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Back to school means a return to a sleeping routine

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this The Times NWI article, talking about how to help get back into the school schedule and additional sleep and morning tips. Lisa Medalie, an insomnia specialist at University of Chicago and director of the Pediatric Insomnia Program, says she generally recommends her families to start shifting closer to a school year bedtime about 1 month before school starts. “With the pandemic, families have not had a mandated wake time for several months, which means for many families, they have gotten pretty far off the regular schedule,” Medalie said. “Families that are several hours away from where they need to be with bedtime will likely have to start the shifting process sooner than families that are only an hour away from the desired bedtime.” Additional tips In addition to creating a sleep schedule, local sleep experts offer the following tips: Use natural light to wake up. Especially for teens, bright light in the morning such as exposure to sunlight or a light treatment, can cue the brain to stop producing Melatonin, Medalie says. Consider getting help. If your child is struggling with bedtime or sleep in general, Medalie suggests scheduling a visit with a pediatric insomnia specialist. Medalie, who is the founder of DrLullaby, says a digital version of evidence-based strategies like DrLullaby provides may help as well.

COVID-19 and Sleep: Here’s Why You Have ‘Coronasomnia’ and How to Get Rid of It

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Microsoft News Lifestyle article, Explaining why you should spend time outside and it affects your circadian rhythm and morning alertness. 3. Spend time outside On a cold day when you don’t technically need to leave the house, it can be tempting to skip your daily walk around the neighborhood. But exposing yourself to even a few minutes of natural blue light in the morning can be a game-changer. “Expose yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning by going for a 15-minute walk, suggests behavioral sleep medicine specialist Lisa Medalie, PsyD, CBSM. “It improves circadian rhythm and morning alertness, thereby reducing insomnia.”

3 Reasons the Pandemic Is Ruining Your Sleep — and What to Do About It

Sleeping problems can lead to a number of health issues if left unchecked DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this AARP Conditions & Treatments article, explaining what is affecting your sleep and how to combat it. 1. Anxiety, stress and fear are fueling insomnia How does stress interfere with sleep? The body and mind need to be in “slower states” to successfully shift from awake to relaxed, explains Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago and founder of the sleep app Dr. Lullaby. But elevated stress makes the sleep transition “more challenging” because it “ramps us up and gets our heart beating faster.” And if this persists, a person becomes vulnerable to insomnia. Solution: Get back on a schedule I f your sleep issues are due to a newly inconsistent or intermittent sleep schedule, go back to what was working — even if that means you accumulate fewer total hours of sleep. (And yes, this may mean you need to cut out the naps.) "If you can anchor your wake time and wake up at the same time every day, that's a great start for a consistent sleep schedule,” Medalie adds. When you do sleep, make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature, the CDC recommends. It also helps to avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. 3. More screen time, less exercise How is this affecting sleep? Medalie explains that the blue spectrum light generated from screens “tells the brain to stop producing melatonin,” a hormone that regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle. And when this biological clock gets disrupted, insomnia can set in. Hand in hand with more screen time is a more sedentary lifestyle. Shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have closed gyms, postponed sports seasons and canceled exercise classes. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) reported a significant drop in step counts among smartphone users worldwide once coronavirus-related restrictions went into place. And an AARP survey found one third (32 percent) of older adults who exercised regularly before the pandemic have since decreased their level of activity. "People who exercise regularly tend to sleep better, so with less exercise, we're also at risk for sleep problems,” Medalie says. Solution: Ditch the screens at bedtime, make exercise a priority Ban the blue light from your bedroom: Turn off your devices an hour before bedtime, and if you think you will be tempted to check them, consider leaving phones, tablets and computers in another room to charge overnight. "The hour before bed really should be ‘me time.’ It should be a time where you're taking care of yourself ... a time where you can lower the somatic arousal system and get your mind and body in the right place for sleep,” Medalie says.

