Information on Sleeping Better
If you have the occasional bout with sleep problems, then I think you’ll love this new section on how to get better sleep! Here you’ll find all sorts of professionally written articles to help give you tips, advice and ideas to help you sleep like a baby.
Sleeping better is important because we all seem to have too few hours to sleep. So, getting the most out of every hour of down time helps us have the energy to get through the next busy, hectic day. Lack of sleep or being sleep deprived can be dangerous, as well as taxing on our health and immune systems.
Sleep allows the body to restore itself, heal, and store the immune system. Skin cells are replaced more quickly during sleep than at other time. Swollen legs and ankles from long hours of standing lose the excess fluid buildup while sleeping. The body’s metabolism slows and brain activity changes dramatically.
Sleep disorders which cause some people to be unable to sleep well causes these people much frustration and a lower quality of life. One disorder of sleep, narcolepsy, causes a person to fall asleep without warning at any time, even while driving and while engaged in physical activity. This sleep disorder has clear dangers associated with the person’s inability to control falling asleep.
Another of the sleeping disorders that is quite common is sleep apnea. This sleep syndrome is common in people who are overweight, but even slim people can have this sleep problem. During sleep, a person with sleep apnea will suddenly stop breathing. This causes them to awaken dozens or even hundreds of times each night. Providing positive flow oxygen often solved the problem and allows the person with sleep apnea to sleep better. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when tonsils, enlarged adenoids, an especially large epiglottis, or other obstruction causes the sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatment for this type of sleep problem is usually surgical.
There are specialists in the medical field who study sleep medicine and perform sleep research. These researchers have determined the normal sleep cycles or sleep patterns which the average person experiences. By studying sleepers in a sleep lab or sleep centers, it is known that sleep is a dynamic process. There are distinct sleep stages which alternate in cycles, each reflecting different brain wave activity. Non-rapid eye moves (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep alternate with NREM having four sub-stage: light sleep, stage II deeper sleep, and stages III and IV, which are the deepest sleep stages of NREM. These four sub-stages of NREM are followed by REM sleep and the entire cycle averages about one and one-half hours.
“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bug bite”, has been said to millions of children as their parents put them to bed for the night. All too often, the child soon gets up and says, “I can’t sleep.” So, how do parents help develop child sleep habits that will ensure they get enough healthy sleep. How many hours of sleep do children need? What do sleep experts say on the subject?
The science of sleep has studied the optimal number of hours children should sleep in order to enjoy peak performance the next day. While each child, just like each adult, differs slightly in the sleep required for peak performance, the average for children is 9 to 10 hours of sound sleep. Adolescents need about 8 to 9 hours of sleep while adults require from 6 to 9 hours, depending on the individual.
It is important that the time allocated for sleep allow for sound, restful sleep. Sleep hours should follow a schedule so that the habit of sleep follows natural rhythms. To get better sleep, establish a “bed time” for children and yourself and stick to this schedule. The body will get in the habit of falling asleep at this time and it will be much easier to fall asleep quickly.
While it is not bad to sleep in occasionally, it is best to follow a schedule for waking each day. The body will develop the habit of awakening at this same time and you’ll be ready to rise and begin your day.
Sleeping on a good mattress that is firm but comfortable is another key to sound, restful sleep. Choose a box spring and mattress set or a foundation and mattress. You might prefer a water bed that is waveless, semi-waveless or full wave if you enjoy the feeling of these types of bedding.
Linens for your bed can help you sleep soundly. Quality, soft sheets are cozy and comforting. Scratchy, rough sheets, one the other hand, can be irritating and keep you awake. Choose the finest quality bed linen you can afford and care for it proper; it will last for years and is a great investment in good, sound sleep.
A comforter or blanket may help you feel comfortable and snuggly. Other people find that too much bed covering makes them feel restricted. Choose what makes you feel most comfortable and keeps your body at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Maintain the room temperate a bit on the cool side to encourage you to sleep well.
