Showing posts from January, 2018

If you can't sleep, it's not fine to check the time

While being treated for sleep disorders, I found the best piece of advice that I received to be to put my clock under the bed. I was one of those people who couldn't help but look at the clock during the night. Following that, I would do the mental math to determine how many more hours I had left to sleep. Knowing that I had fewer than four hours to catch some zzzz's caused me tremendous stress, making me stay awake even longer. Thinking back I can't believe I didn't realize this was going on. In fact, this is a very characterisitc behaviour of the insomnia-sufferer. The fear of not being able to sleep is a huge trigger of sleeplessness. Luckily, this significant problem has a very simple solution. You guessed it: don't look at the clock. Do whatever you need to do to make this happen. Turn the clock around, place it under the bed or put it in another room. Whatever it takes, you must eliminate this unnecessary source of anxiety if you are looking to sleep tig

Catching some zzzz's by increasing omega-3's

Omega-3's have become quite popular in recent years due to their many health benefits. They can help combat a number of conditions, including heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety and depression. Not surprisingly, omega-3's have been found to benefit sleep. They can increase the duration of sleep, likely through their  ability to support the release of melatonin. Also, a greater intake of omega-3's may make you less likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. Omega-3's are found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel. Due to the levels of contaminants found in certain fish, a high quality fish oil supplement may be a better option. Your healthcare provider will help you determine which supplements you may need. If a good night's sleep is what you're after, increasing your consumption of omega-3's may be just what you need to help you catch some more zzzz's.

Electronics are a nighttime no-no

During my school days, whenever I couldn't sleep I would pull out my laptop. This routine, unfortunately, did more to prevent sleep than promote it. Our bodies' are great at creating associations. The minute you do an activity in bed other than sleep or sex, your body will take note and consider it an acceptable bedroom pastime. Sadly, this will only serve to make your body less likely to associate your bedroom with sleep. Another issue with using a laptop (or any other electronic device) in the bedroom is that it can interfere with the release of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin. Lastly, many people use electronic devices for work, which will make this activity anything but relaxing. Your work should be nowhere near your bedroom, a room reserved for calmness and tranquility. So, if you can't sleep, steer clear of electronic devices. They will do everything but get you the rest that your body needs.

Help! My baby won't sleep

When a caregiver tells me that their infant never sleeps, I immediately ask them what "never" means. Most will respond by saying that their infant wakes up every three hours to feed. To a caregiver, it just feels like never because of their level of exhaustion in the mornings. This frequency of waking is completely normal during the first four to six months and actually has a number of benefits, including maintaining a nursing mom's milk supply and enhancing the baby's brain development. If your infant is waking very frequently, has difficulty falling asleep or is cranky during the day, a visit to your baby's healthcare provider for a formal work-up, and a lactation consultant if mom is nursing, may be necessary to rule out any underlying issue. Nighttime wakings, although frustrating for caregivers, are necessary for proper infant growth and development. Just keep in mind that this phase will pass and that your baby will soon sleep longer and wake less freq

Sugar and spice are not very nice

The impact of food choices on sleep is an area that has been receiving much attention in recent years. The studies all seem to indicate that the foods you eat have a significant role in determining how well you will sleep. This conclusion is certainly not surprising. Take spicy foods for example. Eating these within three hours of going to bed can wreck havoc on your digestion. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), there is a good chance that eating spicy foods close to bedtime will aggravate your symptoms. Heavily sweetened foods are another prime example. These can enhance the release of hormones that promote alertness. So, if you're hungry at bedtime, skip the spicy and sweet and make a healthy snack to eat.

After a night of poor sleep, is it ok to nap?

I get asked this question a lot, and the answer I usually give is no. If you don't sleep well one night, your body is programmed to make up for it the next night. Unfortunately, daytime napping will throw this off. Also, the more active you are during the day, the more likely you are to sleep well at night. So, after a night of poor sleep, sticking to your daily routine and refraining from napping are your best bets to ensure that sleep will come easier the following night.
Lisa Varadi's books on Goodreads
Sleep: The Secrets of Slumber Sleep: The Secrets of Slumber
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