Sleep Well Summer 2020 Newsletter

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this NJ Dental Health Sleep Medicine newsletter, about why people are having trouble sleeping during quarantine, how sleep affects mood, and how to get better sleep. FAQ about COVID-19 and Your Sleep Why are so many people having trouble sleeping while sheltering in place? Elevated stress and an overload of information can keep the mind racing and elevate the body’s arousal system response, triggering insomnia. People are spending every waking moment getting one last look at their screens (news updates, COVID-19 education, social connections). The blue light from these screens tells the brain to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, which can lead to trouble falling asleep. Also, loss of daytime structure can upset nighttime sleep schedules. Inconsistent bedtimes and wake times can shift the pressure, or urge, to sleep, making ability to fall asleep less predictable. Finally, depressed mood, more downtime and low energy can increase long napping, making it harder to fall asleep at night. Can sleep help improve my mood and productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic? It's not easy to function at our best without easy access to our usual coping skills (e.g., social support, exercise, etc.) while sheltering in place. Adequate sleep can maximize your potential for having better days under these circumstances. Optimal sleep helps regulate mood, improve brain function, and increase energy and overall productivity during the day. What can help me sleep better during the coronavirus pandemic? Sleep is crucial at this time. Here’s how changing habits can help improve your sleep: Create a sleep schedule. Figure out your sleep need (experiment with different amounts), then prioritize that amount of sleep each night. While six or nine hours can be appropriate for some adults, most need seven to eight hours. We are not obliged to late night social activities, so getting to bed "on time” is more realistic right now — take advantage of that. Limit screen time at night. Turn off your devices one hour before bedtime. Leave your cell phone charging in the kitchen so you are not tempted to look at COVID-19 updates during the night. Find time for you. Take the hour before bedtime as “me time” with no electronic engagement. Minimize conversations and calls during that hour. That's not easy, especially if you have young children at home, but it’s important. We all need at least one hour alone per day. Take a hot bath/shower, play soothing music, try a meditation app and read a book or magazine. Minimize naps. Daytime sleep should be less than 30 minutes and before 2 p.m. If you have any trouble falling asleep, avoid napping. Try breathing exercises. Use ten slow deep breaths to fall asleep and return to sleep. It should be a slow inhale through your nose for 3 to 4 seconds and a slow exhale through your mouth for 3 to 4 seconds. Enhance your sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom environment is conducive to sleep. Keep the room temperature cool, try an eye mask or blackout shades, and use a white noise machine to block extraneous noise from the street or the hallway. Gain control over stress. Many folks have less access to their usual coping strategies such as time with friends and going to the gym. Try new activities and hobbies — painting, writing, photography, indoor exercise videos, etc. Find ways to stay connected with friends and family through technology. Consider therapy if the stress feels unmanageable. Structure your daytime schedule. Commit to daily activities (e.g., exercise, meals, socializing) at certain times to build structure to your days. This will support a regular bedtime and wake time. Set cell phone reminders to anchor your schedule, and as a reminder to turn off screens an hour before bedtime. Source- Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Coronavirus Pandemic And Americans Sleep (2020 Data)

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Sleep Standards shared survey, sharing her thoughts on the survey results for reasons why it is hard for people in America to sleep during the Coronavirus outbreak. Reason Why The Coronavirus Outbreak Make It Harder For Americans To Fall Asleep 48% of participants stated that feeling anxious during the Coronavirus pandemic was the main reason that makes it harder for them to fall asleep Other reasons include worrying about the safety of their loved ones (26%), loneliness (23%), and inconsistent sleep schedule (23%) I. Survey Demographics Who Took The Survey We surveyed 1,014 Americans from 18 years to 65 years and older. 56% of them are female while 43% are male. II. Survey Results Does The Coronavirus Outbreak Affect Your Sleep? 76.8% of participants stated that the Coronavirus outbreak does affect their sleep while 23.2% said it doesn't Expert Opinions Dr. Lisa Medalie – PsyD, CBSM, behavioral sleep medicine specialist, DrLullaby It is interesting to see less than half of these complaints are felt to be linked to anxiety. While anxiety and worry are certainly relevant, it is important to highlight other factors that also contribute to recent sleep problems in order to best address such problems and relatedly optimize sleep. Dr. Lisa Medalie

