Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Essential Oils, Heart Attack, Central Sleep Apnea, and more

Sleep doctor ready to answer questions

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Is there any truth that some essential oils can help you to fall asleep?


Yes, most of the concrete work has been done with lavender. Several well-done studies have shown that lavender, whether applied via a diluted spray or a candle or directly on the skin, can help to induce a state of relaxation that may be conducive to sleep

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My dad has had several heart attacks. He has been stented two times. He snores and my mom says he “chokes in his sleep”. His doctor says it’s very important that he be tested for sleep apnea. My dad is skeptical and so far refuses to be tested. Any thoughts?


Yes, your dad’s doctor is correct. Several recent studies have demonstrated that sleep apnea, when untreated, increased the chance of stent closure and new heart attacks by 300%. That means you are three times more likely to have one of these negative outcomes. A simple test and treatment if indicated can prevent this

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My husband recently had a sleep study. He has been fatigued, sleepy, and irritable for the last few years. He was told he has central sleep apnea but no one explained it to him. Can you?


Yes, there are two forms of sleep apnea–obstructive and central. The obstructive sleep apnea is by far the more common. In this disorder, the upper airway periodically collapses and prevents air from getting into the lungs. In the central form, the brain fails to send signals to the respiratory system to breathe. As a result, there is no effort to breathe–as if you were holding your breath in your sleep.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Can computer use before bedtime affect your sleep? My husband has a new job and has been taking his computer to bed. After he turns it off he has a hard time falling asleep. He used to fall asleep immediately.


Great question! Yes, computers, cell phones, iPad, all give off intense blue light. Light in the blue light spectrum shuts down the production of the sleep inducing neurohormone melatonin. In addition, work-related activity in the bedroom is a big no no! It is stimulating and the exact opposite of what you want at bedtime. I would encourage your husband to turn off the computer at least one hour before bedtime.

Dr. Robert Rosenberg, D.O., FCCP, DABSM

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Rosenberg is board certified in sleep medicine, pulmonary medicine, and internal medicine. His book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day  is a best seller. Dr Rosenberg’s latest book is The Doctor’s Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. Visit Dr Rosenberg’s website which is a wealth of information on sleep topics.

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