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In this podcast Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD, MPH, DBSM, an Associate Professor in the Division of Public Health, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah, provides an extensive and detailed overview of the various ways that sleep impacts our lives.

Dr. Baron is a clinical psychologist who has been intensely engaged in behavioral sleep medicine for many years, providing cognitive behavioral therapy in her clinic for sufferers of insomnia, sleep apnea, sleepwalking and nightmares, narcolepsy, and circadian rhythm issues.

She provides specific detailed information on how the disruption of sleep and the circadian rhythm can aid in the development of serious medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, and other issues. Getting deeper into the understanding of what circadian rhythms mean to individuals in the larger sense, she explains how we relate to our bodies in terms of sleep schedules and performance, and she discusses the concept of a ‘night owl.’

Being a night owl isn’t really a problem if you are allowed to function as such; the real problem occurs when someone who is a self-described night owl tries to contort their life into the more common 9 to 5 schedule, and potentially compromises the amount of sleep he or she is getting or the quality of sleep in general.

She explains that the alignment of melatonin and sleep schedule is what truly impacts dietary behavior. Those who choose to sleep earlier in their personal melatonin timing may eat more often and thereby consume more calories, and if there is a weight problem there could then be signs of insulin resistance.

Dr. Baron underscores that there can be many contributing factors in regard to weight gain. And while sleep can be a contributor, it is not always the only issue. Dr. Baron discusses an area of her particular interest: sleep technology wearable.

She provides her thoughts on the benefits of sleep monitoring data and the devices that capture the data. She states that while the devices do capture a wealth of data, it is not always clear to individuals as to what they can do with their data. Many times however the data will confirm a user’s previously held suspicions such as ‘I think I’m not getting deep sleep,’ or ‘I feel like my sleep is intermittent.’ Dr. Baron’s research digs deep into the myriad of issues that could interfere with quality sleep and her primary goal is to bring sleep solutions to as many people as she can, to improve their lives and increase the quality of their health.

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