellowship at Stanford Sleep Disorders Center, she practiced as a staff physician in Internal Medicine for the Stanford Medical Group. She also holds a Masters degree in Health Services Research/Health Policy from Stanford University. She volunteered in the Health Policy Committee of AASM, and she was a past member of the Membership Committee. In addition to her clinical practice, she has many sleep research interests. Dr. Yuen has been the primary author, as well as co-author of articles and book chapters on sleep disorders and health economics. However, her biggest joy is spending time with her two children, age 15 and 12.
PsychiatryMuch of our current knowledge about sleep—and what happens when you don’t get enough of it—grows out of the kind of clinical observation I underwent that night. As the science of sleep has evolved, doctors have studied many thousands of patients in the lab—some sleeping normally, others deliberately deprived of rest. The results aren’t encouraging for those Type A’s who boast about getting by on just four or five hours a night. “Despite what they claim and believe about themselves, they are impaired,” says David Dinges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who studies sleep and wakefulness. “What they are doing is just sort of snacking on sleep. They want to take sleep the same way they take fast food.” But, he says, people who chronically deprive themselves of an hour or two of sleep a night ultimately are as sleep-deprived as someone who’s been awake for 40 hours. And that means they’re, in effect, operating as though they were under the influence. Caffeine and other stimulants only temporarily mask the symptoms.
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