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HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON
How did you become interested in sleep?
I have always been fascinated by the complexity of brain function and chose neurology as my primary medical specialty so that I could focus my interest on the brain and nervous system. Although we have mapped the human genome and have come to understand and treat many neurological diseases, there are simple, basic, unanswered questions about sleep. Scientists have only begun to tackle the mysteries of sleep and its rejuvenating properties and I am excited and challenged by the opportunity to be involved in this new frontier of discovery.
Do you fall asleep easily or are you a closet insomniac?
No, I am not a closet insomniac but I do need to pay careful attention to my own sleep hygiene particularly allocating enough time for sleep. I really need 7 ½ hours in order to feel good and function optimally and have to keep a tight reign on my evening activities in order to have the opportunity to get the sleep I need. I am very sympathetic to my adolescent patients who just want to answer one more IM before turning off the computer!
What keeps you up at night?
The first challenge for me in the evening is to let go and concede that I have done all that I can for one day. I find it most disconcerting to take the worries of the day to bed with meeither in my thoughts or my level of body tension so I often enjoy a warm shower and stretching followed by a crossword or Soduko to ease the transition from the stressors of the day to sleep.
Dr. Helene A. Emsellem, M.D., with Carol Whiteley