|07-07-2012, 01:24 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2011
Suggestions About Sleep
Sleep is one of the first essentials in maintaining or in building
vitality. There are differences of opinion as to how much sleep
may be necessary to health, but that sufficient sleep is required if
one wishes to maintain the maximum of energy no one can question.
Sleep is far more necessary than food. One can fast for many days, or
many weeks if necessary, and without any special disadvantage if he
is well nourished before beginning the fast and has a satisfactory food
supply after ifs conclusion, but no one can "fast" from sleep for more
than a few days at a time without experiencing ill effects. One can
scarcely endure an entire week of absolute sleeplessness. It has been
found that dogs kept awake even though sufficiently fed, suffer more
than when deprived of food and permitted to sleep. When kept awake
continuously they die in four or five days. Man can endure the strain a
little longer than the dogs, but five or six days usually marks the
limit of human life under such conditions. In early English history
condemned criminals were put to death by being deprived of sleep, and
the same method has been employed in China. Enforced sleeplessness, in
fact, has been used as a form of torture by the Chinese, being more
feared than any other. The men subjected to this frightful ordeal always
die raving maniacs.
These facts illustrate only too well the imperative necessity for sleep.
Unfortunately "late hours" prevail, especially in large cities.
Manifestly, if complete lack of sleep is fatal, late hours and partial
lack of sleep is at least devitalizing and detrimental to health.
The late hours kept by large numbers of people in civilized countries
undoubtedly contribute very largely to neurasthenia and allied
diseases. Improvements in artificial lights have contributed largely
toward the increase of the evil of late hours, injurious not only
through the loss of sleep entailed, but also because of the eye-strain
incidental to strong artificial lights and the drain on the nervous
system. If civilized man would follow the example of primitive man and
of many of the birds and animals in retiring to bed with the coming of
darkness and arising with the appearance of daylight, this one change
would revolutionize the health of the whole human race.
How much sleep do we need? This is a question that cannot be answered
arbitrarily as applying in all cases. Individuals differ. Without
doubt, some require more sleep than others.
Thomas A. Edison, who is an extraordinary man, not only in respect to
his vitality but in every other characteristic as well, has
frequently been quoted as saying that most men and women sleep too much.
Mr. Edison himself claims to maintain the best of health with from three
to five hours' sleep out of every twenty-four. We have heard of other
cases too, of men and women with exceptional vitality, who have seemed
to thrive on four or five hours' sleep. It is possible that this small
allowance of sleep may be sufficient in such cases, but if so, it is
undoubtedly due to the exceptionally powerful organism which these
particular persons have inherited.
No definite rule can be laid down as to the amount of sleep required by
different individuals, for those possessing the greatest amount of
vitality and the strongest organisms will require less sleep than those
of limited vitality and weak functional powers. Those possessing a
strong functional system and great vitality are able to build up energy
during sleep and recuperate from the exertions of the preceding day more
rapidly than can those less favored in this respect. In other words, a
very strong man can be quickly rested. His system can more rapidly
than that of a weak man repair the wear and tear of his daily work. The
man or woman with limited strength and a less vigorous functional
system would require a longer time in which to recuperate. Therefore,
what would hold good in the case of such an extraordinary man as
Mr. Edison cannot be depended upon in the case of the average man or
woman, and certainly will not meet the needs of those who are
debilitated and striving to build vitality.
Generally speaking, therefore, I maintain that most people at the
present day sleep too little rather than too much. I would not
stipulate any special number of hours for sleeping but I would advise
everyone to secure as much sleep as he requires. It has often been
said that if you sleep too much you will be stupid as a result. Such
results are usually brought about by sleeping in unsatisfactory
environment, particularly in stuffy rooms in which the air is vitiated
and really unfit to breathe. I cannot imagine one feeling stupid as a
result of oversleeping when sleeping out-of-doors, or when the supply
of air is absolutely fresh. Excessive heat would probably be conducive
to restlessness, but this is purely a detail which I shall take up
later. Under natural and healthful conditions one will rarely sleep too
much. If you sleep until you wake up naturally there is little danger
of your sleeping too much. Without doubt most people need from seven to
eight hours' sleep; some of them need more, particularly women and
children, who in many cases require from nine to ten hours' sleep or
even more. These are general statements. Individual exceptions will be
many, but, as I have said, it will be found that those who need less
sleep are men and women of extraordinary vitality.
The quality of sleep is really more important than the duration of
sleep. It is quality or depth of sleep that is really what counts,
and to secure this it is necessary that certain healthful conditions be
observed. The first of these is a normal condition of physical or
muscular fatigue. This is easily distinguished from nervous fatigue or
exhaustion in which the entire system is more or less upset. Abnormal
states of this sort arise from excitement, excessive mental work, or
other conditions involving severe nerve strain. This nervous fatigue is
not usually conducive to sleep, but a tired condition of the muscles of
the body generally, as a result of natural physical activity, is always
favorable to sleep. Many who complain of insomnia, therefore, would
often be able to remedy their trouble by the simple expedient of a long
walk, covering sufficient distance to bring about the physical fatigue
which makes sleep possible. Conditions of air, temperature and bed
covering are also important factors in connection with the quality of
If you are a sound sleeper it may be possible for you to secure more
benefit from three to four hours' sleep than a shallow sleeper may
secure in eight hours of a lighter degree of sleep. This extreme depth
of sleep means complete rest for the brain, absolute loss of
consciousness, and, to a certain extent, loss of sensibility in respect
to our senses. In the lighter degree of sleep certain parts of the brain
may be at rest, while others are more or less active. Dreaming
represents a state of partial consciousness rather than a condition of
complete rest, inasmuch as various parts of the brain are active. One
may thus be conscious of his dreams. There is no doubt, however, that in
other cases various parts of the brain may be active though we may not
be conscious of their activity. We have all heard of instances where
mathematical problems appear to have been worked out during sleep, and
we have heard of musical compositions and poems being produced
during sleep. All these phenomena represent a condition in which one
is partly asleep and partly awake; in other words, some parts of the
brain are active and others are asleep. In extreme depth of sleep when
all the mental faculties are at rest, the energies are relaxed, and the
activities of the body are at a low ebb; it is such sound sleep that
makes for rapid recuperation. The deepest sleep generally occurs within
the first few hours after falling to sleep, and it gradually becomes
lighter and lighter in degree until consciousness is reached. Dreams,
therefore, represent partial consciousness and usually appear in the
earlier hours of the morning. When one states that he dreams all night
he is invariably mistaken. One may seem to live over periods of days
and even years in a dream, the actual duration of which may be measured
in minutes. The chances are that the dreamer enjoyed a sound
sleep before his dreaming commenced.
