Friday, January 25, 2008

Terry M. Brown, DO, ABSM, Puts Positive Spin on Clinton Nap Media Fiasco

There must not have been anything sensational going on with Paris or Brittney earlier this week. I was most pleased to see a board-certified sleep specialist weigh in with a scientific explanation regarding the recent Bill Clinton nap that was followed by a mainstream media fiasco.

The former president participated in tribute services at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, New York to honor slain Civil Rights Leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday. News outlets appeared to go after the human frailties of the former president with even more gusto than usual -- except for the Monica Lewinsky scandal, of course. Internet video outlets reported that the Clinton microsleeps incident was viewed by an estimated half million people worldwide within 12 hours of the Dr. King tribute. Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III delivered a speech about his father as Clinton fought sleep.

Kudos to Terry M. Brown, DO for being the voice of reason as he commented in a news clip that appeared on WSIL-TV this week. The station’s viewing area encompasses Southern Illinois. Dr. Brown is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) and medical director at the Sleep Disorders Center at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro, Illinois.

Dr. Brown told reporters,

“If you don't get enough sleep, it could lead to an accident, embarrassing situations. Your cognitive functions are diminished. It's one of those things that may worsen your health in the long run...If you know you've been sleep deprived, you can take a short, preventative nap. Then you'd be more ready for a meeting. More able to stay awake. There are some studies that show cognitive function improves after a nap, almost as much as a full night's sleep."Dr. Brown also advises that individuals will know when they are sleep deprived because cognitive function is slower, and they might get the urge to take unintentional naps.

Likely, the former president is fatigued from sleep deprivation due to the rigorus schedule he keeps supporting his wife Hilary on the presidential campaign trail. Other celebrity sensationalisms have clearly taken the place of the Clinton nap story, and it is unlikely that his very public nap will weaken his standing or wound Hillary’s campaign in the least. Some politial rhetoric watchers theorize that Clinton’s human slip gained even more favor with supporters as they may ask, 'who among us has not fought the same fight (sleep) and lost'.
How can the Sleep Community advocate for napping in the frenzy of this non-stop world? I guess it all boils down to our clinical professionals taking the high road and carrying the positive nap message forward through interviews -- such as Dr. Brown did – stating that napping is not a crime. In the words of William Anthony, author of The Art of Napping, “Nappers are never caught napping, because there is no crime to catch. Nappers are merely seen napping.”

As we begin to gear up for National Sleep Awareness Week, it would be responsible of us to also give our attention and support to National Napping Day on March 10, the first Monday after the beginning of daylight savings time.

Be well, Sleep well,

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