Dr. Joseph Ojile is a pulmonologist and sleep specialist in practice for over 30 years, based in Saint Louis, Missouri. He specializes in outpatient diagnosis and treatment of sleep and pulmonary disorders such as asthma, COPD, and obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Ojile is the founder, chief executive officer, and medical director of Clayton Sleep Institute (CSI), a sleep medicine clinical and research organization that includes branded and non-branded sleep clinics, an insomnia center, and a research center. 

Email: finderc@claytonsleep.com
Website: www.claytonsleep.com
Phone: 314-645-5855


(Code JSR5)

  Otter.Ai (transcribed)
Hello, and welcome to STL Active St Louis’s premier health and wellness podcast. STL Active aims to give listeners in the St. Louis area the information they need to succeed and progress with their health and fitness. This podcast is brought to you by stlouispt.com and hosted by Doctor of Physical Therapy Greg Judice.

Hey everyone, its Dr. Greg, owner and physical therapist at Judice Sports and Rehab. On this episode of the show, I’m interviewing Dr. Joseph Ojile, owner of Clayton Sleep Institute. In this episode, we talk about the Clayton sleep Institute their research, how they help people sleep health and some myths about sleep health. Without further ado, let’s get into the interview with Dr. Ojile. All right, welcome to the show. Today we have Dr. Joseph Ojile, from Clayton Sleep Institute, welcome.

Thank you glad to be here.

Happy to have you. So I’m excited about this. This is definitely a unique topic for the show. So I’m excited to to get into this. So let’s introduce you to the listeners, tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Well, thank you. And it makes I’m a long, lifelong Saint Lewisan. And so my goal in practice actually was to practice where I grew up. So I went to school undergraduate in Texas, but came back and was privileged to go to St. Louis University School of Medicine, and train there, and had a really unique and wonderful exposure to sleep medicine with some of the pioneers in Sleep Medicine at that time. So from that experience, Incorporated sleep into our practice, and have now made it a dominant focus of my day to day practice. And we founded the Clayton Sleep Institute, about 20 years ago, to begin to provide this sort of boutique, patient centric care to our St. Louis community, because for me, the community are my friends, family and neighbors. And I have a bias that our community should get the best possible care we can give. And so it was a desire to bring a team or team together, that would continue to provide that over the long, the long term. And that includes bringing care for the individual patient, public education, and doing clinical research. So those were really the three pillars that we set out to execute on some years ago. And I’ve been, again, so fortunate to have such a great team of professionals that have allowed us to accomplish some of those goals.
That’s awesome. Do you? What prompted you to start the Clayton Sleep Institute? Right? because, typically, and I will say this, from my experience on the show here, typically people are frustrated with where they are. And that kind of is that that impetus to do something different? Is that similar for you, it was there, there were several factors that are part of the factor of one of the factors for us were, first of all, we’d been involved in helping the team of folks I still work with had been involved in starting many of the sleep labs, in this community, mainly for hospitals. And hospitals have very unique calls to duty and action. But the sleep field is so narrow. And so in a sense, so unique and how the service is delivered, that over a period of time there, the facilities, the way that the carer is provided, didn’t really seem to fit in with their long-term goals. So not you know, from a capital perspective, both human and financial. So we set about looking at a different model. And then several of the hospitals wanted to step out of the business completely, they sought us out and said, We want to close our facility down there were really some unique and in very way very touching situations that were involved in that. And so we just decided that we assembled the group of people we wanted to work with. And in conjunction with those hospitals, initially, we started the organization to provide sleep care to those facilities so that the hospitals wouldn’t have to do it, because the hospital administrators had identified it as such an unprofitable and difficult to operate service. And they and they weren’t necessarily inaccurate in their assessment at that point. So that’s kind of how we started and we started with our three philosophies that I’ve elucidated already. And we got off to a good start. People saw the value, we have experienced people, and right away we had a flow of patients. We started doing education for both the public and for physicians who we start we had a nationally recognized educational conference for sleep professionals here for 15 years. And then we’re doing clinical research. And that has just done nothing but expand over the last few years.
I think that’s huge that that was a win win, right? Because the hospital didn’t want to be in it. And you were seeing the negative side of being within that system. And so by pulling out, you got to do what you wanted to do, but also, you know, improve the system across multiple hospitals. So I mean, that seems like a win win for you.
It was a very unique opportunity that presented itself your assessments correctly. And it really took leadership, the individuals that were leading those institutions at that time had a vision, they had focus, and they had identified the service and also identified that we were potentially the right partners for them to do this sort of strategy with so it worked out. Well. And we feel that we were very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time short to begin. Right. Yeah, I mean, 10 years before then, or 10 years after, then probably wouldn’t have been the perfect fit. But is your timing, the right timing happened to work out that well, and the people worked out so much of a life is relationships 100%, the individuals that were involved in this, they saw the potential for this sort of arrangement, and that it isn’t always the case that you run into those personalities at the right time.