Although I have said that depth of sleep is more important than the
duration of sleep, yet it is true that when one sleeps very soundly
he usually sleeps longer. In other words, when one reaches great depth
of sleep the transition to the period of wakefulness is only gradual,
and it requires a longer time to complete the sleep and wake up than it
would if one did not sleep so deeply, or, as we would say, so soundly.
It will be found that healthy children, who unquestionably sleep very
soundly, also sleep for many hours at a time. They may have dreams but
these occur in the later hours of sleep, as every mother has observed.
The man or woman well advanced in years who can secure the same depth of
sleep that a vigorous child en joys will undoubtedly spend the bigger
part of the night in sleep and will acquire exceptional vitality as a
Bodily rest, even without sleep, is undoubtedly of great value for
purposes of recuperation. To a certain extent such rest,
especially if associated with a state of very complete relaxation of
the muscles, will make it possible to take less sleep without
serious devitalizing results. The man or woman who suffers from
insomnia should learn that he can recuperate to a considerable
extent through simple physical relaxation without the unconsciousness
of sleep. Undoubtedly the physical inactivity common among civilized
races has much to do with their ability to keep late hours. But of
course this involves more or less nerve strain. The brain does not get
sufficient rest, and the loss of sleep involves such an expenditure of
energy through the brain as to constitute a serious drain upon the
nervous system. Even though rest for the body during consciousness is of
certain value, it cannot go very far in taking the place of true sleep.
To the higher centers of the brain and nervous system an
opportunity must be given for the complete relaxation that comes only
with the entire loss of consciousness.
As I have already said, those who are lacking in vitality and who are
trying to build strength need more sleep than those who are
already strong. Especially those who find it difficult to sleep need
additional nervous strength and should carefully observes rules that
will promote sleep. One will often hear sufferers from insomnia
complain that they never sleep! They are convinced that night after
night and week after week passes without their being able to close their
eyes in slumber. They are deluded in every case, because they could not
maintain life for more than five or six days if this were true. The
fact is that they drop off to sleep and then awaken without being
conscious that they have been asleep. At the same time, in all such
conditions, it is necessary to improve the quality of sleep so that it
will be truly refreshing. I have already referred to the influence of
good healthy muscular fatigue as a means of enabling one to sleep.
Walking and out-of-door life will in almost every case make the
nervous man or woman sleep like a child. One should not be too fatigued,
but sufficiently so to thoroughly enjoy the sensation of lying down.
One cannot truly enjoy sleep except when he has reached this condition
of bodily fatigue. To induce this, I would recommend a walk in the
evening before going to bed, covering several miles. Although walking
for health should ordinarily be brisk enough to stimulate breathing
and arouse an active circulation, thus strengthening the internal
organs, for the purpose of promoting drowsiness the last mile or two
of the evening walk should preferably be very slow. Fast movements are
stimulating to mind and nerves. Slow movements have a sedative
effect. By walking very slowly as if one were tired the desired effect
of fatigue is more satisfactorily secured. One imagines the need of rest
under such conditions.
The quality of the air is another important factor, though I need not
dwell upon that here. The air you breathe during sleep should
be especially fresh and pure, particularly so because of the more
shallow character of the breathing. If you are in a room, all the
windows should be open as wide as possible. If you have a covered
balcony or porch, or if you can avail yourself of a flat roof, it is
always advisable to sleep out-of-doors. The increased vitality will
more than repay you for your trouble. There is something about
out-of-door sleeping that vitalizes, energizes, and refreshes one to
an unusual extent.
Circulation is another important factor in sound sleep, especially for
nervous persons. Many of those who complain of an inability to
sleep suffer more or less from congestion of blood in the brain; also
they complain of cold feet or cold hands and feet. In such instances,
warm feet will often bring a solution of the problem. In some instances
drinking a half cup of hot milk or hot water before going to bed will
draw the blood from the brain and enable one to sleep. A hot foot bath
before going to bed will do the same thing, or one may use a hot-water
bag or hot flatiron wrapped up in flannels, or even a hot brick treated
in the same way, to keep the feet warm when in bed. In extreme cases it
might be advisable to apply cold packs to the head while applying heat
to the feet or when taking the hot foot bath.
