Friday, July 30, 2010

Panic Attack Can’t Sleep

Do you have a panic attack and can’t sleep? What is a panic attack? Those that have had a panic attack describe it as a highly intense sense of anxiety or worry which overcomes them for no particular reason. Having a panic attack can last up to 30 minutes and start with a feeling of defensive uneasiness which is a sign that one is imminent and often occurs during normal situations. My mother was just sitting at home when she had a panic attack and thought she was having a heart attack as she experienced nausea, shortness of breath, sweating and heart palpitations. These symptoms can create further panic which intensifies the attack. People can suffer from panic attacks differently by their intensity and duration as well as with people who have an underlying mental or physical condition to those that are perfectly fine.

[caption id="attachment_250" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Panic Attack Can't Sleep"]panic attack[/caption]

What causes panic attacks? Genetics plays a role as panic attacks can run in families. They can also stem from a physical aliment, chronic illness, vitamin deficiency or parasitic infection. Some prescription medication can cause panic attacks as a side effect while some suffers can associate them to over consumption of alcohol or drug use. Panic attacks are a part of the body’s natural self-defense mechanism as they are meant to save you from harm as part of the “fight or flight” response which serves to protect us from dangerous situations. If you have a panic attack in normal and safe situations it can cause you to become incapacitated and prevent you from living a normal productive life.

Panic attacks can affect our sleep. If you have a sleep disorder such as chronic insomnia you may want to find out whether your attacks are causing you to have sleepless nights. Sometimes it is the other way around and insomnia is the cause of the panic attack. Whether lack of sleep is causing your panic attack or worrying, anxiety, panic or your heart increases when you can’t sleep, you should contact your doctor as he may recommend a sleep specialist, therapy and/or medication to treat your symptoms. Some people choose to try a natural herbal supplement to relieve them of anxiety and promote relaxation instead of prescription medication that can cause side effects and dependency.

Choosing the right natural herbs for anxiety and panic attacks that will help reduce nervousness, nervous tension and occasional social anxiety (not recommended for social anxiety disorder) are:

Valerian Root as it promotes relaxation and relieves occasional anxiety and panic attacks that are caused by everyday stress.

Passion Flower a non-drowsy natural sedative that relieves nervousness, anxiety and panic attacks.

Winter Cherry relieves anxiety, stress and has a high content of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle. See: Tart Cherry Juice: A Natural Sleep Aide to Improve Sleep and Other Age-Related Conditions

5-HTP acts as a precursor to Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood balance and harmony.

[caption id="attachment_255" align="alignright" width="354" caption="Panic Attack Can't Sleep"]panic attack can'tsleepcartoon[/caption]

Rhodiola Rosea is recognized for relieving occasional anxiety and supports the body during times of stress.

St. Johns Wort has been clinically proven as a natural uptake inhibitor and may promote a healthy neurotransmitter balance.

These herbs for anxiety strengthen the body during periods of stress while promoting relaxation. You can find these herbs in a capsule form alone or in an herbal blend and they are available online, at your local health food store or pharmacy.

Natural herbs for panic attack and anxiety cannot treat, cure or diagnose a disease or disorder. They may, however, help to promote a positive mood balance and support healthy neurotransmitter function. Anxiety attack herbs may also help as a sleep aide to promote relaxation to lower stress, potentially reducing the instance of occasional anxiety or panic attack.

Your body needs to sleep easy in order to recuperate from long hours of work or play. Sleep helps regenerate your mind and body so you will be able to function during the day. Lack of sleep can cause you to feel irritable, lack of focus, restless and over time can cause conditions such as heart decease, obesity, diabetes and even depression.

As you would expect lack of sleep can lead to panic attacks because your mind can not 'turn off' therefore causing stress and anxiety. If you are prone to panic attacks and can’t sleep your doctor will be able to determine which treatment is right for you. The content provided is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sleep Minerals 11

Fighting the war against insomnia and many side effects from prescription and over-the-counter medications, Nutrition Breakthroughs of Glendale California is providing a natural sleep aide supplement called Sleep Minerals 11. Sleep Minerals 11 combines calcium and magnesium two fast absorbing minerals known for helping those relax so you can fall asleep easy. In the last few years a report from the National Sleep Foundation found that insomnia rates increased in America from 51% to 64% in the last few years due to loss in jobs, loss in retirement and not being able to pay your bills.

Insomnia can cause health issues such as daytime restlessness, depression, obesity, inability to focus, lack of energy, heart conditions, diabetes and accidents from slow reflexes and poor balance. Prescription drugs can also impair job performance by giving an individual a “hangover” effect due to these drugs take longer to work through the bloodstream and leave the system. Even though we are aware of the many side effects including dependency there are 25% of Americans that are using prescription drugs in an effort to get some much need sleep. Others are trying to find an alternative method such as a natural supplement like Sleep Minerals 11.

[caption id="attachment_243" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sleep Minerals 11"]sm11[/caption]

Sleep Minerals 11 has a unique combination of herbs that can help you to fall asleep or even if you wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep. The ingredients include six types of calcium, three forms of magnesium, boron, vitamin D, vitamin K and a horsetail herb are combined in a softgel with evening primrose oils. Evening primrose oil increases the absorption of minerals, reduces calcium excretion and increases bone density.

Calcium is related to our sleep cycles as a report found levels of calcium are higher during our deepest sleep cycle, such as the REM phase. Calcium releases the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan a natural sedative that is produced in our body. Those that have been diagnosed with insomnia have shown a calcium deficiency as well as a chronic magnesium deficiency that causes you to wake up during the night. A high magnesium diet has been associated with deep, less interrupted sleep.

Suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS)? Calcium, magnesium, and potassium all have an effect on muscle contraction and relaxation. In addition, they help nerve transmission. Experts say that you can help calm your legs and get some rest by making sure that you're getting enough of all three minerals. Taking a daily dose of between 800 and 1,000 milligrams of calcium, 300 milligrams of potassium, and 500 milligrams of magnesium at bedtime may help reduce RLS symptoms. Since Sleep Minerals 11 already has calcium and magnesium all you need is to take a potassium supplement or eat foods rich in potassium (more than 225 milligrams per 1/2 c. serving) such as; all meats, apricots, avocados, bananas, lima beans, orange juice and tomatoes to name a few. These foods would be beneficial to athletes or to others who incur heavy fluid loss. Patients on potassium-restricted diets should avoid them, or eat them sparingly, as advised by their nutritionist.

So if you or someone you love is suffering with restlessness and insomnia, try Sleep Minerals II it is a natural way to fall asleep easy.

It is advised to talk to your doctor before taking a natural supplement so there is not an interaction with other medications or medical issues. Excess potassium can be toxic and can affect your heart, especially if you have a kidney condition. The content provided is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Easier Sleep

There are two ways you can reset you sleep-wake cycle for easier sleep. According to a study from the Harvard Medical School, not eating for 12-16 hours regulates our circadian rhythm and can especially help those that work late shifts or suffer from jet lag. Scientist have found a “food clock” that takes over when we are hungry and overrides our main clock by fooling it into thinking it is a new day. How does this work?

You need to stop eating during the 12-16 hour period before you want to wake up or land in a new time zone. When you start to eat again your sleep-wake cycle will reset thinking it is the start of a new day. Your body will consider the time you started to eat as your new morning. For instance, if you want to wake up at 4am, you need to stop eating between 8am-12pm the previous day and don’t eat again until you wake up at 4am. Make certain you eat well in order to jumpstart your system.

Why does this work? It’s a survival mechanism. In animals their “food clock” allows them to switch behavioral patterns after a period of starvation to maximize its opportunity to find food at the same time the following day.

So in the case of jet lag simply avoid eating 12-16 prior to landing and this should help you adjust to the new time zone. Late shift workers should stop eating 12-16 hours before they wake up to get ready to go to work.

Another way to reset your sleep-wake cycle is making sure you get some early morning sunlight. Light interrupts our ability to get to sleep at night because it inhibits melatonin production. That is why it is imperative not to have any light in your bedroom so you can fall asleep easy. Early morning light will tell our brain it is time to wake up and start a new day. Why early morning light?

[caption id="attachment_237" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Light Therapy for Easier Sleep"]lighttherapy[/caption]

Wonder why Monday mornings you find it hard to get out of bed? When we get up later and stay up later we offset our biological clock which will work against us when we try to fall asleep and wake up when we need to. It’s essential to stick to a sleep routine even on the weekends and reset your internal clock each day so it stays compatible with the earth’s 24 hour daily rhythm and your daily activities.

Researchers have studied people who are deprived of light for a period of time so they don’t reset their biological clock and find they experience changes in their sleep pattern, body temperature and hormone levels. Major factors can affect our internal clock, but light appears to be crucial for you to fall asleep and wake up at preferred times.

Morning light exposure will be most beneficial between 6-8:30am as sunlight later does not provide the same advantages nor does indoor light. Direct sunlight outdoors for at least one-half hour produces the most benefit. Not only will you sleep better, direct sunlight will help keep SAD away. SAD or seasonal effective disorder causes a form of depression that tends to occur seasonally especially during the winter months when people don’t get enough direct sunlight. Doctors recommend phototherapy during the darker months for those suffering from SAD and prescribe specially designed light boxes that simulate sunlight. In order to get the same effect as natural sunlight, the light box must have a brightness of 10,000 lux to regulate a person’s sleep-wake cycle for easier sleep.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

45 Easy Sleeping Techniques

You might have seen or even tried some of these 45 easy sleeping techniques before, but check out the list there may be something that will open your eyes to a new way to fall asleep at night.

1. Go to the doctor. If you are suffering from insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea or severe sleep deprivation that causes you to have trouble concentrating and staying awake during the day, you may need to be monitored at a sleep center in order to diagnosis your sleep disorder. Over time, lack of sleep will take a toll on your health and has caused people to suffer from heart problems, depression, gain weight and diabetes.

2. Take a warm bath. Taking a warm bath each night could be part of your night routine (18), but remember not to make it too warm. You don't want to increase your body temperature, it will take you longer to get to sleep. Using aromatherapy with bath oils that make you drowsy like lavender, lavender is a great sleep aide and used in many products. Also try using Epsom salts, they are used to get rid of toxins.

3. Get a massage. Whether you receive a massage from your partner or a professional it is a great way to relax and release tension. Several studies have shown how massage therapy not only lessened lower back pain and headaches, but also helped patients sleep better and lessened their anxiety and depression. No partner, you can also give yourself a mini massage, focusing on the muscle groups that are within reach. Using small, circular movements with your fingers and hands, you can massage your scalp, forehead, face, neck and upper shoulders, lower back, arms, legs, and feet. There are also a variety of massaging devices available in various price ranges that can help extend your reach or provide soothing heat as well as relaxing vibrations.

4. Sleep music and nature sounds:
  • Rhythmic drumming creates a hypnotic effect to help induce sleep

  • The sound of the vibraphone is calming, and may reduce stress

  • Rain acts as a white noise machine that masks household noises such as refrigerators, heaters, and creaking floors(28)

  • The booming sound of thunder helps to mask loud stereos, barking dogs, and traffic

  • The sound of steady, rhythmic ocean waves provide a sensation of relaxation and calm.

