Monday, December 14, 2009

How To Go Asleep

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine women suffer twice as likely from the sleep disorder insomnia than men. Insomnia can cause other health problems just like not eating a proper diet or lack of exercise. Many people take prescription sleeping pills such as Ambiem which is a popular sleep aid in the United States. Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods have taken this medication according to news reports. Before you decide to take a prescription sleep aid let’s consider some theories about how to go asleep.

Gregg D. Jacobs, MD., an insomnia specialist at the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Massachusetts and author of Say Goodnight to Insomnia, oversaw a sleep study and found that those who slept seven hours a night might live longer than those that slept eight hours or more. He feels that too much sleep can cause health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Also, sleeping twelve hours or more is a sign of someone suffering from depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Women on average sleep only 6.5 hours and as a result are experiencing daytime restlessness, mood swings, easily distracted, memory loss due to sleep deprivation.

Now many people can live normally on less than the recommended hours of sleep. The University of Utah reported that genetics plays an important part and with women hormones, age, stress, diet and general health can also affect the amount of sleep you need. Married women seem to require less than single women, but newly married women get less. Stress with emotional issues such as a loss of a spouse or those new moms lose sleep.

When you lose sleep there is no way to recover even if you try to sleep in on weekends or holidays. If you suffer from insomnia and over sleep, it will feel like you have jet lag. This is due to the fact that you disrupted your natural sleep cycle. Just try to sleep the standard amount of hours a night and eventually you will feel normal again. Worrying about losing sleep will only add additional stress to your life and make your insomnia worse.

You might think that have a good stiff drink will help you to get to sleep. Alcohol will make you drowsy and help to get you to sleep, but you might have a harder time staying asleep. Those that suffer from sleep apnea will snore louder, so alcohol will only exacerbate the disorder. If you do decide to take Ambien or another sleeping pill and mix them with alcohol you will only intensify the affects of the drug. You may blackout, suffer from memory loss or experience erratic behavior, especially out of the ordinary sexual behavior such as being aggressive or trying something you would never do otherwise. Remember Ambien has been used as a date rape drug.

Also sleeping pills are addictive, particularly those that are known as non-benzodiazepine hypnotics. These types of sleeping aides should not be used longer than a month as people have become psychologically dependent on them. You should adhere to the prescribed dosage as well as read the warning label about the risks involved. Sometimes a few lifestyle changes are all that is needed to help with your insomnia than taking a risks with medications.

If you like to nap it is best to nap early in the afternoon and only for 45 minutes or less. A “power nap” can give you the energy you need and improve your memory to make it through the rest of the day. Naps that are longer than 45 minutes or after 4pm may affect your ability to fall asleep at your bedtime as you will stay up longer and get less than 7 hours of sleep. This can be a vicious cycle and definitely a bad sleeping habit that should never be a part of your nightly routine. If you require 7 hours of sleep at night that means you have to be asleep by 11:30pm to get up by 6:30. You need at least an hour before you retire to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Take a warm bath, have a cup of Sleepytime decaf tea, read a boring book, write in your sleep journal, get your comfy jammies on, brush your teeth. Your brain will associate going to sleep as you repeat your routine nightly. When you go to bed turn off the television, your computer and your video games as your bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex. It is harder for your mind to relax if it is thinking about the show or how to get to the next level on the New Super Mario Brothers. If you find you cannot sleep, get up for a bit before trying to fall asleep again. It is better to get up and move around than toss and turn. Maybe your room is too warm; keep the temperature at 65 degrees or less so you don’t over heat.

If you get up and find yourself hungry as this is a natural tendency to want to eat when we are tired. Remember that eating at this time of night not only adds calories, but what you eat can cause heart burn, acid reflux or indigestion, which will only wake you up during the night. If you must snack, snack on foods that can cause you to be drowsy. Foods rich with tryptophan such as eggs, nuts, seeds, cereal, turkey and milk will help you to fall asleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts to melatonin and serotonin which is produced in our body naturally and controls our sleep/wake cycle. Tryptophan as a supplement is not recommended, but melatonin is available at your local health food store or pharmacy.

I hope you find these tips on how to go asleep helpful. For those that feel their insomnia is causing health problems it is advisable to consult with a physician as she/he may recommend that you see a sleep specialist for further treatment.
GLG America Logo

1 comment: