Vancouver, BC – Many of us will look to the time change this weekend to “catch up” on our sleep. But our body clocks are far too complex to be so easily reset.
“We operate on a on a 24-hour clock,” says Dr. John Fleetham, co-director of UBC Hospital Sleep Disorders Program. “Any change in the body’s routine can cause fatigue and sleepiness. We know increased fatigue is often a factor in motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.”
According to Dr. Fleetham, the three ingredients of a long, healthy life are diet, exercise and sleep. “We tend to focus on diet and exercise, but ignore sleep, which is a mistake, given that 40 per cent of Canadians will suffer from some form of a sleep disorder in their lifetime,” he says.
Poor sleep or sleep deprivation can weaken the body’s immune system, leaving people susceptible to infection, impaired quality of life and mental health issues. Many sleep disorders can be traced to lifestyle such as poor sleep hygiene, shift work and jet lag, but some sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and narcolepsy, require accurate diagnosis and treatment.
The UBC Hospital Sleep Disorders Program is a specialized multi-disciplinary team comprised of psychiatrists, respirologists, a neurologist, sleep technologists, as well as coordinators and administrative support staff. The program was established in 1981 and is about to undergo its largest expansion in 35 years. The new expanded sleep disorders clinic and lab will grow from six to nine beds and the dual-purpose space will be better equipped to operate 24/7.
“We are very excited about the expansion of the new sleep disorders program at UBC,” says Tracey Taulu, Operations Director, UBC Hospital. “The space is very innovatively designed and has the ability to shift from a hospital clinic during the day to very warm and non-clinical atmosphere as a sleep lab during the night. The space will also be fully upgraded in soundproofing and ventilation which will allow for a better overall sleep-study environment for the clients.”
The $3.8 million project was made possible through donations to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is Vancouver Coastal Health’s primary philanthropic partner, raising funds for specialized adult health services and research for all British Columbians. The Foundation partners with donors to drive innovation and sustainable health care at VGH & UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services.
Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Public Affairs Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health