Deep Sleep: Sleep Interrupters

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Each Thursday in March, Alice Park, Time Magazine staff writer who covers health and medicine, talks about sleep. Today's topic: sleep interrupters. 

What disrupts your sleep and what's your strategy for coping?


Alice Park

Comments [31]

nyginko from ny10025

Whatever the sleep disruption, when it is ongoing and continual, night after night, week after week, year after year, the deprivation results in an attack on the health system, on its immune reserves and ability to restore and rejuvenate.
Just as I wouldn't dump my garbage in front of my neighbor's door, just as i wouldn't allow my dog to empty its bowels infront of my neighbor's pathway or door, playing loud percussive electronic media ought to be as restrained as air pollution and other environmental attacks on our health.

I understand that my neighbors (inebrieted and/or stoned) aren't in possession of any reasonable am't of judgement at 2.a.m., like a drunken driver, they are in moments of their very own glory and speed. As one 34 year old told me, when I listen to music I like it loud, L O U D. He said, "I don't care about anyone else." I kept repeating his words in my mind and wondering.

On the other hand there are pillow microphones and head phones for people with any degree of civility.


Mar. 12 2012 12:49 PM
carolita from nyc

Noisy neighbors, and loud music and honking coming from vehicles under my window. I use a "white noise" track on a loop on my iPod. I start it out low when I go to bed, and have to turn it up at around 6am when traffic and kids upstairs start up. Helps a lot.

Mar. 11 2012 05:01 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I have a lot of trouble falling asleep, so this is not really about sleep "interrupters" but I thought I'd share something that recently has been surprisingly helpful, which is an audio download from hypnotist Glenn Harrold called Deep Sleep Every Night. I swear I do not work for him (and am not him). I've only listened maybe 6 or 7 times, so the jury is definitely still out, but all but one time, I was asleep before the end of the recording which, for me, is a huge breakthrough. I wonder what others think about this.

I also have a lot of trouble with nightmares, which sometimes wake me up. Any advice?


Mar. 10 2012 09:38 PM
connie from nj

I fall asleep fine but wake up around 2 or 3 and sleep lightly the rest of the night, waking frequently. Not a problem unless anxious thoughts kick in. Lately I've taken to turning on WNYC when I wake up, just loud enough to understand the words. The focus outward stops the anxiety and allows me to drift back to sleep each time I rise to consciousness.

Mar. 08 2012 12:14 PM
Dr Ed Murach, ND, LAc from North Salem, NY

Response to Maya Geyer (Psychotherapist)

Maya, I've found in my practice that there is a huge connection. Whenever, I work with patients with such conditions, I believe you must look at fundamental physiology first.

Assess for blood sugar dysregulation, excess carbs too late in the evening leading to episodes of hypoglycemia, nutrient deficiencies...esp. magnesium (inhibitory neurotransmitter), poor digestion and the malabsorption of those key nutrients that are essential for our nervous system to function.

In fact, poor sleep causes blood sugar dysregulation.

Mar. 08 2012 11:14 AM
Carolyn from Manhattan

White noise...I use a regular -non ocillating- table fan. Put it on about 15 minutes before you go into the bedroom to the sound waves fill the room...delicious..can't even hear the garbage trucks at 5am anymore.

Mar. 08 2012 11:02 AM
Linda in Manhattan from NYC

Try the Felix Unger fix. Wear a sleeping mask. It keeps out the light of city night sky, LEDs and especially early moring light. I've worn one for the last 35 years in my NYC studio apartment that has a skylight. I couldn't sleep without it. I also wear soft, foam rubber ear plugs. These don't knock out all sound (in case you need to hear an emergency alarm), but simply muffle sound so that noices aren't so distracting and obtrusive.

Mar. 08 2012 10:59 AM
Ellen from Long Island

I learned this very helpful sleep aid from a nurse who had just returned from a conference on sleep problems. No protein several 2 or 3 hours before bedtime. Right before bedtime have carbohydrates. I eat 4 or 5 crackers. I then enjoy a very restful sleep and wake up refreshed. If I skip a night of this routine I see the difference. I wake up during the night and am unable to go back to sleep.

Mar. 08 2012 10:59 AM
george schorr from jersey city

the most common hypopnea symptom is excessive sleepiness, which results from constant sleep interruption. People with hypopnea often have loud, heavy snoring that is interrupted with choking sounds or loud snorts followed by periods of silence, because not enough air can flow into the lungs through the mouth and nose. The periods of silence can last 20 seconds or longer and can happen many times each hour, resulting in poor sleep and reduced levels of oxygen in the blood.

Other symptoms of hypopnea may include depression, forgetfulness, mood or behavior changes, trouble concentrating, loss of energy, nervousness, and morning headaches. Not all people with hypopnea experience all of these symptoms and not everyone who has these symptoms has hypopnea.
[edit] Consequences

Hypopnea is a disorder that may result in excessive daytime sleepiness and compromised quality of life, including traffic accidents, diminished productivity in the work place and emotional problems.

Cardiovascular consequences of hypopnea may include myocardial infarction, stroke, psychiatric problems, impotence, cognitive dysfunction, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and memory loss.
[edit] Treatment

The most common treatment for hypopnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is a treatment in which the patient wears a mask over the nose and/or mouth. An air blower forces air through the upper airway. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to maintain the oxygen saturation levels in the blood. For people with neuromuscular disorders, the most common treatment is the use of BIPAP or other non-invasive ventilation.

