Podcast Episode 54 | Breaking Down the Value of Sleep

with Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg

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The Prosperous Doc® podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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Full Transcript

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (00:00):

Sleep is one of those things that the harder you try, the worse it gets sometimes, right? So you sleep is one of those things that you have to allow it to happen. You cannot force yourself to fall asleep.

Voiceover (00:12):

From Spaugh Dameron Tenny, it's The Prosperous Doc podcast. Real stories, real inspiration, real growth, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their overall wellness in every aspect of life. Now here's your host, Shane Tenny.

Shane Tenny (00:31):

Welcome back to The Prosperous Doc podcast. My name is Shane Tenny. Glad to have you with us today. And today, we're talking about that precious, but all too elusive part of the day for many of us, sleep. Did you know that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says, getting enough sleep is just as important as eating right and exercising to your overall health. You probably do. Healthy sleep helps the body stay healthy and fight off disease.

Shane Tenny (01:03):

Your health can suffer if you're shortchanging yourself on sleep, which so many of us have experienced over the last couple of years. And for those of you in healthcare and in medicine, you've endured the stress of the global pandemic and the extra demands on your work schedule and your family schedule and the stress causing what is being documented as an increasing lack of sleep. And so that is the topic that we're talking about today.

Shane Tenny (01:32):

I'm excited because today we're with one of the foremost experts on the field, Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, who is board-certified in sleep medicine, serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She's practiced for over 20 years at Charlotte, North Carolina, now serves as the medical director of sleep medicine at Millennium Physician Group in Fort Myers, Florida. Dr. Abbasi, thanks so much for being with us today.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (01:57):

Thank you so much for having me. And Shane, please call Fariha.

Shane Tenny (02:00):

Well, Fariha it is then. I'll start with the softball question on the topic. What about sleep is really so important?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (02:09):

Shane, that is really the million dollar question, right? So we know that sleep is essential for health. We know that it's important for longevity and insufficient sleep causes all kinds of illness. What I'd like to do is break it apart into different categories and talk about what those big buckets are as to why we need to sleep. So number one, sleep has restorative and reparative functions. For instance, we know that certain amino acids and hormones are released in sleep and they help with muscle soreness and growth and things like that. Sleep has a housekeeping function. So there's a system called the lymphatic system, which is a waste clearance system in the brain, which basically eliminates proteins and metabolites that are produced all day long as function and live our day to day life. What's really interesting is that we didn't know some of this when I started in sleep medicine, but these are new discoveries that have been found over the last 10 to 15 years.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (03:11):

The other thing we know now is that sleep is really important in memory and in learning. So if you study something and go to sleep, you are much more likely to remember it the next day versus the all nighters that we used to pull back in med school and college days. So it is better to get sleep. Another one that I think is really important over the last few years, especially with the pandemic going on is that we know that sleep is important for immunity. So for instance, if you have a good night's sleep and then you go get a vaccination, we know that there's a more robust immune response and you can have better vaccine work from that. So I think that's just a great thing to look at it. We know that sleep helps performance, and we know that sleep is important for psychological aspects. It makes us more empathetic. It helps us understand our partners, our coworkers, and our patients better.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (04:03):

So overall we really need sleep to not just sleep well, but to live well.

Shane Tenny (04:10):

Now, the rule of thumb that I guess I've always heard is that you need eight hours of sleep a night and I guess, eight glasses of water a day. Is that true or is it more nuanced than that, and some people really can get by on four or five hours and some people need nine or 10?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (04:28):

So the American Academy of Sleep Medicine usually recommends that we try to aim for at least seven hours of sleep. There is a variation, right? There's a pattern, it's a bell shaped curve, and most people need somewhere between seven and eight hours of sleep. Yes, there are those folks that need a little bit more, and those folks that need a little bit less, but four or five hours is really very, very little sleep and probably not enough for human beings to function well.

