Guest: Dr. Richard Shane
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Richard Shane, Ph.D., has been a psychotherapist for 35 years. He is the Behavioral Sleep Specialist for New West Physicians, Colorado, with 85 physicians serving over 170,000 patients. From 2010 through 2014, he was the Behavioral Sleep Specialist for Lutheran Medical Center Sleep Center in Denver. Dr. Shane discovered specific body sensations that are neurological switches for sleep. He further researched the neurophysiology of sleep and developed the Sleep Easily Method.
Segment overview: Dr. Richard Shane, Phd, discusses how health professionals are affected by sleep and if “Sleep Easily” can help during stressful shifts.
Health Professional Radio – Sleep Easily System
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Dr. Richard Shane, he’s been a Psychotherapist for 35 years, he’s Behavioral Sleep Specialist for New West Physicians Colorado, serving over 170,000 patients with 85 physicians on staff. From 2010 through 2014 he was a Behavioral Sleep Specialist for Lutheran Medical Center, Sleep Center in Denver Colorado. He’s here today with us to talk about his newly launched non-drug based sleep solution called “Sleep Easily.” And also to discuss how important it is for health professionals in particular to get amount of sleep that they need personally. How are you doing today Dr. Shane?
Dr. Richard Shane I’m well Neal, thanks for having me.
N: As a health professional yourself as most of our listeners are. When it comes to, to sleeping being a health care professional, your job is one of the most stressful that there is. How do you reconcile the problem of sleep having conquered Insomnia? How do you continue to do that and how do you get the word out to others to help them?
S: Well let’s address the unique needs of your health professionals who are listening to this. First, I’ll just mention the damaging effect of sleep that is true for everyone, but then we’ll talk about the specific needs of health professionals. So numerous studies have shown that when you sleep poorly it increases the amount of sickness, risk for weight gain, Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure. It impairs your ability to think clearly, increases accidents, decreases energy and productivity, increases stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, and impairs the quality of your personal relationships. Now on top of that studies show that people who sleep poorly have higher healthcare course. Now, yes that’s a very depressing list but the flip side Neal, is very encouraging and that it’s when you sleep better, that’s one change. That can have a positive effect on all of those areas. So one of the ways I’d like to think of it is so many people in advertising and such use the term “life changing.” Well mostly that’s just a figure of speech but when you go from poor sleep to good sleep, it truly is life changing. One change that affects everything. Now for your health professionals that’s so important for their patients because if their patients aren’t sleeping then their patients are not responding as well as they could to whatever health professional is offering them. So getting patients to sleep better will improve the patient’s lives, and improve the results that the health professionals that are getting. But now let’s talk about the health professionals themselves, being a health professional has its own special stresses because, in addition to regular stresses, you’re dealing with people whose lives are hurting and they’re telling you about the problems in their lives and there’s a lot of stress in that. And so you want to, as a health professional, if you’re not sleeping well, just think of how if it impairs your ability to think clearly, you make poor decisions because of that. That alone impairs your practice so it’s really important for health professionals to get the sleep they need.
N: Now Richard when we were kids, we’re getting at least a good night sleep because our parents are making sure that we get a good night sleep because they need a good night sleep, they’re worried about us at school and different sporting activities after that, so we grow up and we’re sleeping well. We’re in college now and we’re studying. Our best sleep habits do we deliberately implement them in order to accommodate what’s going on in our lives. Are you saying that we can unlearn these bad habits once we’ve learned them or do they just kind of creep up on us and the next thing you know unconsciously we sleep horribly but don’t realize that that’s what the problem is?
S: Well sometimes or a lot of times it is a gradual process of bad sleep habits over time or for a lot of people it’s a particular stressor in life will kick off Insomnia. But the key element here Neal is then what happens after that? So let’s say bad sleep habits and also you’ll find yourself not sleeping well than what most people do understandably is they react to that with anxiety. It’s like “Oh my God I don’t know how to sleep” and that reaction then makes sleep more difficult and just continues the cycle. And so we’re talking about yes it is possible to break that cycle because for most people that reaction is “I don’t know how to sleep. I don’t know what to do to sleep.” And the Sleep Easily System gives people simple steps so you lie there with this confidence like “Oh I know what to do now” and that reduces the anxiety and shows you the way to sleep.