Another measure of special value for nervous persons is a bath at the
temperature of the body, to be taken for a half-hour before going
to sleep. In cases of extreme excitement, anger or nervousness this bath
is invaluable. Fill the tub with water at 96 degrees Fahrenheit or
98 degrees Fahrenheit. You can remain in this bath for several hours
without harm, for it is neither weakening nor stimulating. It has a
soothing effect upon the nerves and is even valuable in preventing
attacks of hysteria or other nervous difficulties. This particular
bath is so effective in hospitals for the insane that it has
frequently obviated the use of padded cells and straight jackets. It is
just as effective for the nervous person who wishes to overcome the
excitement that is preventing sleep. A half-hour bath should be
sufficient for ordinary purposes. Another remedy of great value for
soothing the nerves is the air bath. I have referred to this in another
part of this volume, but it is extremely valuable for quieting the
nerves in cases of insomnia. If the room is comfortably warm, an air
bath can be advantageously taken for half an hour before going to
One of the most valuable remedies for those suffering from sleeplessness
is to lie in an air bath during the entire night. This idea can be
carried out very easily by raising the bed covering in such a way as to
remove its weight from the body, thus providing what we might call a
chamber of air in which to sleep. With the aid of a large safety-pin or
a horse-blanket safety-pin, the bed clothing may be kept thus suspended.
The safety-pin is pinned through all the coverings in the centre of the
bed and then by means of a string passing through the safety-pin and
running from the top of the head of the bed to the top of the foot of
the bed the bed covering can easily be raised to the desired height.
The appearance of the bed is then somewhat like that of a small tent.
One may not feel warm immediately after entering, if the weather is
cold, but if the covering is thick enough and the air is entirely
excluded, a perfect air bath, warm and comfortable, can be enjoyed
during the entire night. The head, of course, will keep its usual
position outside of the covers. No underclothing or night clothing
should be worn when attempting to carry out this idea.
The problems associated with covering are of considerable importance.
Many people are unable to sleep because of cold feet and many
are overheated by an excess of covering. It should not be necessary to
bury one's self underneath a heavy load of covers in order to keep the
feet warm. Use as little covering as possible and still maintain the
bodily warmth. Eider-down bed covers are very valuable because of
their light weight and great warmth-retaining qualities. Overheating
during sleep produces restlessness and robs one of the sense of
refreshment on awakening. The question of cold feet I have already
dealt with. The difficulty, in most cases, is one of defective
circulation before going to bed. If one will be sure that his feet are
warm and his circulation good before retiring to bed he will invariably
have no trouble of this kind, even during winter time. I do not mean
that one should be chilled by insufficient bedding, but I certainly
would advise as little covering as is compatible with a comfortable
degree of warmth.
The feather beds, much used in Europe, are undesirable, as they are
unsanitary and are too warm for nearly all seasons of the year. It is
always best to sleep between clean linen sheets. For purposes of warmth,
however, bear in mind that cotton is of very little value, whereas
animal-product covers such as wool and down, or feathers, are
exceptionally warm. Cotton comforters in cold weather are very heavy,
but cold, whereas woolen blankets, wool-filled comforters or down-
filled comforters are warm, but light. "A warmth without weight" should
be the chief consideration in cold weather. And in using woolen
coverings you can get sufficient warmth without much weight and with the
very least quantity of covering. In summer use only a single woolen
blanket or a light cotton coverlet over the sheet. When the nights are
hot and sultry it would be well to use no covering of any kind.
For warmth in winter special attention should be given to warm fabrics
underneath the lower sheet as well as the coverings. One may
become chilled from underneath if lying upon a thin mattress or an
uncovered mattress. A wool-filled comforter, or double woolen blanket,
placed over the mattress and under the sheet will contribute greatly to
one's warmth. If the mattress is of proper thickness one can be
comfortable with less covering and therefore less weight. However, I
would suggest as a better plan the one that I have presented of sleeping
in a virtual air bath the whole night through.
The use of a pillow is necessary in nearly all cases. When one is
sleeping on his back a pillow is certainly an objectionable feature. It
tips the head forward and is conducive to round shoulders. A pillow is
of value when sleeping on the side or in the partial face-downward
position, as indicated in the illustration.
The accompanying illustration shows a special position that I can
recommend for securing restful sleep and for insuring deeper
respiration. In this position you sleep with the body tipped forward
partly upon the chest, and on the forearm, with one elbow just back of
the body and hand under the waist. The knee of the upper leg will be
drawn up somewhat. While this is a very comfortable position its chief
advantage lies in the effect upon the respiration. It will be noted
that in this position the organs lying below the diaphragm are placed in
a suspended position, so to speak. The stomach and other organs by
their own weight pull downward from the diaphragm, thus naturally
allowing more space in the lungs, and particularly in the lower part
of the lungs. Through the simple effect of gravitation, therefore, this
position allows one to breathe a larger amount of air through the
entire night. One may turn from one side to the other in order to change
the position, as it will be equally comfortable on right or left
sides. In cases where there is weakness of the heart the left-side
position can not be recommended if discomfort of any sort is noticed.
One often hears a reference to beauty sleep and is often asked: "Is it
really true that an hour of sleep before midnight is equal to two
hours after midnight?" There are many writers who claim that the time
when you sleep matters but little if you secure a sufficient amount of
sleep. It is doubtful, however, if this view is absolutely correct. I am
inclined to lean towards the old-fashioned view as to the good effect
of early retiring on beauty development that is based on health
In one sense, it is reasonable to conclude that an hour of sleep before
midnight is worth more than an hour thereafter. I am satisfied that
there is greater exhaustion of the body from late than from normal
hours, and it is difficult to get the full benefit from sleep when
going to bed after midnight. At least the nerve strain of artificial
light tends to produce a certain degree of vital depletion that one
would not experience if his waking hours included only the daylight.
