Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, getting enough sleep, feeling sleepy during the day…any of these ring a bell as something you struggle with? If you’re one of the 50-70 million people in the U.S. alone that suffer from a sleep disorder, you can definitely relate. Even if you aren’t diagnosed with a specific sleep disorder, problems falling asleep and getting enough sleep can still be an issue.*

I know I personally go through bouts of difficulty sleeping now and then. Usually, it’s something that lasts 7-10 days, where I intermittently have problems falling asleep at night. I’ve analyzed reasons it could be happening, everything from life changes, the weather, added stressors in my life at the time, diet, and other areas. It’s not always something easily detectable, which can be the frustrating part.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, during the time of writing this post and getting the episode with Dr. Wallace Mendelson ready to go this week, I am in thesleep disorders - the science of sleep - dr wallace mendelson - beyond your past radio middle of just such a stint of sleep struggles. Isn’t it interesting when everything falls into place like that?

Dr. Mendelson joined us back in episode 104, where we talked about Antidepressants, PTSD, and Taking an Active Role in Your Treatment. After that chat, we talked about his work in the area of sleep, and I thought it would be a great idea to bring him back again to talk about this important topic.

Dr. Wallace Mendelson is currently in the clinical practice of psychiatry. He was formerly Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Chicago. At that time, he was also Director of the Sleep Research Laboratory there. Dr. Mendelson earned an MD degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed a residency in psychiatry at the same institution.  He has held professorships at Ohio State University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was Chief of the Section on Sleep Studies at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD, and Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

Among his honors is the William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award from the American Sleep Disorders Association as well as the Special Award in Sleep and Psychiatry from the National Sleep Foundation, and he is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. In 1997, he was President of the Sleep Research Society. Dr. Mendelson has authored or co-authored three books, and co-edited another,  and published over 190 peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of sleep research. 

During our chat, Dr. Mendelson shares his insight about sleep, including some of his research and information contained in his latest books, The Science of Sleep and Understanding Sleeping Pills.

  • When you sleep, it’s a very active time both for your body and your mind, as it goes through many stages while you are asleep.
  • Processing, cataloging, and storing memories, and how emotional healing can also take place during sleep.
  • Can you actually make up for lost sleep by trying to sleep in longer or going to bed earlier?
  • Needing more sleep as you get older, and the difficulty in functioning without proper sleep each night.
  • Types of sleep disorders: including disorders that affect falling asleep, staying asleep, excessive sleep, and abnormal behaviors while sleeping.
  • Therapy modalities available to help with insomnia and other sleep disorders, including CBTI (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia).
  • How phones and tablets can have a dramatic impact on falling asleep and the quality of sleep we get.

Thank you to Dr. Wallace Mendelson for coming back as a guest on this episode of the podcast. Be sure and check out his books, all available on Amazon.

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All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above-mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.


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