And we’re going to get into that a little bit later the relationship side, because I know that one of the things that you know, sets you guys apart, was that that quality, the service that concierge feel to Madison. Yes, I do want to get into that. But I want to talk about education a little bit first. So I think that is one of the most important things that healthcare practitioners are missing out on in the the typical model right now, right, especially with, you know, not concierge, but the primary care, Doc’s having 5-10 minutes with their clients, there’s no education there. Even if they do have plenty of time to figure out exactly what’s going on, they don’t have time to educate the patient on what’s really going on. So I think that’s something that’s missed. But when you talk about education, you’re talking about it from both the clinical side as well as the patient care side. So I’d like to hear kind of, you know, how are those separated within the business because you’re you’re doing this conference, but also doing some heavy patient outreach education,
who so we view the patient education kind of at several levels, there’s, I call it hand to hand combat patients on an eligible individual basis. So the view there is that each of our patients and we will, you’ll have patients who will articulate this to you, I will tell for them frequently, by the time you’re done with this visit, you are going to be a deputized sleep advocate, right. So we want them to know if they’re going to get a sleep test. I tried to go through what the anatomy and the physiology is of obstructive sleep apnea with each and every patient, I hope I succeeded that I mean, there’s going to be maybe a day when I don’t. But that’s our goal. And that’s my personal goal. And the same with our therapist. So they want to make sure people understand the anatomy and physiology. And the reason we do that, is also because the more they understand, then when we have to if we have to come to therapy, the therapy now can be explained in physiologic terms. And our patients, it doesn’t matter in my view, whatever their educational background, I view patients as being very, very intelligent partners in their care. So if we give them the information, the vast majority of patients respond in the most positive and optimistic way. And if that pans out and outcomes, so the goal is to get the best possible outcomes you can get. And it’s I think we ask people to do something that’s very difficult. If they have obstructive sleep apnea, we ask them frequently to do something mechanical, whether it’s positive airway pressure therapy, or an appliance or body positioning, but it’s much more difficult than taking a pill. Sure. So if I’m going to engage them and have that big request of them, I think it’s incumbent upon me to try to make the case to them of why physiologically it
makes sense, as opposed to just slapping a device on them and saying good luck, exactly what appliance is going to be drastically different, right, with or without the education?
There you go. That’s our theory. And actually, you know, our patients have gratified us by having very high success rates. So they’ve that’s a real focus of the individual. I mean, the same is true for insomnia care, or abnormal sleep behaviors, or restless leg is to do our best to educate them on the physiology. And then then the therapy follows that and the same is true in our education, right? When you learn about therapy, physical therapy or medicine, if you learn the physiology first. It’ll hold you for your career because therapies will change over time. But if you know the physiology, you can always learn the therapy. Absolutely. So that’s the individual patient than organizationally. Our there are therapists and technicians we want to constantly try to strive toward the highest levels of education for them, that they can also share. With our patients as they go through the process on a massive amount having to do it by yourself, well, that and also so it’s constantly reinforced, right. And so then the other part is the public education. And part of our sleep boards, when I took the sleep board some years ago was that we were supposed to commit to some form of public education as part of our thing. And I think that was a serious thing that we committed to. So we’ve been fortunate here in the St. Louis community, to be doing a fair amount of media education over the last 20 years that has, I hoped, helped bring some information to, again, our fellow citizens, friends and neighbors, and that’s been gratifying. It allowed us to increase and elevate the dialogue, and to bring more and more science into the media sphere. And then the third part of it, of course, is professional education. And to try to bring my art my goal was, you know, 1520 years ago was to try to bring the top sleep people around the country and indeed the world to St. Louis, both to share education with doctors from around our region, but also to let these colleagues of mine know that St. Louis is one great place to live to work, raise a family, and there’s great health care and medical care going on here. Absolutely. And in some small way, I think we’ve been successful with that endeavor.
That’s awesome. So for those conferences, where those held, the count
went out, we’ve stopped in the last shortage for a variety of reasons. But we had had have had them at several of the nice hotels in St. Louis and the four seasons, the Ritz, the Sheraton at Westport. And our our guests from around the country really enjoy coming here. And in doing that, one of the things we did on every one of those conferences is we, on Saturday night, that was my night to take people out. And we’ve taken them to various sites all around St. Louis for events, Grant’s Farm, the art museum, City Museum, all kinds of things where we have an event for them, we show them something and I thought that’s how everybody does it. Right. But our faculty at our faculties told us like this is a unique thing. And one of the faculty members who’s a friend said, You’re the only fellow that we go in the country that you’re proud of your city. That’s and you show us your city. And I think that’s we’re called to do that as well. That’s
awesome. I love that. Yeah, I do have some questions. I don’t know enough about sleep and sleep medicine. So tell me about the you mentioned the therapists side. So I guess, kind of what’s the top down approach is it it’s the physician than therapist and so like, kind of walk me through that because I don’t fully grasp the whole hierarchy here.