Shane Tenny (04:55):

And I mean, in some ways, I guess I'm thinking that some of the science has even showed up just in the requirements of, for example, medical residents and just the demands on their schedule and how that's changed over the last couple decades, right?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (05:08):

Yeah, absolutely. When I was a neurology resident, we did 36-hour shifts pretty consistently. And then, there were some accidents that happened, where residents fell asleep on the way home, and there were some concerns about work safety. And so there were limits that were placed on how long residents can function without being able to sleep. Some of that shifts through the times as new research comes out, we can see that occasionally naps can sort of help out with less sleep during the day for residents. I don't usually recommend naps on a daily basis for other people, but residency is really a very special time so we have to look at that a little bit differently than we do for those of us that are out working in the real world.

Shane Tenny (05:49):

Yeah, I was going to say if there's a subset of the population that has to endure and learn how to navigate changing shifts and changing schedules, it's all of you in medicine.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (06:01):

It's interesting it's not just medicine, right? I mean, we live in a 24-hour world cycle, so there are factories that work around the clock. We have airline pilots that fly across timelines. There are folks at Walmart that work the night shift. And so really, this has become an issue that affects a greater portion of the population than we used to think.

Shane Tenny (06:25):

So on that point and the one you were making just before about napping, what's the difference between, I don't know, say sleeping in sprints, where you get two or three or four hours then work for a while and then cram in a little nap and that sort of thing, versus the benefits of a prolonged seven hours of sleep or something like that?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (06:46):

I think if we can aim for six, seven, eight hours of sleep on a consistent basis, that's better. Human beings do best with routines of some sort. And so if you can keep a regular cycle, that's really, really important. We all have a built-in circadian rhythm, right? A biological clock that dictates when it's best for us to sleep, when it's best for us to eat, when our energy levels are better, et cetera. And so keeping on some kind of a pattern is really the best if you can do it .

Shane Tenny (07:17):

With life getting more and more convenient, I don't have to drive anywhere, I can just order anything I need from my phone and things like that, is the research showing that the increase in convenience is freeing up more time to sleep, or are we finding that people are just more distracted by their phones or Netflix or whatever's available, and so we're getting less sleep?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (07:38):

I think it's really the second one, unfortunately, right?

Shane Tenny (07:41):


Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (07:42):

So interestingly, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine actually did a survey, I think before COVID actually, to see how Americans prioritize sleep. And believe it or not, sleep came up number two, second only to family, right? So everyone said, oh, family's number one priority in life. And then sleep is number two, but we don't act like sleep is number two. Most of us end up scrolling on our social media pages. We are on Netflix, we're watching things and most of us actually don't make sleep a priority like we used to. So I think we're getting less sleep than we used to. Now, what I do love is that there's been more talk about the importance of sleep, right? There's more information available and there's a certain sector of the population that's really taking us very seriously and they're tracking their sleep. We now all have these wearable devices and renewable devices that monitor our sleep. And as people get more involved with that, they're trying harder to make those changes in their lifestyle so that sleep becomes a priority.

Shane Tenny (08:47):

Mm-hmm. What are the trends or has there been, is there recent enough research on the impact that COVID pandemic has had on either the general population sleep habits or healthcare providers?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (09:02):

Yeah, the COVID pandemic has disrupted sleep for many Americans. During the pandemic, there were various different factors. So there was the increased stress and anxiety of not knowing what was going to be happening. There was definitely a lack of regular schedules. So all of a sudden, people didn't have to wake up at a certain time and get the kids to school and get yourself to work, right. You could roll out of bed and basically start working right away or get the kids set up on their computer, homeschooling and go to work. So there was a certain loss of routine that I think really affected the quality of sleep of most Americans.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (09:40):

Healthcare workers, I think were a whole separate subcategory in that, mostly because of their schedules, especially folks that were working in critical care, doctors, nurses, all the healthcare workers and even all the staff at the hospital had different schedules. But in terms of general Americans, there was actually an article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that found that if you queried how many queries there were for insomnia, there was a huge uptick between March and May of 2020 when stay-at-home orders were issued worldwide. So people were interested in what was going on with their sleep and I think they noticed that something was changing in their sleep. They were not sleeping as well, so they were trying to look for answers.

Shane Tenny (10:22):

It seems like almost a self defeating cycle as I just think about how I was feeling and I think so many of us at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, where you're in a state where you have increased stress. And I guess I'm assuming, or at least it feels to my body like I need more sleep, but because of the stress, it's harder to sleep.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (10:44):

Oh, you're absolutely right. I think our factors that affect sleep are very wide. And again, I think the lack of schedules, the stress, the thoughts racing through your mind, the worries about sick ones, loved ones, there were people that lost family members, of course, all of those things impact sleep. So I think you're absolutely right. It's sort of a combination. Now, it's interesting, when we're in a time of stress, especially if you're in a physical stress, for instance, let's say you have a fever, it turns out that our immune system actually sends signals to the body and the brain that we should sleep more because you need that extra rest for your body to recuperate and rejuvenate. So I think it's fascinating that our body wants to do that when it's a physical stress. And yet when it's a emotional or mental stress, then it's more of a tug of war between who's going to win, your thoughts, your bad thoughts, or your ability to try to relax, to get those thoughts under better control.

Shane Tenny (11:42):

For sure. For sure. One of the topics or phrases that we're hearing now is this phrase around COVID-somnia. What is that? And is it different from just regular insomnia that perhaps some of us have experienced throughout our adult lives?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (11:59):

No, that is a great question as well, Shane. So COVID-somnia is sort of a bucket term that we have for insomnia that developed during the pandemic. It is a way to evaluate what has happened to our sleep. So the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in July, of 2020 conducted a national survey. Over 2000 adults participated in this. And it turned out that over 20% of people felt that their quality of sleep and the quantity of sleep was less during the pandemic than prior to it.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (12:29):

When you look back at some of the data from the peak of the pandemic, we think about almost 40 to 50% of us were not sleeping well. But as the pandemic has gone on, I think we've gotten adjusted to it, but those folks that are still left with this, we say that they have COVID-somnia.

Shane Tenny (12:45):

And is the genesis of that just the life stress and the dysregulation that a lot of us were experiencing? Or I guess I'm almost a little surprised just to hear this, the evolution of it, because in many ways I feel like people were, as a general population, able to sleep in later and work from home. Or was it just binging Netflix till midnight that makes you not sleep as well?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (13:11):

Yeah. I think that that lack of routine really affected us. It turns out that sleep is part of our natural biological rhythm. So we do best when we wake up at a certain time and we go to sleep at a certain time. And you're right, all of a sudden, we didn't have to get up and commute to work. We didn't get exposure to light outside by having to get up at a certain time. The kids were doing homeschooling. And so I think the dysregulation of our day to day activities certainly played a humongous role in COVID somnia.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (13:41):

There were all the other stressors associated with it in terms of stress about finances and job loss. And of course, all the health risks that were involved. Early on, we just didn't know what was happening. And then as the COVID pandemic started to go on, there were folks whose family members were ill and we were concerned about them. And we ourselves and a lot of folks got sick in the healthcare field. And so I think it just a combination of all of that.

Shane Tenny (14:06):

And so what do you see as the most acute, or maybe acute is too clinical of a term to use here, but if you're not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis, then what are the side effects that present most often?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (14:25):

Yeah, we can divide up sleep deprivation into partial sleep deprivation, chronic sleep deprivation, and then, total sleep deprivation, which is what we do when we're residents in a sense. But typically, the early signs of sleep deprivation tend to have to do more with mood and memory. We tend to be very irritable. We tend to be sort of short with the people that are around us. It can affect our interpersonal skills and our ability to be empathic towards others, right? So that's a really big, important thing.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (14:57):

As the sleep deprivation goes on, it can affect your health. In other ways. It can definitely cause problems with memory and accuracy, inability to complete tasks with speed and things like that. And then eventually, we think it seems to affect your metabolism. There's increased rates of obesity in folks that don't sleep well or don't sleep enough. There's problems that develop with heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease as well. Lack of sleep seems to cause some inflammation, some inflammatory response, and we know that inflammation is bad for the body. So I think you can see it as a spectrum from very mild to something that can be pretty significant.

Shane Tenny (15:42):

Tell me a little bit, I guess I've never understood the sleep, the cycle or the pattern, what the rapid eye movement and those sorts of things. What happens when you're sleeping and which parts of the... Like you dream during one phase, but that's not the phase that's most valuable or something like that. Can you?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (16:02):

Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. So there are different cycles of sleep and we all cycle through multiple cycles of these cycles of sleep. So for instance, you go to sleep, you go into stage one sleep, you go into a little bit deeper sleep, stage two, then you usually cycle into deep sleep, which is stage three. And then from there, you cycle sort of up towards two and then into dream sleep, right? And each of these cycle lengths is about 90 to 120 minutes. And we repeat that anywhere from three to four times during the course of the night.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (16:33):

What I find fascinating is that early on the dream cycles, the REM sleep cycles are actually fairly short, and as the night wears on, they get longer and longer and longer. And so we tend to therefore remember some of our dreams better, the early morning dreams. If we wake up, we tend to remember those more, we don't remember the early ones.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (16:53):

What's also interesting is you really need a combination of deep sleep and REM sleep to really feel refreshed. Okay? You can't just count on one stage of sleep to do it, you've got to cycle through all the different patterns. As the REM sleep cycles increase, there are certain sleep disorders that are more prevalent in REM sleep and you see those more in the second part of sleep. And so, there's a lot of folks that for instance, have sleep apnea that gets worse during REM sleep. So you see more of it in the early morning hours, and so you have more problems with heart attacks and strokes and things happening somewhere between two and six in the morning. And we think there may be some relationship to hormonal changes that are happening in cortisol levels, as well as the different cycles of sleep that are going on.

Shane Tenny (17:40):

Wait, so dreaming takes place during REM sleep or in the phase after that?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (17:46):

So REM sleep is rapid eye movement sleep, and that's officially known as dream sleep. That's where we seem to have the most vivid, not hallucinations, but the vivid dreams that we see are usually in REM sleep.

Shane Tenny (17:59):

But to your point, I often wonder, like, it feels so real when you're there. And then as soon as you open your eyes, within like a second, you often can't remember at all what happened, or maybe that's just me, but...

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (18:10):

I mean, some people remember their dreams in details and will give you little, tiny, insignificant pieces. And they're like, oh, what does this mean? And what does this mean? And so it's really kind of fun to talk to people. There are some people that can actually guide their dreams. There are some people that can tell themselves what they want to dream about and they actually dream about those things. I'm not that good at that, but it's fun to talk to folks about dreams.

Shane Tenny (18:37):

That sounds like something that would really enhance your practice, if you could help people learn how to direct their dreams. All right. Now, the other one, I'm thinking, why as I'm aging, do I always wake up at 2:30 in the morning for no reason at all?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (18:52):

Well, again, as we cycle through different phases of the sleep cycle, it is actually normal to have a couple of awakenings during the night. Right. And I always tell folks, don't stress out about that. And certainly, don't look at the clock to see what time it is. Because as soon as you start looking at the clock on a consistent basis, it's almost like you train yourself to wake up to see what time it is. So people will say, oh yeah, it's 2:30 and then 3:30 and then 4:30. And I'm like, don't look at the clock. Typically, we end up going back to sleep anyway, and we don't realize that the awakening was very brief and that the sleep was greater than the awakening. We seem to remember the awakenings because we looked at that clock.

Shane Tenny (19:35):

That's actually a good reassuring point. Even though I'm awake, the sleep has been more than the awake. I generally try to like, yeah, just if I get stressed about it, well then I'm definitely not going to go to sleep. So just wake up and just lay there and try to stop thinking about things.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (19:51):

Right. And sleep is one of those things that the harder you try, the worse it gets sometimes, right? So sleep is one of those things that you have to allow it to happen. You cannot force yourself to fall asleep. And so you have to set up the best circumstances to make sure that your environment is conducive to sleep and you have to allow it to happen, naturally.

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Shane Tenny (21:36):

For listeners that are having trouble sleeping or have in the past, how do you know when to get help? And what sort of things can you do yourself, or should we be aware of that can maybe help us get back on track with better sleep?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (21:52):

There are some general guidelines that we give out, and I have a list of good sleep habits that I talk to with my patients. But I feel considering your audience, I'd like to focus in on some good sleep habits for professionals in the healthcare field. I think first of all, we don't tend to prioritize our sleep. We talk about lifestyle modifications for our patients, but then we don't take care of ourselves. We are not superhuman that we can get away with no sleep or less sleep than everybody else needs to get. What I suggest to physicians and other healthcare workers is a lot of common sense, but unfortunately, it's not common practice, right?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (22:32):

So first of all, it is important to try to keep a routine as much as possible. Now, this doesn't work if you're doing shift work or if you're seven days on and then seven nights on and things like that, and you have to figure out how to work that. There's some literature out that shows that switching halfway in between each schedule on the days off seems to help people get adjusted to their new schedule. These days, though, with intensivists and hospitalists, and laborists, I think there's more and more shift work. So those of us that are out in the practice world tend to have more nine to five jobs, but we are also overwhelmed with chart work, family obligations and all of that. So I always tell folks, try to get your work done. If you have to do any work in the evening hours, make sure that you're done with it at a reasonable time so that you can turn the electronics off and get to bed and have a wind down routine and make sleep important. I think that's what it comes down to.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (23:32):

A couple of the other things I talk about often for folks that are not sleeping well is take a look at your surroundings, make sure that it is conducive to sleep. Make sure that it is cold and dark and quiet, if you can do that. The best temperature for sleep is actually down to like 65 to 70 degrees, which is very cold, but people do really well with that. I am actually a big fan of having soft sheets and maybe even a weighted blanket can really make you feel all snugly and sleep. There are some apps that you can track your sleep. And these apps are sort of a double edged sword. Sometimes it's nice for people to track what's going on, but other times, folks get hooked into that and worry about the fact that they're not getting good-quality sleep.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (24:20):

I see it that if patients come in with information, I look at it as a yay, we have a starting point to start a discussion. This is somebody who cares about their sleep, and so let's see what else I can tell them to try to really tweak it so that they can do well.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (24:36):

Light is very important. Exposure in the morning is great for light, but in the evening and nighttime, you don't want too much light exposure. And so again, turning off electronics and winding down is really, really helpful. So those are some of the big issues that I talk about for physicians and for other healthcare workers as well.

Shane Tenny (24:55):

And now, you didn't mention the one that I know somebody is thinking about while they're listening to this. And that is what about the night cap? How do you feel about a little something to settle down before bed?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (25:07):

Yeah, well, I think all substances prior to sleep need to be evaluated carefully. So folks think that a little night cap, a little beverage will help them fall asleep. And in some cases, it can be relaxing and help you fall asleep. But then, it turns out that as the alcohol is metabolized, the rest of the night tends to be more disruptive. So there's more nighttime awakenings and sleep quality is actually worse.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (25:33):

Talking about substances, it turns out that food is important, right? Timing of food. So eating too close to bedtime disrupts sleep. There are lots of different medications that disrupt sleep. And some of them, we don't even think about. So for instance, some of the decongestants. People think, "Oh, this will be fine. I have allergies, maybe I'll just take this medicine with a de component on it." And the decongestants can keep you awake and ruin your sleep. Some people are so sensitive that even eye drops that have some decongestants and can get absorbed and cause trouble with sleep.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (26:08):

So, evaluate the whole picture. And I'm not saying that everybody needs to make all these changes all at once, but pick and choose a couple of changes and see what you can do to try to improve the quality of your sleep.

Shane Tenny (26:20):

Yeah. Now here's my follow up, which is as the father of four teenagers, what's the difference between my teenagers' sleep and a grown adult's sleep?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (26:33):

Most teenagers naturally have a little bit of a delayed circadian rhythm. So I had mentioned the biological clock that we all have. And in teenagers, it is natural for it to be delayed. So they prefer to go to bed later and they prefer to wake up later. And if we just would let them do that, and there was no social constructs that made them get up earlier, that would probably work fine, but they have to get up and go to school. And so on school days, a lot of them are up very early, depending on where kids go to school and what their transportation issues are, so they have to be very early. And then, often, when they're sleeping in on the weekends, it can really disrupt their circadian rhythm and cause problems, Sunday night, Monday night, the first few nights of the week until you get them back on a rhythm and then they do fine.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (27:21):

Now there's a lot of teenagers that can flip back and forth perfectly well, and they don't have any issues with it. But if there's folks that are developing problems with it, keeping them on a routine is really, really important.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (27:33):

For adults, we tend to have pretty regular hours at work, depending on what shifts we work and what kind of work we do. And so, we tend to be more consistent and it's easier for us to stay on schedule because of that.

