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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.

Waking Up at 3 a.m. Every Night? Here’s Why, According to 3 Sleep Experts

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Microsoft News Lifestyle article, explaining the effects of too much blue light, jetlag, and sleep hygiene on your sleep. Also, tips for what to do if you can't fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night. 1. You might be O.D.’ing on blue light A better fix than those blue light glasses, which, when worn in the afternoon, won’t make much of a difference? Expose yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning by going for a 15-minute walk, suggests behavioral sleep medicine specialist Dr. Lisa Medalie, PsyD, CBSM. “It improves circadian rhythm and morning alertness, thereby reducing insomnia.” 2. It could be jet lag or daylight savings Traveled recently? This could be the culprit of your sleep disruptions, especially if you changed time zones. Similarly, your body might need at least a few days to adjust when you set your clocks forward or back to account for daylight savings time. This is because your circadian rhythm, your body’s natural 24-hour cycle, is thrown off when you are suddenly trying to sleep on a different schedule, Medalie and Dawe explain—and just because the clock says one thing doesn’t mean your internal clock will necessarily agree. It might take a few days (or even a week) to get back on track. 3. Your sleep hygiene may be crappy Even if you have no problem initially falling asleep, the way you set up your bedroom is extremely important and can affect your quality of sleep throughout the night, Medalie explains. If you watched TV, checked email or played video games within an hour of bedtime, this is likely what caused your sleep disturbances. So, you’re up reading this at 3 a.m.? Here’s what to do: 1. Get out of bed and sit in a chair (ideally one that's next to your bed or nearby) and read a book or magazine for five minutes, Medalie suggests. This is a technique called "stimulus control,” and it’s an effective strategy for insomnia. 2. Normalize the idea of waking up in the middle of the night. Instead of panicking that you're up and can't fall back asleep (ahh, the rolodex of anxiety!!), take a second and tell yourself that this is totally normal. On average, a sleep cycle is 90 to 120 minutes long, so waking up a couple times isn’t anything to stress out about, Medalie assures us.

Digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Comparison Guide

DrLullaby has been added to this Sleep Review post in its digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia comparison guide. Digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is typically delivered via smartphone app or internet browser. Since it increases access, digital CBT-I may be particularly valuable in regions where an in-person practitioner is unavailable.

Do You Have Bad Dreams After Eating Spicy Food?

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Glamour Vitamin G article, to avoid heavy or spicy food 2-3 hours before bed to "cut down on the nightmares!" We only dream during periods of REM, which occur about every 90 minutes. And nightmares just happen to be quite memorable, because they're usually scary enough to wake us up. So when our bodies are working to digest food, there's a better chance our sleep continuity will be interrupted. That's why Lisa Medalie, a clinical associate of psychiatry at University of Chicago, advises patients to avoid heavy or spicy foods within two to three hours of bedtime--to cut down on the nightmares!

How to get more sleep during the coronavirus pandemic

There a lot of bad news about – and quality sleep may well be our best defence against anxiety. Here are some tips to help you doze off in uncertain times, writes Adam Popescu DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Independent Lifestyle article, explaining minimizing distractions before bed, how to sleep when you're not feeling well, and why sleep is so important. Stay informed, but don’t look at the news right before bed “Isolation can increase the desire to stay electronically connected even more,” says Lisa Medalie, a behavioural sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago, who adds that it’s vital to keep disciplined, which helps minimise distractions and regain control. What if you’re feeling sick? “Focus on adequate sleep, stay hydrated, and manage symptoms to recover,” Medalie says. “During this time of uncertainty, work on what you can control: your sleep habits.” So, why does sleep matter anyway? The science is simple, says Medalie: a good night’s sleep supports the release and production of cytokine, a protein that helps the immune system quickly respond to harmful substances known as antigens.

Tips On How To Remember Dreams For Better Health

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Medical Daily Healthy Living article, explaining how taking vitamin B6 can help you remember your dreams and how rescripting/rewriting the ending to your nightmares can make them less scary. Take Vitamin B6 To Boost Your Memory Vitamin B6 has been linked to improved memory retention and better brain health, says Mayo Clinic. Dr Lisa Medalie, a sleep behavior specialist, said on The Dr. Oz Show that vitamin B6 supplements will improve your memory and help you remember your dreams because it increases the level of serotonin in the body, allowing you to have dream clarity as you sleep. Medalie suggest to take half of the vitamin in the morning and the other half in the evening. Reduced Risk Of Obesity And Cancer
Nightmares can cause panic, fear, and loss of a good night's sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, eight hours of sleep is suggested for normal, healthy adults. A recurring nightmare can lead to a series of health problems like obesity and cancer, said Medalie. To prevent these illnesses, she recommends a technique called rescripting — rewriting the ending to your nightmare. The outcome of your dream will change if you repeat the ending in your mind over and over again throughout the day. Facing your fears and controlling your dreams can provide you with clarity of your mind, body, and soul.