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Getting more sleep ― virtually

Virtual reality is an increasingly popular way to improve slumber, but a UCI Health expert is cautious

January 25, 2024

IN THE NEWS: As getting to sleep and resting sufficiently become more elusive goals for many, some are turning to the latest “thing” — virtual reality (VR). The technology is increasingly seen as an option to improve time to sleep and sleep quality.

the daily beast white words on red backgroundBut VR-aided sleep is not for everyone, cautions Dr. Rami Khayat, medical director at UCI Health Sleep Medicine Services. He spoke to The Daily Beast about the trend.

“Sleep initiation difficulty is a complex symptom that can be caused by numerous medical, psychiatric and sleep disorders. As such, while it is possible that VR-based technology may help a group of sufferers, it may equally have adverse effects on others. Exposure to light close to bedtime can directly delay the time the individual is able to fall asleep on the same night and subsequent nights.”

Khayat is a board-certified sleep medicine specialist and pulmonologist. He is a nationally recognized expert in sleep-disordered breathing.

His research addresses the mechanism of cardiovascular disease in sleep apnea and the impact of sleep disorders on the outcomes of patients with heart failure. He is the author or co-author of many peer-reviewed publications and has received several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and medical device companies.

Khayat has frequently served on review panels for the NIH, the Department of Veterans Affairs and industry. He is currently a leader for an NIH-funded multicenter clinical trial to evaluate the impact of low-flow oxygen on patients with heart failure and central sleep apnea.

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