Two Reasons Why the Sugar in Alcohol is Not So Sweet

Two Reasons Why the Sugar in Alcohol is Not So Sweet

Did you know there is a connection between nutrition and sleep? Did you know that consuming sugar can result in sleep disruption, particularly within 2-4 hours prior to going to bed? In a previous post (The Hidden Effects of Drinking Alcohol), I shared that when you drink alcohol you are consuming a particular sugar that really creates shallow sleep. There are two reasons why this is important. First of all, research demonstrates that sound sleep significantly increases the probability of weight loss due to the hormones released. With sleep, there is a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone related to fight or flight syndrome), better metabolism, and overall, more energy to exercise. So it makes sense that you can lose weight after having more sound sleep. Second, there is a direct connection between what you use to fuel your body and your sleep capabilities. Many of the patients I see, or whom I coach, simply want a “silver bullet” (a pill) to help them sleep better. Sadly, drugs like Oxycontin, the sedative-hypnotics (Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril/Temazepam), and other benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Ativan, Valium, etc.) have highly demonstrated adverse side-effects on brain-chemistry, longevity, and even range of motion for those with pain disorders.  Many physicians are taught to give people these medications, and may not have the time to discuss nutrition and the areas I was extensively trained in. My practice focuses on helping people change their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy methods). I do this by coaching people towards sound sleep, better daytime thoughts and emotions. This results in more optimism and energy to increase their exercise, choose... read more
The Hidden Effects of Drinking Alcohol

The Hidden Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Did you know that drinking alcohol means you are consuming a particular sugar that creates shallow sleep? Drinking alcohol decreases physiologically restorative deep sleep, represses the respiratory center of the brain, can induce apneic events, (we all have these cessations of breath throughout the night), and create the shallow stages of sleep (stages 1 and 2). Although alcohol can put you to sleep, drinking even mild to moderate amounts of alcohol creates more apnea. Heavy alcohol use is associated with forgetting the times you are awake and with poor sleep. This is another reason you feel more exhausted after a period of heavy drinking.  You’re also likely to experience increased irritability (as a result of withdrawal from the alcohol), and feel more scattered, spacey, and generally have poorer cognitive functioning. Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,... read more
How a Psychologist and Coach Can Help You Sleep Better

How a Psychologist and Coach Can Help You Sleep Better

As a Psychologist, Healer, and Executive/Professional Coach for the last 25+ years I have transformed thousands of people’s lives to where they experience physical and emotional well-being, more sound sleep, and/or reduce their anxiety and depression, etc. I have successfully helped patients experiencing insomnia, bruxism, nightmares, trauma, claustrophobia to CPAP, and phobias in general. I do this by drawing on my experience as a sleep researcher at the Naval Hospital, and as the primary Sleep Psychologist and Behavioral Medicine Psychologist at several major medical facilities in the Miami and Minneapolis areas, including the Mt. Sinai Sleep Disorder Center. As a Generalist, I’ve held leadership positions and practiced as a front-line clinician treating those with a full gambit of complicated psychological and physical issues (substance abuse, had serious anger issues, bipolar disorders, psychosis, multiple types of worries, etc.). In my strongest clinical specialty, I’ve observed and treated insomnia patients who experienced symptoms which were only the tip of the iceberg to (an) underlying psychological and/or medical condition/s. Although I serve people as a general Psychologist, I’m most well known as one of the top five Sleep Psychologists in the greater San Diego area. I consistently hear that my warm non-judgmental approach allows me to relate to people from extremely diverse financial, educational, and ethnic (cross-cultural) backgrounds. My treatment approach includes my extensive clinical experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and encompasses the use of hypnosis, rehabilitative strategies, and Positive Psychology principles. Some of the other treatment methods I use include Gestalt, Jungian, and energy therapies.   The 4 Foundations of Well-Being My goal is to provide patients with the ability... read more
How Changing Your Behaviors Changes Your Sleep

