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The Sleep Doctor

Thursday, 2 November 2006


Getting a good night sleep is very important to how we perform on a daily basis. Today we will be doing a satellite link with Dr. James B. Maas in Cornell University in New York. He will talk about the importance of sleep.

Dr. Maas is Professor and past chairman of the Department of Psychology, and the Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He teaches introductory psychology to 1, 500 students each year and conducts research on the psychophysiology of sleep. Dr. Maas has produced nine national television specials for PBS and his films have won 42 major film festivals. His New York Times bestseller, Power Sleep, is published by Random House and Harper Collins.

Dr. Mass' clients include Oprah, ABC's 20/20, Good Morning America, NBC's TODAY show, Primetime Live, NBC Nightly, World President's Organization, Holiday Inns, MCI Universal Studios.

Maas claims that anyone who sleeps less than 6-7 hours per night is missing a significant amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which plays a huge role in facilitating the workings of our memory and our performance.

In his book 'Miracle Sleep Cure' he presents numerous findings on sleep including:
. Adolescents needs 10 hours sleep a night to be fully alert during the day
. Losing just one hour of sleep per night for a week is equivalent to pulling an all-nighter.
. Sleeping one hour longer per night will boost your alertness by 25%.
. Around 30 million Americans suffer from seep apnea, and people with this disorder are two times as likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack. (Between 85 and 90, 000 Irish people suffer from sleep apnea)
. The parent's of a new baby lose between 450 and 700 hours sleep in the first year of a baby's life.

Some Signs of sleep problems
. Needing an alarm to wake up.
. Being tired, irritable and stressed during the week.
. Hitting the snooze repeatedly.
. Being slow with critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.
. Falling asleep watching TV
. Falling asleep within 5 minutes of getting into bed.
. Needing a nap to get through the day.
. Dark circles around the eyes.
. Feeling drowsy while driving.

Dr. Maas' Golden Rules of Sleep
For people who are experiencing three or more symptoms of a "sleep slump," Dr. Maas recommends they follow these Golden Rules of Sleep:
. Get enough sleep every night. Most adults require seven to nine hours, but most miss that mark. As a general rule, most probably need one more hour than they are currently getting.
. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (without an alarm clock), including weekends and holidays.
. Get a continuous block of sleep. Six hours of solid sleep is more beneficial than eight hours of poor, fragmented sleep.
. Make up for lost sleep.
. Stop smoking.
. Get exercise and keep mentally stimulated during the day.

Further information
Dr. James B. Maas's New York Times bestseller, Power Sleep, is published by Random House and Harper Collins. $13.95 US retail, but cheaper on It was published as "Miracle Sleep Cure" in the UK by Thorstens available to buy for €10.00.