Monthly Archives: November 2015


The Power of Sleep

("Sleep woman" by Aweisenfels - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sleep_woman.jpg#/media/File:Sleep_woman.jpg)

(“Sleep woman” by Aweisenfels – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sleep_woman.jpg#/media/File:Sleep_woman.jpg)

You might consider getting seven hours of sleep each night a luxury, but your body probably needs at least this much to function properly.

“Sleep is absolutely critical to our overall functionality,” said Dr. Helene Emsellum, medical director for the Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders.  “Sleep restores us both physically as well as psychologically. We can take on the next day with a clear head to get to the things we need to do.”

Emsellum says adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

“I like to think of seven hours of sleep as the lower legal limit…. You drop below six hours of sleep a night, we can put you on a driving simulator and you’ll drive drunk.”

Young children need 10-11 hours of sleep, adolescents need 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep a night.

She says our brains need sleep in order to properly store the information gathered each day.

“During the night we have to prioritize information, we need to store the memories we want to keep.”

Learn more in my conversation with Dr. Helene Emsellum

Sleeping your way to your ideal weight

A good sleep routine can also help a person maintain a proper body weight. “Our weight control is based on adequate sleep.”

“The reality is, if you overstay your welcome in wakefulness … and you don’t get your minimum threshold of adequate sleep, a whole system of hormones in your body ….direct the cells to store more calories at any moment in time.”

If you are on a diet but not losing any pounds, you might want to try getting some extra sleep.

Light is not your Friend 

Establishing a healthy sleep routine can be a challenge.

“We live in this crazy 24/7 lit society,” said Dr. Emsellum. “…. it really does take discipline (to get a good night’s sleep). We don’t have ten hours of mandatory darkness our ancestors had 150 years ago at night.”

Because of this, Dr. Emsellum suggests creating a routine that offers ‘wind down’ time that separates day from night. Staring at a bright computer screen too late in the evening can make it harder to get to sleep, so try to log off at least an hour before going to bed. Sleeping in a dark room can also help you get a good night sleep.

This interview was produced by Carolyn Branson. Thanks, Carolyn!


Outsmarting Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Kenneth Kosik, Harriman professor of Neuroscience at UC Santa Barbara, is author of the book ‘Outsmarting Alzheimer’s.’

Dr. Kenneth Kosik, Harriman professor of Neuroscience at UC Santa Barbara, is author of the book ‘Outsmarting Alzheimer’s.’

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More than 5 million people in the USA are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and that number is expected to triple by 2050. While there is no cure for this common form of dementia, experts say there are things you can do to help reduce the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s later in life.

Neurologist Dr. Kenneth S. Kosik has been researching Alzheimer’s Disease for 35 years. The Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research at UC Santa Barbara, and co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute, shares these important tips to help ward off Alzheimer’s.

“Know your Numbers”

“Know your blood pressure, know your glucose or sugar level, know your cholesterol or lipid levels,” said Dr. Kosik. If any of these numbers are abnormal, a person is at greater risk of Alzheimer’s.

If your numbers are off, talk to your doctor about what you can do to get them back on track.  Keeping these numbers in check can also reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Small Changes can make a Big Difference

Adopting these five lifestyle habits can help fend off Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Get your exercise
  • Keep your brain active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Try to reduce stress
  • Maintain friendships

Dr. Kosik goes into detail on these tips, and offers other valuable insights, in our conversation in this Lisa.FM podcast (click below to listen)

You’ll find more valuable information on this subject in Dr. Kosik’s Reader’s Digest story, Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: 8 Daily Habits a Neurologist Swears By.

Pick up Dr. Kosik’s book “Outsmarting Alzheimer’s: What You can do to Reduce Your Risk” (Readers Digest 2015).

Dr. Kosik also blogs at MariaShriver.com