  • Birds and wind chimes are comforting sounds that provide a relaxing and stress free atmosphere

  • An atmosphere of rain and thunder may be especially relaxing, because one feels they cannot go out to work

  • Ocean waves may remind one of a relaxing and calm vacation

  • You can also listen to music in the following genres: easy listening, soul, jazz, classical or instrumental.

    5. Warm milk. Okay, you probably feel this is an old wives tale but milk is loaded with tryptophan (7) and tryptophan is an amino acid that causes drowsiness. Making it warm just makes it more calming.

    6. Decaffeinated herbal tea. First of all, you need to make sure that you are getting the proper herbs in the tea. Most people know that chamomile is the number one tea which helps them to fall asleep but they may not realize that other types of tea also help as well. Lavender and hibiscus also have properties which help induce sleepiness. You can either try these individually or perhaps use them as a blend. Not only is it going to taste great and help you to sleep but the aromatherapy that you will get by holding this tea under your nose helps to put you in a relaxed state of mind.

    [caption id="attachment_232" align="alignright" width="384" caption="Limit Caffeine for easy sleep"]coffeesleep[/caption]

    7. Bedtime snack with tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential Amino Acid. Tryptophan is a component of many plant and animal proteins, and a normal part of the diet that humans must get from outside sources. It is a precursor (starting material) for serotonin from which our brains make serotonin, which is then used to calm you down and make you sleepy. Foods with tryptophan: Eggs, seeds (sunflower), turkey, nuts (peanuts), cereals (especially cereal with soy milk), cottage cheese and pumpkin to name a few.

    8. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Caffeine is closely associated with coffee, but it is also found in tea, soda and chocolate. Consuming excessive caffeine throughout the day or too close to bedtime can greatly impact your ability to fall asleep and can make it difficult to stay asleep. This is due to the fact that caffeine stays in the body for three to five hours. Those wishing to avoid caffeine-induced sleep deprivation should limit their intake to 200mg (two cups of coffee) and avoid consumption after morning hours. The stimulating drug in tobacco is nicotine. Smoking and other smokeless tobacco products are associated with sleep disruption and a reduction in total sleep time. Studies have shown that tobacco users experience more daytime sleepiness than nonsmokers. Drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime can cause you to wake up more during the night, often because of excessive urination. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation and try to avoid drinking late at night.

    9. Bedroom well ventilated and not dry. If you have a forced air furnace your bedroom maybe too dry and cause you to be congested during the night. You might need to purchase a humidifier to moisturize the air and allow you to breath easier during the night. A bedroom that is poorly ventilated may have mold growth, CO2 concentration and dust mites. Open a window, use a fan, house fan or ceiling fan to keep your bedroom well ventilated.

    10. Bedroom not too warm. Ideal temperature for your bedroom for a good night sleep is 65 degrees.

    11. Bedroom should be dark. Any light in your room will disrupt your sleep/wake cycle. Your body produces serotonin which regulates sleep, reduces pain and appetite, and generally calms you down and improves your mood. Serotonin and melatonin are essential neurotransmitters with distinct roles in regulating mood and health. Serotonin is a natural stimulant. Melatonin is a sedative derived from serotonin. Melatonin regulates healthy sleep cycles. It is produced in response to darkness and results in nightly sleep. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains that insufficient serotonin, a building block of melatonin, can cause insomnia by preventing melatonin production. Melatonin is available as a supplement and can be purchased at your local health food store, pharmacy or grocery store. If you can not control external light from coming into your room you can either get black out curtains or an eye mask.

    12. Bedroom noise free. There are many noises that can keep us from getting good sleep. A partner who snores, sounds from other rooms in your home, a barking dog, noisy neighbors and traffic are some of the culprits. Some noise we have control over and some we don't ...while we can turn off the TV and turn our partner over on their side, we can't control our neighbors as well as noise when we travel whether if it's a hotel room, B & B or a relatives home. If you are away try turning on the fan or wear some good ear plugs.

    13. Bedroom for sleep and sex only. Every other activity should be left at the door and that means TV, computer, reading, work, video games, texting and anything else that will keep your mind unable to turn off and go to sleep. How do expect to fall sleep when you are thinking about how Mario is going to beat Ludwig Von Koopa?

    14. Bedroom needs good bed/sheets. If you bed is over 20 years old, it could be time to get a new one. If you can't afford a new one and your mattress is still in relatively new condition a memory foam mattress pad could help you sleep better. A memory foam mattress pad conforms to your body and reduces pressure points. Your sheets should be soft and clean and your bed should be made everyday because it is much nicer when you get into a clean made bed!

    15. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back may not be your favorite sleeping position, but it still work wonders for your body. Sleeping in a straight position on your back will give your internal organs more space to breath. Since your body is in a sleeping state, the organs will have more time to “breathe” and when you wake up, you’ll feel better. It’s also recommended to have a pillow under your knee to maintain the natural curve of your body. This position is ideal for those who are suffering from pain in their lower back.

    16. Exercise during the day. Try to exercise in the morning hours or at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. It will take you a few hours to calm down your heart rate and reduce your body temperature.

    17. Nightly yoga stretches. One of the best things to do at night before going to sleep is to get your legs up. Nope, it doesn’t have to be a headstand or handstand (it works better, actually, if it’s not). Inverting has many benefits to our minds and bodies. It improves our circulation, calms our nervous system, supports the back and a whole lot more. Sometimes most practical for us, is that getting our legs up and inverting helps get rid of that mental chatter that rears its head at night when we really need sleep. If you find yourself replaying the events of your day or planning/strategizing about tomorrow, these poses may be for you. Who shouldn’t invert: if you’re pregnant, suffering from glaucoma, have low or high blood pressure, you should avoid inversion and check with your doctor about other sleep-aiding techniques/tools.

    Basic Inversion: The idea is to get your legs up in a way that’s comfortable for you to stay there for 3-5 minutes, possibly working up to 10 minutes. You’ll want to get ready for bed first – change your clothes, brush your teeth, etc., so that you can sleepily crawl into bed after this pose. Here are some options:

    a. Legs in a Chair – Lying on the floor, with your hips very close to the front edge of the chair. Let your legs rest in the seat of the chair (or on an ottoman). Draw your shoulders down from your ears and let your arms fall open at your sides. Start by noticing your breath, and allowing your exhale to linger. Making sure to breathe in and out through the nose with your lips sealed. Stay here for 5-10 minutes. When you’re ready gently roll to one side and rest for 3 more breaths. Gently press back up and crawl into bed without a lot of movement or fuss.

    [caption id="attachment_231" align="alignright" width="203" caption="Yoga for easy sleeping"]yoga[/caption]

    b. Legs up the Headboard – This one’s inspired by one of my clients who mentioned that some nights when she can’t fall asleep or get back to sleep, she stays in bed, turns around and rests her legs on her headboard. If your low back needs extra support, consider placing your pillow under your hips. Continue with the same breathing as (a.). As you begin to feel more sleepy, you’re already in bed – ease over to one side and back to sleep.

    c. Legs up the Wall – Lying on the floor near a wall and letting your legs rest up the wall. You may want a pillow underneath your hips/low back for support. You want to be close enough to the wall that your legs are resting there, and you’re not feeling strain in the low back…usually about 6-8 inches from the wall is good. Follow same instructions as (a) for breathing and coming out of the pose.

    18. Establish a nighttime routine. Get to bed and wake up the same time every day will readjust your sleep/wake cycle and eventually you will wake up without an alarm! There is more to a nighttime routine than just deciding on when to go to retire and when to rise. Your routine needs to start at least an hour before you retire. Why? According to the National Sleep Foundation you need at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night. So if you get up to get ready for work at 6am, you need to be asleep no later than 11pm. That means you need to start your nightly routine around 10pm in order to be in bed and asleep at 11. At 10 you can read, take your warm bath, get your jammies on, have a cup of decaffeinated tea or your nightly snack, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. If it takes you 15-20 minutes to actually fall asleep you need to be in bed by 10:40pm and a little earlier if you are planning on having some intimate time (29). Turn on your fan, white noise or sleep music (4) to keep your mind off your daily stress or try a hypnotic tape (24) do your deep breathing (25) or anything that will help you calm down, relax and get drowsy.

    19. Power naps only. Do you stay up tossing and turning? Well taking a nap too late in the day or too long might be the reason. If you are going to nap take a power nap. A power nap is only 20 minutes long and make sure you take it before 4pm.

    20. No illuminated objects in your bedroom. That means TV, computer or a digital clock. Remember light disturbs your sleep/wake cycle.

    21. Count sheep. Counting sheep or anything that will keep your mind off of your work load, kid schedules or your bills will help you to fall asleep.

    22. Sleeping direction. East: Sleeping with head resting in the East enhances memory, health and spiritual inclination. South: This is believed to provide sound sleep and increase the wealth and prosperity in the household.

    23. Progressive Relaxation: With some hypnotic tapes (24) they will teach you deep breathing (25) and progressive relaxation. Progressive relaxation is a technique for reducing anxiety by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. Because of the feelings of warmth and heaviness are felt in the relaxed muscle after it is tensed, a mental relaxation is felt as a result.

    24. Hypnotic tapes or CDs. I wrote an article regarding self-hypnosis for sleep. Through deep breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization (27) and repetitive suggestion the subject becomes drowsy and for me 9 times out of 10 I fell asleep before the tape ended.

    25. Deep breathing. Take 3-4 deep breathes hold each for 10 seconds then exhale gradually counting backwards from 8-1 and tell yourself to relax, relax.

    26. Read a boring book. The duller the better..try a text book on a subject you hated in high history! I'd be out in few pages.

    27. Visualization. The hypnotic tape I listen to you need to visualize that you are floating on a cloud and a warm breeze is blowing over your are totally relaxed floating....get the picture. I am sure any happy place would do.

    28. White noise. White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal contains equal power within a fixed bandwidth at any center frequency. White noise is a common synthetic noise source used for sound masking by a tinnitus masker. White noise is a particularly good source signal for masking devices as it contains higher frequencies in equal volumes to lower ones, and so is capable of more effective masking for high pitched ringing tones most commonly perceived by tinnitus sufferers.

    Don't want to buy a white noise machine...a fan will work just as well.

    29. Sex. With your partner or alone having sex will help you sleep, because it releases endorphins and you feel better about yourself. And at least it will take your mind off other things for a few minutes. Americans on average have sex 3-15 minutes.

    30. Take a little walk. Where I live during the summer it doesn't get dark until 9:30pm. So going for a little walk and enjoying nature is great as long as you feel safe doing it. The best time to walk is in the morning between 6-8:30am. How does morning light improve sleep? The light helps to regulate your biological clock and keep it on track. Direct sunlight outdoors for at least one-half hour produces the most benefit. Bonus: Walking during the day helps you to get your vitamin D and lose weight too! (39)

    31. Lucid dream recall. The University in Frankfurt led a team that analyzed brain waves during REM sleep, waking and lucid dreaming. It found that lucid dreaming had elements of REM and of waking — they also concluded that when you close your eyes at night you will experience a flash of your last dream. Researchers have found if you are able to remember and reconstruct a (positive) lucid dream it will help you to fall asleep easy. In order to remember your dreams better keep a dream journal next to your bed.

