This page is comprised of articles about sleep. Areas covered include, insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, acupuncture, philosophy, lifestyle, psychology, depression, and medical advice. You may click on the titles in the menu to go directly to an article, or use the Google search bar to find articles on a particular subject.
By Paul Hegarty
Seemingly more and more Americans are having trouble sleeping. This pattern is on the increase. Insomnia can start out with a couple of nights of tossing and turning to a point where you cannot sleep through the night without waking up. I personally have had times when I will lay awake in the middle of the night for an hour or more. During that time I find myself thinking about a lot of things. I often ask myself why I cannot think about all these issues or go through this in-depth analysis during the daylight hours. Another trouble I have is getting to sleep. The obvious challenge to all this is when during the day you lack energy and feel sluggish and inattentive. Sometime I just want to go to bed. Now what is one to do? Why is this happening? We are going to have to look at a number of things.
Repeated loss of sleep can lead to all sorts of problems. Problems such as lack of productivity, emotional problems, problems in relationship, personality changes, mental fatigue, and physical signs of weariness. Not only that, it can lead to severe anxiety. The objective of this article is to share some techniques that you can use to get a good nights sleep. To begin you are going to keep a diary of all the actions you take and the results if any you achieve.
Establish a bedtime routine. Consistency is key here. Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Leave the window slightly open in your room for ventilation Ideal room temperature is 65 to 70 degrees F Get ear plugs if noises effect your sleeping Increase your physical activity during the day, Just doing a little extra walking can help Exercise as much as you can.. The ideal time for exercise is early evening. Breathing exercises; this helps oxygen flow in the blood. Relaxing music can lull you to sleep. Start to relax before you go to sleep. Preferably do not watch TV shortly before you sleep. Avoid stimulants in the evening. In the event you worry a lot, write your worries down on paper A good old warm bath can do wonders. Burn your favorite incense. Drink Chamomile tea a few hours before sleep. Watch your diet.
We are faced with challenges daily. Be attentive and observant of your activity during the day. Deal as best you can with issues as they arise. Take a little time out, if possible to be by yourself and think things through. Your day is there to be proactive and the evening is there to wind down. The night is there to get sleep. Get it all into prospective. Good sleep means good health.
About The Author
Paul Hegarty is the owner of learningfromdvds.com. A guide to educational DVDs with price comparisons, reviews, and free E-books. Read this month’s e-book on "How To Spot A fraudulent Email".
20 Tips For A Great Night's Sleep
By: Jane Thurnell-Read
Getting a good night's sleep helps us to be happier, more productive people, so here's some tips to help you get a good night's sleep:
1. Avoid drinking tea or coffee late at night
2. Stop smoking – nicotine is a stimulant and so can make it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep
3. Go to bed at the same time each night so that you set a routine
4. Only use the bed for sleeping and sex
5. Use dimmers on your light switches, and dim the lights in the hours before you go to bed to mimic the change from daylight to night time
6. Avoid taking exercise in the evening – exercise early in the day to promote restful sleep
7. Try using affirmations, such as: “I let go of the day, and enjoy restful, peaceful sleep” repeated several times while you prepare for sleep
8. If you can’t get to sleep after a while, get up keeping the lights low and do something boring until you feel sleepy
9. Alcohol may help you get to sleep, but you are more likely to wake during the night feeling thirsty and needing to go to the bathroom
10. Try relaxed breathing: breathe slowly and deeply concentrating on your abdomen rather than your chest
11. Get your allergies checked out, particularly if you wake craving particular food in the middle of the night
12. Avoid paying bills and similar jobs just before sleep
13. Try a herbal tea - chamomile, passion flower, lavender flowers or valerian are good, or take a herbal supplement such as scullcap or valerian
14. Put the essential oils lavender and clary sage on your pillow and inhale their soothing vapours as you sleep
15. Try some flower remedies - there are lots of different types. In the Bach flower remedies you might like to try ‘vervain’ if you find it difficult to switch off from the day; ‘holly’ if anger and resentment keep you awake; ‘white chestnut’ for persistent unwanted thoughts; ‘aspen’ if you wake because of nightmares
16. Try holding your frontal eminences (the bumps on your forehead, about half way between your eyebrows and hairline) if you are awake because of stress
17. Try taking supplements – magnesium and calcium can work well
18. If you suffer with hot flushes/flashes, try some natural support for your endocrine system at this time. I personally recommend Neways wild yam and chaste berry cream
19. Many alternative and complementary therapists have success with people with sleep problems. Find a local therapist and ask them if they have experience in this field
20. Sleep problems can be a sign of an underlying medical condition (e.g. thyroid problems or depression), so get this checked out with a suitably qualified health professional
About The Author
Jane Thurnell-Read writes popular articles about health and well-being. Visit her web site http://www.healthandgoodness.com for more tips and information on how to be healthy and happy. We also have a find-a-therapist feature on the site with practitioners in over 40 countries practising more than 30 different therapies.