N: You were a Psychotherapist at the time you were having your sleep problems. When you were dealing with folks who are having a problem sleeping and you yourself was struggling with it. How much of a double stressor was that for you when you couldn’t help your patients who were looking to you for help?
S: Oh I did not start working with people who had difficulty sleeping. I didn’t start that until I had mastered my own Insomnia and created this method.
N: I mean but there was never a time when someone said “Hey I’m having a problem sleeping” and you’re like “Oh whatever else you’ve got going on? That’s a problem I have too?” I mean not necessarily discussing it with them but realizing within yourself that they had the same problem that you had and you had not at that time conquered it?
S: Well there was some overlap, it’s true. But I was moving as fast as I could to figure out the elements that would constitute an answer and, and then did.
N: What about sleep medication I mean your new system is non-drug based but are you advocating an elimination of sleep meds?
S: Great question. Sleep medication is very, very useful in a crisis situation for short term use. Even the pharmaceutical companies, they put on their label for short term use only because they know that when you use it over time, two things happen. One is you become used to it and so most people need higher and higher dosages and that becomes dangerous and you also become addicted to it. You can’t sleep without medication and then for some medications there are numerous undesirable negative side effects. So yes, it’s useful in short term with the saying that I kind of go with my life is, “It’s better to sleep with medication than to not sleep. But it’s better to sleep without medication than it is to sleep with medication.” And so with the “Sleep Easily Method” a lot of people are already taking medication and there’s a very clear guideline that how do you work with this? I say “Start by continuing to take same amount of medication, what do it this way, you take the pill and instead of just lying there and waiting for it to take effect use the Sleep Easily Method during that time period”. And what happens is you’ll find that you’d get yourself to sleep more quickly, more easily, you sleep more deeply then was happening just with the medication alone, so that becomes proof, you’re not just being drugged, you are doing something that’s helping your sleep. As you gain that confidence then the sleep guide book that comes with the method, gives you away to very, very gradually reduce the level of medication and you’re able to do that without withdrawal because you’re not just taking away something. You first fill that place within you with a confidence that you can sleep and I always tell people “Reduce meds under the supervision of your physician too.”
N: So you are alleviating some of the fear of that anticipated sleeplessness. You’ve talked about the confidence to find and use those triggers yeah?
S: Yeah and yes the end result is alleviating the fear but it’s not alleviating it through something that I’m saying or some promise or some just idea, it’s people use the method and they start sleeping better and that alleviates the fear, the proof that they’re sleeping better.
N: Now as we wrap up Richard, I’d like you to first give us just one quick example of one of these triggers that we would come to recognize after using your system then let us know where we can get our hands on your system as well.
S: Okay. One physical trigger that’s for sleep and for stress, this is gonna sound unusual but just, all you listening follow me through on this, most people as a reaction to stress what they do is they press their tongue against the roof their mouth. And most people are not even aware of it but doing so, like bracing against stress it actually increases the tension and increases the stress, so we’ll do a quick exercise. You will do not do this on the way to sleep, just see if you can experience it right now. Deliberately press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and make it tense and notice how it takes effort to do that and the feeling that it creates in your head. Now stop doing that, allow your tongue to be a little bit calmer, it can be anywhere in your mouth, it can even be lightly touching the roof of your mouth. But just feel how when your tongue is a little bit calmer, the effect that has in the tension in your head and your neck and your shoulders and when you stay with it longer it just starts to calm your whole body and mind. That’s one example of, and you can continue allowing your tongue to be relaxed while I keep talking. That’s just one example of how clear and simple are these physical triggers for sleep. There’s five of them and then they blend together and create the actual body feeling of falling asleep. You can learn more at sleepeasily.com.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio this afternoon talking with Dr. Richard Shane, Psychotherapist since 1977 and currently Behavioral Sleep Specialist for New West Physicians. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.