    32. Meditation. Meditation is a proven technique to encourage and promote relaxation. The more relaxed you are as you get ready for bed the better your chances of falling into a deep, restful sleep cycle. Practice your meditation nightly you will find that the process becomes easier and easier. You may find that meditating 10 to 15 minutes before bed will help to fall asleep naturally.

    33. No hot or spicy foods. Eating hot or spicy foods close to bedtime might cause indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux. Acid reflux (GERD) can cause a condition known as Barrett's Esophagus which is a precursor to esophageal cancer. Large meals should also be consumed 2-3 hours before retiring.

    34. Limit liquids. Limit liquids before retiring or you will have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom.

    35. Wear socks. Some people have poor circulation and their feet are colder than the rest of their body causing them to wake up during the night. Wearing socks to bed promotes circulation and keeps your feet warmer. But don't wear socks that are too tight or they might actually cut off your circulation.

    36. Journaling. Do you write in a journal or write articles on your blog? Do you get tired of writing? This is something you can do if you can't fall asleep (40) also writing in a journal you can get all that is bothering you out of your head and on paper. Sometimes this is great for problem solving. Another thing you could keep track of is your sleeping habits, what you have tried to get to sleep easy, times you wake up during the night...etc. If you find you have to go to the doctor bring your journal it will help him with his diagnosis.

    [caption id="attachment_233" align="alignright" width="479" caption="Sleep study for easy sleeping"]sleepstudy[/caption]

    37. Supplements. There are supplements on the market that will help you get drowsy. Supplements don't work as fast as sleeping pills but they don't have the side effects or dependency issues. Some supplements available are; melatonin, Valerian, passion flower extract, hops and catnip. You can buy them separately or herbal blend in a pill form, tea or tincture.

    38. Check your medications. Some medication such as aspirin contain stimulants, check your labels and ask your doctor for alternative medications if necessary.

    39. Lose weight. Are you a chronic snorer? You may suffer from sleep apnea because you have extra weight on your neck that is causing a restrictive air passage making you snore. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder causing you to stop breathing for a few seconds continuously during the night. Just losing 10% of your body weight can help cure your sleep apnea. If you are obese, a chronic snorer or suffer from sleep apnea please talk to your doctor (1) as he/she may have alternative treatments or recommend a specialist.

    40. Get up! If you toss and turn for more than 20 minutes...get up! Do something in your nighttime routine (18) for 10-15 minutes then try to go back to sleep.

    41. Your alarm clock. If you are laying there checking the time every five minutes...turn your clock around. This constant looking at the clock will only make you more frustrated and will keep you awake longer now fretting over the time of sleep lost.

    42. Leave your work and your pets at the bedroom door. It's never good to bring your work into the bedroom because you probably will stay up longer than you should. Also, you will continue to think about the work once you close your eyes keeping you awake. Pets not only keep you awake by hoarding the bed during the night, they can cause allergies. If you must have pets in your room at least try to keep them off the bed.

    43. Jammies. It is a must to wear something that is comfortable and nonrestrictive to bed. Nothing wakes me up and makes me mad is when I turn over and my jammies don't...I have to sit up and get them situated before I can get back to sleep.

    44. Herbal sleep aides & gadgets. There are a lot of herbal sleep aides on the market. Lavender filled pillows (or hops), oils, candles, spritzer or a sleep mask. Dreamate uses accupressure techniques to gently massage the “sleeping golden triangle” on your left sleep gadget wrist. Used 30 minutes before bedtime, you can retune and reset your biological clock and train your body to relax and sleep. Nasal strips and dilators help open the nasal passages so the user can breathe more freely through the nose rather than the mouth. Sleep Shades. Sleep masks, eye masks, or eye shades, whatever you call them, can help you relax your eyes on a plane, in a car, on a bus, or while traveling by any method as a passenger. Sleeptracker PRO monitors your body while you sleep. It gently wakes you up when it determines your body is ready. You’re left feeling awake, refreshed, and well-rested. Sleepsonic’s Speaker Pillow can be used with any portable MP3 player. It delivers clear sound straight to you ears and won’t disturb your significant other. Zeo personal sleep coach actually uses a wireless headband to measure your brain activity, constructing an accurate graph of your sleep cycles and waking you up at a good point. I am sure there are tons more just check on the internet or at a specialty store near you.

    45. Go to bed when you are tired. If you are not tired you are just going to toss and turn until you are. This is when you get up or stay up until you feel ready for bed. Your sleep/wake cycle maybe out of sync because you took a nap (19) or your day was more stressful or too emotional and you need extra time to work things out and calm down enough to sleep. Learn to look for signs of fatigue. For instance, if your attention starts to wander, and your thoughts are getting slower, that’s a sign you need sleep.

    The content provided is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Techniques for Bedtime Separation Anxiety

    In most homes infants sleep in their parents room especially if they are breast fed. This is convenient for both mommy and baby and generally will continue until the child sleeps through the night. Separation anxiety usually occurs when the child is in their own room or even in a bedroom they share with other siblings. A panic response arises out of a feeling that they are not safe as parents are considered their protectors and separation from them heightens the child’s nighttime fears of abandonment.

    [caption id="attachment_209" align="alignright" width="203" caption="Bedtime Fears - Separation Anxiety"]scaryshadow[/caption]

    In human history, our cavemen and women used to hunt and gather during the night leaving the children alone and vulnerable to predators. This innate feeling has been past down from generation to generation. One thing is for certain nighttime fears and separation anxiety should be taken seriously as anxiety leads to bad dreams, nightmares and sleep disorders that turn into bad behavioral problems and other health related issues. If parents treat the child’s separation anxiety at an early age it will help them avoid emotional problems later in life.