Streamlining Sleep Apnea Diagnoses
By: AllMed Healthcare Management
Doctors perform sleep studies or polysomnography (PSG) to diagnose sleep related illness or symptoms. Traditionally, patients have a diagnostic study performed for an entire night to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Once the doctor confirms OSA, he sets up a separate therapeutic study. During this second study the doctor adjusts (or titrates) continuous or bilevel positive airway pressure (CPAP or BiPAP) to levels that eliminate or significantly reduce the number of respiratory abnormalities (apneas and hypopneas).
Doctors perform therapeutic PSG with CPAP titration if patients have a diagnostic study demonstrating an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). They may also perform it if the patient’s respiratory disturbance index (RDI) of at least 20 events per hour regardless of symptoms or an AHI/RDI of 10 events per hour associated with excessive daytime somnolence (EDS).
To reduce costs and improve efficiency many centers now combine the diagnostic and therapeutic studies into a single night, called a split-night study. Research by Yamashiro and Kryger, as well as Rodway and Sanders have demonstrated the effectiveness of this strategy especially in patients with significant elevations in AHI/RDI. Split night studies are now incorporated into the guidelines for treatment of OSA published by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).
Split-night polysomnography (PSG) divides the patients testing into two phases in one night. During the first part of the night, sleep specialists diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the second half determine the appropriate level of positive airway pressure (CPAP or BiPAP). Medical necessity guidelines for PSG must meet two conditions for healthcare plan payments. The patient must show a respiratory disturbance index (RDI) greater than 40 during the first two hours of testing; or a RDI of 20-40 if associated with prolonged events or significant desaturations. Split night testing has shown to be less dependable in patients with AHI/RDI measurements less than 20 events per hour. Some doctors have been successful utilizing a split night strategy in patients with AHI/RDI as low as 10 events per hour if associated with EDS, impaired cognition, mood disorders, or documented hypertension, heart disease, or a history of stroke.
There is good evidence that split-night studies can be used under these guidelines. The challenge is that the patient must fall asleep promptly and demonstrate an elevated RDI early in the evening. Only about 25-30 percent of patients have successful split-night studies. The patient must have at least two hours of sleep documented in the diagnostic phase of the study with the documented increase in AHI/RDI. At least three hours of time is necessary for the therapeutic phase.
If the RDI is elevated early in the sleep cycle, then the patient is awakened. The specialist places a pre-fitted CPAP mask on the patient and then patient resumes sleep for another three hours as the pressure is titrated to eliminate the respiratory events. That is, the first part of the split study is diagnostic, and the second is therapeutic.
When a split-night study cannot be accomplished, then a therapeutic titration study is indicated. There is no specific timeframe for the performance of a titration (therapeutic) study after a diagnostic study. It should be done as soon as is practical.
Requesting a split-night study is a very cost effective strategy. If 100 percent of the studies in a practice or sleep lab were done by means of separate diagnostic and therapeutic studies on two separate nights this would indicate that the recent recommendations regarding the effectiveness of split night studies were overlooked. Seventy to 75 percent of studies may require two separate nights.
Include a specific statement about why a split night study could not be accomplished helps in the patient’s file to indicate the necessity for a second study.
Iber, C, O'Brien, C, Schluter, J, et al. Single night studies in obstructive apnea. Sleep 1991; 14:383.
Loube DI,et al. Indications for Positive Airway Pressure Treatment of Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients. A Consensus Statement. Chest 1999 ; 115: 863-66.
Sanders, MH, Black, J, Costantino, JP, et al. Diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing by half-night polysomnography. Am Rev Respir Dis 1991; 144:1256.
Yamashiro, Y, Kryger, M. CPAP titration for sleep apnea using a split-night protocol. Chest 1995; 107:62.
About The Author
AllMed Healthcare Management: Founded in 1995, AllMed (http://www.allmedmd.com, http://www.allmedmd.com/blog/index.htm) is a URAC-accredited Independent Review Organization (IRO) serving insurance payers, providers, TPAs and claims managers nationwide. Reviews are conducted by board-certified physicians in active practice. AllMed's growing customer base includes premier organizations, such as Educator's Mutual Life, IMS Managed Care, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, HealthGuard, several Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Allianz and many other leading healthcare payers.
Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
By Gabriel J. Adams
You went to bed two hours ago, but you just can not seem to fall asleep. You have been tossing and turning, and thinking about everything you have to do tomorrow, so sleep seems very far away. You have tried counting sheep, but you still can not seem to go to sleep. Why is it that every night when you go to bed, you have trouble falling asleep? If you have trouble falling asleep at night, then these tips for getting a good night’s sleep will be very helpful.
The main problem that gives people problems going to sleep is the lack of preparation to go to sleep. Make sure that you try to keep a regular schedule of waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. Another tip for getting a good night’s sleep is not to eat a large meal before bedtime, because it may give you indigestion, which will cause sleeplessness for anyone. One of the things that can consume an entire night is when your mind is racing, and you can not stop worrying about something. The best thing to do to combat this situation is to keep a journal where you can write down your worries or concerns, and then possible solutions to these problems before you go to bed. If you go to bed without as much unfinished business, then you will have a better chance of getting a good night’s sleep.
Another set of tips for getting a good night’s sleep is to create a better sleep environment for yourself while you are sleeping. The first step is to treat your bedroom the way it should be treated, as a place to sleep only. Do not watch television, pay bills, or anything else; just use your bedroom for sleeping. Another tip to get a good night’s sleep is making sure that your bed is comfortable. Usually this means that you have a firm bed that is not too firm. However a comfortable bed is different for everyone, so get one that you like. To me, the most important thing to getting a good night’s sleep is to have a comfortable pillow. Without a good pillow all of these other tips do not matter at all. Make sure that if you have allergies that you do not get a pillow made of feathers or down, because it will just make your allergies worse, and sleeping nearly impossible. There are many different types of pillows, soft, firm, large, small, so you should have not a problem finding one that is right for you.
If you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea and have difficulty breathing during your sleep, check out CPAP Europe's website where you will find information about and solutions for OSA.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gabriel_J._Adams
Acupuncture for Insomnia and Sleep Loss
By Olena Gill
It’s 3 a.m.. You’re tossing, turning, can’t get to sleep. You try counting sheep, drinking warm milk, thinking pleasant thoughts—nothing works. Perhaps you shouldn’t have eaten that chili dog for lunch, you wonder. Or maybe it’s the work overload that just got dumped on your desk and you’re under the gun to complete it for your boss—yesterday. Whatever the case, if you have experienced any of these, you’re not alone in the insomnia department. Everyone has experienced some type of insomnia in their life, chronic, transient or acute. It’s also a condition that can be treated through a variety of methods within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is by definition a chronic state—it is an inability to fall asleep or remain asleep over a decent amount of time. TCM looks at insomnia as a broadband term covering many types of symptoms: inability to fall asleep easily, restless sleep, waking up very early in the morning, excessive dreaming, and waking up in the night. It also sees insomnia as a disharmony not only between the fundamental substances: Qi (vital energy) and Blood, Yin and Yang, Jing (essence) and Shen (spirit) but also imbalance between specific organs: Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung, Kidney. More often than not these imbalances are caused by external or temporary causes.
What are some of the causes of insomnia?
The quality and the amount of sleep depends first on the state of the mind, and especially the relationship between the mind and body. With insomnia however, we are talking about a mind-body disconnection.
1. In our fast-paced, instant –everything society, the number one reason for insomnia is worry and anxiety. When we mentally fret, habitually churning things over and over non-stop, can eventually due damage to our Heart, Spleen and Liver. All become either energy deficient or lead to a fiery restless state. Either way, the mind becomes agitated, the spirit wanders and insomnia results.
2. Stress and overwork are next. Many of us work long hours, under pressure or stressful conditions, and do not get enough rest or sleep as a result. These types of conditions can weaken Kidney energy, ultimately affect the heart as well. Kidney-Heart disharmony is also often seen peri-menopausal situations or in the elderly.
3. Along with stress, worry and work pressures, we tend to have poor or irregular diets. Eating on the run, eating poorly, unbalanced meals, or over-eating all contribute to a case of over-heating in the Stomach, which in turn agitates the mind.
Of course, other factors can certainly contribute to insomnia: side effects of specific medications, sudden stressful situations such as divorce, death or illness, psychological conditions such as depression, or chronic physical conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Can Acupuncture help?
Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities can absolutely help in dealing with insomnia. Acupuncture promotes a natural sleep pattern, and can help increase serotonin levels in the body, which helps with sleep. Unlike sleeping pills, acupuncture treatment, is free from negative side effects. A combination of methods such as acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle medication usually creates the quickest, most effective results.
We all want sweet dreams and nothing more than waking up refreshed and happy in the morning. If you have difficulties with your sleep, consider giving acupuncture and TCM a shot. There are alternatives and drug-free approaches available. What have you got to lose, other than more sleep?
