Harvard

Division of Sleep Medicine @ Harvard Medical School

GOT SLEEP?
Visit UnderstandingSleep.org for videos, essays and interactive features on sleep: why it matters & how to get it!

November 6, 2019 Announcement
Program in Clinical Effectiveness

The Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness, a joint program of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School & Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is accepting applications for the 34th annual program 

January 10, 2019 In the News
2019 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award

Drs. Frank A. J. L. Scheer, and Steven A. Shea have been selected as recipients of the 2019 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by the Sleep Research Society

December 20, 2018 In the News
Emery N. Brown Wins 2018 Dickson Prize in Science

Carnegie Mellon University recently announced that Division of Sleep Medicine affiliate, Emery N. Brown, the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital the Associate

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Harvard CME | Lifestyle Medicine: Tools for Promoting Healthy Change

State-of-the-Art Approaches to Help Patients Initiate and Sustain Health-Promoting Behaviors

This immersive two-day course offers state-of-the-art strategies to guide patients to healthier lives. Education includes evidence-based strategies, tools and techniques to effect healthier changes in patients (and ourselves), including nutrition, exercise, sleep, weight loss, and stress management. This course also provides updates on payment structures that reward clinicians based upon patients’ health behaviors and health outcomes.

Past participants report a renewed passion for practicing medicine and reduced personal stress as they themselves learn to enhance their own health and to serve as role models for their patients.

Overview
Our daily work as healthcare professionals increasingly involves caring for patients with diseases that are ultimately caused by or exacerbated by poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, inadequate sleep, and smoking. Yet professional training does not sufficiently prepare us to leverage our position of trust to help patients initiate health-promoting behaviors.

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Understanding the stress response – Harvard Health

Chronic activation of this survival mechanism impairs health

A stressful situation — whether something environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job — can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes. A stressful incident can make the heart pound and breathing quicken. Muscles tense and beads of sweat appear.

This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. The carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat off or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties.

Over the years, researchers have learned not only how and why these reactions

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Exercise & Fitness – Harvard Health

Exercising regularly, every day if possible, is the single most important thing you can do for your health. In the short term, exercise helps to control appetite, boost mood, and improve sleep. In the long term, it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and many cancers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following:

For adults of all ages

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise like running (or an equivalent mix of both) every week.  It’s fine to break up exercise into smaller sessions as long as each one lasts at least 10 minutes.
  • Strength-training that works all major muscle groups—legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms—at least two days a week.  Strength training may involve lifting weights, using resistance bands, or exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, in which your body weight
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In Praise of Gratitude – Harvard Health

Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better.

The Thanksgiving holiday began, as the name implies, when the colonists gave thanks for their survival and for a good harvest. So perhaps November is a good time to review the mental health benefits of gratitude — and to consider some advice about how to cultivate this state of mind.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether

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