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Ask Stanford Med, Sleep

Ask Stanford Med: Sleep specialist taking questions on how to ‘spring forward’ without feeling fatigued

Past research has shown that not getting enough sleep may have more serious consequences than feeling groggy in the morning. Trouble sleeping has been linked to heart problems, increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, development of Alzheimer’s disease and weight gain. Despite the health risks of not getting enough sleep, recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that more than a third of Americans are sleep deprived.

Changes to our sleep schedules, such as the upcoming daylight-saving time change, can cause difficulty falling or staying asleep and trigger sleep problems. To help you spring forward and stay on track, we’ve asked Stanford’s Rafael Pelayo, MD, to field your questions on sleep research and ways for making sure daylight-saving time doesn’t cut into your snooze time. An expert in sleep medicine, Pelayo has long researched and treated sleep conditions, including insomnia, sleep disruptions and sleep apnea. He sees both adult and pediatric patients.

Questions can be submitted to Pelayo about by sending an @reply message to @SUMedicine and include the hashtag #AskSUMed in your tweet. (Not a Twitter user? Then please submit a comment below.) We’ll collect questions until Feb. 29 at 5 pm. In submitting questions, please abide by the following ground rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Be respectful to the person answering your questions
  • Be respectful to one another in submitting questions
  • Do not monopolize the conversation or post the same question repeatedly
  • Kindly ignore disrespectful or off topic comments
  • Twitter handles and/or names may be used in the responses

Medical school experts taking questions on the @SUMedicine feed will answer a selection of the questions submitted, but not all of them.

Finally – and you may have already guessed this – an answer to any question submitted as part of this feature is meant to offer medical information, not medical advice. These answers are not a basis for any action or inaction, and they’re also not meant to replace the evaluation and determination of your doctor, who will address your specific medical needs and can make a diagnosis and give you the appropriate care.

Previously: Stanford sleep expert Rafael Pelayo featured on KGO, How lack of sleep affects the brain and may increase appetite, weight gain, Can regular exercise improve your quality of sleep?, Helping kids ‘spring forward’, Tips for not losing sleep over daylight-saving time, Study estimates Americans’ insomnia costs nation $63 billion annually, CDC report highlights the dangers of sleep deprivation and Stanford expert: Quality, not quantity, of sleep is what counts
Photo by hang_in_there

14 Responses to “ Ask Stanford Med: Sleep specialist taking questions on how to ‘spring forward’ without feeling fatigued ”

  1. AfternoonNapper Says:

    As my name implies, I love a good nap. Left to my own devices, I tend to nap in 1.5 hour increments. How does this time period relate to the normal sleep cycle?

    Also, soon after waking is prime time for a cardiac event due to the body’s natural rise in BP. Other than those with high BP possibly taking their medications so that a peak level is in the blood stream during the wake cycle vs. the medication tapering out in the morning hours, what other recommendations do you have for cardiac health and sleep?

  2. New Mom Says:

    I have 13 month old twins. Right now they go to bed at 6pm (typically asleep by 6:45pm) and wake up about 5:15am (although we don’t get them up out of their cribs until 6am). I think it is time to push their bedtime to 7pm. Should I wait until the time change? And should I do it gradually or just go for the hour?

  3. maya Says:

    hi , i’m a medical student & sometimes i stay up late studying for exams so i wanted 2 know how 2 sleep less time but more deep .
    my second question is that i noticed that many people wake up at the time they want with no alarm so i wonder if there’s a way to set your biological clock to sleep a certain amout of time ?
    thx in advance

  4. carol aldine Says:

    Since Medicare won’t cover sleep apnea is there amything else I can do?

  5. Steve Says:

    Dr. Pelayo: If sleep deprivation is impacting your mood one day, can you fix it immediately by getting a good night’s sleep? Or are there residual, more long-term effects?

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    Hi Dr. Pelayo,

    I have an eighteen-month-old and am wondering how to help her adjust to daylight saving time. How can I help her stay on her regular sleep schedule when the time changes?

    Thank you!

  7. Harry Says:

    Dr. Pelayo: What happens when your body doesn’t get the amount of sleep it needs? What are the health implications?

  8. Erin Digitale Says:

    Dr. Pelayo, I’m also the mom of a toddler and would love your suggestions for how to help him deal with the time change. In addition, my husband is a real night owl and tends to suffer every year when we “spring forward.” How can people whose bodies don’t like early mornings adjust to the time change?

  9. Ella Says:

    Do I benefit from the extra minutes of sleep I get after hitting my snooze button?

  10. Vijay Simha Says:

    Trans timezone travellers frequently pop a 0.5 mg melatonin pill just before they hit the sack. Though no long term adverse side effects have been reported (apart from abdominal discomfort, headaches, etc) Is’nt there a better way to re-adjust/reset/restore one circadium like for instance this one report of shining a light behind ones knees?

  11. Early Says:

    Hello, I read about the recent American study in BMJ Open that links use of sleep medications to 4-fold increase in risk of death. I am not an academic, so please let us know what if any weaknesses are in this study. For example, use of sleep medications when driving or in combination with alcohol probably account for most of these deaths? What I am not sure is clear is does the sleep medication hurt the body?

  12. Sleeper Says:

    I most always have disrupted sleep- I wake at 3 am and am usually awake for 2 hrs before getting back to bed. Most days I am tired all day. I implemented the sleep hygiene practice of leaving my bed, do something boring and put myself to bed again. While it helps getting back to sleep, it doesn’t prevent me from waking up. My doctor recently suggested I try Benadryl- presto! I sleep through the night! Is this safe to use on-going for an avg healthy person as a sleep aid? Is the use of Benadryl associated with weight gain? Overall is it safer than the addictive Ambien, etc medications?

  13. Rhea Says:

    What sleep apnea episode count qualifies you for medicare? Is it 15 or 14.
    Thanks

  14. Greg Winker Says:

    I have been diagnosed with severe obstructuve sleep apnea (blood oxygen down to 69% at one point night tested.) So far I haven’t been able to adapt to a C-pap machine, but I will keep trying. My question: I’m taking 4 mg Terazosin/Hytrin a night. I was wondering if that is contra-indicated ? If relevant, I also take 3 HBP meds, simvastatin, 1 gram of bromelain, 600 mg of turmeric extract, 60-120 mgs of ginkgo biloba, 940 mgs of butcher’s broom extract per day. Thanks.

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