Then again, there is probably some mysterious influence that we
do not fully comprehend which makes sleep at night more restful than
sleep during the daylight. Those who go to bed at midnight or
thereafter use several hours of daylight in the early morning for
sleeping. I realize that there are nocturnal animals and that the human
race has developed nocturnal habits to a certain extent, but the human
race and the animal life of the world generally have followed the habit
through the ages of sleeping at night. Without doubt a revolutionary
change in this habit has more or less effect upon the restful character
of our sleep. Perhaps the mere question of light has much to do with
it. Daylight is stimulating. Light has a chemical action and tends
to stimulate animal metabolism. Darkness, or the lack of light, tends
to a restful condition. Without doubt this question of light has much to
do with the supposed benefits of sleep before midnight. The old saying
that "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and
wise" may not hold true in the matter of wisdom and wealth in all
cases, but there is no doubt it has much to do with the development of
health and vitality.
"We're just a weed in the universe".
|11-07-2012, 06:42 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Thank you for posting.
|11-07-2012, 06:54 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Yeah, aim for absolute darkness, cells can detect light even if you can't see it through your eyelids.
"In a new study, biologists report that melanocyte skin cells detect ultraviolet light using a photosensitive receptor previously thought to exist only in the eye......"
|01-08-2012, 01:16 AM||#4|
Join Date: Feb 2011
source: LifeExtension Blog
Natural Strategies for Managing Insomnia
By Dr. Sergey A. Dzugan
Q: I am a 45-year-old woman. Although my overall health is good, I have suffered from chronic insomnia for more than 15 years. I am concerned that lack of sleep may increase my risk of developing major illnesses. Is there a connection between chronic insomnia and the development of disease? What can I do to achieve good, restful sleep? I have heard that prescription sleep aids carry side effects—are there any other solutions for my insomnia?
A: Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, or non-restorative sleep. Insomnia that occurs most nights and lasts a month or more is considered chronic insomnia.
In Western societies, chronic sleep disorders and sleep deprivation are common. The daily life cycle, or circadian rhythm, includes periods of sleep and wakefulness. This circadian (meaning “about a day”) rhythm is commonly referred to as the biological clock, and helps regulate different bodily functions. While humans are programmed for daytime activity and nighttime rest, a large proportion of the adult population suffers from difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or early awakening.
In industrialized societies, most people spend the majority of their time indoors, and thus have limited exposure to natural light. While electric lighting is generally sufficient to allow for normal visual perception, it may not adequately support normal neuroendocrine rhythms, such as circadian rhythms. Insomnia related to shift work has become an important health problem. For example, recent studies have found that very few night workers regularly experience restful and restorative daytime sleep.
Sleep is not a luxury, but rather an important component of health. A healthy amount of sleep is crucial for a vibrant and productive lifestyle. It is widely believed that seven to eight hours of sleep a night is optimal for good health.
With so many Americans suffering from chronic insomnia, prescriptions for pharmaceutical sleep aids are at an all-time high. Unfortunately, these drugs can lead to dependence and sometimes produce adverse side effects.
We will now examine the numerous health problems associated with insomnia, factors that contribute to sleep disorders, and strategies you can use to achieve healthy and restful sleep.
Insomnia: A Risk Factor for Disease
Although chronic sleep disorders are common today, many people are unaware of the potentially grave health effects of inadequate amounts of sleep. This may be because the medical community has only recently focused on the importance of sleep in promoting good health.
Emerging scientific evidence indicates that insufficient sleep may have deleterious effects on health. A growing number of studies have linked inadequate sleep or sleeping at odd hours with increased risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Insomnia has also been linked to decreased work efficiency, increased prevalence of emotional and psychological problems, more frequent hospitalizations, and even increased mortality. One possible explanation is that chronic stress and accompanying insomnia overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, setting the stage for disease.
Insomnia has a number of clinically significant associations. Patients with chronic insomnia have higher rates of psychological and physical illnesses. Sleep may influence how the nervous, hormonal, and immune systems function. Sleep deprivation in healthy subjects results in numerous adverse physiological changes, including effects on lipid and glucose metabolism, endocrine function, sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system balance, and blood pressure. Chronic insomnia has been associated with a modestly increased risk of coronary events and development of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Moreover, sleep disorders may play a primary role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease. Sleep restriction results in additional undesirable physiological changes that include elevation of evening cortisol level, impairment of glucose control, and increased inflammation. Scientists have recently documented an association between sleep deprivation and metabolic disturbances and impaired insulin action. Chronic insomnia may be a part of the pathophysiological connection between stress and metabolic syndrome, and may contribute to premature aging and early mortality. Conversely, sleeping seven to eight hours each night is associated with lower mortality from all causes.
Sleeping disorders related to shift work convey significant risk for the development of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. Sleep deprivation has been linked with elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that is correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. Sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism. An association between limited sleep (less than seven to eight hours) and increased body mass index (BMI) has been reported in large population studies. Scientists have found that adults who sleep less than seven hours a night have a significantly higher risk of obesity, perhaps because inadequate sleep may produce an imbalance of the hormones that regulate appetite.
In the United States, where a significant proportion of workers are engaged in shift work, cancer is the second leading cause of death. Scientists have proposed that melatonin, a hormone normally produced at night, may modulate the relationship between shift work and cancer. Since melatonin shows potential cancer-preventive effects against different tumors, it is possible that a low melatonin level caused by nighttime exposure to light increases the tendency toward tumor development. Exposure to light at night may be one reason for the higher rates of breast and colorectal cancers in developed countries, as it can suppress normal nocturnal production of melatonin by the pineal gland. Decreased melatonin levels may increase breast cancer risk through several mechanisms, including increasing the release of estrogen by the ovaries.
