Haven't found a solution to your sleep problems? Things getting worse? The only answer your doctor has are medications that could become habit-forming?
Well, folks with sleep problems are getting creative about ways to handle it and one or two may just help you...
Why bother? Because...
Sleep problems have serious impacts including:
- Shortens life span
- Causes weight gain
- Because the brain doesn’t clean itself if you don’t sleep enough, you’re vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
- Messes with your blood sugar levels
- Compromises your immune system…you get sick more and don’t recover as quickly or as fully
- Damaged brain cells don’t get repaired
- The day’s memories aren’t filed away in the right places
- Memory is impacted
- Language skills are compromised
- More vulnerable to diabetes, heart disease and stroke
- Makes you irritable, impatient, easily angered, volatile
- Makes you sad
- Impacts gene activity
- Not the number of hours you sleep, but the number of consistent hours of sleep you get.
- You can reduce your sleep debt.
- Women need about 20 minutes more sleep than men because we use our brains more.
- Trees sleep. After sundown, their leaves droop, they use less water and at sunrise, leaves and branches return to their original position.
- Insomniacs are 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to commit suicide than those who get enough sleep.
- Having a purpose in life improves sleep and motivation.
- Don’t be surprised if your sleep study doesn’t give results that have any meaning.
- It takes about 2-3 days to get accustomed to sleeping in a new place.
- Why? Because when you sleep in a new place, part of the left side of your brain stands guard while the rest of the brain sleeps.
- Survival mechanism from your ancient brain, remnants of which are still in your skull
What to do:
- Consider a weighted blanket. Search online for a number of resources.
- Consider a Sleep Pod from Sleep Hatch
- Blue light from computers impacts your brain in such a way that your sleep mechanism is wonky
- Keep your room cool. Your body temperature needs to drop 1-3 degrees which triggers your sleep cycle.
- Consider an Apple Watch with the Sleep Watch app by Body Matter to get real time data about your movement, body temperature, sleep patterns, heart rate, sleep rhythm and disruptions,
- Consider the Sleep Stories or Soundscapes on the Calm App. Go to their homepage. Click on Sleep and then scroll down past the paid stories (unless you want to subscribe) and you'll get to the free stories and the soundscapes, some of which are fee-based.
- I prefer the Light Rain Soundscapes which is not such an intense water flowing that it makes you want to get up and go potty.
- Obviously, stay away from caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulation and alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle. You can drink yourself to sleep but you won't stay asleep.
See your doctor for a complete physical to rule out conditions that may impact sleep from a biological basis.
Know that anxiety and depression impact sleep. If you suspect that you have anxiety or depression, see your doctor about a referral to a mental health professional.
By treating both of these conditions, your sleep patterns may improve. You may be given medications to reduce the impact of anxiety and depression.
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