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Matthew J. Davis, MD, associate medical director and section chief of the neurology division at Sleep Dynamics, discusses the importance of sleep and the sleep-related disorders that many people face.

Dr. Davis has devoted much study to sleep disorders in general, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, and parasomnias. He is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine, and his extensive education includes Vanderbilt University and then medical school at the University of Buffalo. In addition to his work at Sleep Dynamics, Dr. Davis is also a respected Clinical Assistant Professor in Neurology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine.

Dr. Davis talks about his background and the keen interest he has developed in the study of sleep. As he states, the study of sleep is multi-disciplinary; it involves neurology, pulmonology, psychiatry and psychology. Today, sleep is finally being recognized as the truly important, but once overlooked, area that it is. He discusses the technical aspects of sleep issues and the new technology utilized. And as more and more data on the subject is collected, Dr. Davis seeks to use the vast information to improve sleep quality for everyone. He talks about what a truly good night’s sleep actually means. The goal, he says, is not necessarily some externally measured parameter, but is in fact simply healthy sleep that allows an individual to function well the next day. It’s not about specific hours; it’s about an individual’s specific needs, though population data will provide guidelines that are procured from averages.

The sleep expert talks about the impact of new devices and technologies that, surprisingly, aren’t always productive for achieving improved sleep. He underscores that it is not about sleep time, but more about sleep quality. Specifically, he explains that many of the devices people use to measure aspects of sleep are really just accelerometers that measure movement and don’t really provide important data on quality or depth of sleep. He cautions that these consumer devices do not measure all the parameters of sleep in a particularly useful way. From sleep staging to breathing, eye movement, heart rate, etc., there is so much that is not being measured that is critically relevant in regard to understanding whether quality, restorative sleep is being achieved.

The sleep expert talks about home sleep testing versus sleep lab testing, and the various circumstances that unfortunately taint some of the data. And he elaborates on the future of his work and the big areas he wants to make strides in, such as insomnia improvement. Dr. Davis hopes that through further research and testing they can help provide better, non-pharmacological treatments to allow people to find their way back to quality sleep.

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