Vol.13, No. 3
Welcome to the many new readers of Tips and Topics. Thanks for joining the long time readers for the June edition.
David Mee-Lee M.D.
Remember the 1970’s and 1980’s TV series MASH. I’ve always appreciated Alan Alda for making me laugh. However I have come to appreciate Alda even more but for the different contribution he has made today – with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, New York. When he started the Flame Challenge, the goal was for scientists to communicate, succinctly and effectively, to explain science to an 11-year-old.
The 2015 challenge focused on something we all do everyday, for every day of our life. You might think that would mean we’d be both familiar and knowledgeable about something we do everyday. But for most of us, that’s not true. I’m talking about sleep.
It was illuminating to read the top-ranked written answer by Brandon Aldinger, Ph.D and watch the top-ranked video explanation by Eric C. Galicia. These were the winning entries in the 2015 Flame Challenge question: “What is Sleep?”
You can listen to their interviews in the June 5, 2015 edition of Science Friday
Note these tidbits about sleep and dreams written for 11 year olds and the 11 year old in all of us.
Here are excerpts from the winners’ succinct, creative and informative explanations about sleep. Entries were judged by more than 20,000 11 year-olds in schools around the world. Firstly from Brandon Aldinger’s written entry:
First Function of Sleep
Second Function of Sleep
Enjoy the video winner’s short film about sleep and dreams. But here are some excerpts before you see the video.
Eric C. Galicia is a candidate in the Master of Health Physics program at Illinois Institute of Technology. He produced the top-ranked video explanation about sleep, and he did that in just under five minutes. To watch it, click on this link and scroll down the page a bit:
We still don’t understand a lot about dreaming:
Sleep hygiene has been defined in different ways. Here are elements of those definitions along with points about the importance of sleep hygiene:
How do you measure up with these good sleep hygiene tips?
I merged and rearranged into categories the following tips which are excerpts from The National Sleep Foundation http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.htm, and
American Sleep Association (ASA)
A. Regular wake and sleep pattern
B. Food, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
D. Sleeping and Bedroom Environment
Consider your digital devices and their effect on your sleep
In its “Sleepless in America” special series, NBC Nightly News of June 24 reported, “The CDC has called lack of sleep a public health epidemic, and most sleep experts say all our digital devices we’re taking into the bedroom are taking a toll on getting a good night’s rest.”
What you can do to boost your chances of getting a good night’s rest
For your children:
“Start good habits early, especially with your kids. A startling 75 percent of children have at least one electronic device in the bedroom when they sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Create a bedtime routine for that does not involve electronics.”
One of the most gratifying joys of working to attract people into recovery is when they come back and thank you for helping them change their lives. That’s what happened this week as I had lunch with Todd (not his real name). Todd had come back to thank his counselor and care coordinator and tell his story.
Todd is 25. About 14 months ago he was doing $1,500 worth of drugs a day supported by drug dealing and “selling my girlfriend for sex”. When he presented for treatment, he was homeless, penniless and was done with drugs. It was addiction treatment, supportive living in a halfway house and Todd’s daily commitment and active participation in Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous (NA & AA) meetings which brought him a new start to life. With over a year of recovery, he is now:
If you’ve ever been to an AA or NA meeting, you’ll notice it can be a great training environment – for public speaking, humorous and pithy nuggets of wisdom, and inspiring, motivational encouragement for newcomers and long time attendees alike.
Todd, at such a young age and relatively early in his recovery, demonstrated the impact of that “training,” projecting his passion for recovery, which is what AA and NA is all about. As he told his story, Todd shared some nuggets of wisdom I’ll share with you:
What an inspiration Todd was to us! He reinvigorated and re-motivated us to keep attracting people into recovery. Nobody fell asleep listening to this young and grateful man.
Until next time
Thanks for joining us this month. See you late in July.