Pain, sleep, and language acquisition: Rosetta Stone is better than Rozerem


If a language you’re wanting to study,

And fix up your sleeping so cruddy

     Rosetta Stone’s fine

     To tone up your mind

And clear up your thinking so muddy

In 1999, in a bid to improve my sleep pattern and thereby help control my chronic pain, I bought Rosetta Stone.

Human language is so complex, and we’re so good at learning it, that the brain changes physiology during language acquisition. 

In the normal course of events, a newborn spends 50% of the time in REM sleep, at a time when the brain is undergoing the biggest intellectual task of its life, learning how to listen and talk. 

As time goes on, one spends less and less time in REM.

We don’t really understand REM sleep but we know that learning becomes very difficult without it; impair your REM and you lose resistance to disease, emotional resilience, and skin elasticity, among others.  Percentage of REM increases during language acquisition.

I used Rosetta Stone intermittently over the years.  As the company updates their programs I keep buying the new version. 

When I use the program I sleep better and my back hurts less. 

Chronic pain cannot be controlled in the absence of good, restorative sleep.  Everyone knows that pain level five becomes a six or a seven after unrestorative sleep, or a three with a good night’s sleep.  People who don’t hurt at all will start to ache if you don’t let them sleep; thus fibromyalgia depends on sleep deprivation.

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sleep poorly and they hurt.  A recent study showed that sleeping poorly predicts pain during the day more than pain during the day predicts sleeping poorly.

I never prescribed sleeping pills before zolpidem (Ambien) came on the market.  We now have four good prescription drugs to induce restorative sleep: Sonata, Ambien, Lunesta, and Rozerem.  Each has a different place, all of them will help a person sleep and help them rest.

Rozerem is the best at putting a person to sleep, but it won’t keep that person asleep.  Thus it’s good for new mothers or others  who have trouble switching off their minds so that they can fall asleep.

Sonata is a good four-hour sleeper, it’s for those who have to make the most of the few hours they’ve allotted to be in bed.  As such, except for those people who get six or seven hours out of it, it performs a function but doesn’t solve the problem.

Ambien or its generic equivalent zolpidem will put a person to sleep and most will stay asleep for about eight hours (I have had patients who got twelve hours and a few who only got four). 

I reserve Lunesta for those alcoholics who didn’t respond to my pleas to quit drinking nor to my prescriptions for zolpidem.

But mostly I prescribe the non-pharmacologic approaches to sleep management: good sleep hygiene (Google “rage, hunger, lust, and sleep”), and study a language.

I got the newest edition of Rosetta Stone, now with Levels 1,2, and 3.  I’ve been studying an hour to an hour and a half a day.  It helps my sleep, it which relieves my back pain, and now I can speak Hebrew

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2 Responses to “Pain, sleep, and language acquisition: Rosetta Stone is better than Rozerem”

  1. Raul Nepomuceno Says:

    I started to use Rosetta Stone a few months ago and got really impressed how my brain gets “different” when I go to slpeep.

    I thought I was kind of crazy, but now I think I don’t.

    Cheers from Brazil.

    • walkaboutdoc Says:

      I looked through my stats; my most successful post has been You can either be happy or you can be right but you can’t have both. My favorite,Rage, hunger, lust, and sleep, came in 6th. In any case I’m glad people have enjoyed my blog.

      Human communication is so complex that when we acquire a new language our brains have to change physiology and we become like children again. You might have noticed you’ve become more playful as well.

      Thanks for the comment.

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