Shane Tenny (27:46):

So am I helping my teenagers by letting them sleep in until 10 or 11 on Saturday or am I hurting them?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (27:53):

It depends on if they have trouble falling asleep. If they don't have trouble falling asleep, then letting them sleep in a little bit is probably fine. Most teenagers tend to be somewhat sleep deprived. Actually, most Americans tend to be somewhat sleep deprived. Now sleep is not like a bank account, where you can sleep in on the weekends and therefore fill your bank account up and then use it up all week long. But it is helpful to get enough sleep, to have some catch-up sleep on the weekends if the teenagers are not getting quite enough sleep during the week.

Shane Tenny (28:23):

Yeah, is it true? You mentioned just Americans in general. I don't know if it's a global issue or more of an American or just Western culture issue, but in general being sleep deprived. I think I heard last year on an NPR podcast or something, just that I think somebody saying something to the effect, if we all drank enough water and got enough sleep, we'd do away with like 50% of the ailments affecting us. Are those two things that impactful to our health?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (28:55):

Yes. And I think if you add in eating well and exercising, you've got the recipe for good health. You really do. But most of us don't do those basic, basic things.

Shane Tenny (29:08):

Mm-hmm. So when is it time to see a specialist like yourself? If somebody, how do you know when it's not just, all right, a week's pattern of dealing with some life issues or stress or that sort of thing, but I need to go see a doc?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (29:23):

We all have some bad nights, right? It happens. And if we get over it, that's perfectly fine. There are folks that have chronic insomnia. So chronic insomnia is defined as having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for more than three nights a week for three months. So if something's been going on for a long period of time, try to get some help. Also, if you are very sleepy during the day and you're having trouble focusing at work, and especially, if you are the kind of person who has a driving job or a safety concern, where if you're sleepy, get some help. There's a lot of great websites out there. The one that I usually plug is sleepeducation.org. It's for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It has a whole website.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (30:06):

And I don't mind that people will get some information off the websites and try to change some of their habits before they come to see someone like me. But if it's not working, if you need more help, talk to your primary care provider, and then if they feel that you need more care, they'll refer you to somebody like me, and I can help you with more details.

Shane Tenny (30:26):

Right. Because there may be something more significant going on, like you mentioned, sleep apnea?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (30:32):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And sleep apnea is very, very common and it really increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and stroke. And it could cause memory problems and sleep disruption and cause sleepiness and all kinds of issues that are very, very easily evaluated and can be fixed and helped. And so I always tell people, ask for help. That's what we're here for.

Shane Tenny (30:56):

Excellent. Excellent. Well, just having this conversation makes me want to go take a nap. So Dr. Abbasi, let me ask you a question. You've had a great career spanning a couple cities now, from the time you've spent in Charlotte, North Carolina, and now, in Southwest Florida. I realized we all advance based on the contributions of those who've poured into our lives. And I want to give you a chance. Is there somebody you'd like to shout out who's been really important to you in your career?

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (31:28):

Yeah, absolutely. On a professional basis, I'd like to acknowledge Dr. Susie Esther. She's well-known in Charlotte. She's been in Charlotte for, gosh, forever from home mind. She's also past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and I had the great privilege of working with her. She's one of these incredible people that just lifts everybody up. She encouraged me to be active in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. And she actually placed me on a committee that I was not terribly enthusiastic about originally, but it honestly changed my life. And it led to this opportunity for me to be on the board of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. So Susie, if you're listening, thank you for everything that you've done.

Shane Tenny (32:12):

Excellent. Yep. Cheers to you, Dr. Esther. Well, Dr. Abbasi, thanks so much for being with us today, for your insight and your good contribution to the field of medicine and to all our wellbeing. It's great to have you with us today.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg (32:25):

Thank you, very much.

Shane Tenny (32:26):

And as always, thank you for listening. I appreciate you being here. You can track us down on social media channels. If you have any ideas for podcasts or guests, you're welcome to email me directly. It's simply shane@whitecoatwell.com. Thanks. I'll see you back here next time.

Voiceover (32:44):

This episode of The Prosperous Doc podcast is over, but you're not alone on your journey. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists prosper through financial planning for over 60 years. To connect with us, visit sdtplanning.com today and take your financial wellness to new levels. Join us on the next episode of The Prosperous Doc podcast.