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sleep suggestions?
Jan 22, 2004

Dr. Bob,

I know this might be a dumb question and I apologize. But does sleeping only 6 hours or 9 or more make any difference with the condition? What is your opinion? Do you make sure you get a certain hours of sleep always?

James

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi James,

No, that's not a dumb question, and certainly no apology is needed. As a matter of fact, many people, whether they are HIV-infected or not, fail to get an adequate amount of rest. Getting adequate sleep can be difficult. Our dance cards seem to be well filled these days projects to finish, friends and family to see, 3 hour moves to watch (Lord of the Rings), circuit parties that don't really get going until 2 a.m., etc., etc., etc. In addition to not hitting the sheets as early as we should, there are sleep disturbances that can be associated with anxiety, depression, and/or stress, as well as with the use of diuretics, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, decongestants, cocaine, methamphetamine or certain prescription drugs like Sustiva. So it's not only the quantity, but also often the quality of sleep that can be a problem. Now, how does HIV play into all this? Well, as you know James, HIV is a chronic viral infection. When you have a cold or the flu, what does everyone (including your doctor and your mother) tell you to do? "Go to bed and rest," right? That turns out to be good advice. Getting extra rest helps us cope with the cold or flu viruses and their related symptoms. The story with HIV, also a virus, is similar. The biggest difference between HIV and colds/flues is, of course, the latter are transient, whereas HIV doesn't go away. I feel the old rule about eight hours per night is a good one. Prior to becoming HIV-infected, I didn't get anywhere near that amount. Now that's my minimum! And don't forget, James, I'm talking about hours spent sleeping, not just between the sheets. That's a whole other story.

Pleasant dreams.

Dr. Bob


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