Several studies have found that insufficient, disruptive, or arrhythmic sleep can increase risk for breast and colon cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. This may occur because sleep disorders affect production of the most important hormones and proteins that play roles in these diseases.
Insufficient sleep and nighttime work can affect the frequency and amount of hormonal secretions, which can lead to distortions in cortisol, melatonin, growth hormone, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) rhythms. Both daytime sleep and nighttime work are often associated with perturbed endocrine function, which could explain certain health problems. Both light and melatonin have physiological and behavioral effects on the body. Melatonin can reduce core body temperature and induce sleepiness. Light at night can increase body temperature, alertness, and performance. Recent studies suggest that sleep loss exerts negative effects on cognition, performance, and health.
Chronic sleep limitation is also associated with significant increases in accidents, social disruption, and psychiatric disturbances. In addition, some scientists believe that lack of sleep could be a key factor in pathologies such as chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, and fibromyalgia.
Causes of Insomnia
Sleep problems are associated with multiple factors, and may be secondary symptoms of established or subclinical (defined as undetectable by normal testing) diseases. Insomnia is usually associated with various physical and psychological disorders, treatments, and environmental conditions. Certain physical illnesses can be a cause of chronic insomnia. Disorders of the heart (congestive heart failure), lungs (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, emphysema), and digestive system (peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, heartburn) can interfere with restful sleep. Medical conditions such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, enlargement of the prostate gland, hot flashes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and leg cramps are very common and important causes of insomnia, particularly in older people.
Abnormal levels of certain hormones have been observed in people suffering from chronic insomnia. Some studies have reported high levels of the stress hormone cortisol and low levels of melatonin in patients with chronic insomnia. Moreover, normal aging is associated with altered secretion of growth hormone, a hormone associated with deep sleep. Low levels of estrogen can cause hot flashes, which may interrupt normal sleep.
Several disorders that have a psychological or psychiatric basis can also contribute to insomnia. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia may cause insomnia. More than 90% of depressed patients experience insomnia. Chronic stress and unhealthy lifestyle factors (lack of exercise, irregular eating habits, poor sleeping habits, excessive caffeine consumption, smoking, and drinking alcohol) may trigger insomnia. Ten to fifteen percent of chronic insomnia cases may result from substance abuse, especially of alcohol, cocaine, and sedatives. While alcohol may initially promote sleep, it has been associated with fragmented sleep and wakefulness a few hours later.
Medications such as antidepressants, drugs used to treat asthma and high blood pressure, corticosteroids, diuretics, histamine blockers, and respiratory stimulants can cause insomnia. A number of studies have reported that shift work may disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm and lead to chronic insomnia. Environmental factors (noise, light, heat) and excessive computer work have also been associated with insomnia.
Strategies for Managing Insomnia
Effective management of insomnia must be directed at the condition causing the insomnia. For example, if the reason for insomnia is hot flashes, the first step must be a blood test of hormone levels. Restoration of youthful levels of basic hormones will be a second step.
If you are a 45-year-old woman, it is a good idea to assess your hormone levels (including pregnenolone, DHEA, total estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and TSH). Next, work with your health care provider to replace deficient hormones, and use melatonin and other supplements that can calm your body and help restore dominance of the parasympathetic nervous system at night.
Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the body’s biological clock. As people age, their bodies produce less melatonin, which can lead to difficulty sleeping. Many people take supplemental melatonin at bedtime to help them fall asleep. The recommended dose of melatonin ranges from 0.3 to 6 mg, depending on individual needs.
Many herbs and nutrients may help manage insomnia, used either alone or in combination with prescription medications. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), B vitamins, inositol, and omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful for insomnia related to mood disorders. The mineral magnesium is known to promote relaxation, and may be helpful for individuals with insomnia. The herb kava may be helpful for anxiety and insomnia, as it promotes muscle relaxation and may help encourage sleep. Chamomile tea is popular for managing mild insomnia. Essential oils of lavender and lemon balm have calming effects that may promote relaxation and sleep. Valerian, an herb frequently used for severe insomnia, appears to be as effective as some prescription medications for treating insomnia. Acting as a sedative, it makes falling asleep easier and allows the body to go into deeper sleep cycles. A dose of 400 mg of valerian taken 30 minutes before bedtime is usually effective.
The most common side effect from kava use is mild gastrointestinal disturbances in some people. Kava has also been associated with skin rashes and enlargement of the pupils of the eyes. Kava should not be combined with drugs or substances that act on the central nervous system, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Individuals with liver problems should not use kava. Use of kava should generally be limited to three months. Chamomile should be avoided by people who use anticoagulants. Chamomile may cause delayed gastric absorption, which could alter the absorption of concomitantly administered drugs. Chamomile has been associated with rare allergic reactions that can trigger bronchial constriction or skin reactions. Chamomile should be avoided by people with allergies to ragweed, aster, chrysanthemums, or mugwort pollen. Essential oils of lavender and lemon balm are not for internal use, except under medical supervision. Topical use of these essential oils has infrequently been associated with allergic contact dermatitis. Valerian has been associated with the occasional side effects of fatigue and abdominal pain. Always consult your health care practitioner before beginning a program of nutritional or herbal supplementation.
Here are a few suggestions to help improve your sleep:
Achieving restful sleep is critically important to maintaining health and protecting yourself against disease. A successful program for achieving adequate amounts of healthy, restful sleep involves treating any underlying health conditions, optimizing hormone balance, incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, and utilizing herbs and nutrients that promote relaxation.
