While technology allows us to complete tasks faster, and do many tasks at once, it seems we actually have less hours in a day, and we’re almost never disconnected from our devices. Until we go to sleep that is.

And what’s the single most effective thing for getting things done? Here’s a hint: it’s not a smartphone. It’s getting good quality sleep. While we may feel like we’re just lying in bed slipping in and out of dreams, when we sleep, our body is in fact very much in multi-tasking mode.

During sleep, our body and brain are in repair mode: increasing resilience to stress and injury, reducing pain, regulating moods, diminishing anxiety, increasing memory and learning, and building immune competence.

Wow! Really? All of this happens while we sleep? Yes, but unfortunately many of us are blind to the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Forty-six per cent of Canadians have cut hours from their sleep to add hours to their day and the outcome is, in many ways, costly. Sleep deprivation costs 50-billion in lost productivity per year (US).

While most people sleep well but just not enough, others have trouble sleeping. Whether it’s trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, snoring, nodding off during the day or frequent waking up, Dr. Elliott Lee has heard it all.

As a Sleep Specialist at The Royal, Dr. Lee knows sleep. So when he told the audience at his Conversations lecture on sleep that “There is no surrogate available for good quality sleep,” the importance of sleep was made very clear.

Because sleep is so crucial for our body and brain to perform well, receiving good quality and quantity of sleep has to be a priority. Having fragmented sleep can negatively affect our concentration, attention, mood, and memory.

If you are concerned about either the quality or quantity of sleep you’re getting, Dr. Lee suggests you book a sleep assessment. The Royal’s sleep lab is one of just a few in the country that specializes in sleep and psychiatry.

What happens at the sleep lab at The Royal?

1- First, obtain a referral from your doctor
2- Have your consultation with a sleep specialist
3- Overnight sleep study
4- Data is analyzed by Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGTS)
5- Results appointment with a sleep specialist

We know that sleep can affect things like mood and memory, but just how serious can sleep issues get? Quite serious: , if left untreated, a sleep disorder could result in a heart attack or a stroke, and even death.

Seeing a doctor and getting a referral to a sleep specialist is the first step in receiving treatment if you suspect you may have a sleep disorder.

Dr. Lee’s top 5 tips to improve sleep quality:

  • Get 7.5 - 8.5 hours per night
  • Have regular sleep/wake up times
  • Develop relaxing pre sleep rituals (i.e. a bath, reading, meditation)
  • Avoid naps during day
  • Avoid detriments such as light, stress, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and drugs

  • From Dr. Lee to you, have a good night sleep. View the SLIDES.

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