Mar. 08 2012 10:57 AM
z magder from toronto

I fall asleep with wnyc on my iTouch. It's on low all night
great swhopw

Mar. 08 2012 10:52 AM
Karin de la Penha from Greenwich Village

Count backwards from a very high number: 32,695, for example.

Take tylenol or advil pm, because sometimes minor aches can wake you.

Mar. 08 2012 10:50 AM
Sebastian from Stamford

Are there any good sleep aides? Whether it be melatonin, or Rx. I've been hesitant to try Rx b/c of the supposed side effects.

Mar. 08 2012 10:49 AM
Dr Ed Murach, ND, LAc from North salem, NY


What is often not mentioned is blue wave-length light. Blue light (present in the early morning light) triggers the sensors in our eyes to wake us up.

Blue wave-length light comes off of our TVs and Computer screens.

2 ways to help:
F Lux app for phones and computers
Limit TV watching

See additional info in the December 2011 Discover Magazine

Mar. 08 2012 10:49 AM
Maya Geyer from brooklyn

Has there been research regarding the role of the nervous system in sleep? It seems that a lot of my clients (i'm a psychotherapist) who deal with PTSD or anxiety suffer from sleep issues.

How about treatments like craniosacral, emdr, etc?

Mar. 08 2012 10:49 AM

Antidepressants suppresses REM sleep. My sleep study had me at 0%!

Mar. 08 2012 10:49 AM
3East Quiet Floor from East Coast

Brian - you jokingly referred to the college students in the experiment who "were so sleep-deprived they could fall asleep after anything" (or something like that)
College dorms are notorious for noise, to the extent that some students end up perpetually stressed about whether they will be able to sleep. Thankfully, I found a designated quiet floor in my junior year. Until then, my room-mates and I discovered that no matter how loudly you blast Pachelbel's Canon to cover up the neighbor's noise, it still sounds quiet. (But now, it tends to put me to sleep at weddings . . . can't win.)

Mar. 08 2012 10:49 AM
frank from new jersey from new jersey

I listen to WNYC all night long using my mp3 player and earbuds. I try to pay attention but quickly fall asleep and sleep like a baby all night long. One suggestion- start BBC World News at midnight

Mar. 08 2012 10:49 AM
Smokey from LES

Much as I love Joe Frank, I rarely make it through the show because the tone of the show puts me to sleep.

Mar. 08 2012 10:48 AM

brian, you'll like this -- i love your colleague leonard locate but there are three of his segments that i've downloaded onto the iPhone -- if i wake up and need to go back to sleep these segments work within two minutes, like butta.

Mar. 08 2012 10:48 AM
chase from Brooklyn

How about hot flashes and stress?

Mar. 08 2012 10:48 AM

I went to the Morristown sleep center after years of chronic insomnia. MD suggested reading : No More Sleepless Nights - and from that I kept a sleep journal and started taking slow release iron for restless leg syndrome. Found my triggers and now sleep very well (in a very short time)- changed my life.

Mar. 08 2012 10:47 AM
Camille Brown from New York City

I had insomnia for years. I had fibroids removed and now I sleep 85% better. Sometimes an underline health problem ruins sleep.

Mar. 08 2012 10:47 AM
Brad from UWS

Sleep disrupter? Five words: Public High School Admissions Process.

Mar. 08 2012 10:46 AM
Stew From Manhattan

Ever since college I've slept with ear plugs - a cheap and effective way to drown out everything! Now I can't sleep without them (9 years later).

Mar. 08 2012 10:46 AM
Susan from Upper West Side

I work with postpartum mothers who have many sleep disruptors. I have found that mothers do much better when they stop using alarms to feed the baby and allow the baby to wake them. Usually when the baby is in the same room as the mom (which actually is the safest option for SIDS) mothers and babies do tend to regulate their sleep rhythms with each other. Mothers also sleep better if they drain their breasts frequently. Counter to popular opinion, mothers don't sleep well when they skip a feeding. They either wake up because their breasts hurt or because their hormones wake them up. The crankiest moms are usually those who are about 4 days postpartum and were told to give a bottle of formula at night to get some rest. They call because they are in extreme pain and they have been deprived of the oxytocin that helps them recuperate from the shock of delivery and the shock of how often infants eat.

Mar. 08 2012 10:44 AM

Role of sexual activity (specifically climax) -- is this not gods ambien?

Mar. 08 2012 10:43 AM
bert from brooklyn

can the guest talk about night sweats?

Mar. 08 2012 10:43 AM
george schorr from jersey city

no mention of apneas...didn't the sleep study reveal sleep interruptions caused by lack of airflow????

Mar. 08 2012 10:43 AM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

I have always, always been a night owl and have never been a morning person, even when I had to leave the house at 6:30 AM for 2 years to make it to work on time. No matter what time I have to wake up, I cant seem to go to bed before 12 AM. Is there anyway to become a "morning person"?

Mar. 08 2012 10:40 AM

pretty good sleeper, but can be kept up with aging-based anxiety; countries to visit, experiences to have, money needed, fear of illness,and running out of time.

Mar. 08 2012 10:39 AM
Pat from Manhattan

The biggest sleep disrupters for me are LED lights on alarm clocks, or notifications on my iPhones and the light it produces so I have to cover all lights and put my iPhone away from the bed

Mar. 08 2012 10:38 AM

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