Sleep, Obesity, and Post-Millennials—Dr. Conrad Iber—University of Minnesota and Fairview Sleep Center
Improved academic performance, fewer car accidents involving young adults (a major cause of death in this age group), better overall moods, and improved health: we could all agree that these are things that we should strive for, but is there a clear answer as to how to obtain them? What if it were simply a matter of encouraging better sleep habits, and heeding the metabolic and physiological demands of adolescents and young adults? According to Dr. Conrad Iber, this is exactly what it boils down to, which means change is feasible. He explains why that change has yet to see widespread implementation, and what challenges need to be overcome in order for them to happen. The need for change in this respect becomes even more pressing in light of the results of a study out of Fairfax, VA, which showed that adolescents who regularly got fewer than five or six hours of sleep are at a higher risk of suicide. Dr. Iber also discusses the latest developments in sleep medicine, including the increased use of in-home sleep monitoring devices, the prospect of diagnostic monitoring and neuropharmacological alterations to sleep schedules, prioritizing the sleep health of shift workers, weight gain and its contribution to a variety of diseases, and the general trend toward greater acceptance of the importance of good sleep health. Press play for the full conversation.
Adolescent Health, Obesity, and the Latest in Sleep Technology—Dr. Conrad Iber—University of Minnesota and Fairview Sleep Center
Finding Genius Podcast
Dr. Conrad began his career studying patterns of sleep interruption and doing work in various areas of epidemiology, and lately he’s been working to improve population health and sleep conditions while entering the realm of policy and population management within larger healthcare systems. More recently, he’s been working in conjunction with the University of Minnesota on the evaluation of school start time issues and the connection between sleep, obesity, and adolescent health. “Adolescents have by nature a delay in their sleep schedule, beginning roughly around the age of 12…independent of their tendency to surf the internet and study late into the evening, there’s perhaps a stronger drive to go to bed later and get up later,” says Dr. Iber. As quasi-experimental evidence of this, some schools that have tried out later start times have seen better academic performance, fewer car accidents, improved moods and attention spans, and better overall sleep health. Conversely, a study out of Fairfax, VA found higher suicide rates, weight gain, and decreased academic performance among adolescents who regularly get fewer than five to six hours of sleep. So, why haven’t widespread reforms been implemented? Dr. Iber provides the answer to this question and many others, discussing a range of topics to include the latest advances in sleep medicine, such as the increased use of home monitoring and wearable devices to track sleep duration among patients who can’t make it to a sleep clinic for in-house studies. He also touches on the increased emphasis being placed on police officers, health care providers, bus drivers, and other public service members to improve their sleep health. According to Dr. Iber, there is a growing awareness and acceptance of the importance of sleep, which is nothing but positive for individuals and public health in general. Interested in learning more? Press play for all the details.