Coronasomnia: What is it and how to combat it

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Have you been having trouble sleeping since the start of the pandemic? Well you might be suffering from what experts are calling ‘coronasomnia.’ DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM is a guest on this WDVM interview/ article, explains Coronasomnia and tips, like 'me time' or shutting off blue light an hour before bed, to resist it. Coronasomnia is described as the interference of sleep due to the pandemic. Insomnia specialist dr. Lisa Medalie says that things like stress from online work and school, along with decreased exercise and increased screen time are just a few factors to coronasomnia. Dr. Medalie stated that generally stress and anxiety that circulates around the coronavirus pandemic. She explained that it is one of the leading factors that keep adults and even children awake at night as children have noticed that their surroundings and general way of life is now very different. Dr. Medalie went on to explain that more than half of the population in the United States are struggling from coronasomnia or sleep problems. She stated that realizing that you might be struggling to sleep or your child is struggling to sleep is the first step towards beginning to treat coronasomnia. Dr. Medalie has four tips that she recommends to prevent or combat coronasomnia. She recommends that parents must have their children sleep in their own beds. “With everybody worried and wanting extra hugs and extra help with coping, kids are crawling into bed more than ever these days,” Dr. Medalie explained. “So keeping them out of the [your] bed is a non-negotiable. It robs your little cutie of the time and effort to be able to work on their own coping skills.” Second, Dr. Medalie recommends that everyone needs to schedule one hour of “me time.” She explained that with increased time at home with working from home and virtual learning, families do not have time alone. She also highly recommends an hour of relaxing in the form of an at-home spa. She stressed that the body must transition into a peaceful and relaxed state before sleeping. “Schedule me time. Everybody in the home needs one hour of me time before bed to get into a calm and relaxed space before sleep.” Third, Dr. Medalie recommends to shut off all screens and devices one hour before bedtime. She explained that the blue light emitted by the screen of a device prevents the brain from producing melatonin. “So we don’t want you glued to those bluelight devices before and also the content is way too engaging,” she explained. “So what we recommend for families and for parents is to tie bedtime screen removal with earned screen time the next day.” She also recommends that parents should not wait until minutes before their child’s scheduled bedtime to take devices and expect their children to go right to sleep. She explained that children should have one hour to wind down and potentially avoid the conflict that could come with handing over their device. She also stressed that people should turn to credible sources when researching information about coronasomnia and other insomnia related subjects. She recommends that people use research-backed behavioural interventions. Dr. Medalie is the founder of the ‘DrLullaby’ app which is designed to help children of all ages and their parents, by creating age-appropriate customized sleep plans relating to the type of sleep problem experienced. The app guides parents through a set of simple questions about their kids’ sleep habits and tracks progress through nightly sleep logs. She recommends that people use online or telehealth options, even apps like DrLullaby, as in-person visits are unavailable to some people at this time. For more information about DrLullaby, please visit their website. The DrLullaby app is also available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

10 Bedtime Rituals for Better Sleep

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Men's Journal article, explaining what trouble falling asleep and staying asleep can do to you. Also, tips to avoid those issues like turning down the thermostat, not being on digital devices late, what to eat or not eat before bed, avoiding alcohol, and turning your alarm clock to the wall. “Trouble falling and staying asleep can set you up for chronic fatigue, mood and memory issues, a slower metabolism, even reduced immune-system functioning,” says Lisa Medalie, PsyD, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago. Turn Down the Thermostat The ideal snooze temperature is about 65 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That’s because the cooler you are, the sleepier you become. No wonder your body is designed to experience a natural temperature dip at nighttime, says Medalie. If the room is too hot or you’re wrapped in too many blankets, your body temperature will rise, and that can make you restless. Power Down Your Digital Devices Save your Netflix binge or email catch up time for earlier in the evening. “The light from the screen of your computer, tablet, or phone is called ‘blue spectrum light,’ and it’s particularly dangerous because it tells the brain to stop secreting melatonin,” says Medalie. “Even a few minutes of exposure to it signals your brain to stay awake.” Keep Out of the Kitchen Finish dinner no later than three hours before bedtime, so you give your stomach time to digest, and you won’t be kept awake by heartburn, gas, or a sugar- or caffeine-fueled energy surge. One exception: if your appetite kicks in again. “Going to bed hungry can keep you awake, so grab a small snack that’s part protein, part complex carbs with no added sugar, caffeine, or anything spicy, which can block sleep,” says Medalie. Good choices: a couple of pieces of jerky, a banana or apple, or a handful or two of nuts. Make Last Call a Lot Earlier Alcohol plays a nasty trick on your body. Drinking within three hours of bedtime helps you nod off — booze is a depressant, after all. But once the alcohol is metabolized hours later, you’re more likely to wake up or start tossing and turning, says Medalie. That’s because while any amount of alcohol can increase short-wave sleep — the kind you get in the first half of the night that repairs body tissues and boost your immune system — it can disrupt REM sleep, the later sleep stage that encourages learning and memory formation, reports a 2013 review of studies from the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Face Your Alarm Clock to the Wall Nothing sets you up for insomnia quite like watching the minutes tick away on your alarm clock as you lie in bed, growing increasingly more anxious as you wait for sleep to hit. But if you can’t see the time, you’ll have a smoother transition to dreamland. The other thing is, even the light from your clock’s LED display is enough to put the brakes on melatonin production, says Medalie. As long as you can hear the alarm in the morning, you don’t need to actually see the numbers.

