Rotary International

Speakers | Home

Weekly Speaker Program

October 2, 2017: Dr Charles Samuels, Centre for Sleep and Human Performance

Our guest speaker was introduced by Gustavo Jimenez. Dr Charles Samuels, is the Medical Director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Samuels started out soliciting questions from his audience and then proceeded to lead us through a conversation to answer all those questions.

Dr Charles Samuels The purpose of sleep as defined by our group was to restore the body, physically and cognitively; in fact, sleep is the core of human health focusing mostly on the quantity and quality of sleep. Dr Samuels has been involved in a study with the Calgary Police Department exploring the impact of rotating shift work on health and performance of police officers. He has also been involved with an investigation of elite athletes on the relationship of sleep on recovery and performance. Fatigue and weight control effects are some of the symptoms he has identified and explored.

It is basic science that our days and nights are connected. Our body clock is set by sunlight. There is a circadian biorhythm to which our body relates. It is completely normal to feel tired between 2 and 4 pm. Peak of alertness is 6 to 8 pm. If you don't get enough sleep during the night, it is officially all right to nap.

Dr Samuels recommends 7 - 9 hours of sleep for most adults, although this would be individual for each person. On average, each person should get about 50 hours of sleep a week. If you don't get enough sleep you will accumulate a sleep debt. Make that up with a 20-minute nap in the afternoon. There are three sleep factors: quantity, quality and timing. One third of Canadians get less sleep than they should have.

Common sleep disorders are sleep apnea and insomnia. Dr Samuels invited us to come to the Centre if you have sleep issues. There are now many ways to deal with sleep apnea beyond the CPAP machines that are commonly used, including effective surgeries. In addressing insomnia, the Centre does not recommend the use of sedatives or other drugs. They recommend behavioural solutions to insomnia. He stated that Alzheimer's has been linked to taking sedatives.

Optimizing sleep includes routine and taking that afternoon nap. Sleeping on the stomach is discouraged. The optimal position for sleeping is usually the fetal position. The main message: SLEEP IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Q & A revealed the following:

  • Napping at the end of the day is fine, just not too close to your bedtime.
  • It is fine to sleep in on the weekend and take naps to catch up the sleep debt and maintain 50 hours per week of sleep.
  • The Centre for Sleep and Human Performance does not require a referral. Call and make an appointment yourself.
  • The problem in Canada is awareness.
  • The ideal nap is between 20 and 30 minutes, no longer.
  • There is a lot of evidence that the proper amount of sleep is good for the brain.
  • If your mind has been active in the evening, like playing bridge, take time to wind down.
  • Does bad news before bedtime have a detrimental effect on sleeping? Depends on the individual.
  • Does exercise in the evening have a detrimental effect on sleeping? Depends on the individual.
  • What role does injury or disease like arthritis, sports injuries or back pain have on sleep patterns? After 60 years of age, arthritis is one of the main causes of sleep loss and in these cases where other physical issues are involved, drugs would be recommended.
  • Is there any connection with diet and sleeplessness? Yes. The Centre has lots of advice on timing, volume and nutrition.

Terry Felton presented Dr Samuels with our Motive Action-made Boltman and thanked him for a most interesting talk.

  • Gustavo Jimenez, Charles Samuels, and Ben Kormos Gustavo Jimenez, Charles Samuels, and Ben Kormos
  • Terry Felton, Charles Samuels, and Ben Kormos Terry Felton, Charles Samuels, and Ben Kormos
  • Charles Samuels and Ben Kormos Charles Samuels and Ben Kormos

reported by Marie Rickard

Speakers | Home