So the processes of folks will identify that they have some difficulty they associated with sleep, like any medical specialty, so they’re, they’re either sleepy during the day, or they’re having trouble sleeping are, they’re snoring. Those are sort of the three most common reasons for a patient presenting themselves or being referred in. Sometimes they’re having a complication that’s been identified as a known complication from untreated sleep issues. For instance, someone has atrial fibrillation. Now, most of those folks are suggested, if especially if they snore at all, they should have a sleep evaluation because obstructive sleep apnea could be contributing to their atrial fibrillation, but most people present for those top three things. So they make an appointment. Our habit is to take a full medical history, everything bit of information we can get about their medical history. And then we make an assessment of what needs to be done from there. Sometimes it involves some form of sleep testing. Sometimes it involves blood work occasionally, and sometimes it involves the patient charting their sleep behaviors for us, so that we can then begin an assessment of personal behavioral change, to try to affect their sleep health. And we have a PhD who’s been in sleep over about 40 years who’s board-certified in sleep medicine, who works with us full time to help execute those sort of behavioral issues. Our therapists that you asked about. So downstream from that evaluation, if they get testing, we have specially trained therapists who will engage with the patient on how their test is performed. We do about 70 or 80% of our sleep test for sleep or at home now.
Okay, so it was my wife where’s the device so I so you’re familiar, I saw the sleep test at home scenario it happening in my house, and I hope it was a good experience. So he’s she’s enjoying it. And it’s definitely been an improvement since she started using CPAP.
Yes, and she got on therapy after the home test. So that helps dispel some of the concerns and anxieties people have. They have these visions of going into the sleep lab in the olden days, and they were kind of scary places and all the wires and so, so we have therapists for that and then we have therapists that are highly trained for our in In the lab facility, which is like a very nice hotel, we have a select number of beds, the air bladder beds, the rooms are very nicely decorated and comfortable and warm, they have a reading chair, they have a TV, which by the way is above the headboard, so they cannot watch TV in bed. And then the therapists come in that room and put all the electrodes on them. So we have a special facility just for that that we’ve custom built-in. So that’s for the people that need the in laboratory experience, the other therapist, or those who work with the patients afterward who for instance, if someone needs a positive airway pressure device, we have separate therapists who that is their role in their job, so that they do that setup in a very professional way, giving them a lot of tension, a lot of coaching, and our patients can follow up with that therapist at any time in a complimentary fashion. If they need to mask refitting or they’re struggling, we want to make sure during that initial setup period, those months, right when they get on therapy, that’s when we want to really affect the most positive outcome short term, it’s whether
it’s just feedback or helping them with the tubing or exactly right. So you got to get after it then sure. Because once they fall in love with their thing, because they know it’s helping, then they’re going to be much more compliant.
You got success breeds success. Absolutely.
So back to the education side of things. We talked about disease, state management and education before we started recording here. So I’d like to you to kind of explain what that means to the audience. But then, how do you guys incorporate that into your care?
Yeah, so does. So to tease on that a little bit. The disease states, what we were talking about a bit before, is when once a patient comes in, and we’ve identified what the issue is, is to begin to have the conversation we I have anatomic models in the exam rooms, is to begin and show them what the particular anatomy is that makes them prone, essentially, for something like obstructive sleep apnea, related to their own anatomy, if possible, and then let them know that that’s going to that’s going to dictate our approach to their therapy. And when you do that, and we try if they’re now we do virtual visits, but and we have models that we use on the camera, but also, if they’re in the office, we have handouts we give them so they can have a great understanding of both why the issue might exist, why it’s a problem, and therefore what we’re going to do to fix it, and have that in their control. And the other thing I really share is I we want we tell folks all the time that you know, I’m not for guilt, and suffering. Sure, as a as a practicing Catholic, those are two things I’m against. All right. So if I let patients know that these issues aren’t their fault, sure, this is just the anatomy that there’s just the way the good Lord gave him. Right, exactly. And interestingly, I mean, I don’t know if you see this with your physical therapy patients, but for some patients, that’s revelatory. They’re, they’re so determined that this is their fault, and they’re in there, they’re sort of riddled with a little bit of guilt. And if we relieve that, just by telling them, hey, look, this isn’t your fault is just the way you know, the good Lord made your throat, you didn’t do anything to earn this, and we’re going to help make that better. It just takes that burden off their shoulders, it’s visible, and they can engage and do better. So
huge. And I am a big proponent of the biopsychosocial and hitting that psychosocial model with taking away the guilt and, and the education of like, this isn’t your fault you didn’t do anything wrong, is huge. And I’m gonna give a physical example because some people listen just for me. So one of the things we get all the time, arthritis, right? Someone comes in with arthritis, and they’re like, oh, yeah, no, I I’ve run for 40 years, I’ve got arthritis in my knee, I need to stop running. I wear and tear, they told me I’m gonna need a knee replacement. That is the exact opposite of what you should do is stop running, right? Arthritis is 90% genetic, it has nothing to do with wear and tear unless you tore something physically and had a surgery that took away your meniscus. It’s so rare that it’s true wear and tear and more than it’s genetic. So the best thing that you can do for it is to move more, but that’s not how people’s brain works. They assume I’ve run on my knees, my knees hurt. That’s what caused it. I did this to myself. I should feel bad about it. And just going through that process to educate and take away some of that negative. Think you know, I think that’s certainly it’s certainly an official thing for sure.
To give you an example. There’s so I one of the questions, especially during the first visit is Does anyone in your family mom Dad brothers, and sisters have obstructive sleep apnea. And patients think about it. And many of them have that a positive answer to that. Not only do we carefully document that there is a medical code that is family history of obstructive sleep apnea and explain to the patient’s this is, this is why this is important. If it’s important enough for there be a medical code, that means it’s significant. Exactly. So to let them know, like, hey, look, this is and it’s not your parents fault, either. Right? That the anatomy just changed is the way it just is the way it is. Right.
So it’s cool. Yeah. And I think that just knowing that, like you said, just takes a lot of water off of that. So totally understand there. So let’s talk more about Clayton Sleep Institute. So you guys are more in that concierge model of feeling and quality and service. So I’d like to hear kind of what led you to that type of offering as opposed to just being the the Get in get out sleep Institute.
So when we started looking at sleep care, some years ago and ongoing, they’re they’re sort of the idea that there are services that can be provided in a very rapid phase. So think about for an example, a chest X ray, right? You go in, you give the wherever you go, you give them a little order slip, they punch some things in the computer, and they say, come around, stand here in front of this machine, they snap the picture. And thank you very much, and we’ll send them an assembly report on and that’s perfectly acceptable. And, but for sleep, there’s, there’s a whole variety of things that need to happen, because sleep is something that you enter, it’s not something you do. And so sleep, if you’re going to talk about sleep, you have to make people intrinsically comfortable, relaxed, there has to be a whole set series of actions taken to ensure that part of the experience, and we can never exclusively ensure that. But we want to do our best to set the environment both physically and with the right professionals to do the to make that experience as likely as possible. And so we set about creating that right environment, getting the right team, we did a training early on with hotel people in the concierge experience so that people would come in and sort of have that, that sense of it. Sure. We continue to work at that. All these sorts of things that are experienced based and service based are, in my view always a work in progress. We’re, you’ve perfected it, you you haven’t Yeah, I think you have you have and we tell our referring doctors and even patients, I can only guarantee you one thing, I guarantee you that at times, we’re gonna mess up. I mean, we should just be honest about that we’re human beings. The key is we want to make it better, right, and we want to resolve it. And so if we can, we want to do the task is perfect as we can, every time. And that’s our goal, to try to do that. And that includes managing that experience for the patients. So that was kind of the core issue. When you look at things like insomnia, there’s so many frequently behavioral and psychosocial to use the term you use, which is a good term issues involved, that we have to set an environment that’s disarming, very warm, and extremely nurturing so that people can share with us the real issues that may be creeping out at night and inhibiting their ability to enter into sleep. Absolutely. And that sometimes it can be challenging. But we want to
trust that’s required, right? They don’t trust you. Why would they ever open up to explain that the real reason,
the real reason and it, the trust can be gained in our nonverbals how they’re treated from the beginning, we try to make sure that our office environments cheerful and warm and welcoming. Again. Anybody can have a bad day on any given day, but that’s our goal in our drive, and I think we succeed
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He’d most of the time, and certainly we want to succeed all the time. But when you get folks in and they start telling you their stories and I tell people this I’m so fortunate and blessed at this part of my life that I get to hear all the I see all these movies every day every patient comes in and shares me them with me the movie of their life. That is it too. stinked privilege and honor. And so when you just sit there and absorb that, people sense that and they start to tell you amazing things. Sometimes they’re amazing things that hurt, and they’re painful. But we have to be there to catch that for them Sure. And then see if they think that applied and cause their sleep disruption. And frequently, we’ve uncovered things, we do not hold ourselves out as therapists. So we don’t do that. But if these issues come out, and they have to be processed, we try to nurture the patient and get them into the right person that can help them through that. And we’ll work on the sleeve and
just being able to listen is a huge thing, right? And if they trust you enough to share their story, to share their movie, if you will. Right. That’s, that’s a huge part of their life that they probably don’t share on a regular basis. It’s,
it’s a privilege and honor. Absolutely. And also, it’s just amazing the stories that our fellow citizens have, I mean, you listen to those in
those stories are so much more rewarding as a practitioner to hear where they were, where they are, where you’re going to take them, as opposed to just, you know, a transactional relationship.
Exactly. Well, one of the things we’ve tried to share with the medical students over the years is, they’d always say, Well, you know, why do you ask the patient? Why do you always ask them, like, where they work? And all that I go, Look, these are human beings, when you find out like, what their occupation is, and what their work is, and that’s what makes them a unique person in that way. In your history. They’re not just another person. Yeah, they’re not room three or room one, right? We want that, that and it makes it fun for us as practitioners for you and I, because now you have this sort of personal connection to them. Absolutely. And, and it’s fascinating. So what is the lifetime of a patient? Like, if someone comes in, they’ve got obstructive sleep apnea, they end up getting tested, they do the CPAP. They’re happy with it? What’s the next step? Because I, again, I’m only speaking from my experience with my wife going through this. So like, I don’t know a lot about, you know, is this something that they’re doing a follow up every year? Is it something they’re a lifetime client? How does that work?
So if people are on device, they’re supposed to see you want to see us once a year, okay. And that’s the government wants that to happen. Insurance companies want that to happen. For Insomnia care, if people improve behaviorally to a point where they’re happy, and they’re not on any prescription drugs, they’re done. And the reason and we tell people this, it’s the same old thing, right? It’s the biblical issue of, if we teach them how to fish, instead of giving them the fish, that we instruct them on what we’re doing throughout the process, because what will happen is if you’re a young person, or a middle aged person, and this has happened to you, it’ll probably happen again later in your life. So if we’ve given them the skill set, this if this happens to you, again, go ahead and start these processes again. And you may well be able to get this reversed on your own. Absolutely. And that’s the other thing that
independence with someone is is huge, right? Isn’t it? Cool? It’s, it’s what frustrates me about other other practitioners, they have to see me once a month forever. Yeah, that’s not a good feeling. Right? I want you to be gone and call me when you have a new thing. Yeah. And if I’m doing my job, right, you shouldn’t have to deal with this again, because you should have the skills and the tools to treat that shoulder pain or treat that insomnia, right. And so it’s more rewarding to know that you’ve fixed the problem rather than treated the symptom, right, gave
them this skill set. Now, if they’re needing medicine, just like any issue, like high blood pressure, and we encourage people to think about it that way, right. If you have trouble sleeping, and you need medication, you are not a weak person. If you have high blood pressure, and you take a medicine for blood pressure, it isn’t a judgement about your strength as a human being. Neither is insomnia. And so we want to also start to normalize those sorts of disease states. If you have abnormal behaviors, at sleep, there’s a thing called REM behavior disorder where people act out their dreams, and we have to treat them again, if they’re on medication. We want it we need to monitor them. Now, some primary care physicians or primary care physicians are very bright and they have extremely difficult jobs. In my opinion, we want to be supportive of that some primary care doctors, for simplicity sake, want to take over the writing of the medication. And I if they’re, if they do that’s cool with me. Many of them are like, we want you to take care of that. And we’re happy to do that too. So we want to make sure we’re serving both the patient and the primary care doctors and that’s where it’s relational with
the physicians as well. It’s not just relational with the clients, you have to know exactly how to best manage that situation.
Exact writers as well. Well And then we want to communicate with them. I mean, we frequently call our primary care. Any any referring doctor, whether I know them or not. If there’s a situation, it’s a little out of the use on the norm, I want to call them. Sure. I think it probably is terrifying that I do that. But it’s it’s comical. But I think it’s important that we do that, even if we don’t need them to do anything, just for informational purposes.
That is one thing that’s challenging for me. Yeah, that is something that I struggle with is picking up the phone to call the referring providers for sure. But it’s something I should do. The
doctors are very gracious about it. And I think it’s, it’s, it’s a very healthy thing, because now, the whole team of people caring for that individual patient are on the same page. And it’s just amazing. And again, it’s such a humbling thing to do to do what we do each day, because most of the time, I learned something from that referring doctor that I didn’t know before I made the phone call. Which, you know, every day is a humbling Dasher.
And I mean, that’s part of life is you should be learning. Yeah. New every day. So the fun part a lot. Yeah, absolutely. Is there a perfect client for you guys? I know. You mentioned three things the sleepy during the day that can’t sleep. And what was the third thing?
People who have trouble sleeping?
Okay. Yeah. So are snoring snoring was the third. Okay? Is there a perfect client for you guys? Is there one that’s just like, that’s the bread and butter. That’s the perfect client, as opposed to something that’s, you know, a bit more, either challenging or less fulfilling from a provider standpoint.
So, of course, we want to keep separate. And I really understand that you’re You mean it this way, but from my perspective, the pay, there’s no sense of focusing on me being fulfilled at the patient’s expense, right. So my job is to be there and minister to them. Sure. And so that leaving that aside, if you said like, what’s one of the things that’s really fun, because each patient frequently has some really exciting element to it, that’s I guess, I’m just that sort of naive and intellectually curious. But the classic patient that’s like, and I’ll use this term, this is why we get up in the morning would be that patient who comes in you see these, you know, maybe several times per week, sometimes even every day, a patient who has such severe obstructive sleep apnea, that they’re not able to stay awake, or they’re having all these other medical complications, heart failure, and so forth. give you just a few quick scenarios. I had a patient years ago was so sleepy, he fell asleep. Do you remember the Rocky movie when he’s the first Rocky movie when he’s when he’s punching the big hanging things a beat, of course, this individual worked in one of those packing plants and he fell asleep while he was using a chainsaw to cut the meat. It’s probably not ideal. Correct. So that type of individual or they’re falling asleep sitting at a stoplight, or again, heart failure, you get them on therapy, and they’re, like, new human being different person. And
we had how my brother in law was he texted me one day, he’s like, Well, I’m training for a marathon because now I can actually sleep and feel like a normal student
amazing. Well, to coined a term, a professor of ours that we treated, had a great term. He goes, my life went from being black and white to Technicolor overnight. That’s cool. That is, that is an incredibly fulfilling the other the other sidebar to that as I was called to see a very sweet young woman who stopped breathing 150 times an hour and miscarried. Well, she’s treated, they now have three children. And I will have to tell you, I think that’s awfully satisfying for me in my heart. And that’s, that’s a really touching thing. We don’t get that very often. But that that was really quite, quite exciting.
That’s awesome. That’s very cool. And I think that kind of leads into the next thing that I wanted to talk about was just sleep health in general. I think that that’s one thing that people don’t realize is how detrimental that that stopping your breath is right? They think, oh, well, you just snore it or you’re gonna wake up your brain awake? Yep, eventually, right. But there’s, there’s way more to it than that. There’s a lot of negatives that happen because of that. And so it’s possible that her stopping breathing during the night was part of the miscarriage, hopefully not, but it very likely could have been a huge part of it. So I’d like to kind of get into how can someone be more mindful of their sleep? What are the things that people should be doing? This is more of like, you educating the audience here of like, what are the ideals when it comes to sleep these days?
So one of the things we did and we’re doing this during my fortunate 10 tenure at the National Sleep Foundation is this whole concept of choosing sleep. And so making sleep one of the one of the fundamental company opponents of your health plan and what are those fundamental components? Diet, exercise, and number three should be sleep. So, if there was really some wonderful moment you can pick out there is, of course, the very famous Olympian, Michael Phelps did us a great favor. During one of the Olympics, they interviewed him and said, in before some of his races started and said, Well, what are you doing in at the village or whatever, he says, Look, I’m only doing three things I’m eating, I’m swimming, and I’m sleeping. I mean, we could not have asked for a better summation of where things should fit in. Sure. And so if we start choosing sleep as a healthful promotion, then a lot of our issues will start to resolve. There’s a an wonderful organization called the true health initiative started by the head of the Public Health Division at Yale, I’m blessed to be on the board of one of the advisors on the board of that. And the reason is, because if you look at the top three things that make people live longer and get would get rid of most health issues, it’s obviously getting rid of things like alcohol, drugs, and so forth. Get in cigarettes out of the out of your health, a little increased activity, you don’t have to become a marathoner, but getting up off the couch and moving around more, and eating a more plant based diet. So those are the top three, when you start to go down to the next set of things in the list. One is long term loving relationships. And the next is sleep. So these are things that enhance longevity and quality of life. And so when we start to look at those things, we start to see some value outside the disease state model. So some people have sleep disorders, I can’t sleep, I’m tired, or I’m snoring, but other people, it’s just incorporating sleep into their health health model. Now, why did we talk about that? There is a newer mentioning this, you know, off air was this whole idea that, you know, you can sleep when you’re dead? Or if you if you don’t sleep? It’s a badge of honor. Right.
Right. And I think that’s the it’s glorified, or it used to be at least Yeah, horrified of oh, well, you know, such as such makes a billion dollars a year and they only sleep four hours a night. It’s like,
yeah, that may not be so good. Yeah. True.
However, if he’s dead at 45, that’s not ideal.
Right? Exactly. Right. Well, it’s you know, if you remember the Seinfeld episode, where Kramer was trying to only sleep so many minutes a day, right? It is there’s this, that whole ethos, but what we know is that statistically, only about 1% of folks can healthily exist on six hours or less. So there are a few people like that, but I will, I will, as a clinician to clinician, I suspect more than 1% of people tell you that. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So there’s a rub one way or the other. We do have people who say, Well, yeah, I don’t need much sleep now part of our history taking. And I do this in a very kind of direct and wrote way. So the patients, it’s not like I’m grilling them about it, but I’ll ask them, okay, caffeine, coffee, tea, or soda. Oh, I have coffee, how many cups? Best guess my app, people routinely say like two pots a day. Now, I mean, I’m not judging that. All I’m saying is if you tell me that you’re not sleepy, and you sleep five hours a day, but you’re having two pots of coffee per day, we need to talk about is the caffeine covering up your sleepiness. And in reality, we got a bigger problem there. So we have to at least talk about that. Right. So that’s that. So that’s getting people to start to think about sleep health as part of their component. We’re really have been fortunate in the last few years. The reason it’s good to bring up these athletes is not that we’re going to be them, obviously, but if it’s important enough for them at their level of competition, maybe it’s important for us who are just trying to lead healthy lives, right. So Tom Brady, who, you know, I don’t know him, obviously. But he did something very, very good for us, which was in his mid 20s. He made the conscious decision to say, I want to be able to compete at the highest level till I’m in my 40s he set that out as a goal. That’s kind of cool, right? But then he stood back and said, and one of the key components for me to be able to do that is I’m going to incorporate sleep health into my routine, because I figured out it’s so important in my physicality, to be able to perform and operate and not be injured, that this is that important, and I’m publicly going to say that and execute on that because living like I I have as a 25 year old male, probably isn’t sustainable to be a 40 something year old quarterback. And I’d have to share in my humble opinion is no expert on football. It seemed to me it worked. Yeah. Something worked pretty well. Yeah. So I thought that was very helpful to guy, he still did pretty well. And so I’m extremely thankful for his public declaration for people like us who are counseling patients. So I think that was really a good thing for all of us to have people who get up and on in the in the public square and say, I think this is important.
Absolutely. That’s very cool. And I think there are probably some some like hot topics like the blue blocking glasses and the no phone after such and such time. Are those things legitimate is that part of STL active is supported by like LYDEXAR. LYDEXAR is a physician formulated St. Louis based CBD company. They have a huge variety of CBD products, including isolettes, tinctures, gummies, and my personal favorites, CBD gel and CBD Epsom salts. I personally use these at home and in the clinic, go to lydxar.com to shop all of these grape, great products, our listeners can use code JSR5 at checkout for a special discount of like, what is sleep health when it comes to the education side? Yes. Okay.
Great question. Thank you for asking it. By the way, I am really actually sorry, I didn’t bring it up. Oh, it’s fun. It’s very important.
Sure. Because there’s, there’s a lot of like, the BuzzFeed article type of things versus like, the real thing.
Yeah. So electronics, disrupting sleep are an epidemic. And the when I mean, and I mean by that in the true epidemic sense of the word, it is going to younger and younger people, they’re bringing phones and computers, iPads into the bedroom. And we’re talking down even to the middle school ages and below. highly disruptive to sleep. Your brain isn’t is such an amazing Oregon. And so if you start if you get up in the middle of night to check your emails, or text messages, your brain will remember the next night. Oh, it’s 2am it’s time to check my emails, right? So you got to keep that stuff out of the bedroom. And it’s one of the first things we have to work with folks to do. An hour or two before bedtime. So creating those habits even in youngsters. Very, very important. But it’s it’s good for us oldsters, too, because you’ll start to see. Because it’s there. I’ll do it. Yeah. And so people asked me when I keep my phone every all my electronics are, they’re not even anywhere close to the bedroom. So that’s an important issue, the blue blocking class glasses. I do believe they have an effect. There. There is some controversy there. And there’s some extremely smart up the ophthalmologist and others who are like, Well, I’m not so sure that that’s that’s probably not true. Right. I think there’s plenty of room for conversation there. I don’t see any downside to it. Right. And, you know, the articles that frequently are looked at there were some articles done in like gamers and things like that, that when they wore those glasses, they slept better. I think if there’s some incremental benefit to especially to young people, for instance, who are studying college kids, medical students, physical therapy students, so much of the works on screens now that it’s not harming them to do that. And even if it’s a placebo effect, if it if they think it works, it works. Exactly. And it I mean, they cost a little enough that they it’s worth trying. I and I would agree with that. I have a my last our last child of five is a junior in undergrad. And he is he wears them, you know, because they’re on screens all day long studying, right? salutely?
Yeah. And I mean, especially the desk workers these days, and like you said, students, you’re in class for five, six hours a day, especially when you get to the grad school level. It just it adds up.
It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Yes, a lot. So.
So what is the future for you? So we you mentioned research earlier? I do want to get into that. So what is the really the future for Clayton sleep Institute, the future for your research projects? I’d like to kind of hear more about the research side of stuff. So we’ve
right now we’re we’ve really got a great team, doing clinical research, led by just just really some a terrific people. macules, who’s been with us since inception, head of operations and clinical research. He’s got a terrific reputation throughout our industry. He’s got a great team with Sabina, Mary and Ryan. They’re doing an excellent job. With the studies we have we have research right now from organizations really all over the world that have us doing work. We’re looking at devices and therapies. Um, for disease states, such as narcolepsy, treating mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea, testing new masks and interfaces for different, you know, different settings. So there’s all kinds of interesting work that’s out there of people trying new things. And we’re privileged to be involved in doing that, for them can’t go in any details of any one study for obvious reasons. But there’s just really a plethora of new knowledge trying to be gained in our field, much of it is, is physical as far as device type stuff. And that’s really exciting. Even looking, I think that’s,
I think that’s a big deal, right? Because there’s going to be a lot of changes, because it’s still newer, right? I know, we kind of use this terminology, it’s the west of the cholesterol of 30. Yeah, was that right? You know, there’s, there’s so much that changes, like, just in the education that you might read in the public news, not necessarily in the healthcare news. But, you know, you think of what a knee replacement was 20 years ago, it’s not hardly at all different today versus 20 years ago, you know, they stepped out, they’re doing with an outpatient now they’re gonna understand like the device, yes, they’re so similar right now to what they were 20 years ago, because that research was done. Exactly 20 years before that. So you guys are going through that huge learning phase right now, where there’s going to be new devices until the gold standard, if you will, there’s not going to be a perfect one. But the closer to a gold standard device is is set and the closer to gold standard, you know, protocol is set or whatever. And I think that’s super exciting it is.
