Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Father’s Day Give the Gift of Sleep

Many men feel that sleep is at the bottom of their priority list dividing most their time between work and family life. Since getting little sleep impacts their ability to perform during their waking hours and over time may have an effect on their over-all health, getting enough sleep each night is very important. Like women, men don’t realize they need more sleep because they get used to being tired and they think this is way I am suppose to feel. If they get tired, they simply fight through it and as a result it minimizes their ability to focus and reduces their energy levels. Pay attention to the signs that they aren’t getting enough sleep; do they feel tired during the day, are they unmotivated, lose their temper easily or falls asleep easy while doing family activities? If so, this Father’s Day give the gift of sleep.

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According to sleep experts we need to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, but some of us can do with less or require more depending on our genetics or other health issues. You can determine the amount of sleep you need when you wake up without an alarm clock and get through the day without feeling the need for a nap. Make this amount of sleep a priority and plan to prepare for bed early enough to allow your mind and body to “power down”, so when you actually go to bed you fall asleep easy and stay asleep throughout the night.

A man’s career can demand a lot of his time and this doesn’t allow much room to spend with their family much less allow for a sleep schedule. In order for them to succeed they feel they need to work overtime, bring their work home at night and/or on the weekend and be at work first thing in the morning to show their dedication to their job. Along with all that, they have to deal with the long commute during rush hour which adds up to less free time. Even during free time my husband is constantly answering phone calls or checking his email on his iPhone. It doesn’t stop. All in all it adds up to frustration, worries and anxiety that make it impossible to relax enough to fall asleep at night. That’s why you have got to turn it all off at least an hour before you go to bed. Set boundaries with work, family, “ME” time and sleep. I have found that many men need “ME” time to think outside their normal routines even if it is an hour at the gym, puttering in the garage/yard or getting involved with a hobby/sport, etc..

Although it is important for men to have other interest, is your man’s balancing out his time to include getting the sleep he needs? While some things are more important than others, not everything has to be done at this very moment and can be rearranged to make better use of his time. Making changes to include sleep should be positive as negative changes will cause frustration and anxiety impacting his ability to fall asleep.

Is your husband a new father? The excitement about being a new dad can bring about new duties and additional stress which can keep him up at night. Other positive lifestyle changes that affect a man’s sleep can also be getting a new job or moving into a new home. More information about being a parent, kids and sleep see: Book Review: Go the F**k to Sleep It’s All About the Me Time.

Negative lifestyle changes are losing a loved one, physical injury, major illness, losing money/job and the possibility of divorce. Negative changes bring about feelings of depression which overtime will become what they consider normal. Depression causes insomnia and lack of sleep causes depression. You can’t sleep at night and you have no motivation during the day. Lack of sleep overtime will affect their health, but men (and women) when depressed also stop taking care of themselves by way of diet and exercise and/or alcohol and drug use which may add or increase their risk for heart decease, diabetes, obesity or even death. Men are more prone to keep their feelings of despair to themselves which is more likely seen by losing interest in their normal activities of daily life. In some cases, men show violent outburst and are known to commit suicide more than women when depressed. If you feel your man is showing signs of depression and can’t express his feelings to you, have him find someone he feels safe to talk to like a minister or a counselor.

Because men consider sleep as a waste of time they develop bad sleep habits. They use alcohol as a way to fall asleep, drink caffeinated beverages all day to stay awake, eat huge meals or late night sugary snacks and go to the gym late at night to get in an intense workout all the while wondering why they can’t sleep or if they do get some sleep they still don’t feel well rested the next day. All these bad sleep habits effect the quality and quantity of sleep they get and if they would go to the gym first thing in the morning, just after work or during their lunch hour; eat their largest meal at lunch or limit caffeine in the afternoon their sleep would improve.

Sometimes it’s not because of bad sleep habits that keep men from getting a good night’s sleep. Medical conditions whether minor like being sick or hurt to something major such as heart disease or arthritis can disturb sleep. For more information about how arthritis can affect sleep see: Sleep Easy with Arthritis. Treating medical conditions can also be the problem as certain medications can keep you awake at night. Talk to your doctor as he may change the prescription, reduce the dose or tell him to take the medication at a different time of day.

Medical conditions can also include sleep disorders and the one sleep disorder that affects men the most is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Even if your man is getting his seven hours of sleep, those seven hours can be interrupted periodically by a blocked airway passage which causes him to gasp and snore during the night. Signs of OSA are daytime sleepiness and snoring, so he may not be aware that he has this sleep disorder. On the other hand, you are more likely to wake up during the night due to his snoring. Remember simple repetitive snoring is normal, but loud snoring that includes gasping is not and should be discussed with your doctor. If left untreated, it may also put him at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Other sleep disorders that affect men are narcolepsy a condition that cause people to suddenly fall asleep and delayed sleep phase disorder (DSP) when only fall asleep later than normal. DSP causes men to get into a habit of going to bed late at night and having a hard time waking in the morning. Both conditions are signs that their internal body clock which controls their sleep/wake cycle needs reset. The key to reset your sleep/wake cycle is to avoid bright light in the late afternoon and evening. Sunlight in the morning and early afternoon will help keep their body clock set at the right time. Jet lag and shift work disorder are caused by a man’s work schedule. Men who fly long distances can suffer from jet lag and those with alternative shift schedules or late shift schedules have to readjust their body clock in order to get their sleep. Some use melatonin supplements to make them sleepy. Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the body at night to help you to fall asleep. Light therapy can also help those that suffer from jet lag or shift work disorder. Talk to your doctor to see if either of these will help your man sleep better.

