Improve Your Sleep Schedule? Go Camping

I read a great article in Popular Science (Feb 2017) about how going camping can improve your sleep.

Yes, camping! 

We know that modern environments with all their electronic gadgets (and bright screens) hurt sleep patterns. When we look at bright lights, our bodies stay in “daytime” mode, so we stay up later and wake up groggier.  

If we get away from those bright lights (e.g. when camping), our melatonin levels rise when the sun goes down which signals it’s time for sleep. When the sun rises, the melatonin levels fall which signals our body that it’s time to wake up. Additional exposure to natural light throughout the day reinforces the “daytime” mode. The study showed that even a short weekend camping can “largely reset a person’s internal clock”.

Read more: Camping to Improve Sleep

Health Benefits of a Massage

A massage is great for helping you relax, but it also has more therapeutic benefits.

  • Relieve Depression Anxiety
  • Sleep More Soundly
  • Improve Circulation
  • Fight Fatigue
  • Manage Pain
  • Boost Focus
  • Reduce Stress
  • Heal Injuries
  • Improve flexibility
  • Decrease Headaches
  • Relieve Back & Neck Pain

How can massage do all that?

“The skin is moved during a moderate pressure massage, which results in a calming and slowing of the nervous system,” says Tiffany Field, PhD at the University of Miami School of Medicine. “And that slowing of the nervous system leads to other physiological effects too, like a decrease in heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and changes in EEG patterns (electrical activity in your brain)”, says Field. And you can get these great effects after only 20 minutes!

Tips for Getting a COVID Vaccine Appointment in San Diego County

Starting March 15, San Diego County has opened Phase 1C which includes people age 16-64 with some underlying medical conditions.  More information can be found here.

Since I’m no longer able to provide COVID vaccine in my office due to changes at the State level, I’ve put together some resources to help you find an appointment.  But be warned, while vaccine supply is still so scarce, finding an appointment is VERY DIFFICULT.  It requires patience and persistence.  But hopefully will improve over the next few months.

  1. My Turn –

This is the State of California’s website and will point you to all the County locations as well as some local pharmacies.  One nice feature – if you’re not eligible yet, you can register for text updates about when you’re eligible.  Some sites are giving all 3 vaccines, others are only giving one type – Petco Park is giving Modera only.  Del Mar Fairgrounds is giving Pfizer only.

  1. Vons –
  1. CVS –
  1. Walgreens –
  1. Scripps –

If you’ve seen a doctor at Scripps in the last 3 years, you may be eligible to get your vaccine through Scripps.  All appointments through Scripps are being scheduled by “invitation” only.  Those invitations are sent automatically through MyScripps.  If you do not have an account at MyScripps, you can sign up for one at

  1. UCSD –

If you have a UCSD doctor that you see regularly, you may be eligible to get your vaccine through UCSD.   Like Scripps, appointments are by invitation only and scheduled through MyUCSDChart.

  1. Sharp –

Appointments are by invitation only

Vaccine chasers – some people are showing up at vaccine sites near the end of the day hoping to get a “left over” dose.  You can find which San Diego County vaccine sites are open which hours here:

Covid Vaccine – Now Available!

Finally, some concrete information about how to get COVID vaccine.  

PLEASE be patient – I have only 2 staff members and limited vaccine supply, although I can request more.  We will get everyone vaccinated.

I am vaccinating healthcare providers this week and next.  When San Diego County changes to Phase 1B (likely over the next couple of weeks) my first priority is to my patients.  After they are vaccinated, I will vaccinate the public at large. I will send an email Newsletter and post on the blog each time we enter a new phase of vaccination.

Since this is a new process, things are likely to change over time, but the current plans are as follows:

  • I have Moderna vaccine.  I do not have Pfizer vaccine because I do not have the equipment to store it at ultra-cold temperatures.
  • The vaccine is free for everyone, compliments of the US Government.
  • Vaccines will be administered on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2:30 to 5 pm in the office BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
  • This vaccine is a little difficult logistically because you must use all doses within 6 hours of opening the vial.  That means we need to schedule people in groups of 10 and if someone misses their appointment, we’ll have extra doses which might go to waste.
  • To prevent wasting any doses, I have established a “Quick Call” list of high risk patients who are willing to come to the office on short notice (be here within 30 min).  If you’d like to be added to that list, please email us

San Diego County is following CDC recommended phases for vaccine priority.  They have an excellent page that they update frequently that shows the breakdown.  BE WARNED – the criteria change frequently.

When you see “Vaccinating Now” under your tier, then you can call my office for a vaccine appointment at : 858-724-1313

Why I Recommend The COVID Vaccine

I recommend the COVID vaccine for the vast majority of patients because the benefits are huge, and risks are small.  I have to admit, I was quite a skeptic in the beginning.  I didn’t think anyone could do good science in that short a time frame.  And I am generally not someone who jumps in when new medications come out.  But this circumstance is different.

  • The studies were very large (Moderna 30K and Pfizer 43K) and well designed.  I wish they had more people of color (approx 20%)
  • Both vaccines are 94% effective in preventing COVID infection
  • There were no deaths related to the vaccines.  
  • Mild side effects are common – including injection site pain, redness or swelling.  Moderate side effects occur in about 20% of people including fever, headache, fatigue, body aches and chills, most resolve within 48 hours.  If you had more symptoms after the first shot, you’re more likely to have them after the 2nd shot as well.
  • Since side effects are not uncommon, schedule your vaccine on a day you could be uncomfortable or “out of commission” for 48 hours if needed.
  • What about long-term side effects?  We just don’t know.  There has not been enough time since giving the vaccines to see what happens.  The trials are still ongoing, and they are collecting that data, but it takes at least 2 years.  Other vaccines have a very good track record for serious long time side effects, so I’ve decided to be comfortable with the uncertainty.
  • Pfizer vs Moderna – either is good, similar efficacy, similar side effects.  The differences between them have more to do with logistics – ultra-cold storage for Pfizer, 3-week interval for Pfizer and 4-week interval for Moderna.
  • Speaking of logistics – a HUGE problem is that once we open the vial, we must use all doses in the vial (10 for Moderna and 5 for Pfizer) WITHIN 6 HOURS!  That means you cannot just get it because you’re in the neighborhood.  We need to schedule people in groups of 10.  If someone doesn’t show, then we have a potentially wasted dose.  Most of the cases in the news of people getting vaccine ahead of high-risk people are because it’s a potentially wasted dose.  IT’S MUCH BETTER THAT IT IS GIVEN TO A PATIENT THAN THROWN DOWN THE DRAIN!
  • To prevent wasting any doses, I have established a “Quick Call” list of high risk patients who are willing to come to the office on short notice (within 30 min).  If you’d like to be added to that list, please email us
  • No fetal cells are used in the manufacture or Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Vaccines in the pipeline – Janssen Pharmaceuticals in partnership with Johnson & Johnson have a vaccine that is very promising, but it’s too early to tell if it actually works.  It requires only 1 shot (rather than 2) and is kept at typical refrigerated temperatures so should be easier from a logistics standpoint.