How well does a sleep expert actually sleep? Dr. Alfred Wiater gives us a very personal insight into his sleeping habits, reveals his most important sleep tip and explains why even the best sleep expert sometimes has trouble sleeping.
Table of Contents
- Our expert: sleep doctor Dr. Alfred Wiater
- How well do you sleep as a sleep expert?
- Tips & interesting facts about children's sleep
1. Our expert: sleep doctor Dr. Alfred Wiater
Our sleep depends on many different factors and even as an expert in the field you are not immune to a bad night. Dr. med. Alfred Wiater is a smartsleep expert for sleep medicine and health. As a pediatrician and former chairman of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM), he has more than 35 years of experience in the field of sleep and is also very familiar with sleep disorders. Nevertheless, he is not protected from having a bad night's sleep. In our Podcast he told us what helped him get enough rest and what his most important tip for a restful sleep is. We give you an overview of the most interesting answers here.
2. How well do you sleep as a sleep expert?
[An interview with Dr. Alfred Wiater]
You have over 35 years of experience in the areas of children's sleep, sleep medicine and sleep research. How well do you and your children really sleep?
It is really a misjudgment to think that if you know everything about sleep theoretically, you can also put it into practice. Yes, our children all slept badly and we were annoyed by it too. This may have also contributed to the fact that some important connections and recommendations became clear to me afterwards, even if my own children were not able to benefit from it.
And what about your own sleep?
My personal sleeping behavior was very changeable. In the 40 years I've been in the clinic, I've slept pretty poorly. I found myself awake more often because I was thinking about what problems I had brought home with me or what problems awaited me the next day. That was a significantly increased stress level.
In the first few years after I left the clinic, I kept having nightmares about what I experienced in the clinic. That kept me very busy mentally. After I took things a little easier, my sleep got significantly better. Supposedly. Because then there were always external sleep disorders because my wife poked me because I snored. Then the sleeping behavior was not so restful.
Were you able to solve this problem?
My wife worked very hard and for a long time to get me to have it checked out. That's what happened and it turned out that I had severe sleep apnea or - with over 30 pauses in breathing lasting up to two minutes at night and significant drops in oxygen. In retrospect, that explained why my blood pressure was so high and I was so sleepless during the day. So there is so much between what you know theoretically and what you put into practice for yourself. I now receive good therapeutic care and use a so-called CPAP device to support my breathing while I sleep. Since then my sleep has been very restful and I feel fit.
So what helped you get better sleep?
I am very happy that I found the right path to restful sleep with the support of my wife. Snoring is such a taboo topic. Nobody likes to admit that they snore. In old age, just as many women snore as men. This is a very common phenomenon and you simply have to clarify whether it is harmless or something more serious.
How many hours per night do you sleep?
I have a fixed rhythm. I usually sleep from 10:30 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and take a power nap of about 20 minutes every lunchtime. This is optimal for me.
Would you describe the power nap as a secret weapon?
Absolutely! But as an extra portion of sleep and not to compensate for poor night sleep. It has been proven that a short afternoon nap not only helps us regenerate physically, but also mentally and that we are much fitter mentally in the afternoon.
You can read how to achieve the perfect power nap here.
Which Chrono or Sleep type are you?
I'm a moderate early type, so I'm more of a lark.
Do you have a specific evening routine in the evening?
No, I am in the fortunate situation that I can completely relax and do not need any aids such as reading or listening to chill-out music. I usually fall asleep within 15 minutes.
Do you have a favorite sleep tip that you would like to pass on?
Yes, I have. Namely: Preparation for a night's sleep begins with getting up. It is very important that we take advantage of natural morning light early in the morning. Natural morning light has a very high proportion of blue light and this leads to melatonin, our so-called sleep hormone, being blocked. Serotonin, on the other hand, is released, which is generally referred to as the happiness hormone and makes us fit and mentally alert and lifts our mood. You have to use that. The crucial thing is that melatonin is formed from serotonin in the evening when it gets dark. That means we have to think about waking and sleeping, light and dark together. And that's why it's important to enjoy the daylight in the morning.
My tip: You need to spend half an hour outside every morning. You can incorporate this into your daily routine. Then you just ride your bike to work. Or if you take the train, you get off one station early and walk a bit. You can do all of this and it means that we are fitter during the day and sleep better in the evening.
3. Tips and interesting facts about children's sleep
You can find out more about Dr. in our special podcast series on the topic of children's sleep. Alfred Wiater you will learn and receive a lot of knowledge, interesting facts and great tips about sleep and sleep disorders in children. Would you like to listen in? Click here for the podcast ➨
Greetings and see you next time!