Editor’s Note: Those who fail to achieve restful sleep using natural approaches may consider prescription sleep medications. To reduce the risk of tolerance, speak to your physician about taking 5-10 mg of Ambien® one night, 1-2 mg of Klonopin® the second night, and 22-44 mg of Tranxene® the third night, and repeating this cycle to avoid taking the same drug two nights in a row.
"We're just a weed in the universe".
|01-08-2012, 01:18 AM||#5|
Join Date: Feb 2011
source: LifeExtension Blog
The Signs of a Poor Night’s Sleep
By Michael A. Smith, MD
You feel sluggish and achy all the time. Your mood changes at the drop of a hat. Your boss thinks you’re losing your edge as you can’t seem to stay on top of things like you did a few years ago.
Your doctor says you’re going through an inevitable “change” of life and are probably depressed. Perhaps he has also started you on an antidepressant.
Do you relate to any of this? Well, if you do, you’re not alone. Millions of middle-aged Americans — both men and women — are indeed going through this "life change". And yes - in many cases, these symptoms are related to the loss of hormones characteristic of middle age.
But could it be something else? Quite possibly.
Poor Sleep Makes You Feel Old
Here’s something you need to understand: Poor sleep makes you feel old. You can sleep through the night, getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours, and still suffer from lack of quality sleep.
Sleep consists of a series of stages. Each plays a role in restoring and regenerating your brain and body. What determines a healthy night’s sleep is how well you cycle through the different stages of sleep.
If you don’t cycle through all of them, you won’t feel rested the next day. And if this goes on and on and on … you’ll feel old. Other symptoms will develop too. You know, things like body aches, headaches, digestive issues, nerve problems and mood disorders, just to name a few.
So could your symptoms really be tied to poor-quality sleep?
The Common Signs of Poor Sleep
If you sleep throughout the night but don’t cycle through all the stages, you may find yourself suffering from muscle weakness, the blues, a lack of interest in things that you normally enjoy, and nervous system complaints like headaches and twitching.
Your mornings are probably more productive, which might be a result of self-medicating with caffeinated drinks or eating high-energy, sugary breakfast pastries. The cortisol surge in the morning may help as well.
But by mid-afternoon, even if you eat a healthy lunch, you’ll most likely crash. At this point in the day, you might find yourself staring at the computer screen, thinking about the same thing over and over again. Concentrating in this state is pretty much impossible.
A second surge in cortisol around dinner time may improve your energy and concentration. But this soon fades as the responsibilities of home — your kids’ homework, cooking and cleaning — take over. At this point in the day, you’re physically and mentally tired, ready for a “good” night’s sleep.
But here’s the problem: Calming your brain down enough to sleep well is almost impossible after a day like this. You may feel tired, but your brain chemistry is likely all messed up. Fortunately, there’s hope.
Warm Milk Really Does Work for Sleep
As a kid, did your mom ever tell you to drink warm milk if you couldn’t sleep? Well, she was right. Warm milk contains small proteins, called peptides, that help calm the brain so that you can sleep well, cycling though all of the stages of sleep.
However, there’s a trick to preparing warm milk. You first have to bring the milk to a slight boil and then immediately remove it from the heat. Let it cool a little and drink. The boiling actually breaks up the milk proteins (the peptides) into smaller fragments. It’s the peptides that calm your brain.
But we’re adults now. Our days are way more hectic than they were as kids. Warm milk, although effective, may not be strong enough for you. This is where a milk peptide supplement can help.
Used widely in Europe to promote sustained and restful sleep patterns, milk peptides, published studies reveal, promote relaxation, help with stress, and support daytime cognition.1-2
In a clinical study, a group of 63 women reporting a variety of sleep-related difficulties experienced as much as a 65% improvement in their symptoms when they took just 150 mg per day of a bioactive milk peptide supplement.3
What You Need to Know
If you’re feeling older than you should be, perhaps you’re not sleeping well. One common reason for this is an excited brain that won’t calm down enough to cycle through sleep’s many stages. This means you’re not experiencing the restful and restorative sleep that your brain and body require.
Don’t assume that you’re just going through an inevitable “change” of life. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t.
To help, try doing some mental relaxation techniques before bed. Things like reading a book, listening to soothing music and avoiding anything electronic two hours before you hit the hay. Then try drinking some warm milk or supplementing with bioactive milk peptides.
See if you feel better the next day and even a little “younger” over the next month. If you do, then your problem was poor-quality sleep after all!
"We're just a weed in the universe".
|01-08-2012, 01:22 AM||#6|
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: currently hiding the Higgs Boson
for the best nights sleep ever!, find a brewing shop and get some fresh hops, place them near you in bed and ZZZzzz.....
Farmers used to hire double the amount of hop pickers than needed for this reason. Been used by indiginous people for years......
There is no "Theory of Evolution" just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live
|01-08-2012, 01:27 AM||#7|
Join Date: Feb 2011
What's the Worst Thing You Can Do if You Can't Fall Asleep?
Written by Mercola
Most of us experience difficulty sleeping from time to time but for some people the inability to fall asleep becomes a chronic condition. Tossing an turning hoping to finally fall asleep only increases frustration which in turn makes it still more difficlut to fall asleep. In desparation many people resort to sleeping pills which often have unwanted side effects, can become addictive and may not leave you feeling rested. This article describes alternatives which you may not have thought about.
By Dr. Mercola: A growing body of evidence, garnered from both science and history, suggests the eight-hour sleep cycle may not be the most natural arrangement for humans after all.
