Monday, July 29, 2013

Sleep trouble?

Although summer is a time for fun and relaxation, many of us tend to over extend ourselves and try to soak up every last minute of our days left! We begin to stress more over our plans than to truly enjoy them, all boiling down to the common denominator: we as a nation do not get enough sleep! If you are suffering from lack of proper, deep sleep (yes it does matter what type of sleep you exhibit) the solution maybe as simple as a few relaxation techniques described below.  However many of us may have gone years with poor sleep habits due to physical, mental or emotional stressors. Those addicted to prescription sleep drugs need to realize there are healthy alternatives out there that have been proven to be nonaddictive and extremely beneficial to those suffering from improper sleep patterns. If you fall into any of these categories, take a minute to look at this week's article.

How to Achieve Deep, Uninterrupted Sleep
Americans now get about 25 percent less sleep than they did a century ago. This isn’t just a matter of fatigue; it causes serious damage to your body.

Sleep deprivation can alter your levels of thyroid and stress hormones, which play a part in everything from your memory and immune system to your heart and metabolism. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to:
·              Weight gain
·              Depression
·              High blood sugar levels and an increased risk of diabetes
·              Brain damage
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to get the sleep your body craves. Here are 10 to start with (and the link below has 14 more):
1. Sprinkle just-washed sheets and pillowcases with lavender water, and then iron them before making your bed. The scent is proven to promote relaxation.

2. Hide your clock, so that its glow won’t disturb you and make sure there is no light coming from other sources including your windows as this will seriously impair your body’s ability to produce melatonin.

3. Choose the right pillow -- neck pillows, which resemble a rectangle with a depression in the middle, can enhance the quality of your sleep and reduce neck pain.

4. Paint your bedroom sage green,
or another soothing color, which will provide a visual reminder of sleep.

5. Move your bed away from outside walls, which will help cut down on noise.

6. Kick your dog or cat out of your bedroom --
studies have shown that they snore!

7. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime; it increases your core body temperature, and when it abruptly drops when you get out of the bath, it signals your body that you are ready for sleep.

8. Keep a notepad at your bedside --
if you wake in the middle of the night with your mind going, you can transfer your to-do list to the page and return to sleep unworried.

9. Put heavier curtains over your windows -- even the barely noticeable light from streetlights, a full moon, or your neighbor‘s house can interfere with the circadian rhythm changes you need to fall asleep.

10. Eat a handful of walnuts before bed -- they’re a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid.

Before the invention of the light bulb, people slept an average of 10 hours a night. Nowadays, a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll found that Americans sleep just under 7 hours per night, on average, during the week and about 7.5 hours on the weekends.

While I don’t believe there is a hard-and-fast rule as to how long you must sleep, it is crucial that you do get enough, and this means listening to your body.

Unfortunately, sleep problems -- such as waking up too early, not being able to fall asleep or not being able to stay asleep -- are at near epidemic levels. One NSF poll found that more than half of the adults they surveyed experienced one or more of these symptoms.

Why is Sleep so Important?

Of course, you know instinctively that sleep is essential just by the way you feel when you don’t get enough of it. But sleep is very complex, and sleep deprivation can impact your body in a number of ways:
·              It can make you fat: People who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than people who sleep more. This could be because sleep deprivation alters metabolism. Leptin, the hormone that signals satiety, falls while ghrelin, which signals hunger, rises -- and this boosts your appetite.
·              It harms your brain: Lack of sleep may cause your brain to stop producing new cells
·              It may increase your risk of cancer: How well you sleep can seriously alter the balance of hormones in your body. This can then disrupt your sleep/wake cycle, also called your circadian rhythm. A disrupted circadian rhythm may influence cancer progression through shifts in hormones like melatonin, which your brain makes during sleep.
·              It may increase your risk of diabetes: Too little sleep may reduce levels of leptin, possibly causing you to gain weight and then develop diabetes.
What Makes Sleeping so Difficult?

There is no one answer to this question, but there are some common factors that can easily disturb your night’s rest:
·              Racing thoughts: Your worries can easily keep you awake if you don’t know how to overcome them
·              TV, computers and video games: Not only do these electronic items make it more difficult to fall asleep, but they also keep you from getting high-quality sleep if you fall asleep with them on. In fact, many teens are now getting “junk sleep” for this very reason (but, of course, teens are not the only ones falling asleep with the TV or computer on).

5-HTP CR -has a delivery system that releases 5-HTP slowly and steadily over a period of time. 5-HTP is a drug-free amino acid derived from a plant that naturally increases the body’s level of serotonin, the chemical messenger that affects emotions, behavior, appetite, and sleep. Today’s stress-filled lifestyles and dietary practices may negatively affect how the body handles serotonin. Regular use of XYMOGEN®’s 5-HTP CR helps promote a more positive outlook and greater appetite control.*
Sedalin is an all-natural herbal blend of Magnolia officinalis and Ziziphus spinosa formulated to support restful sleep. The ingredients in SedaLin have been used to promote muscular comfort and support healthy nighttime stress hormone levels. To achieve maximum effectiveness, this non-addictive formula should be taken for a minimum of seven nights in a row and may be taken indefinitely.*
Melatonin is produced naturally in the pineal gland of the brain in response to changes in light exposure; it helps maintain healthy sleep patterns as well as antioxidant and immune activities. Melatonin can be taken as a supplement to support these functions by promoting normal levels of melatonin in the body.*
And of course, the best way to give anyone a goodnight sleep is to look at their overall spinal structure. Those who have undergone Chiropractic adjustments have all shown improvments in their sleep. Dr. Halpern,along with providing Chiropractic and nutritional care, may show you ways in which you can improve your rest just by changing habits you never knew were harmful! If you are interested in any of the topics or products mentioned above, come see us at Northport Natural Health: 631-757-3000

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