Sunday, April 10, 2011
Are You One of the 47 Million?
If you can’t get a good night of restful sleep, then you are one of the 47 million people in the U.S. Insomnia is another word for a variety of sleep disturbances. If you experience any of the following, you are part of the insomnia club:
- You can’t get to sleep within 15 to 20 minutes
- You get to sleep, but wake up after falling asleep
- Sleep through the night, but not a restful sleep
- Disturbing dreams
There are many sub-categories of insomnia, each with their own set of symptoms. Sleep is critical to health and well-being. It is during deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in which the body restores itself. REM sleep is the stage of sleep where the brain experiences “beta waves”, which are high frequency and dreams are the most vivid.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting at least 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average amount of sleep people get is 6 hours and 40 minutes. Not Enough!
These days, there is enough on most people’s minds, with lots of stress, that prevents a good night’s rest. Who hasn’t had at least some experience with counting sheep, or whatever other method you use to fall asleep?
First steps to getting good sleep:
- Make sure your sleep area (bedroom) is clutter free
- Your sleep area should be dark – no light coming in.
- Don’t drink caffeinated beverages before heading to bed (coffee, black tea, hot chocolate, soda)
- Get regular exercise – it promotes good sleep
- Don’t eat right before heading to bed
- Room temperature is better cooler rather than warmer.
Okay, you have done all of that. You still can’t sleep. Now what? First, make sure there is no physiological problem that prevents you from sleeping. This may require a visit to your doctor. According to one study, the Sleep in America poll of 2005, only45% of those with sleep issues even mention it to their doctor. Then again, the same study showed that 70% of those who visit the doctor, the doctor never asked the patient about sleep.
Thankfully, there are lots of methods to help promote sleep — naturally, of course:
- Reflexology – a method of manipulating pressure points on your feet which is ultra-relaxing. You can even do it on your own feet in a pinch.
- Massage – getting regular massages certainly relieves stress
- Meditation – any type of meditation is helpful, even for 10 or 15 minutes
- Herbal Supplements or Herbal Teas