The Sleep Doctor in Your Pocket

How smartphone apps are changing behavioral sleep medicine. DrLullaby is featured in this Sleep Review article about its goals and capabilities. Another digital platform, DrLullaby, is currently in development. It’s focused on pediatrics, an even more underserved population, says the developer Lisa Medalie, PsyD, who also serves as the director of the University of Chicago’s Pediatric Insomnia Program. The digital platform helps parents establish sleep goals for their children. It will be available directly to individuals, but Medalie hopes that clinicians also see the value in DrLullaby and recommend it to their patients. Apps are also tackling other common problems that behavioral sleep medicine providers face. Providers often have trouble with patients forgetting their paper sleep log at home, an essential part of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, says Blackburn.

Downtown snooze studio offers power naps for $20

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Chicago Tribune article, explaining why deep sleep is more important than napping and how to nap in a way that won't affect your nighttime sleep. “First and foremost, try and get more sleep at night,” said Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at University of Chicago Medicine. “If there’s no way you can fit in more sleep at night because of your busy schedule — and as long as you don’t have insomnia — taking brief nap before 2 p.m. can help you get through the rest of your day.” A nap should be 20 to 30 minutes, she said, recommending napping before 2 p.m. so it won’t interfere with nighttime sleep. Excessive daytime sleepiness — which often peaks after lunch — can make people vulnerable to problems with cognitive functions such as concentration, and speed and response time, in addition to affecting mood and appetite, Medalie said. But a nap is a Band-Aid approach to getting enough rest for your body, said Medalie, who added that getting more consecutive hours of nighttime sleep is better than an afternoon nap.

11 important ways to keep well in 2020

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this 7 News Lifestyle article, about why sleep is important and ways to get it. SLEEP “Optimal sleep helps regulate mood, improve brain function and increase energy and overall productivity during the day,” University of Chicago Medicine Behavioural Sleep Specialist Lisa Medalie explains. Try to wind down with a book, listen to calming music and aim for 7-9 hours of shut-eye a night.

How nurses can get better sleep during COVID times

Like so many issues during the pandemic, sleep is not one nurses can afford to let slide DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this AJC article, giving tips for getting better sleep to nurses working in this tough time. Sleep tips for nurses working into the wee hours Could this list get any longer? Well, yes, You and your wide awake self are also coping with the loss of daytime structure that “can upset nighttime sleep schedules,” according to board-certified clinical psychologist Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine. She wrote in the UChicago Medicine blog, “Inconsistent bedtimes and wake times can shift the pressure, or urge, to sleep, making the ability to fall asleep less predictable. Finally, depressed mood, more downtime and low energy can increase long napping, making it harder to fall asleep at night.” “It’s not easy to function at our best without easy access to our usual coping skills (e.g., social support, exercise, etc.) while sheltering in place,” Medalie explained. “Adequate sleep can maximize your potential for having better days under these circumstances. Optimal sleep helps regulate mood, improve brain function, and increase energy and overall productivity during the day.” Rough night? Veteran nurses on how to bounce back after a tough shift And look at sticking to a schedule the rest of the day as much as possible, too, Medalie added. “Commit to daily activities (e.g., exercise, meals, socializing) at certain times to build structure to your days. This will support a regular bedtime and wake time,” she said. “Set cell phone reminders to anchor your schedule, and as a reminder to turn off screens an hour before bedtime.” Stay away from electronics close to bed, especially news updates. “People are spending every waking moment getting one last look at their screens (news updates, COVID-19 education, social connections),” Medalie added. “The blue light from these screens tells the brain to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, which can lead to trouble falling asleep.” Coffee, friend or foe for the night shift nurses? Don’t weaponize sleep. It’s important to remind yourself that while more sleep sure would be nice, you don’t have superpowers to guarantee that outcome. Try doing your best, but realize you might have to accept less than complete success. “While sleep is important, try not to fret about it!” Medalie advised. “Worrying about sleep just turns into more stress. Instead, just do your best to get to bed on time and follow these tips if there are problems. Remember to always come back to ‘controlling the controllables.’ You can’t control the outcome of your efforts, only the efforts themselves.”

Helping people get some sleep in anxious times will help underserved communities too

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Fortune article, with why sleep is hard to get during the COVID-19 crisis. And yet with the COVID-19 crisis, a good night’s sleep has never been harder to come by. Increased stress, the “loss of daytime structure,” and too much screen time are cutting into sleep, writes Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Google searches for insomnia hit a record high in early April. And many people are seeing an uptick in nightmares, brought on by stress and anxiety.

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