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...
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,...
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...
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...
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,...
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,...