“We all have this badge of honor…that we’re going to stay up all night…and we’ll sleep when we’re dead, and it took a really long time for me to figure out that that’s completely wrong and backward and scary and dangerous,” says Dr. Seema Khosla, who now serves as the Medical Director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep. She began her career as a pulmonology resident rather unaware of the critical importance of sleep, as she worked herself to the bone and felt her own sense of honor in doing so. But throughout her career, Dr. Khosla has come to not only realize how detrimental it can be to not get enough quality sleep, but also how connected quality sleep is to pulmonary issues. Among the most common, for example, is sleep apnea, but she discusses that the issues are so much more varied than that, and as such must be addressed on an individual basis. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach at her clinic; it’s about tailoring treatments to each individual’s unique needs.
Dr. Khosla’s insight makes for a compelling conversation that touches on what it’s like to monitor sleep studies, why many people want to avoid them, to begin with, how society, the media, and institutions are experiencing a shift in their attitude towards the importance of sleep, novel ways of treating sleep apnea that do not include CPAP machines, and an exciting prospective feature of upcoming Fitbit products that would further simplify the ability to track sleep and identify the problems you might not even know you have.
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