One experiment conducted in the 1990s, for example, seemed to indicate that when completely left to their own devices, people would sleep for four hours, then wake for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.
More recently, historians have uncovered a wealth of historical evidence that humans in fact used to sleep in two distinct segments.
Evidence includes diaries, court records, medical books and literature, in which these two sleep cycles are referred to in such a way as to make it clear that it was common knowledge at the time.
According to the BBC News:
"... [R]eferences to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets... [B]y the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night.Nighttime Wakefulness May be Perfectly Natural...
According to Roger Ekirch, historian and author of the book At Day's Close: Night in Times Pastii, the historically recent change to this pattern could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. Sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs agrees that we've strayed from our evolutionary pattern, and that waking up during the night is actually a normal part of human physiology.
"The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too," BBC News reports.
According to Ekirch, those waking night time hours were oftentimes used for quiet contemplation and introspection, in addition to more active pastimes like making love. Many just don't take the time to contemplate their life and dreams anymore, which can increase anxiety, stress and depression. So, the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, instead of panicking or worrying about "not being asleep when you should," try to relax, and remember you may just be tapping into a very natural rhythm, and use that time for meditating on your dreams instead of giving in to worry.
Natural Stages of Sleep
According to sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobsiv from the featured BBC News article, you cycle through four stages of sleep every 60 to 100 minutes.
Stage 1: A drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleepingIn order to understand why you can't fall asleep or stay sleep, you need to understand that sleep is the outcome of an interaction between two classes of variables: sleepiness and "noise."
Sleepiness – Under normal conditions, your sleepiness should gradually increase throughout the day, peaking just before you go to bed at night. This is ideal, as you want your sleepiness to be high at the beginning of the night, leading you into Stage 1, as described above.According to Dr. Rubin Naiman—a clinical psychologist, author, teacher, and the leader in integrative medicine approaches to sleep and dreams—one of the most common symptoms of insomnia is a condition called "cognitive popcorn." This is when your mind produces uncontrollable thoughts that keep you awake, and it is one of the most common forms of mental "noise." Other forms of noise include physical noise such as pain, discomfort, indigestion, or residual caffeine from drinking coffee too late in the day, and "environmental noise," such as a snoring partner, music, lights, or a bedroom that's too warm.
In order to easily fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, you want your sleepiness level to be high, and the noise level to be low. According to Dr. Naiman, more often than not, the reason why people can't fall asleep is NOT because of lack of sleepiness, but rather because of excessive noise.
Therefore, the FIRST thing you need to ask yourself when you can't sleep is:
"Where/What is the noise?" (Is it mind/body/environmental?)
Typically, you will find a number of different factors contribute to the noise burden keeping you awake, so it's important to carefully evaluate your environment and inner/outer state to determine ALL the contributing factors. If you address one problem, but not the others, you still may not be able to fall asleep, or stay asleep throughout the night.
WARNING: New Study Shows Sleeping Pills Increase Your Risk of Dying
Unfortunately, most people don't bother taking the time to determine what's really keeping them from sleeping soundly, and reach for a pill instead. An estimated six to 10 percent of US adults used some sort of hypnotic sleeping pill in 2010. But, as evidenced by a new study, using sleeping pills can be a dangerous, not to mention ineffective, solution. According to the new research, using prescription sleeping pills can increase your risk of cancer and premature death. In fact, the study, published in the BMJ Open, suggests that those who take such medications are nearly four times more likely to die than people who don't take them.
According to MSN Health
"During 2010, between one in 20 and one in 10 adults took a sleeping pill in the United States ... Those who were prescribed up to 18 doses a year were 3.6 times more likely to die ... Those taking the highest doses were also at greater risk of developing several types of cancer, including esophagus, lymphoma, lung, colon and prostate cancers."Sleeping pills linked to these risks included:
Adding insult to injury, most sleeping pills are also ineffective... In 2007, an analysis of sleeping pill studies financed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata reduced the average time to go to sleep by just under 13 minutes compared with sugar pills -- hardly a major improvement! And, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data, over-the-counter sleep products such as Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM do not offer any significant benefit to patients.
How to Optimize Your Sleep
Two common environmental "noise" factors that can make sleep elusive are light and temperature. Below, these two factors are addressed in a number of ways:
· Avoid watching TV or using your computer at night—or at least about an hour or so before going to bed—as these technologies can have a significantly detrimental impact on your sleep. TV and computer screens emit blue light; nearly identical to the light you're exposed to outdoors during the day. This tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime, thereby shutting down melatonin secretion.
Under normal circumstances, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 or 10 pm, which makes you sleepy. When this natural secretion cycle is disrupted, due to excessive light exposure after sunset, insomnia can ensue.
· Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the slightest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep and will also dramatically increase your risk of cancer. So close your bedroom door, and get rid of night-lights. Refrain from turning on any light at all during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom. Cover up your clock radio. If you need light to use the rest room you can use a RED light as those wavelengths will not shut off your melatonin production.
Make sure to cover your windows—I recommend using blackout shades or drapes.
· Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep. This is because when you sleep, your body's internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body's natural temperature drop.
· Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready for sleep.
Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your bed. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least three feet. This serves at least two functions. First, it can be stressful to see the time when you can't fall asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night. Secondly, the glow from a clock radio can be enough to suppress melatonin production and interfere with your sleep.
Being mindful of electromagnetic fields in your bedroom is also wise, as EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To measure the EMF levels in your bedroom, you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online, starting around $50 to $200.
I also recommend avoiding using loud alarm clocks, as being jolted awake each morning can be very stressful. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary.