How Changing Your Behaviors Changes Your Sleep

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) includes changing thoughts and behaviors around health, sleep, anxiety, depression, etc. Let’s say you tell yourself “I have to sleep tonight, or I’ll have a horrible night” or “I didn’t sleep last night, I HAVE to sleep well tonight.” You’ll have more positive results if you change these negative thoughts with Positive Psychology and mantras into what you WANT to manifest. I often start by teaching my patients and clients the correct behaviors around sleep (Sleep Hygiene) like: no alcohol right before sleep cool and dark enough room winding down prior to sleep Correct sleep hygiene behaviors are all over the internet and they are very helpful. By itself, it’s not sufficient for you to obtain sound sleep. In my practice, I also incorporate hypnosis and other energy work to heal a variety of health challenges. Insomnia is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s simply a symptom. The underlying issue might be trauma, complex types of anxiety conditions, depression, Type-A behavior, burning it at both ends and an unwillingness to wind-down prior to bed. It might also be grief and loss, and medical conditions like pain, thyroid over/under activation, CFS/Fibro, Lyme’s disease, Cancer, and more. I’ve had extensive positive results using these techniques as a psychologist and a wellness and executive coach. I’ve worked with executives going through all the above issues to create more balance and joy, and less anxiety, anger, and depression. This results in improved mental clarity and productivity, and an overall increase in the quality of life. Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available... read more
4 Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

4 Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorder treatments fall into a variety of categories, including: sleep hygiene psychotherapy medications (from mild over-the-counter sleep aids to powerful sleep sedatives and hypnotics holistic approaches It is not uncommon for two or more treatment approaches to be used concurrently. Let’s look at each option in more detail. Sleep Hygiene Sleep hygiene is defined as the various practices put into place to support healthy, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness (National Sleep Foundation). It includes habits such as avoiding napping; decreasing or eliminating stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol; getting enough exercise; establishing a bedtime routine; and arranging the bedroom for optimal sleep (e.g., decreasing the temperature, eliminating unnecessary light, and removing technology devices). It can also include such practices as avoiding clock watching when in bed, exposing yourself to bright light or sunlight after waking, refraining from large meals before bedtime, and keeping a regular wake and bedtime schedule. While sleep hygiene can help the average person address general sleep difficulties, it alone is not sufficient to overpower the symptoms of major sleep disorders. With true sleep disorders, a combination of multiple treatment approaches earns the most effective results. Therapy Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) looks at the relationships between your mind, body, emotions, behaviors, and illness.  CBT is considered the gold standard of therapeutic care for treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia. This therapeutic approach can help you  make behavioral changes to improve sleep hygiene, while also changing thought patterns to decrease the catastrophic thinking, anger, frustration, or hopelessness that is common if you are struggling with sleep disorders. Therapeutic tools like sleep journals,... read more
The Lesser-Known Impact of Sleep Disorders

The Lesser-Known Impact of Sleep Disorders

In my last post I talked about the four main categories of sleep disorders. Let’s talk about how they affect your life. Adequate rest and sleep are critical for mental and physical health, and are required to function effectively in your daily life. A well-rested brain is necessary for optimal performance in processing, retaining, and recalling information; effective decision-making; storing memories; and managing emotions. A well-rested body is necessary for optimal performance in areas such as quick reflexes, sustained energy levels and energy endurance, and a responsive immune system. If left untreated, sleep disorders and ongoing sleep deprivation can severely affect your mental and physical well-being. You may be familiar with the short-term consequences of sleep deprivation such as increased stress and anxiety, errors in judgment, irritability and other mood problems, decreased performance, and decreased alertness leading to accidents or other traumatic events. Many are unaware that chronic sleep deprivation can have a lasting, detrimental impact on the body and mind over time. Research has shown that sufficient sleep plays a prominent role in long-term health and the body’s ability to ward off chronic diseases and medical conditions. Healthy sleep is a key aspect of chronic disease prevention, while insufficient sleep has been linked to diseases and disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, depression, anxiety, and increased addictive behaviors (NCBI). Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,... read more
The Four Types of Sleep Disorders That Make Life Challenging