And we’re looking at some things that that we use devices for today, we’re looking at medicines, some things that we use medicines, for today, we’re looking at devices, people are so smart in Biomedical Engineering, and, you know, science, they’re coming up with all these unique things. And then there has to be a way to translate that and execute some evaluation. In especially in sleep, there’s really an opportunity for private organizations to do this sort of work, because we can do it efficiently, and smartly, and smartly, with a good team, with good teams. And so that’s that’s of great satisfaction to us. And you’re exactly right. I mean, if you think about where water was, you know, 40 years ago, think about the military. They used to give a soldier a canteen. If they asked for more water, they thought ill of that person. Like, what’s wrong with you? Why do you actually right? That’s exactly what well, you’re you are weak, right? Now hydration is without question, except that is something you have to do, right? Not only at that level, I mean, go to the point
of smart water bottles where it counts the number of times you
go to any athletic event for children, right, they’re there, they come there, they have water bottles that are like as big as them, you know, that’s just part of the deal. So then you had cholesterol from the 80s, which just started out, you know, maybe this is relationship became a bigger and bigger movement with lipid panels, statin drugs, and now all the other interventions we have. So now, fat or lipid management is an accepted part of therapy for heart disease and many other things. On there isn’t there’s still research being done. But as you mentioned, most of the basic research was done some years ago Sure. sleeps in that steep part of the curve right now.
That’s very exciting.
It’s quite exciting. It’s
cool that you’re part of it. Right? So is it mostly that you’re providing the facility and the practitioners to do the studies? You’re not necessarily the one inventing the stuff? Right?
Correct. Okay, there were the these, all these things are being invented, and they’re seeking out folks to work with them. Okay. Some studies, we may be only one or two, one of only one or two or three sites, sure, across the country, other studies, they’re being done in many sites. So whatever that whatever the investigators need. Most of these are phase three trials, because they’re getting ready. We’re trying to see if the drug the drug, or device can be approved or the therapy. Some of them are phase two trials, they’re a little bit earlier in their development. The science behind them all are fascinating. And it’s really a privilege to be at the table, reviewing the literature, the science, and working with these these very bright organizations. It really is. Yeah,
so are you guys looking for either volunteers or subjects to work with?
Where there’s always recruitment going on? That’s the biggest issue. And so there’s,
I mean, I typically local to St. Louis people is that most of
the studies, the patients are coming within say an hour So in the city, we do have some studies, we had one recently where people are traveling four or five hours to participate. In the study, there are advertisements put out for the particular type of patients, and it’s patients that are suffering. Sure. And so they come in and, and that’s really exciting in order to talk to these folks and say, well, golly, thank you for coming. But what possessed you to write that? I mean, that’s a long way to go for care. And some one of the patients was a physician. So it’s just really, that’s an interesting part of our organization.
That’s great. Yeah, I love it. So what is next for Clayton sleep Institute,
I think are right now our focus is we clearly have a focus on ongoing and expanding our clinical research opportunities. Okay. The other thing we do that’s been very satisfying, is to partner with especially rural hospitals in Missouri and Illinois, who want to provide sleep services, but don’t necessarily have access to getting the equipment easily. Because if they don’t have asleep service, it’s going to go under utilize, you’re also providing the getting the technicians, there’s a shortage of of sleep technicians. So training and supplying these hospitals with the technicians and our management expertise and doing the quality on this, the rest of the study how the data is collected and evaluated. So we want to continue to expand that offering to hospital partners around the Midwest, especially.
Yeah, you were telling me about that, before we hit record that sounds, you know that again, that’s part of that win win scenario where it’s not a service that they can offer, affordably. But it makes sense to partner with someone that is super passionate about that. So I mean, it definitely makes sense.
It’s a niche, it’s a niche service. And if you provide it in a really high quality way, and we want to do our best to bring the best to those organizations, get them accredited, then then they can do well, they can end up economically doing well. And we can provide the service for them. It is a win win and the community gets that level of care. So we we do quality on the recordings, we have a great team that is constantly monitoring that and making sure the tracings are good. What are our sort of thematic thing is local care with big city backup, okay, you know, we don’t want to we’re not there to take away or disrupt any of the care the local doctors are giving, we just want to be the support staff or we’re the helper people. But if they need a little bit of niche expertise, just like you might need a special kind of heart doctor for a funny rhythm or an abnormal thing. We want to be there to support those doctors if they think they might need us.
Okay. That’s awesome. I love it. So if someone listening has some sleep issues, and they’re wanting to get them resolved, how would they get in touch with you guys?
So if you go to Clayton sleep.com, our websites got a fair amount of information there. The phone number at the lab is 314-645-5855. And that you can either access if you’re interested in a consultation, they can help you with that with either myself or Dr. Jeff Harris. Or if you want to talk to the research team. They can hook you up to that. Okay. Also you can email through the website to ask a question or get to somebody? My office asleep.com Yes, yes, sir. And then if you look at and then my my office at tests on Lindbergh is 314849 1500. Okay, this is also another avenue.
Very good. Thank you so much. Anything else you’d like to share? We’re getting close on time here.
No, I this has been a very enjoyable time. Thank you so much for the service you are providing to our St. Louis Community
trial. Gotta share the good word. Well, practitioners Well, yeah, we want
to make sure that bring the Billikens a win. And so and we’re, I just continue to feel humbled to be practicing in my hometown. It was the dream I always had. And everyday I tell people I I’ve gotten to live my dream every day. So I feel very happy about that. Love it.

All right. Well, thanks again for being here. I appreciate it. This has been STL Active.
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