According to there are a number of reason’s your man may not be getting the sleep he needs and offers some advice:

1. You're anticipating dragging your teen out of bed for school.

Quit hassling him. According to one study, high-school start times are out of synch with teens' natural sleep rhythms. Melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) doesn't begin to hit adolescent brains until about 11 p.m., a couple of hours later than the 9 p.m. onset for preteens. That means he's programmed to wake up later, too. Have him do all his prep work the night before so he can sleepwalk onto the bus.

2. You get up to pee five times a night—and can't get back to sleep.

Have your prostate checked, advises Martin Gelbard, M.D., of the UCLA School of medicine. An enlarged prostate gland can push against the bladder, urging frequent urination. (Saw palmetto supplements might help.) If you're wide awake after a 2 a.m. can call, pee in the dark next time. Bright bathroom lights make it harder to fall back asleep.

3. You popped some pain pills.

Medicines can affect sleep patterns, and doctors don't always advise you of the risks. If you suffer from insomnia, grill your G.P. about your prescription's effects.

4. Your wife snores like a stock-car engine.

Snoring occurs when people sleep on their backs, says Rochelle Zak, M.D., of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Here's why: Facial muscles relax, and the tongue slouches to the back of the throat, partially obstructing airflow. To keep her sleeping on her side, Dr. Zak recommends she wear snore balls. (She's not making this up—we checked.)

Here's how to make them: Put tennis balls in three socks and safety-pin the socks to the back of her nightshirt. Position one ball over each shoulder blade, and the third in between. If she rolls onto her back, the discomfort of getting balled will push her back onto her side. Bonus: She gets sick of the whole thing and strips!  See: I am Woman Hear me Snore

5. Your skin is crawling

You may have restless-legs syndrome, which hits about 5 to 15 percent of us as we shuffle into middle age. If you experience the symptoms—a creepy, crawly, sometimes painful sensation in your legs—get up and walk it off. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.

6. You broodingly smoke cigarettes as you ponder your sleeplessness.

Quit smoking. (First time you've heard that?) Not only is nicotine a stimulant, but smokers may also experience withdrawal at night, causing them to awaken or sleep fitfully.

7. Your daughter's a night owl.

Take the TV out of her bedroom. According to a Brown University study of elementary-school-age children, those with TVs in their rooms are far more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances.

8. You're ready for bed, but junior's geeked up.

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Feed him pumpkin seeds. They're loaded with tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce the sleep hormones serotonin and melatonin, says Donald Robertson, M.D., director of the Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Arizona. For severe cases, go for this tryptophan triumvirate: a glass of warm milk, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a banana.

9. You ate Mexican for dinner.

You have heartburn. To douse the fire, take a fast-acting antacid like Tums. And don't lie down right after a chalupa. Sitting up for an hour or two afterward will keep the acids down so that you'll stay asleep.

10. Your baby screams like Axel Rose at 1 a.m.

Let him cry it out a little. "Babies need to learn to go back to sleep on their own," says Lauren Broch, Ph.D., of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "Crying doesn't necessarily mean they're in pain."

11. You sleep with an animal.

When your dog dreams of squirrel sushi, he'll yip and twitch you right out of bed. So banish him from the bedroom. He'll get over it.

12. You're a napster.

Don't nap if you've been up more than 8 hours, says Richard Strobel, M.D, a sleep expert in Allentown, Pennsylvania. And keep it to half an hour, or you might be wakeful that night.

13. The neighbor's dog is barking up a lung.

What's most disturbing about Spot's yelps isn't the volume, but the ebb and flow. You can't fall off because you're always bracing for the next refrain. A white-noise machine (Sharper Image, $100) can help by evening out the racket.

14. The couple next door is copulating—loudly.

Take matters into your own hands—literally. Masturbation is a great stress reliever, says Mark Schwartz, director of the Masters and Johnson Institute. At orgasm, your brain releases chemicals that help you relax and might be one of the best sleep gifts a person can give themselves.

The content provided in This Father’s Day Give the Gift of Sleep 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. When purchasing a supplement on line it is recommended that you do not solely rely on the information presented. The information and statements regarding their products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Therefore, they (the online distributor) and assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements made about the products.

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