Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trouble Sleeping?

MyAchingKnees comment:  A reader sent me this article from the web on sleeping problems.  It's pretty much right on the mark as sleep deprivation, unfortunately self caused most of the time, and leads to a host of health issues. 

Poor sleep results in tiredness, poor concentration, reduced quality of life, compromised immune function, and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Sleep deprivation has also been linked with increases in markers of oxidative stress and decreases in levels of antioxidant enzymes (e.g., SOD, glutathione reductase, etc.) in the brain, liver, and heart. Another analysis of sleeping pill studies from 2007 (financed by the National Institutes of Health) found that sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata reduced the average time to go to sleep by just under 13 minutes compared with fake pills — hardly a major improvement. Yet, the participants believed they had slept longer, by up to one hour, when taking the pills.

This may actually be a sign of a condition called anterograde amnesia, which causes trouble with forming memories. When people wake up after taking sleeping pills, they may, in fact, simply forget that they had been unable to sleep!

You would be far better off putting your money toward authentic solutions to help you sleep than on sleeping pills, as it’s now clear that they do next to nothing to help you sleep – in fact, they may actually make it more difficult for you to get a good night’s rest naturally – and may significantly increase your risk of dementia.

Sleeping Pills are NOT a Safe Solution for Sleepless Nights

Please understand that resorting to sleep medications is risky business, and that these pills do not address the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place.

In addition to the long-term problems already discussed, there are other serious, not to mention bizarre, risks involved.

For starters, these pills are notorious for being addictive, which means that once you want to stop taking them, you’ll likely suffer withdrawal symptoms that could be worse than your initial insomnia. Some, such as Ambien, may also become less effective when taken for longer than two weeks, which means you may find yourself needing ever higher dosages.

Ambien may also make you want to eat while you’re asleep — and I don’t mean sneaking down to grab a piece of fruit. The sleep eating can include bizarre foods such as buttered cigarettes, salt sandwiches, and raw bacon.

Sleeping pills, and again Ambien in particular, are also known to increase your risk of getting into a traffic accident. Ambien actually ranks among the top 10 drugs found in the bloodstreams of impaired drivers, according to some state toxicology labs.

MyAchingKnees comment:  Lunesta listed possible side effects as "abnormal behaviors include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations and confusion. In depressed patients, worsening of depression including risk of suicide may occur",.....nice!

Among the elderly, using sleeping pills may increase the risk of nighttime falls and injuries, and anyone who takes them may find they wake up feeling drowsy if the effects of the drug have not worn off yet.

You’re far better of finding safe and natural solutions that will actually address the underlying causes of your sleepless nights instead of just cover up the resulting symptoms.

If you are having trouble sleeping, please do not ignore the problem or simply wait for it to go away. Quality sleep just as important as your need for food, water, and pure air — and there are very simple methods to help you get yours.

A Stanford University Medical School study found that after 16 weeks in a moderate-intensity exercise program, subjects were able to fall asleep about 15 minutes earlier and sleep about 45 minutes longer at night. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake.

Stress is another major reason why people have trouble sleeping, which is why I suggest you start to wind down from your day at least an hour before your bedtime (but preferably two or more).

Calming activities such as journaling, meditating, sipping herbal tea, washing your face, using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or reading a book may soothe your mind and help you unwind. Be sure your phone, email, and television are all off during this time.

Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep.

This includes keeping the temperature cool, adding in some white noise if you need it and making sure your room is pitch-black. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. For this reason, I highly recommend adding room-darkening drapes to your bedroom, or if this is not possible wearing an eye mask to block out any stray light.

MyAchingKnees comment: I am grateful that I have no trouble sleeping. However sometimes my wife has trouble falling sleep and when she does she is often awoken in the middle of the night, wide awake, and unable to get back to sleep until real fatigue sets in.  We have tried a pharmaceutical grade Melatonin product that contains 2 mg of Melatonin which of course is a naturally occurring hormone synthesized in the brain that regulates normal sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin levels naturally start to rise in the evening and remain elevated for most of the night, signaling to our body that it is time to sleep. As melatonin levels rise, we become less alert and feel drowsy. I have tried it since I wanted a personal experience with this product in case someone asked me about it or needed it. I tried 1/2 tablet (1 mg Melatonin) and woke alert and refreshed, but could not positively attribute it to the Melatonin. I tried a 2 mg dose and awoke 5.5 hours later, and only because of my kamikaze alarm clock. I was pretty groggy but I was not tired. My wife routinely uses 2 mgs of Melatonin and sleeps 8 hours commenting that she really had a good night's sleep.  So if you going to use pills, consider Melatonin, but you may have to experiment with the right dose. 

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