Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cant Sleep

Are you one of the 29% that cant sleep unless they take prescription sleeping pills or over-the-counter medications? The National Sleep Foundation did a survey in 2007 and discovered that nearly two thirds of women only received the quality and quantity of sleep they needed a few times a week. Why? They have too much to do and even though they are tired they struggle to get through their day. Their minds race, their husbands snore and their kids refuse to go to bed. They don’t know how they are going to buy presents let alone pay the mortgage. Their bedroom is too hot, too noisy or even too bright from all their gadgets. Your cell phone, internet router, DVD, game console, power strip, TV and even your alarm clock emit a light even if they are turned off.

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Blue LEDs are popular with electronics and this is part of the reason we can’t fall asleep easy. Our eyes are more sensitive to colors at the blue end of the spectrum, so in dim light blue LEDs look brighter. These products were designed to let you know your cell phone is being charged or your computer is still receiving data through the router/modem. Scientist discovered that a light-sensitive layer of the eye, separate from our pupils, sends signals to the body that affect rhythms of wakefulness and sleep. NASA found that a blue-light treatment can help keep astronauts more alert and the Navy uses blue light to help those on a sub adjust to their watch schedules.

While most of these reasons I mentioned are somewhat controllable and small changes to your lifestyle can help you get some well deserved rest….but what if you still can’t sleep? Insomnia may be a symptom of another medical or emotional issue. A medical professional can diagnose and treat the underlying condition that would otherwise escape detection. Over time insomnia can lead to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Women are more affected with insomnia due to an underlying cause and are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders if they have trouble sleeping. Worrying over finances or their to-do-list and sleeplessness causes a vicious cycle that leads to chronic insomnia. You may consider a financial advisor or counseling to help relieve stress and anxiety.

Treating the underlying cause won’t necessarily cure insomnia but seeking help can narrow down the reason and dissuade other health problems in the future. Your doctor may also recommend other lifestyle changes like diet, exercise or even test your hormone and mineral levels determine if you have any deficiencies. He/she may also advise that a sleep specialist be seen to have a sleep test where they will monitor your sleep habits. Making behavioral changes like eliminating blue LEDs, keeping your room cool, delegating to-do items or even buying some ear plugs (for the snoring) and using natural sleep remedies can alleviate insomnia as their benefits can last a lifetime.

For more information about why you can’t sleep see: I Can’t Sleep

The content in Cant Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like Tryptophan Supplements to Sleep Easy, as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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