    To deal successfully with bedtime fears and separation anxiety a child needs to develop a sense of time when they will see a parent again, gain control of emotional impulses, not make conclusions that are misleading sensory information (shadow on the wall looks like a monster) and distinguish appearances from reality. Most children will develop these physiological capacities when they reach 5-6 years of age and even then they can’t be expected to create their own effective fear management therapies. Children that are younger than 5 and more timid than others are more frightened when left to fend for themselves as they don’t know how to calm themselves down.

    Temperamentally-inhibited children have higher resting heart rates and higher levels of stress hormones. Timid children are more sensitive and become trigger-happy when it comes to fears and anxieties. What these children need is someone to provide security and teach them how to overcome their fears.

    Techniques for Bedtime Separation Anxiety:

    • Often parents leave distraught children alone at night to work things out for themselves. Children lack the ability to do so and many experts agree that the “cry it out” approach is unsuitable for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and shy children who are particularly fearful or nervous about parental separation. See easy sleeping methods for baby for more information on how to put your child to bed.

    • Some children who experience stress from daytime separation from their parents are more likely to do so at night. Try to help your child cope with daytime anxiety as this may reduce their nighttime fears of the dark and sleeping alone.

    • Establish a sleep routine that allows them to calm down and get their mind and body ready to fall asleep easy. Avoid television shows or stories that are scary, even Dr. Seuss’ Pale Green Pants with No Body Inside Them which is suppose to tell children that what might appear to be scary actually isn’t can seem frightening to a young enough child. Also try to limit caffeine and sugar before bedtime. Going to bed when they are all wound up will result in a child that is left awake in the dark with more time to think about being alone.

    • When my daughter was three she had separation anxiety and at first I gave her a back rub to calm her enough to fall asleep. Eventually I sat on the floor next to her bed and every other night I gradually sat closer and closer to the door until she understood that Mommy was still around even though I wasn’t in her room anymore. So try to be patient with your child’s fears as it is important for them to know that you are not angry with them as this will only add to your child’s nighttime stress.

    • If your child has bad dreams it is important that you try to wake them or respond to them quickly and tell them that it wasn’t real so your child can get back to sleep. If your child is afraid to fall asleep because they have bad dreams or feel that the boogie man is under their bed or in their closet a night light may help assure them that they are safe. As part of their nightly routine you may want to check under the bed or in the closet to confirm that their fears are unfounded.

    • Some experts believe that breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety. Teaching older children to take slow, deep breaths have shown to reduce stress by 40%. Another technique might be visualization. If you child appears to be anxious have them think of happy thoughts which could be a friend, pet or place they have enjoyed. Role playing or role reversal has also been affective teaching children coping skills. You or their favorite toy can play the child’s part and have them be the comforting adult. Create stories to teach them to overcome their nighttime fears. If they like Elmo or Batman, have them be the hero in the story that successfully overcomes the frightening elements. As the hero over comes the bad guy or thing your child will develop fear management techniques and gradually your child’s fears will be desensitized. You can record your voice by offering soothing words or even a lullaby to help them fall asleep. I wrote a lullaby for my daughter when she was a little girl and now she sings it to my granddaughters.

    Go to sleep, go to bed
    Close your eyes, you sleepy head
    Your days be long, you've played so hard
    And I know that you're very tired
    I'll see you in the morning light
    So for now lets say good night

    repeat slower
    repeat slower and softer

    The content provided in Techniques for Bedtime Separation Anxiety is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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    Can't Sleep Heart Trouble

    If you can’t sleep due to heart trouble it may be may be caused by the following conditions; anxiety, illness, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, an arrythmia, hyperthyroidism, heart failure and congestive heart failure. A new study found that heart failure and coronary heart disease in middle-aged and older men is linked to obstructive sleep apnea. When men suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) they are 58% more likely to develop heart problems over eight years compared to those without OSA. The study at Boston University School of medicine monitored 1927 men and 2495 women over 40 years of age. All participants were free of heart disease at the start of the study.

    What is obstructive sleep apnea? Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops for a short time (at least 10 seconds) and is frequently interrupted during sleep. OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite the person’s efforts to breathe causing fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. People that are oxygen starved often have heart disease, memory problems, moody and suffer from hypertension. OSA can be life-threatening and you should consult with a physician if you feel you are experiencing it. Other factors that may be to blame for OSA are an enlarged tongue, tonsils or uvula, being overweight, having a recessed chin, large neck, large overbite, alcohol abuse, over 40, ethnicity (more African-Americans, Pacific-Islanders and Hispanics have OSA) and sleep apnea has been known to run in families.

    [caption id="attachment_203" align="alignright" width="211" caption="Can't Sleep Heart Trouble"]malehearttrouble[/caption]

    Do you snore? Chronic snoring is a strong indication that you may have OSA and should be evaluated by your doctor. Other indications are; sleeplessness, restlessness, memory problems, lack of concentration, unable to focus, depression, sexual dysfunction, falling asleep at work or driving and if left untreated could lead to; high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke and even death.

    According to the study there is a lot of undiagnosed OSA especially with men, only around 10% were diagnosed and they were associated with the development of heart decease especially those in the age range of 40-70 years. Older men over 70 and women did not yield the same results.

    I cant sleep when my partner snores. If you or your partner snores and suspect that either of you have OSA it would be a good idea to keep a sleep journal of your sleep habits such as; snoring, gasping, stop breathing, choking and periods of waking during the night. Also note how you feel during the day, if you are drowsy or in need of a nap. Any symptoms you are having will help your doctor with his diagnosis. List all medications and supplements you are taking, provide your medical history and indicate if your insurance provider will cover you if a sleep center is recommended. At a sleep center you will be required to stay overnight so they can monitor you while asleep as this is the most common method used to diagnosis OSA. They will monitor your sleep state, oxygen levels, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate and respiratory effort to determine if you have sleep apnea and its severity.

    Many sleep specialists treat obstructive sleep apnea with a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep.

    If they discover your sleep apnea is due to a physical abnormality they may suggest using a dental appliance, which reposition the lower jaw and tongue, and/or upper airway surgery to remove the tissue that is causing the obstruction. In general, these treatments are for milder OSA or those that suffer from chronic snoring.

    [caption id="attachment_204" align="alignright" width="273" caption="Seek Medical Advice if you Can't Sleep Heart Trouble"]medical advice[/caption]

    Here are some tips to help reduce the severity of OSA:

    • Lose weight. If you are overweight there is extra pressure on your neck. Losing 10% of your body fat may cure your OSA.

    • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol causes your airway breathing muscles to relax and causes you to wake up frequently during the night.

    • Stop smoking. Smoking swells your upper airway and make snoring worse.

    • Sleep on your side. Use a pillow designed to keep you from rolling over onto your back.

    The most important treatment for those with OSA is using the CPAP whenever you sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep is essential to maintain health and keep heart trouble at bay. Seek medical guidance if you are suffering from your heart rate increasing when you can’t sleep, insomnia, restlessness, snoring and the inability to stay asleep easy during the night as they may recommend treatment options or the opinion from a sleep specialist. Please note that prescribed sleep aides, OTC medications or some in-store sleep aide devices might be more harmful if you have OSA. It is best advised to leave the treatment up to the professionals.

    The content provided in Can't Sleep Heart Trouble is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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    Monday, July 19, 2010

    I Really Need to Sleep but I Can’t Fall Asleep

    My sister Rose knows that those who have a hard time falling asleep are often stressed, anxious, in physical pain, sick or experiencing trauma, emotional hardship or changes in one’s lifestyle (like a new home or living in a dorm room). Cures for these causes might mean changing old habits so your mind and body can readjust to its original sleep/wake cycle. Trying to find a solution or breaking bad habits to correct your sleep problem may take time and experimenting with a few methods before you find one that works for you. Other than taking sleep medication, which can be addictive, look at these guidelines that are a natural approach to a sleep easy.

    Make a point to go outside at least 15 minutes every day. Not only does the sun provide vitamin D for your bones it also stimulates your retinas and helps restore your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle (circadian rhythm).

    [caption id="attachment_198" align="alignright" width="300" caption="I really need to sleep, but I can't fall asleep"]can'tsleep2[/caption]

    When it comes to your bedroom there are a few no-no’s you should adhere to:

    1. NO light, light will only mess up your sleep/wake cycle. Get black out curtains, blinds or an eye mask, if there is too much light in your room.

    2. NO external noise such as TV, video games or noisy neighbors. If you can’t control the noise level then either listen to soothing sleep inducing music, white noise or a self-hypnotic sleep CD. A fan or ear plugs will work also.

    3. NO eating in bed. Your bed is to be used for intimacy or sleep only and that means leaving the laptop on the desk. Leave your work at the bedroom door. Remember your laptop emits light therefore stimulating your brain and altering you sleep/wake cycle.

    4. NO high temperatures. Turn down the temperature in your room to around 65 degrees. If you over heat you will wake up during the night also if you are experiencing night sweats the lower the better.

    5. NO old lumpy mattress. If your mattress is 20 years old or older it is time for a new one, but if you can’t afford a new mattress try a memory foam mattress topper. My sister Rose got one for Christmas and she not only sleeps better it helps with her back problems too. And make your bed every day. It’s always nice to get into a made bed, isn’t it? Make sure your jammies are not too restrictive. What is worst then trying to turn over and having to adjust your pj’s!

    Try to avoid taking a nap, but if you must take one, take one early in the afternoon (before 4pm) and not for more than 20 minutes. This is known as a power nap which revamps your mind but shouldn’t keep you up at night.

    Establish a sleep routine by going to bed at the same time every night and waking the same time every day…even on the weekends. But your routine should be more than sticking to a sleep schedule it should also start at least one (1) hour before you retire. What does this mean? Getting ready for bed is just as important as going to bed, this prepares your mind and body to wind down and get drowsy. This is the time when you relax, take a warm bath, get your comfy jammies on, read a book (the duller the better) and/or have a cup of decaffeinated Sleepytime tea.

    Don’t drink too much as drinking too many liquids before bedtime will only cause you to wake up during the night to go to the bathroom. Drinking too much is not the only DON’T……..

    DON’T exercise before bedtime and by exercise I mean a work out where you increase your heart rate and body temperature as this will take you longer to wind down. If you do exercise try to do it 3 hours prior to falling asleep. If you find that you have spent up energy and you need to release it before you can relax enough to fall asleep try some light yoga stretches that will help you wind down. See my article: Sleep Aide: Techniques - Add Yoga Stretches to Your Nightly Routine

    DON’T eat hot or spicy foods within three (3) hours of retiring as these foods can cause acid reflux, heartburn and/or indigestion that not only will keep you awake but will wake you up throughout the night. If you like to have a snack and want to make it a part of your nightly routine have foods that are high in tryptophan such as nuts, cereal, a slice of turkey or even a warm glass of milk. I have written an article that describes the dangers of acid reflux if you think you are experiencing an increase to acid exposure please see your physician as acid reflux causes a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus which is a precursor to developing esophageal cancer.

    DON’T take any stimulants two to three hours prior to bedtime. Stimulants such a caffeine and nicotine can keep you awake even if you are very tired. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, sodas, energy bars, some supplements and even aspirin.

    [caption id="attachment_197" align="alignright" width="300" caption="I really want to sleep, but I can't fall asleep"]insomniacartoon[/caption]

    DON’T lie in bed and toss and turn for more than 20 minutes. You can try (1) to calm yourself and your thoughts with a self-hypnotic sleep inducing tape or CD. Not only will it help you keep your mind off your stress or bad thoughts you will also learn how to fall asleep really fast, OR (2) get your butt out of bed and do something for 20-30 minutes before you try to fall asleep again such as picking up and reading more of that boring book or writing in your journal. You know keeping a sleep journal is a great idea not only is it calming and relaxing you can express your stress, bad thoughts or even nightmares down on paper as well as your sleeping habits. Keep a record of what sleep solutions you have tried and the result of each and if you decide to talk to your doctor about your sleep problem it will help him with his diagnosis.

    My hope for you as well as Rose is to help find a natural cure for the cause of your restlessness before it becomes a medical issue. Sleep deprivation can be harmful to your heart and cause other health concerns such as diabetes, obesity and depression. You should also avoid heavy machinery if you haven’t had enough sleep due to lack of concentration and poor reflexes.

    If you want to scream “I really need sleep but I can’t fall asleep” after trying the tips above, it is time to talk to your doctor as he may recommend a sleep specialist that may want to perform a sleep study. A sleep study should find the source of your sleeplessness as well as test you for sleep apnea. If your doctor supplies you with sleep medication read up on the side effects and dependency. Some drugs are harder to get off of than others. Try to avoid benzodiazepines for long-term use as they have withdrawal symptoms worse than heroine. Benzodiazepines are Ativan, Klonipin and Valium. Ask him if an herbal supplement might work just as well. There are many on the market and available at your local health food store, pharmacy or drug store. A supplement may take longer to work but you don’t have to worry about the risks. Your doctor will be able to determine what is best for you depending on the severity of your sleep problem.

    The content provided is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    Hypnosis for Sleep

    Every once in awhile we need a little help to fall asleep due to stress related issues, whether it is about work, family or our bank account. Self-hypnosis can work to keep your mind occupied while it lowers your heart rate and allows you to become drowsy, if not put you to sleep altogether. There are many hypnosis for sleep CD’s, Mp3's and videos on the market today.

    I’ve had a self-hypnosis sleep aide since 1988 and from time to time I still listen to it. More times than not I fall asleep before the end, but was told by the narrator that you should still receive the hypnotic message subliminally. He starts out by saying that it’s not advised to listen to the tape operating a vehicle because soon just by listening to his voice and completing the exercises on the tape you will become unaware of your surroundings. Make sure you are in a comfortable position whether in a recliner or bed. Your eyelids will get heavier and heavier until you can’t hold them open any longer.

    [caption id="attachment_191" align="alignright" width="243" caption="Hypnosis for sleep "]hypnosisforsleep[/caption]

    In order to help you relax he wants to lower your heart rate by do a breathing exercise.
    The breathing exercise is described as; Take a deep breath, deeper, deeper now hold it, hold it then exhale counting backwards from 8 to 1 and relax, relax. Repeat 2 more times.

    Imagine yourself in a peaceful place such as floating on a cloud on a warm summer’s day. A cool breeze blows over you and you relax, relax. As you are floating on your cloud concentrate on your right arm, from your fingertips to your shoulder and feel the warmth of the sun on your arm. Now tighten your arm, harder, harder….take a deep breath hold it hold it…now release your right arm the same time you exhale counting backwards from 8 to 1 and relax, relax.

    Concentrate on your left arm, from your fingertips to your shoulder and tighten it, harder, harder, hold it…take a deep breath hold it, hold it…now release your left arm as you exhale counting from 8 to 1 and relax, relax.

    Concentrate on your right leg from your toes to your hip and tighten it, harder, harder as hard as you can. Now take a deep breath, hold it, hold release your right leg as you exhale counting from 8 to 1 and relax, relax.

    Concentrate on your left leg from your toes to your hip and tighten it…harder, harder hold it…take a deep breath, hold it, hold it…now release your left leg as you exhale counting from 8 to 1 and relax, relax.

    Concentrate on your torso and feel the warmth in your stomach as you tighten your chest, then your stomach then your buttocks….tighter, tighter….hold it…take a deep breath, hold it…then release your body as you exhale counting from 8 to 1 and relax, relax.

    Concentrate on you head and tighten your head harder, harder…take a deep breath hold it, hold it, then release the tension in your head as you exhale counting from 8 to 1 and relax, relax.

    Feel the warmth of the sun on your body as you are floating on your cloud. The warmth of the sun is converging to your stomach and explodes into a million rainbow colored pieces that travel all over your body. And you feel in harmony with your body as these colored pieces are warm and protective.

    If you have an area in your body that is ill or needs improvement this is the time to force the bad out of your body starting at the top of your head. Concentrate on the top of your head and push the what is ailing you lower to your face, then your neck, down through your arms and your chest, stomach…if there are any areas you want to pay closer attention to concentrate on these areas as you reach them…groin, thighs, legs and feet. Now push all that is ailing you out of your feet, push until it is all gone and relax, relax.

    He goes on to tell you that you can be whatever you want to be and gives you encouragement to go after your dreams…but by this time I am so relaxed I fall asleep.

    Hypnosis for sleep is one way to concentrate on something else besides your stress related issues and get to a sleep easy.

    Example of Hypnosis for sleep:
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