By Stacey Zable
If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, you are not alone. According to the American Sleep Association, a minimum of “40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.”
It should come as no surprise that Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, an all-inclusive resort that focuses on fitness and wellness, offers an opportunity for guests to address this problem during their stays. A one-hour Medical Sleep Disorders session may be just what chronic insomniacs may need while experiencing the beautiful 120-acre property in the Berkshires. The 126-room resort is a short drive of approximately three hours from New York City.
Cornelia Lenherr, MD, is one of the on-staff physicians at Canyon Ranch who conducts the Medical Sleep Disorders session. New York Lifestyles had the opportunity to meet with her to discover this unique service and overall good health.
Like any other problem, we start with what brings you in, and there is information to be gathered. We ask about your experiences in terms of issues with sleep, whether you have gotten help, whether you have done sleep studies, and whether devices or agents are currently being used. What we’re looking for is to find out what you are experiencing that’s causing you to feel fatigued. Is there trouble falling asleep? Waking up during the night? Do you wake up in the morning refreshed? And we’re looking at environmental things that play into that. How long do you allow yourself to go to sleep? And most important, do you use an alarm clock or wake up naturally?
What can affect your ability to sleep well at night?
What you do before turning in impacts good sleep. Room temperature is important and should be 64 to 67 degrees. Also, noise, movement of the bed (due to animals, partners, and kids) certainly affects sleeps. Another way good sleep is impacted is through light exposure—the room should be dark.
What are some optimal sleep goals?
Adults should get seven to nine hours a night when there is no other aggravating condition, such as jetlag or illness when they are likely to sleep longer.
Why is sleep so important?
The point of sleep is for the consolidation of memory and to rest and restore brain neurons. It’s a time of body cleansing and detoxification.
Say you can’t fall asleep. What can one do?
We look at what you are doing in the evening, including light exposure and using computers right up to going to bed. Often things that are causing anxiety and worry are thought about when you go to bed. There are so many different directions we can go in.
Is there a good strategy to get back to sleep?
Worrying about things often prevents you from getting back to sleep as well, and that is counterproductive. I suggest meditative breathing and specific kinds of mindfulness that allow you to focus on one thing. One tool I recommend is to count your breaths starting backward from 100. You are not controlling the breaths; you are just counting. Sometimes relaxing music or books on tape help promote the return to sleep.
What would be the next step after a Medical Disorders Session?
We can do overnight sleep monitoring while in your guest room using an FDA-approved portable sleep device that can determine periods of apnea and wake/sleep status. We review the results the next day and offer recommendations for treatment if we find any issues.
Beyond the sleep-focused programs at Canyon Ranch, the resort provides an abundance of fitness and wellness opportunities. Here are just some to consider.
• Seasonal and Outdoors Activities: Choices include kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, indoor and outdoor tennis, pickleball, cycling, forest bathing (Shinrin Yoku), High Ropes Challenge Course with zipline, and indoor/outdoor pool.
• Health & Healing Center: Guests can meet with nutritionists, life management therapists, spiritual wellness experts, movement therapists, exercise physiologists, and complementary medicine specialists.
• Professional “Functional Fitness” Guidance:
Assessments, personal training, body composition test, and equipment are a part of figuring out optimal movement and strength.
• 100,000-Square-Foot Spa: Home to fitness facilities, gyms, classes, salon, and spa treatment rooms.
• Meals and Snacks: Menus feature fresh, seasonal ingredients and New England specialties with healthy, delicious choices.
• Demo Kitchen and Classes: Guests can take home healthy cooking skills.