Showing posts with label insomnia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label insomnia. Show all posts

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

It’s one of the most important things you can do for your health, yet it eludes most individuals at least occasionally. Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle.
By instituting proper sleep hygiene, recognizing how much sleep you require and being aware of sleep problems and disorders, you can ensure quality sleep for you and your family members.

Importance of sleep:

Maintains proper brain function and a healthy mental state
Ensures healing and repairing of major organs
Helps control eating by balancing hormones that make you feel hungry (gherlin) or full (leptin)
Regulates proper immune system response

Sleep deprivation, the condition of not getting adequate sleep, may be acute, occurring on occasion, or chronic, lasting months or longer. Regardless of how sleep deprivation presents itself, lack of sleep can result in fatigue, depression, problems with concentration and memory, illness and injury according to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute,

Source: National Sleep Foundation

Sleep needs vary depending on the individual, but younger children require far more sleep than most other individuals. Teenagers typically have a different internal clock, being energized in the evening hours while sleeping late in the mornings. More information regarding sleep requirements can be found at

Proper sleep hygiene, the necessary practices that ensure regular, quality sleep and daytime alertness, is recommended for adequate sleep. Suggestions for good sleep hygiene include:

Keep the bedroom dark, cool and uncluttered
Maintain regular sleep and wake patterns, even on weekends
Establish a relaxing routine—read, take a warm bath, or meditate, for instance
Turn off electronic devices
Avoid the following:  daytime napping; caffeine, alcohol and exercise close to bedtime; large meals late in the day

Sleep problems and disorders are becoming more prevalent in today’s fast-paced world.  According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common sleep challenges include:

Insomnia—the inability to fall and remain asleep, waking up feeling unrested. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among Americans.
Sleep Apnea—a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts again.
RLS or Restless Leg Syndrome—a condition that causes legs to feel uncomfortable, which may result in movement. Typically occurs in the evenings and can disrupt sleep.

Woman sleeping

If you’ve incorporated good sleep hygiene into your daily routine and sleep is still a problem, what else can be done?

See your physician to ensure you don’t have an underlying medical condition.
Your physician may order tests or a sleep study to help determine the basis of your sleep challenges.
Under the direction of a doctor or other health professional, herbs and natural remedies such as melatonin, chamomile, hops or valerian may be helpful. Lavender and lavender-based products have been used to induce a state of calm and relaxation too.
Prescription medications are available for use as well. Speak with your physician about your specific needs. Remember, the FamilyWize card gives great discounts on prescription medications.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Friday, May 31, 2013

Sleep Better … Or Else!

Do not underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep.  According to the Better Sleep Council, lack of sleep will kill you faster than lack of food.  Two weeks without food can put you in a state of starvation, but just 10 days without sleep is long enough to put you fix feet under. 

Man sleeping at his desk

At the least, lack of sleep can be bad for your marriage:
  • A 2012 survey showed that more than half of Americans surveyed crave sleep more than sex – As high as 80 percent of women are dying for some shuteye, even over sex.
  • According to the Better Sleep Council, one in four married couples sleep in separate beds. While no doubt relational troubles account for some of this, sleeping problems like snoring, obsessive tossing and turning, or insomnia account for some of this. 
Even if you’re not pulling 10 days’ worth of all-nighters and thus risking imminent death, you should know that those who regularly have problems getting the right amount of sleep are at risk of all kinds of medical problems:
  • A 2012 sleep deprivation study reported that lack of sleep produces the same physical ailments as does intense emotional or psychological stress. Researchers learn that participants’ white blood cell counts went through the roof when the were deprived of sleep.
  • Speaking of the physiological similarities between poor sleep and stress, a June 2012 study from University of California, Berkeley, tells us that not getting enough sleep actually generates stress in the form of anxiety – which becomes a vortex of trouble, since anxiety can lead to insomnia. 
  • At the Sleep 2012 Conference, results of a new sleep study revealed that inadequate sleep – less than six hours nightly – boosts your risk of having a stroke. 
  • A 2012 study presented at the American College of Cardiology reported that too much sleep can also hurt your heart health. The study confirmed that insufficient sleep creates health risk – specifically it doubles your  risk of stroke or heart attack – but researchers also discovered that getting more than eight hours average per night increases your risk of coronary artery disease and doubles your angina risk.
Difficulties sleeping

Beyond physical risks from poor sleep, 2012 research using Los Angeles high school students revealed that those cram-for-the-exam all-nighters do more harm than good to student test results. The survey showed that grades were the worst among those who got the least amount of sleep from late-night last-minute test preparation.

And now the good news…

Though there’s little time left of May – which happens to be Better Sleep Month – there’s still plenty of time to improve your health, your marriage, and your grades, by improving your sleep.  To help you get started, here are…

Woman sleeping in bed

Five tips for a better night's rest

The first three tips, from the Better Sleep Council, are particularly helpful to couples trying to get a good night' s sleep together.
  • Tip #1 – Create a buffer zone. If you aren't getting adequate sleep because of your spouse's frequent tossing and turning, get a body pillow to create an elbow-blocking barrier of protection.
  • Tip #2 – Turn a deaf ear. Silence your partner's snorific schnozola by wearing a good pair of in-ear foam earplugs. The in-ear kind work well for sleeping, and also do a good job of muffling the snoring to a whisper.  This is a safer and much less expensive solution to the noise problem than having your snoring partner go for a surgical fix.
  • Tip #3 – Change your blanket policy. If you find you're getting less sleep because your tossing-and-turning bed buddy takes the sheets and blankets with them when they roll over, an easy remedy is a second blanket – one for each of you.
    Tip #4 – Become a creature of sleep habit.  Many studies have shown that going to bed and waking up at the same time aides in the functioning of your natural sleep/wake rhythm.  As much as possible, make a habit of heading for bed at the same time each night, and your body will likely "get a clue," and start getting sleepy at that regular time.
  • Tip #5 – Create a routine. Establishing nightly go-to-sleep rituals can help bring on the sleep.  These bedtime rituals can be simple and even pleasant. It's simply a matter of finding what works best for you, whether that is in evening bath, a certain type of music, a cup of tea or warm milk, dimming of the house lights, reading a book, or turning down the sheets. Your repeated routine can cause your sleep cycle to "click in."
Interested in more tips to help you sleep well? Check out these three good pieces of advice on improving your sleep from the Better Sleep Council. Also, get eight more sleeping tips here, or peruse these tips for adjusting to daylight savings times

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer