Why You Sometimes Twitch Awake Right Before You Fall Asleep

By Kate Bratskeir, 01/17/2020

Sleep starts are common in healthy people, but can be exacerbated by fatigue, sleep deprivation or stimulant use (caffeine and beyond), added Alex Dimitriu, a double board-certified expert in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine. For the most part, hypnic jerks are benign and nothing to worry about. But if they’re happening regularly and preventing you from falling asleep easily, it’s worth talking to your doctor, Dimitriu told HuffPost.

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A (Former) Night Owl’s Guide to Becoming a Morning Person

By Harry Guinness, Jan. 16, 2020

Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of the Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine clinic, explained it like this: “Long days leave us tired and exhausted, but the reality is, our days would be less hard, and less exhausting, if we weren’t so tired through them. The trouble with being a night owl is that your sleep gets clipped in the morning hours, where most of the precious REM or dream sleep occurs. Instead of sleeping seven or eight hours per night, most night owls get forced to sleep five or six — with a hard start time in the morning.” Dr. Dimitriu can’t stress enough just how important REM sleep is. It’s “the key to our emotional and creative energy” and comparable to “self-therapy,” he said, adding that it “balances us out in more ways than I can describe” and that without enough of it, our memory and moods take a hit.

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8 Natural Sleep Aids That Will Actually Help You Rest, According to Sleep Specialists

By Kara Cuzzone,  JAN. 15, 2020

It’s no coincidence that you pass out on the couch every time you cozy up with your weighted blanket. According to the National Sleep Foundation, that’s because they decrease anxiety, increase serotonin levels and reduce restlessness for some people. “I’ve had a number of patients report benefit from these,” confirms Alex Dimitriu, M.D., double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine.

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New Research Shows How Sleep Clears Toxins from the Brain

January 14, 2020. Dr. Dimitriu was published in Psychology Today about how sleep clears toxins from the brain.

We’ve long known that sleep is as important to our health as good nutrition and regular exercise. Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to daytime functioning – to our mood, energy, concentration and reaction time and over the long term, it contributes to obesity and the risk of serious illness. But research has found that sleepless nights have implications well beyond making us sleepy the next day. When we go to sleep, our brains go to work, performing critical functions that affect cognition and memory.

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Alcohol-Related Deaths Have Doubled Since 1999, Here’s Why

by George Citroner on January 8, 2020

“I think it’s important to recognize what alcohol is. Alcohol is effectively, in many ways an anesthetic, alcohol makes you feel less, not feel more,” Alex Dimitriu, of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, told Healthline. “The question then becomes, ‘What is it that we’re trying to anesthetize?’ Because I think that these rising rates of alcohol-related deaths and binge drinking are really evidence of a society that perhaps is trying to mask, hide, or run from something,” he said.

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Romantic Relationships: When to Say Goodbye

by Brian Krans, January 8, 2020

Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, said that you can also support your partner by offering “gentle, nonjudgmental supervision and guidance” and encouraging healthy behaviors.

These behaviors include:

  • getting sufficient, regular sleep
  • using minimal substances
  • exercising
  • performing simple, daily mood tracking
  • practicing self-awareness
  • taking medications as prescribed

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Bipolar Disorder Has a Softer Side

1/6/2020. Dr. Dimitriu was published in Psychology on the topic of Identifying bipolar disorder’s “softer side”.

It’s true. Bipolar disorder has a “softer side,” and that’s what makes the condition’s diagnosis all the more challenging in people who have a wide array of what might be considered “finer symptoms.” 

Classic bipolar disorder is characterized by dramatic, extreme mood swings—from high “highs” (mania and hypomania, “I can do anything”) to low “lows” (depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, paranoia). But what about people with symptoms considered more “common,” like periods of anxiousness, sense of uneasiness, irritability, boredom, poor decision-making, and feelings of meaninglessness intermingled with moments of energy and intensity, euphoria, a spurt of ideas, focus, brilliance, vision, and achievement? These are often missed in psychiatric examinations because they are not viewed as a connected whole. They fall beneath what might be called the “threshold of diagnosis,” failing to fit neatly within standard clinical tools like the Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale or the Mood Disorder Questionnaire.