A comfortable pillow is also important. Choose a firmness and size that feels right for you. Do not try to sleep soundly on a pile of multiple pillows unless your doctor has recommended you do so for a medical problem such as acid reflux or gastric esophageal erosive disorder.
Prepare for sleep by performing pre-sleep hygiene including washing your face or bathing, brushing your teeth, taking any prescription medications which are directed to be taken at bedtime, and dressing in comfortable sleep wear. Some people fine they sleep better in the nude and if that works best for you, then simply undress and get into bed.
Insomnia is a common problem for adults who lead busy lives. To avoid insomnia, do not drink any caffeinated beverages after 5 pm. Also, avoid exercise in the evening; instead, get your workout in the morning hours. Do not watch television, read, or listen to the radio while lying in bed if you have trouble getting to sleep. Natural sleep aids such as chamomile tea, melatonin supplements, aroma therapy, meditation, and self-hypnosis can help getting to sleep and staying asleep. Meditation can also help you get back to sleep if you wake during the night and have trouble falling to sleep again.
The sleep positions you choose may impact how well you sleep. Sleeping on the stomach is not recommended because of the pressure placed on the back and neck. Sleeping flat on your back can cause snoring and also puts pressure on the lower back. It is much better to sleep on your side.
Snoring can be a big problem for people who sleep with partners. If the sleep partner snores loudly, it can result in the non-snorer waking up many times during the night and failing to sleep soundly even when asleep. There are over the counter nasal strips that can help prevent snoring. In severe cases, a doctor who is a sleep expert can recommend other techniques. If nothing else works, surgery is an option to stop the snoring. The person who snores may not realize it, but their sleep is impacted by the snoring as well.
For people who must sleep during the day because of night jobs or other reasons, a sleep mask can be a huge aid in getting to sleep and staying asleep. Curtains and blinds can only darken a room to a certain level unless the bedroom is completely redesigned to be light proof. A simple sleep mask which costs only a few dollars can keep the light from the sleeper’s eyes and provide darkness to help them sleep soundly.
Because noise can be a big problem for day sleepers and even for people who sleep at night by live along busy highways or thoroughfares, a sleep machine which produces “white noise” can prove to be a life saver. These sleep machines produce a noise that cancels out other noises and does so without making a sound that is distracting. Another machine sleep aid produces nature sounds such as the sound of flowing water, jungle sounds, or other pleasing, relaxing sounds. These machines can be purchase quite affordably or you can purchase CDs that perform the same task.
When a person has chosen a quality, comfortable sleep mattress, sleep linens, sleep wear, and created all the conditions to provide a good night of sound sleep and yet they are unable to get to sleep or stay asleep, even with sleep training in methods for shutting the mind down from daily worries and frustrations, their doctor may determine that sleep medication is right for short-term treatment.
Sleep innovations and experts have developed prescription sleep aids which are not addictive and do not result in a hangover or feeling of sluggishness the next day. Generally, sleep medications are recommended for short term use only and should be used only when needed rather than every night.
These medicines help the patient learn to fall asleep and stay asleep, building a pattern or habit of sleeping well. After this sleep treatment, the medications can usually be stopped and the patient will continue to sleep well. Repeated treatment may sometimes be needed and only a doctor who is aware of your complete medical history and all medications you take should prescribe this type of sleep aid.
Sleep deprivation can make life very difficult. Loss of ability to concentrate is a symptom of lack of sleep. Another sign of lack of sleep is the inability to respond quickly when a snap decision must be made, such as when driving. Job performance slips and quality of family life is impacted when a person gets no sleep or little sleep night after night. Overall quality of life and the sense of health and wellness can quickly be impacted by failing to sleep well. Because sleep is so important to every aspect of life, first try natural sleep aids and provide yourself with the perfect sleep environment. If, however, that fails, seek medication help so you can sleep soundly and well.