Dr. Oz on Sleep: "Please Embrace That Achieving Good Sleep Is Not a Passive Process"

Dr. Oz on Sleep: "Please Embrace That Achieving Good Sleep Is Not a Passive Process"

Catching zzz’s and monitoring sleep isn’t just a trend.


By Hilary Sheinbaum

With everything Dr. Oz does, it might seem like he doesn’t sleep (or at least have time to). But, despite his super busy schedule, the TV personality and MD considers snoozing a big deal, for a variety of reasons.

“We are at a point where we can make extremely significant progress in our sleep health, and it will help all areas of our lives from overall health to weight loss to libido to mood,” says the 57-year-old. “Please embrace that achieving good sleep is not a passive process, but both a choice and a challenge. It’s well worth it.”

It’s such a major priority to Dr. Oz, that he’s started a joint venture, SleepScore Labs, to become the first sleep company to set standards in the $60 billion industry.

In our 1:1 chat, Dr. Oz explained to Personal Space why getting enough sleep is imperative, why monitoring it is significant, and how sleep (or the lack therof) impacts relationships with friends and loved ones. 

Why is sleep so important now, more than ever?

It was always important. I think that we know more about its direct effect on our overall health and more about the actual brain science of sleep now. This has led to an empirical understanding of what we doctors always knew intuitively with our patients, which was that sleep was extremely important for all parts of your health and couldn’t be underestimated. Now we just have the proof. 

How did sleep monitoring become a thing? A trend, if you will.

Technology lets us do wondrous things, and a by-product of all the tech advances embedding themselves in our lives is that cheap and easy technology is now available to the average person. So, we are at a cultural tipping point in that respect. Also, its more culturally acceptable for people to measure and log their activity starting with the prevalence of pedometers, etc. But, the reason sleep monitoring is popular is that you certainly know whether you slept well, but you don’t necessarily know why. The tracking gives the user the insight to figure out their unique reasons for their sleep patterns and their unique pathway to wellness. 

How do sleep monitoring devices, such as the SleepScore MAX, facilitate a healthier sleep schedule? 

The SleepScore MAX is the most sophisticated consumer device available without a prescription. It’s a clinical grade tool with an FDA-approved technology that can used by anyone. It gives you incredible data collected on the most sophisticated sensor, so you have a baseline and critical data points. You then receive your SleepScore which is a terrific way to teach someone their patterns, and then it then suggests various tips to improve your sleep or links you with health care professionals that can give you access to medical care if needed. You can also share the data with your doctor if you wish. It really is the most advanced consumer tool we have for overall sleep maintenance. 

How does sleeping impact relationships — friendships, romantic, etc.? 

At the very least, lack of sleep makes you irritable. Anything that makes you irritable or takes your control away from your own emotions is a negative force on your relationships. You need to stay well so you can navigate how complex human relationships are under the best of circumstances. More severe sleep problems cause other health issues and decrease motivation for all parts of life as you fight the mental fog poor sleep brings. And, of course, if you haven’t slept well, you certainly won’t be feeling romantic. 

How does sleep style — the way you position yourself in bed, or if you’re a morning person versus a night owl — influence romantic relationships? 

Couples need to investigate and acknowledge when they are most alert and their hormones are making them feel romantic. Not all couples are in sync. This is important because people simply have different patterns and it’s not bad or good — it’s something to embrace. 

How much sleep do you aim to get every night? 

You should get between 7 and 7.5 hours. That’s the recommendation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. I have worked very hard to get my seven hours, and I have paid for it on the occasions I didn’t get the full amount. You can’t really get away with less and be productive and at your best, that’s after a lifetime of trying to beat that truth. 

What is your nighttime routine before bed? Why does it work? 

We start turning down the lights in the bedroom 30 minutes before sleeping. We get dressed for bed at least 30 minutes prior to laying down. Most importantly, we stop watching television and looking at communications devices. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom: it’s only for sleeping and romance. 

Where is your favorite place to sleep, besides your own bed? 

I like to be outside on a lounge [chair] in the summer, hearing the sounds of the warm weather. I also enjoy sleeping at our beach house. 

Speaking of sleep: do you ever sing your grandkids lullabies?

I am not much of a singer, however I love to read to the kids. They are at an age where they are recognizing their favorite books. They are so receptive to everything at those young ages, and it’s so joyous the second time around as a grandparent because you don’t have all the other burdens that go with extremely young children. I absolutely love reading books at bedtime to children. 

What are your plans for the holidays? Hibernating, maybe? 

We have family roots in Florida and that has been a great place for the family to gather. We can be outside in the cold weather and there is an opportunity to exercise outdoors which I love. However, this Thanksgiving, we will be staying in New Jersey, as we are expecting our eldest daughter, Daphne, to give birth to our third grandchild, and we will be helping and holding vigil.

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