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By Jessica Estrada, DECEMBER 16, 2019

Well, most pressing to note is that although sleep talking may seem like a bit of a strange habit (and probably not one that’ll endear you to any bedmates), it’s nothing to worry about from a health perspective. “Sleep is the most important thing for the mind and should be considered a mental vital sign, like blood pressure and pulse are for the body,” says psychiatrist and sleep-medicine specialist Alex Dimitriu, MD. “Any disturbance in sleep is worth looking into, but sleep talking, alone, is quite normal.”

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8 Wellness Trends We’d Like To Leave Behind In 2019

By Julia Ries, 12/10/2019

On top of that, easy access to the IVs reduces the consequences of heavy drinking. If we’re not paying for our alcohol-infused mistakes with a brutal hangover, how are we ever going to learn? “While likely an effective way to rehydrate, the process of getting too drunk, hungover, to the point of requiring nearly medical intervention, sounds a bit too intense to be healthy or sustainable,” said Alex Dimitriu, a double board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine physician.

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Trapped in a Cycle of Late Nights? Here’s How Sleep Doctors Say You Can Get to Bed Sooner

December 5, 2019 by Caitlin Flynn

Just as light in the mornings can help jumpstart your internal clock, dialing it back can help prepare your body for sleep. “The key is to allow the body an eight-hour window during which sleep is possible,” Alex Dimitriu, MD, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, told POPSUGAR. That means turning off your devices at least eight hours (and ideally more) before your intended wake time, since blue light can disrupt the production of melatonin. “In the absence of such stimulation, people inevitably get sleepy and end up getting more of the sleep they need,” he said.

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How to fall asleep faster, according to sleep doctors

Updated Nov. 13, 2019 By Wendy Rose Gould

You’ve heard this advice ad nauseam, but there’s a reason meditation has been prescribed to treat the human condition since roughly 1500 BCE. “The art of falling asleep is actually not trying so hard,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, MD, who’s board-certified in both psychiatry and sleep medicine. “Knowing how to clear your thoughts and focus on breathing will always help. The trick is to practice by day — not when it’s mission-critical at 3 a.m.” Meditation can be as simple as sitting in a quiet space and taking meaningful, deliberate breaths or listening to your favorite music for five minutes.

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Weighted blankets: what are the benefits, and do they work?

November 2019

“The science behind weighted blankets points to a ‘cocooning’ benefit which may elevate feelings for comfort and relaxation,possibly through an increase in oxytocin, a powerful bonding hormone,” says Alex Dimitriu, M.D., a physician who is board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine. “Additionally, adults may have maintained an association between being swaddled in infanthood and relaxing, which may even go back to our days in the womb.”

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She Thought Antidepressants Would Treat Her Depression. They Didn’t

By Leah Campbell, 11/5/19

“In most cases, 4 to 6 weeks on a therapeutic dose of an antidepressant is enough time to assess if the medication is working,” said Dr. Alex Dimitriu, who is double board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine.  He made a point of explaining that’s only for therapeutic doses, though. “Indeed, most doctors will appropriately start with lower doses to minimize side effects. But these doses may not be effective, and hence not count toward the 4–6 week time period to assess full response,” he said. He also pointed out that some evidence suggests anxiety disorders may take even longer for medications to become effective.

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Light flashes plus cognitive behavior therapy can increase teens’ sleep time

By Marilynn Larkin, New York (Reuters Health) October 4, 2019

Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist in Menlo Park, California, commented by email, “For phase 1, CBT was done over the phone, while in phase 2, CBT was done in person, in the lab; it would be interesting to see what is the ‘minimum’ amount of CBT, via phone or in-person, that would still be effective.” “It would also be interesting to dive into the CBT interventions further, and see which components were most powerful when combined with light therapy,” he told Reuters Health.

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A Patient’s Guide to Pregnancy Insomnia

By Elaine K. Howley, Contributor, Sept. 11, 2019

The simple logistics of growing another human inside your belly leads to a lot of structural changes in the body, which may mean your normal sleeping positions are no longer comfortable. For example, if you prefer to sleep on your stomach, as your pregnancy progresses, you may not be able to assume that sleeping position. This can disrupt your ability to sleep and may make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Dimitriu says these structural changes in your body are one of the biggest reasons why pregnant women experience insomnia. “Being larger and trying to sleep with a big belly can be challenging.”

Click HERE for the full article.