Are You Sleep Deprived? Dr. Raj Says Probably So!


Are you sleep deprived? Dr. Raj says probably so!

Dr. Raj Dasgupta completed his Internal Medicine residency at Michigan State University, Pulmonary/Critical Care fellowship at Columbia University, Saint Luke’s & Roosevelt Hospital and sleep medicine fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital. During his training, he received numerous awards including: resident of the year, fellow of the year and the Director’s Award for research. After his training, he worked at Abington Hospital which is affiliated with Jefferson University where he received the faculty teacher of the year.

Currently he is Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) and received the faculty teaching award for the last 3 consecutive years. He is quadruple board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine.

He is an active clinical researcher and currently teach USMLE Step 1, 2, 3, and Internal Medicine Board Review around the world for the past 14 years. His 1st book in a series titled “Medicine Morning Report: Beyond the Pearls” is published by Elsevier.  He currently appears on various media platforms and television shows such as the “The Doctors”, “The Wellness Hour”, “ESPN” ,“Larry King Now” and “You Can Do Better.”

Main Questions Asked:

  1. Tell us about sleep deprivation?
  • People forget that there are 8 hours at night and only focus on doing the right things during the day.
  • Sleep deprivation is often seen as a badge of honor. The number of hours that most people sleep each night on average is actually going down.
  1. What are some of things that happen when you’re sleep deprived?
  • When you’re sleep deprived your body releases a lot of stress hormones which can lead to hypertension which is a major factor of heart disease.
  • The stress hormones also affect your blood sugar levels, making them go up which can also lead to diabetes.
  • Pain is more exemplified when you’re sleep deprived.
  • There is an increased risk of injury in all situations when you’re sleep deprived as well.
  • Sleep deprivation is strongly associated with things like depression which can lead to someone taking medication which can lead to insomnia, compounding the issues.
  • Not sleeping well will also lead to weight gain through an increase in Ghrelin.
  • Your decision making ability will be less sharp and your immune system will be weakened.
  • When you miss sleep you accumulate sleep debt which you will have to make up for eventually.
  1. What can people do when they know they are sleep deprived?
  • If you are napping frequently napping, you are sleep deprived.
  • Automatic behaviour and “sleep starts” are other signs of sleep deprivation.
  • The quality of sleep is as important if not more than the quantity. You have to be getting REM sleep if you want to be restored.
  • Sleep hygiene is how you increase your chances of getting restorative sleep. Avoid technology prior to sleep.
  • Have a set bedtime and waketime.
  • Alcohol may put you to sleep but will also fragment your sleep and make the quality of the sleep much worse.
  • Sleep deprivation and diabetes can become a vicious cycle.
  1. What do you tell people who say they can get by on 4-5 hours of sleep?
  • Sleep is very individualized, if you’re doing great during the day then maybe it’s ok for you but you would probably do even better with more sleep.
  • You have to test and experiment to find out the optimal conditions for your sleep.
  • We should try to keep our sleep consolidated and avoid napping. If you do nap, try to keep it to 15 minute intervals.
  1. What can shift workers do since their sleep schedule is erratic?
  • Do the best you can to get a regular sleep schedule.
  • Good sleep hygiene is critical, keep the room dark and quiet.
  • Medicines should be the last line of defense, avoid sunlight before you go to sleep and try exercising after you wake.
  • Daylight savings is actually a major problem for people who are already good sleepers. Studies have shown that the days after daylight savings time have increased rates of accidents and lower productivity overall.


Links/Contact Info:

Facebook: Raj Dasgupta MD

Twitter: @DoctorRajD

Instagram: dr_raj_

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