How Sleep Doctors Can Change The Way You Snooze


Vitamin ZZZs

There are many things people prepare themselves for when they come to New York—the rats, the garbage, the subway delays. What people tend to forget is that New York's nickname of “the city that never sleeps” doesn't just refer to the fact that this town knows how to party. Sure, the moniker promises that New Yorkers will always be able to find something that’s open at 3am and somewhere to be no matter the hour, but it’s also a warning about, well, the fact that it can be really hard to sleep here. The thing is, until you come to New York, fatigue is just a barely known concept. It takes being woken up every night at 2am by the feral cat cage match on your fire escape—and then again at 4am by blaring sirens and/or the chaotic rumble of a garbage truck making its rounds—for you to really understand what fatigue is.

But while those are just specific to New York, having trouble sleeping is definitely not city-specific. As our world becomes more digitally and technologically integrated, a good night's sleep has become increasingly more difficult to achieve, due in no small part to our rampant use of electronics and devoted pre-bed screen time.

I’m not sure if it’s the aftermath of living in New York for so long, or if it’s related to the recent personal trauma of watching The Machinist, but I’ve recently become obsessed with the idea of learning to sleep better. Which has led me to the maybe ridiculous seeming question: How do you actually get better at sleeping? While practicing (napping) is a great pastime and hobby for which I heavily advocate, I felt like it was only making things worse. But what did I know? And where should I find answers? This is where a sleep doctor comes in.

Sleep doctors, in a nutshell, are specialists that deal with all things regarding sleep, sleep disorders, and sleep conditions. Whether you have an actual medical disorder (sleep apnea, insomnia, chronic nightmares, sleepwalking) or if you’d like to simply improve the way you currently sleep, these specialists can help you achieve a new rested state. 

To get a better grasp on sleep medicine, I spoke to Dr. Janet Kennedy, a sleep specialist with her own private practice in New York, who offers treatment plans, seminars, and classes. Dr. Kennedy described sleep medicine as being “multidisciplinary and [including] specialties in pulmonology [respiratory tract], ENT [ear, nose, throat], psychiatry, neurology, and psychology. Medical doctors treat the physical causes and symptoms of sleep disorders. Psychologists and other therapists treat the psychological and behavioral causes of sleep problems.” Most people initially come to Dr. Kennedy because of “some form of insomnia—either difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. I help people learn how to sleep naturally and reduce or eliminate their reliance on sleep medication.” 

My first course of action was to figure out if it there was a real medical reason that I’m virtually unable to operate before 10am. I always felt weird just saying that I wasn't a morning person because it always sounded like a weak excuse for, well, laziness. As it turns out, though, there are people who are just not good in the morning. This was good news! According to Dr. Kennedy:

There are biological reasons that some people feel better in the morning and others feel more alert at night. However, there are a lot of psychological and behavioral factors that can influence a person's alertness at different times of the day. Practicing good sleep hygiene—which includes getting up at the same time every day, limiting alcohol, unplugging from screens one hour before bed, restricting caffeine to early in the day, and setting up a bedtime routine—will help a person determine whether their behavior is affecting how she or he feels in the morning or whether they are simply not a morning person.

Basically, it might be your lifestyle, or it might be a real biological condition (I am going with the latter). 

Also according to Dr. Kennedy, there are two types of sleep disorders, physical and psychological, and if you have or suspect you might have any sleep disorders of other difficulties sleeping, then you may want to find a specialist especially since “sleep deprivation has serious consequences for a person's health and safety.” Depending on what your specific issue is, there is a different corresponding type of sleep specialist—a pulmonologist or an ENT for snoring and other breathing issues, a psychologist or psychotherapist for insomnia and night terrors. Accordingly, treatment will differ too and can include anything from psychotherapy to medication. But if you're worried about taking pills, many sleep therapists use methods like Cognitive Behavior Therapy to address the underlying issues causing the sleep problems in the first place. Sleep specialists will also help you understand yourself, your sleeping cycles, and what your ideal bedtime and sleep routine looks like. 

Before going to a sleep doctor, though, there are some widely agreed on basic steps that can help you sleep, all of which are worth trying to see if they make an immediate improvement. Things like no technology or screens an hour before sleeping, sticking to a routine, and staying away from caffeine in the afternoon are all demonstrated to help. Utilize online resources if you’re having some trouble, but are not ready to commit to a trip to the doctor. I'm partial to Dr. Michael Breus' website, which is full of valuable and helpful introductory tips and information, a bedtime calculator, product recommendations, and more. However, if sleep (or a lack of it) has become debilitating or obscenely difficult, consider consulting a specialist to help you get your ZZZs.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.