Olena Gill is an acupuncturist at The Mind-Body Connection Centre in Errington, BC, Canada. You can contact her at 250-954-2204 or visit the website at http://www.themindbodyconnectioncentre.com
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Are You Suffering From Sleep Deprivation?
By George Royal
Living in a world that runs at a breakneck pace, one of the biggest problem that modern people face is sleep deprivation. As there is more work to do, more things to accomplish, more television to watch, more games to play, and more to get into every day, people rarely set aside enough time to just sleep. And that is a serious problem, because sleep deprivation is very detrimental to good health.
The average adult needs eight hours of sleep every night. However, the average adult actually gets only about 6-7 hours of sleep every night. This is a problem because that lack of sleep adds up. Every hour of sleep that a person misses builds sleep debt and leaves a person needing more sleep the next night. Usually, the next night is just another night of 6-7 hours of sleep and even more sleep debt that starts adding up. By the weekend, most people have so much sleep debt built up that even sleeping in will not help their sleep deprivation. And that creates problems.
The most common results of sleep deprivation include fatigue, an inability to concentrate, irritability and difficulty handling stress. In more severe cases, sleep deprivation can lead to blurred vision, slurred speech and general confusion. If these symptoms sound similar to drinking too much alcohol, that is because they are. In fact, people who have gone between seventeen and nineteen hours without sleep are more impaired than people who have a blood alcohol content of .05, a level that is illegal in most countries.
In the most severe cases, sleep deprivation can even cause hallucinations, nausea and, in the most severe cases, even death. Furthermore, there is evidence showing that a lack of sleep changes the body’s metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity or diabetes.
The best way to treat sleep deprivation is, of course, by getting enough sleep. There is simply no replacement for a full eight hours every night. And that means a full eight hours every night. And by eight hours, that means eight hours of lying in bed actually asleep.
Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle to getting enough sleep isn’t work or stress, it is television. Many people stay up much later than they should because they want to catch just a few more minutes or just one more show, or just see the end of what they are watching. Sleep deprivation can just be a result of watching too much television. Which means that the best sleep aid available is actually the off switch. By using that, many people can feel a lot better every morning and stay more alert during the day.
Though it seems that sleep deprivation is a fact of life in the modern world, it doesn’t have to be. With a little discipline, people can get themselves into bed where they belong and get the rest they need. By doing that, people can be more alert, healthier, and much more able to face the stresses of the day. And what could be a better cure for sleep deprivation than turning in every night to stop depriving the body of sleep?
Sleep HQ http://sleephq.com/ your guide to sleep deprivation and getting a good night's sleep.
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It’s no secret that a full night of uninterrupted slumber can make things much easier for us the following day. Because after all, when we sleep well, we’re much more inclined to live well. Healthy sleep finds us more alert, more refreshed, more productive and most certainly more responsive. Getting the rest we need keeps our eyes bright and our energy levels high. Sadly, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
We’re often quick to forget that while we sleep, there’s a lot going on. As we slip into our nightly nocturne, our body continues on as if it were business as usual. The cardiovascular system pumps and circulates the blood we need to live. The brain keeps busy by sending millions of neurotransmissions every second. The metabolic system continue to convert calories into the energy that makes this never-ending series of biological processes possible.
But the benefits of a good night’s sleep extend far beyond how well we’re able to function the following day. Because the simple truth is that the quality of our days is often heavily influenced by the quality of our nights. I’ll explain.
Sleep and healthy hearts
A study conducted at the University of British Columbia suggests that people who sleep less than 5 hours per night are 39% more likely to develop heart disease than those who register a full seven to eight hours per night. Moreover, depriving the body of quality Z’s can raise blood pressure and may also contribute to the formation of varicose veins as well.
Sleep and metabolism
Before hastily blaming our bathroom scales for unexplained weight gain, it’s important to make sure that we’re spending enough time lost in peaceful dreams. Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that sleep deprivation (even in the most modest amounts) can interfere with how efficiently the our body regulates the release of cortisol. This stress-related hormone is produced by the adrenal gland, and plays a significant role in hunger, stress and appetite. What’s worse, excessive cortisol levels can interfere with the production of serotonin. As a result, we may feel depressed and hungry - even in situations when we’ve eaten to the point of being full.
Sleep is good for the mind
Believe it or not, that groggy feeling you experience after a night of tossing and turning all night has a physiological explanation. Somewhere between the time our head hits the pillow to the time we hurl blunt objects at our alarm clocks, our brain’s third shift goes to work. Their job, in a nut, is to repair damaged cells, replenish neurotransmitters, restore our immune system and recharge us for the following day. Not getting the sleep you need prevents these absolutely imperative processes from taking place. This can ultimately leaves you dazed, down, and uninspired.