The Four Types of Sleep Disorders That Make Life Challenging

“Sufficient sleep is not a luxury – it is a necessity – and should be thought of as a vital sign of good health.” ~ Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS, Director, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. ———- It’s not uncommon for my clients to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Perhaps there is a major life event occurring, or things have been very stressful at work. In these cases, my client’s challenges with falling or staying asleep are short-term, situational, and dependent on external life circumstances. Acute sleep difficulties such as these are vastly different from the chronic and consequential problems of a sleep disorder, which are ongoing and much more problematic. If you’re have trouble sleeping you are not alone. Sleep disorders affect approximately 70 million Americans today (Cleveland Clinic). Sleep disorders are defined as difficulties falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at the wrong times, sleeping too much, or abnormal behaviors during sleep (University of Maryland Medical Center). There are approximately 80-100 different types of sleep disorders that fall into the following four main categories (University of Maryland Medical Center): Insomnia: Problems falling and staying asleep, insomnia can be short-term (lasting 3 weeks or less) or chronic and long lasting, often plaguing a client for months or years. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Problems staying awake, excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by the sleep disorder Narcolepsy. It can also be caused by medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, low thyroid function, or viral illnesses such as mononucleosis. Sleep Rhythm Problems: Problems following a regular sleep schedule, sleep rhythm problems are often caused by irregular sleep-wake syndrome, paradoxical insomnia,... read more
Instead of Asking “Why,” Ask this Question to Improve Your Health

Instead of Asking “Why,” Ask this Question to Improve Your Health

Every week I tell many patients that “why” questions are not important.  Instead, we are going to be working on the “hows” of eliminating, or significantly reducing your insomnia, anxiety, nightmares, depression, or the symptoms associated with your pain challenges. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a powerful group of tools to help you get control over the symptoms listed above. I combine these tools with coaching to help people improve their nutrition, exercise, sleep, spirituality and/or meaning or purpose of why you are on this Earth right here, right now. Freudian principles are quite outdated. I spend about 5% of the initial 3 sessions on the causes of symptoms. Even when someone has serious PTSD, we only spend about 20-30% of the initial time on the trauma. We primarily focus on solutions such as hypnosis, EMDR, EFT, CBT, DBT, holistic strategies, and Positive Psychology. How can I help you get back to control over your life? Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,... read more
How to Have a Great Day When You’ve Slept Like Crap

How to Have a Great Day When You’ve Slept Like Crap

If you’ve had a poor night’s sleep the last thing you should say to yourself is “I’ll have a perfect or incredible day!” This unrealistic self-talk will negatively affect your mental acuity, energy, and mood.  Also, it’s just not being realistic, and you’ll know it. A better choice is to use a sleep mantra.  Sleep mantras combine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Positive Psychology, and can be ingrained in the unconscious under hypnosis. One mantra I teach people to rehearse when they’ve had a poor night’s sleep is “Even though I slept poorly last night, I’m going to have an above average day.” If you can set positive intentions for manifestation, and decrease the catastrophizing and negative prognostication due to insomnia you’ll be more likely to tolerate sleep-deprivation. Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,... read more
Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorder treatments fall into a variety of categories, including sleep hygiene, psychotherapy, medications ranging from mild over-the-counter sleep aids to powerful sleep sedatives and hypnotics, and holistic approaches. It is not uncommon for two or more treatment approaches to be used concurrently. Sleep Hygiene Sleep hygiene is defined as the various practices put into place to support normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness (National Sleep Foundation). It includes habits such as avoiding napping; decreasing or eliminating stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol; getting enough exercise; establishing a bedtime routine; and arranging the bedroom for optimal sleep (i.e., decreasing the temperature, eliminating unnecessary light, and removing technology devices). It can also include such practices as avoiding clock watching when in bed, exposing oneself to bright light or sunlight after waking, refraining from large meals before bedtime, and keeping a regular wake and bedtime schedule. While sleep hygiene can help the average person address general sleep difficulties, it alone is not sufficient to overpower the symptoms of major sleep disorders. With true sleep disorders, a combination of multiple treatment approaches earns the most effective results. Therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy, which looks at the relationships between the mind, body, emotions, behaviors, and illness, is the gold standard of therapeutic care for treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia. This therapeutic approach helps clients to make behavioral changes to improve sleep hygiene, while also changing thought patterns to decrease the catastrophic thinking, anger, frustration, or hopelessness that is common for clients struggling with sleep disorders. Therapeutic tools like sleep journals, cognitive restructuring, guided imagery, and hypnosis can help clients... read more