Although it has been nearly a month since daylight saving time ended, problems with sleep disturbance and fatigue may still linger for many people. Early risers may appreciate waking up to sunlight, but the need to shift into a new pattern of sleep can be very disturbing for others.
“The reduced amount of sunlight exposure and shifting time back by an hour causes changes in the body’s secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake patterns,” said Dr. Joshua Gizersky, of Mount Sinai Medical Center. “This can affect your sleep and cause other subtle shifts in hormones that may contribute to fatigue. You may find that it’s now difficult to fall asleep, that you’re falling asleep early in the evening or that you are unable to get through activities in the evening hours due to fatigue.”
Mount Sinai offers both traditional and integrative approaches to evaluate patients experiencing sleep disorders or extended bouts of fatigue.
“Many people try over-the-counter products, but often find they do not work or have unwanted side effects,” Dr. Gizersky said. “They should be used only under supervision of a physician who is experienced in managing integrative and natural approaches.”
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Gizersky earned his medical degree at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center in New York. He also completed a fellowship in anti-aging, regenerative and functional medicine, which combines the use of bioidentical hormones with supplements to restore wellness and promote longevity and healthy metabolic function.
Dr. Gizersky noted that many over-the-counter products have little or no standardization, have unreliable formulations and often contain much higher doses than necessary. However, a doctor who has training and experience utilizing supplements can direct patients to effective non-prescription options that are produced by trusted manufacturers.
“Taken in small doses, a melatonin supplement may be helpful,” he said. “It should be taken about two hours before your intended bedtime. Melatonin is not a sleeping pill – it functions as a signal that triggers a series of events that inform your body it is time for sleep.”
The recommended dosage is no more than 2 mg, Dr. Gizersky said. Other products that may help induce sleep are passionflower and valerian, he said, adding that patients should check with their physician before adding any supplement to their regime.
“It is very important to discuss use of these products with your doctor, as they may interact with medication you already take,” Dr. Gizersky said. “Some people may need to consider a more specialized approach that includes going to a sleep center, where patients are observed overnight.”
With locations on the hospital’s Miami Beach campus and its Coral Gables satellite, Mount Sinai’s Sleep Disorders Center and Laboratory is available to help identify serious issues, such as sleep apnea, as well as daytime fatigue.
Board certified in internal medicine, Dr. Gizersky sees patients at Mount Sinai Aventura’s multispecialty physician office, located at 2845 Aventura Boulevard, and he will head Mount Sinai’s new satellite office in Sunny Isles Beach when it opens in October 2014. To schedule an appointment at Mount Sinai Aventura, please call (305) 692-1080.
Mount Sinai’s sleep center is under the direction of Dr. Belen Esparis. Board certified in internal medicine and sleep medicine, Dr. Esparis completed her internal medicine training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Her interest in sleep disorders first took her to Stanford University Sleep Center and, thereafter, she completed a one-year fellowship in sleep disorders medicine at Mount Sinai.A prescription or physician order is necessary to receive treatment at the Mount Sinai Sleep Disorders Center and Laboratory. For more information, please call 305-448-9990.
“There are numerous options to help patients overcome fall fatigue,” Dr. Gizersky said. “Mount Sinai offers a variety of options and renowned experts to help patients remain energized and vibrant.”