All I have to do is dream

By Karen Kier
Pharmacist on behalf of the ONU HealthWise team

The Everly Brothers released their hit single All I Have to Do Is Dream in 1958. This followed her 1957 hit “Wake Up Little Susie”. The songs were written by the prolific duo Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. The legendary Chet Atkins played guitar for The Everly Brothers on both singles. The Everly Brothers were known as an American rock duo and pioneers of country rock.

“All I Have To Do Is Dream” was the 141st song on the Rolling Stones Top 500 Greatest of All Time. The Everly Brothers were inducted into the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2001 they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The duo reunited in 1983 and toured with the likes of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. The brothers went into the studio to write new music with Sir Paul McCartney, who was a big fan of their music.

When do we sleep, when do we dream?

There are four stages of sleep, including three stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep, when the body begins to relax and heart rate and eye movements slow down. The fourth stage is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which occurs about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. This phase of sleep consolidates memories and where dreams normally occur. A good night’s sleep goes through these four stages. Sleep is an important element of overall health and well-being.

The amount of sleep required varies from 14-17 hours for a newborn to 7-8 hours for an older adult. Most teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per day, adults 7-9 hours. An inability to achieve these goals can have adverse health consequences. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality increases the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and poor mental health.

Scientists have studied the ability to catch up on sleep when you’ve missed a whole night’s sleep. The studies show that while it is possible to catch up on sleep, it is difficult. Sleep experts have found that it takes four days to make up for an hour of lost sleep.

So how about a nap to relieve or catch up on the lack of sleep at night?

If we had asked this question before 2022, experts would have suggested that napping has some overall health benefits. Recent evidence suggests that napping may signal other health problems.

Research published by the Alzheimer’s Association showed a possible link between daytime naps and the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia in older adults. This study followed participants for up to 14 years, monitoring their napping frequency using a smart watch device that recorded sleep patterns. When the researchers analyzed the data, two strong relationships were discovered. The more someone napped during the day was associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. In addition, the length of daytime naps reflected the decline in cognitive function. This study observed behavior over time and was not designed to determine whether napping causes dementia, but rather that napping might indicate other physiological changes caused by cognitive decline.

The American Heart Association (AHA) published a study on July 25, 2022 in the journal Hypertension that evaluated the frequency of napping with health implications in middle-aged European participants. The study evaluated 358,451 people with no history of high blood pressure or stroke from a database. Those who normally napped had an increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and stroke compared to those who never napped.

The researchers suggested that napping in itself is not harmful, but the need to nap due to poor sleep quality is the real problem. This confirms previous studies on the importance of sleep quality.

So how do we improve sleep quality?

The AHA has a program called Life’s Simple 7 Tool that is a good lesson in living a healthy lifestyle to promote heart health. Based on the science behind the importance of quality sleep, the AHA has now changed this to the Life’s Essential 8 tool ( ), which includes sleep. The AHA has good advice on improving sleep quality, including a guide to the basics of a good nap.

You may have seen TV commercials promoting temperature control in a mattress to improve sleep. Well, a 2022 study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that controlling temperature during sleep through the use of a dual temperature zone mattress and selective thermal stimulating pillow improved overall sleep quality for patients. So you’ve got some science behind you, but realize that this was just one 11-subject study. Do more science!

Remember that a nap is not bad, but a nap can be an indicator of poor sleep quality or a change in cognition. The key is to work on sleep quality with 7-9 hours of sleep!

Consult a doctor to discuss options to improve sleep quality, including sleeping habits and medications. So all you have to do is dream!

ONU HealthWise is offering COVID-19 including booster shots Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call the pharmacy to make an appointment for other time slots. ONU HealthWise Pharmacy offers Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Call the pharmacy for more information.

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