Sunday, November 16, 2008

Get some sleep!

I mentioned in my introductory post that I had been wanting to start this business for a long time. One of the things that jump started me into considering the importance of actually doing so...was learning a few years ago that despite the rigorous physicals pilots must pass, they only live, on average, about 10 years past the (then) mandated retirement age of 60. That is very similar to what happens with professional football players, another group of people who on the outside look healthy but have interesting things happening under the surface.

I started to study sleep physiology and have become very interested in the effects of sleep disruption on health. It turns out that sleep disruption affects hormones in a way that significantly accelerates aging. I wasn't able to find anyone providing a resource on this for people who needed it, like aviation professionals, which indicated that it was time to act on my idea.

The challenging part of working in aviation is that part of what you agree to, when you agree to work in this industry, is sleep deprivation. I can't change that, but I can devote a big part of this business to finding ways to help aviation professionals maximize their sleep when they can do that.

Two weeks ago I taught a class in Phoenix on the topic of sleep. One of the participants shared that it had been months since she had been able to sleep restfully through the night without some kind of medication to help. Yesterday I asked her if she'd tried anything we'd discussed in that class...and she said she'd not had to use her medication for the past 10 days. So it only took a couple of days for what she'd tried to kick in and start to work.

I breathed a sigh of relief! Despite having done this for years, I always fear that someone puts their faith in something I suggest and it won't work. But I'm gaining confidence that this one, fish oil for better sleep, has a lot of power in those who can remember to use it regularly.

The main thing she did was use a "therapeutic" dose of fish oil. Meaning not just a capsule, but a strategically dosed amount. Fish oil is incredibly important for brain function, especially in the region that regulates sleep and hormones. It doesn't make you sleepy when you shouldn't be sleepy, like melatonin, it just seems to help the brain work better at orchestrating important functions like going to sleep and staying asleep.

It's a pretty simple strategy, fish oil is relatively inexpensive, and you can easily travel with it.

The dose my student took was the equivalent of 1000 mg DHA per day. You will have to look at your bottle and calculate how many of your capsules equal 1000 mg, as it varies with each brand, but why not try it and see what happens?

Diane and I are working on a companion website to this blog that will give more detailed information on the topics we chat about here. Our business name is officially Air Vitals. While we get up and running, if you're interested in personally discussing anything nutrition, sleep, wellness related in the meantime, be sure to take advantage of the links to our websites, where you can find contact information. We both do individual counseling live in our Los Angeles and Phoenix offices, as well as web-based counseling if you'd like to take advantage of that.

In the meantime......sweet dreams!

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