Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why do I wake up tired

Did you get enough sleep last night? Did you remember to set your clocks ahead an hour for daylight savings time? How well do you adjust to the time change? For most people missing an hour on Sunday means a tired Monday and a quick nap to catch up. But for some, especially for night owls, that extra hour can take an entire week to get back their lost hours of sleep, which can cause irritability, lack of focus, workplace injuries and even is blamed for increased car accidents. While trying to adjust to daylight savings time sleep and naps may not be enough to make you feel refreshed in the morning, you need rest which isn’t the same as actually sleeping according to psychiatrist Matthew Edlund, MD former medical professor and author of The Power of Rest.

Edlund states that along with passive rest (sleep and naps) you need active rest which is a conscious resting of your mind, body and spirit. Without enough rest you wake up tired and overtime can develop insomnia. There are 70 million Americans that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, according to the National Institute of Medicine. So do you say to yourself, “Why do I wake up tired?” even if you feel you are getting enough sleep at night?

[caption id="attachment_1763" align="alignright" width="285" caption="Why do I wake up tired? Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time"][/caption]

What is the required amount of sleep for you? Some people need nine hours while some feel four hours is enough. Most need between seven and eight hours every night to perform at their best the next day. Some people, like me, are biphasic sleepers which mean we sleep less than seven hours during the night but take a 15 minute to two hour nap in the afternoon. “Power naps” in the afternoon that last between 10 and 20 minutes can improve memory and help reduce afternoon sleepiness.

What is the difference between passive rest and active rest? We are conscious and in control of our bodies during active rest. There are four types of active rest; physical rest where we pay attention to our body to calm and relax, mental rest when we focus on obtaining a sense of relaxed control with self-hypnosis, social rest by connecting with people in different ways and spiritual rest like meditation.

Physical rest means that you focus all your attention on a single muscle group, which when done properly, causes the rest of your body to relax. During mental rest you can pay attention to something in your room like a self-hypnotic CD, white noise or the sounds of a thunderstorm to relax and relieve stress. Social rest is when we interact with friends, family and colleagues to work out issues that are causing stress in your life. When people get together it changes adrenaline levels and stimulates oxytocin the hormone that causes us to feel good. Socializing and relieving stress can reduce heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and insomnia.

Heart Disease, according to the journal Sleep, is caused by getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. They also did a study that found with women who get five hours or fewer at night are twice as likely to develop heart disease. Researchers found that when people with type 2 diabetes slept poorly they had a 43% higher insulin resistance level and those with insomnia fared even worse. Women who sleep fewer than six hours a night have a 62% risk for breast cancer while those that slept nine hours had a 28% lower risk. Those that sleep less than six hours a night have a 47% chance of developing colorectal polyps than those that sleep at least seven hours. The American Urological Association did a study with 4,145 middle-aged men and women and found women that getting fewer than five hours a night can increase the need to get up during the night to urinate by 80 to 90 percent.

So, why is sleep important? As you see, lack of sleep can cause many health problems and also can increase the risk of mortality. Men under the age of 45 who sleep badly are twice as likely to die early than those that sleep well. They are also 5 times more likely to commit suicide due to depression.

How can you get enough sleep and rest at work if you are fighting afternoon sleepiness? Dr. Edmund Jacobson, Ph.D. developed a technique called paradoxical relaxation or the UN-Nap, where you pay attention to different muscle tensions that will cause the rest of the body to relax. You are still alert, so you can rest while continuing to do your work. All you have to do is notice things. Find the tensest part of your body, for me all my stress is in my shoulders, and touch it. Touching it focuses your attention on that area. Close your eyes and focus on that area for a few seconds. Open your eyes and notice how the rest of your body relaxed while you focused on the tense area. Move to another area and repeat. The paradox is that the body part you are paying attention to may not relax, but the rest of the body does.

At home you can do deep breathing exercises and self-hypnosis to relax along with taking a hot bath or just resting on the couch while wearing a cool eye mask. Remember the whole idea is to de-stress to rest. Learning to de-stress is about conditioning and lifestyle habits that will calm your mind and body so you can fall asleep easy and stay asleep all night.  See: Causes-of-insomnia-part-5-de-stress-to-rest or more information.

If you are having problems falling asleep due to daylight savings time here are some tips to help you along while your body clock adjusts on its own. Get plenty of direct sunlight in the morning and avoid sunlight later in the day can help your internal body clock adjust faster. Remember your body has to produce melatonin for you to become sleepy and melatonin is activated by the chemical signal for darkness. You can take a low dose (less than .3mg) of melatonin late afternoon to sync your sleep/wake cycle with daylight savings time’s new light/dark cycle. But be careful, if you are taking other drugs you may have an interaction and it may cause drowsiness so avoid taking if you are driving or operating heavy machinery. It is best to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.

The information in Why do I wake up tired is for informational purposes only and not meant as a substitute for advice from your healthcare professional. This information should not be used to diagnosis or treat any health problem. Information and statements provided by about supplements that have not been evaluated by the FDA are not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Reliance on any information in this article or on this site is solely at your own risk.
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