Sleep is perhaps the most important vital sign for the human mind. You cannot push the gas pedal if there is no gas in the tank. Poor sleep is associated with almost every mental issue we face today and can impact mood, anxiety, attention and focus, memory, and impulse control. A good understanding of sleep is the basis of all the work we do at SiliconPsych. Sleep, so often, is the tip of the iceberg.
This video is part two of twenty-six excerpts from a presentation hosted by SOUL Food Salon in March 2019.
I’m a sleep, doctor, so I’ve got to focus on sleep, and I can’t say this enough: If there’s anything you take home from the lecture today, please realize that in the fuzzy realm of the art and science of psychiatry, the only vital sign that we have that is objective is sleep. Really think about that for a second.
Internal medicine can check your temperature, they can check your blood pressure, they can check your cholesterol, and they can treat the number. In psychiatry, we do not have any numbers to treat. Everything is self-report. Everything is how you felt, and that can get a little subjective. We’re going to go into why in a little bit.
I can’t emphasize enough that sleep really should be considered a vital sign. It’s so important in everything that we do. I tell everybody that if sleep is off, look deeper. There is likely something else off as well. It’s very rare that sleep is just off by itself in isolation.