I gave up my alarm clock years ago and now spontaneously awake without an alarm. On those rare occasions that I do need to get up early to catch a flight, I have used a sun alarm clock. The Sun Alarm™ provides an ideal way to wake up each morning if you can't wake up with the REAL sun. Combining the features of a traditional alarm clock (digital display, AM/FM radio, beeper, snooze button, etc) with a special built-in light that gradually increases in intensity, this amazing clock simulates a natural sunrise. It also includes a sunset feature where the light fades to darkness over time, which is ideal for anyone who has trouble falling asleep.
For a comprehensive sleep guide, please see my article 33 Secret's to a Good Night's Sleep.
Melatonin—An All-Natural Sleep Aid
While sleeping pills will likely do you more harm than good, you could consider taking a melatonin supplement, which will help boost sleepiness, if you're really out of sync and can't fall asleep.
Ideally it is best to increase your melatonin levels naturally, of course, by exposing yourself to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum bulbs in the winter) and complete darkness at night. If you do this regularly, you will promote proper functioning of your natural circadian rhythm, which is essential for a proper sleep cycle. However, if that isn't possible, you can consider a melatonin supplement. It's is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep. In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue.
I prefer to use a sublingual melatonin product because it is absorbed much faster and therefore works more quickly. Keep in mind you typically only need a very minute amount. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes have the reverse effect. So start with as little as 0.25mg or 0.5mg and play around with it to see what dosage works best for you.
"We're just a weed in the universe".
|01-08-2012, 01:30 AM||#8|
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a Superhuman Planet
At the end of the day it boils down to stressors and adrenal glands, also hypothyroidism and heavy metals and pesticides causing blockages,colonic irrigations by practitioner is good and also Somatomed as this encourages good sleep and opens up cell receptors and is natural.It was tested on CFS in the nineties.
|01-08-2012, 01:49 AM||#9|
Join Date: Feb 2011
I don't remember where I learned it from, but I've adopted a method of falling asleep that works every night:
Close your eyes, count from 100 down to 0, counting each time I exhale.
Personally, by the time I count down to around 30, I stop counting, and start drowsing away. Sometimes, if I'm still awake and I reach 0, I start counting down again, but this time, I count down from 50. It usually takes 2-3 countdowns for me to fall asleep. It works every time
I guess this is similar to the counting sheep method.
"We're just a weed in the universe".
Last edited by macchoi; 01-08-2012 at 02:00 AM.
|17-08-2012, 01:34 PM||#10|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Is sleep killing you?.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!.
Last edited by sicknote; 17-08-2012 at 01:34 PM.
|17-08-2012, 01:46 PM||#11|
Join Date: Apr 2011
Oversleeping is a problem, yes.
Everyone knows that if you oversleep you feel more tired.
The best solution for sleep is to go to bed at exact time
and wake up at exact time every time.
I go to sleep at around 11 and wake up at 7 in the morning.
I've been doing this for a couple of years now
and I have absolutely no trouble falling asleep or waking up.
It starts working as clock.
Not having a television helps as there's too much distraction
I'm one of those people that if I don't get enough sleep
I'm totally useless the next day.
|17-08-2012, 01:48 PM||#12|
Join Date: Feb 2011
The only problem is when I have to adjust the position of my testicles when sleeping on my side
"We're just a weed in the universe".
Last edited by macchoi; 17-08-2012 at 01:50 PM.
|17-08-2012, 02:03 PM||#13|
Join Date: Oct 2010
I'm not going to argue with that.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!.
Last edited by sicknote; 17-08-2012 at 02:17 PM.
|19-08-2012, 02:27 PM||#14|
Join Date: Feb 2011
It's cool how they don't use pillows, but instead use their arms and hands.
I would think that if humans did that, it would cut-off blood circulation in their arms. This has happened to me before. Maybe it's because of my heavily-muscled frame and broad shoulders
"We're just a weed in the universe".
|19-08-2012, 02:31 PM||#15|
Join Date: Feb 2011
I personally still subscribe to going to bed when the sun goes down, and wake up as it rises.
Unfortunately omitting television is not enough. All homes and buildings are equipped with artificial lighting.
"We're just a weed in the universe".
|19-08-2012, 03:15 PM||#16|
Join Date: Jun 2011
|03-09-2012, 07:44 PM||#17|
Join Date: Jun 2010
I have to sleep on the right for some reason.
Did you know that many people stay up late because of parasites?
The parasites try to keep us awake as then we produce more adrenaline, which they like to feed off apparently
thanks for the info
|03-09-2012, 08:10 PM||#18|
Join Date: Jun 2011
|18-09-2012, 05:39 PM||#19|
Join Date: Apr 2011
Arthritis Patients Need More ZZZZZ's
Sleep Problems Often an Overlooked Symptom of Arthritis
Poor quality of sleep is equally problematic as joint pain and limited mobility for many people suffering with arthritis. Sleep disruption appears to be an overlooked consequence of arthritis for many people. People suffering with arthritis need to give more attention to the often dismissed symptom of disrupted sleep, according to results from a national study.
Sleeping Problems: Often a Dismissed Symptom of Arthritis
Most people, if asked to list the symptoms of arthritis, would include pain, stiffness, discomfort, and limited mobility in their response. Countless articles, reports, and studies have focused on arthritis symptoms, arthritis treatments, coping with arthritis. Fatigue also is recognized as a symptom of many types of arthritis, in the sense of being "worn out" or "lacking energy". Often overlooked, though, is the impact of arthritis on sleep.
|19-09-2012, 02:55 AM||#20|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Beam Me Up, Scotty!.
Last edited by sicknote; 19-09-2012 at 03:03 AM.