#325: Kirk Parsley, MD – Stress, Sleep & Anxiety During a Pandemic

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Guest Information


Dr. Kirk Parsley

Doc Parsley is a former SEAL, and received his Medical Degree from Bethesda, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS) in 2004. He served as an Undersea Medical Officer at Naval Special Warfare Group One from 2009 - 2013. While there, he led the development and supervised the group’s first Sports Medicine Rehabilitation center.

Doc Parsley has been a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine since 2006 and has served as Naval Special Warfare’s expert on Sleep Medicine. After leaving the Navy he went into concierge medicine and consulting. He continues to consult for multiple corporations, and professional athletes/teams.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Fear and anxiety about what is going to happen
  • Contextualizing the worst-case scenario predictions
  • The value of sleep in maintaining immune function and health
  • How sleep restriction impacts decision making
  • Relationship between stress and sleep
  • The need to look after our mental health at such a chaotic time
  • Can we re-frame the situation to be more optimistic?
  • How healthcare workers can optimize sleep opportunities in the face of long-shifts, working nights, and facing chaos
  • Why clearing your mind before bed is essential
  • Think about things and tackle your to-do list when you're most prepared: after a good night's sleep

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