Today’s guest is Christina Pierpaoli Parker, who Deanna recently met her through social media. She is a fifth-year PhD student of clinical psychology, specializing in aging, at the University of Alabama. She conducts research at the interception of psychological and physical health later in life.
Christina always tells patients that to live a long life, you need to get good sleep. There is a relationship between premature mortality and how many hours you’re getting. She discusses the cultural bias against sleep and gives examples of two political figures who didn’t sleep much, later dying of Alzheimer’s disease.
Deanna had always been a great sleeper, but when she was going through her first divorce, she couldn’t sleep. She went to a doctor who prescribed Ambien and stayed on it for about ten years. Christina says that this is a very common story and points out the important concepts of it.
Our brain can create an association of activity in the place we are supposed to sleep, which is called conditioned arousal. Christina gives an example of how she sees this play out with patients and teaches why we must associate our bed with what it is meant for. She explains how to practice stimulus control to improve our sleep habits.
Another way to fix sleep patterns is sleep restriction. Christina gives an overview of this method and says that it should be undertaken only under the guidance of a provider. She also speaks to the link between anxiety and sleep issues.
Christina’s website: https://www.theageambassador.com/
Christina on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theageambassador/
Christina on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ageambassador
UAB Sleep/Wake Disorders Center: 205.930.7714
A summary of Christina’s recommendations: Click to Download
A guided relaxation that Christina recommends: Click to Download
CBT-I Coach app for relaxation techniques: https://mobile.va.gov/app/cbt-i-coach
A sleep diary to monitor and track your sleep: Click to Download