Instinctively, millions of people turn to OTC sleep aids and alcohol to quickly eliminate the problem. Not only does this discourage one’s ability to establish natural sleeping patters, it can also leave you feeling more tired and sluggish throughout the day. And while there’s no magic formula to winning the insomnia battle, there are alternatives. Here are a few of the best ways to ensure a night a peaceful dreams.
Cut your caffeine intake
What most people don’t realize is that caffeine can remain active in your system from 6 to 12 hours. If you’re planning on a 10:00 PM lights-out, get in the habit of avoiding coffee and other caffeinated beverages after lunch. If you find yourself in need of extra energy throughout the day, there are many supplements that can have positive impact on metabolism and cellular energy production. L-Carnitine, CoQ10, CLA, and Omega-3 essential fatty acids are among the very best.
Don’t sleep too much during the day
Yes, a short occasional 15 minute power nap can leave you feeling awake and refreshed, but use discretion when taking lengthy naps day after day. Over time, they may begin to interfere with your normal biological rhythm, and could make it difficult to fall asleep when your body needs it most. If you still find yourself exhausted during the day, in light of getting the 7-8 hours that you need every night, take the time to honestly examine the integrity of your diet. If the majority of what you consume is being handed to you through a window, try to get in the habit of eating more fresh foods, and fewer processed meals.
This natural hormone is manufactured by the pineal gland, and serves as the body’s biological alarm clock. Natural production piques during the teenage years, but gradually declines as we age. Supplementing melatonin has become increasingly popular and is considered quite safe when taken as recommended A number of quality melatonin products are at your disposal, ranging from 1 mg times release formulas that work gradually, to 3 mg formulas for greater effectiveness.
Don’t eat heavy meals before bed
Eating a large meal before going to sleep stimulates metabolism, and just like every other process in the human body, metabolism requires energy. Instead, prepare a small snack or protein shake. Both can help curb common hunger pangs throughout the night, while keeping you nourished in the process. Calcium caseinate powder is one of the best, as it digests slowly, making it possible to utilize more amino acids and nutrients over a longer period of time.
Essential oils such as Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Oregano and others have calming properties that can help induce peaceful sleep. There are a number of ways to incorporate essential oils into your sleep routine, though the most popular are through mist and diffusion. Adding a few drops to a warm nighttime bath is also popular. As a person who’s had my fair share of sleepless nights, I’ve found success by adding a few drops of Lavender to my pillows two to three times a week. It’s surprising effective.
Try sedative herbs
Sedative herbs and extracts such as valerian, kava, skullcap and passionflower are safe, natural, and have been successful in helping many find rest without resorting to potentially habit forming OTC sleep aids, prescription medications and alcohol.
Develop a sleep ritual
Lack of preparation is honestly one of the most common pre-sleep mistakes a person can make. Trying to accomplish everything on our daily to-do list can leave us scrambling around at hours that should be spent preparing mind and body for slumber. And while there’s no definitive formula that defines a good “nighttime” ritual, the most important things to consider are the amount of noise, light and stress you’re exposed to.
Dim the lights
Or turn them off completely. This will remind your body that the time has come to start releasing the melatonin you’ll need to sleep deep through the night. If you watch television prior to retiring, do so at a low volume and try to avoid anything emotionally harsh or overly violent. Subjecting yourself to such can inspire a level of excitability that may make it difficult to doze off. Regardless of the specifics, make sure that the last 10-20 minutes of your night account for the most peaceful and relaxing 10-20 minutes of your entire day. It will help you greatly in both the short and long scope of things.
About prescription sleep aids
In just the past few years, a number of prescription sleep aids have made their way on to the scene. These medications are classified as hypnotic sedatives, and may be extremely habit forming. Even more concerning, they carry a list of potential side effects that range from hallucinations and temporary amnesia, to severe emotional instability and night terrors. I have heard dozens of horror stories from individuals who took prescription sleep aids to counter very mild sleep issues. Many are now helplessly addicted, sleep less than they originally did and have lost close friends on account of the unpredictable and often outrageous behavioral side effects. I don’t recommend going this route, but if you must resort to prescriptions, use absolute caution in doing so. It’s important to make absolutely sure that your physician understands your unique situation, as well as the nature of the drugs they are prescribing.
Jayson Kroner is a Certified Sports Nutritionist, freelance health and fitness journalist and co-author of the book 7-Syndrom Healing. He makes his home in Oak Park, IL and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
No part of this article may be used, reprinted or republished without expressed written consent of the author
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