7 Tips For Better
According to Dr. Judith Reichman, as we get older our inner
clock changes. For teenagers it is set to "late to bed, late to
rise." After years of sleep experience, we are more likely to
fall asleep at dusk and awaken at dawn.
Dr. Reichman says, "There are many times when your alarm
clock and your inner clock simply don't correspond. For those
who work at night, this becomes a chronic issue."
"At least 40 percent of American women sometimes can’t find
the time to sleep. They’re simply too busy! And not everyone
needs eight hours a night — some people need as many as 10
hours." claims Dr. Reichman.
It's not just women who suffer from sleep
For example, sleep apnea is fairly common among men, and yet
menopausal woman are as likely as men to suffer from this
Stress is considered by most sleep
experts to be the No. 1 cause of short-term sleeping
There are two kinds of sleep in a normal sleep cycle
- rapid eye movement or dreaming sleep (REM) and quiet sleep
(non-REM). Everyone has about four or five cycles of REM and
non-REM sleep a night. For older people, the amount of time
spent in the deepest stages of non-REM sleep decreases. This
may explain why older people are thought of as light
Although the amount of sleep each person needs varies
widely, the average range is between 7 and 8 hours a night. As
we age, the amount of sleep we can expect to
get at any one time drops off. By age 75, for many
reasons, some people may find they are waking up several times
each night. But, no matter what your age, talk to a doctor if
your sleep patterns change.
Some serious questions about
sleep for you to consider...
- Does it often take you more than 30 minutes to fall
asleep at night?
- Or do you wake up frequently during the night - or too
early in the morning - and have a hard time going back to
- When you awaken, do you feel groggy and lethargic?
- Do you feel drowsy during the day particularly during
If you answered "yes" to any one of these questions, you may
have a "sleep debt" that is affecting you in ways you don't
even realize. And, you aren't alone. A recent NSF "Sleep in
America" poll found that 60% of American adults
experience sleep problems.
Few people recognize the importance of adequate rest, or are
aware that effective methods of preventing and managing sleep
problems now exist.
For example, did you know that the immune system
is at its strongest while you're
sleeping? This research was presented at the
annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.
Researchers at Stanford University infected fruit flies with
two strains of bacteria, with one group getting the infection
during the day and the other at night. According to the
research, fruit flies that were infected at night were more
likely to survive the infection than fruit flies infected
during the day.
Mimi Shirasu-Hiza, who led the team of researchers, told
medHeadlines that the findings suggest the immune
system is stronger at night, when all the other bodily
functions are resting. The research also found that flies with
impaired circadian rhythms had a difficult time staving off the
Your circadian biological clock regulates the timing of
periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day.
Circadian disruptions such as jet lag put us in conflict with
our natural sleep patterns, leaving us feeling poorly and
having more difficulty thinking and performing well. Because of
this, it is important to keep a regular sleep schedule and
allow plenty of time for quality sleep.
Another interesting study published in the Annals of
Internal Medicine indicates that lack of sleep seems to
influence the levels of hunger-regulating hormones in
such a way that hunger increases. Their findings suggest it is
possible that chronic lack of sleep might lead to
Here are 7 Tips to
Help You Get Better Sleep
Here are 7 tips which may help those of our visitors who are
suffering from lack of sleep in their lives. Some are
Sleep Tip 1 - Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol
Did you know, some people who take even a small amount of
caffeine into their body (whether through food or drink) can
sometimes suffer the stimulant effects up to 12 hours later?
Keep in mind that the half-life of caffeine is 7.5 hours.
You'll want to avoid taking caffeine at least that amount of
time before bed.
Also, although alcohol is considered a relaxant, drinking
wine with your dinner may relax you, but it also interrupts the
sleep cycle and causes midnight wakefulness.
Sleep Tip 2 - Avoid Cigarettes
It's common knowledge that cigarettes contain stimulants.
Aside from long-term health damage and the possibility of
burning down your house, smoking before bed or while in bed can
cause a sleepless night.
Sleep Tip 3 - Establish A Bedtime Routine
Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that will
allow you to unwind and send a "signal" to your brain that it's
time to sleep. Avoiding exposure to bright light before bedtime
and taking a hot bath may help. Consider your sleep
environment. Make it as pleasant, comfortable, dark and quiet
as you can.
When you develop a bedtime routine and do the same things
each night, you tell your body that it's time to wind down.
Some people watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a
Sleep Tip 4 - Time Your Exercise Routine
When you exercise, whether you are physically fit and a
regular or occasional exerciser, the type of exercise you
select, and your age or sex may all affect sleep. Some studies
suggest that exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime can keep sleep
Exercise regularly, but do so at least three hours before
bed-time. A workout after that time may actually keep you awake
because your body has not had a chance to cool down.
Sleep Tip 5 - Do Not Eat Or Drink Too Much Before
A heavy meal close to bedtime may make you less comfortable
when you settle down for your night's rest. At the same time,
going to bed hungry can be just as disruptive to sleep as going
to bed too full. If you must eat before bedtime, choose a light
Drinking too much of any beverage can lead to more
awakenings because of the need to urinate during the night.
Also, the older we get, the more we experience these nighttime
awakenings. Try to restrict your fluids before bedtime to help
promote an uninterrupted night's sleep.
Everything you eat can affect nighttime slumber. For
example, tomato products and spicy foods give many people
heartburn (as does eating too fast). What does heartburn have
to do with sleep? Lying down makes heartburn worse, and
heartburn itself makes falling asleep more difficult. Heartburn
also awakens sleepers with middle-of-the-night discomfort.
Sleep Tip 6 - Games For Falling Asleep
Try not to worry about your sleep. Some people find that
playing mental games is helpful. For example, by now most
everyone has heard about "counting sheep" to help them fall
asleep. It may sound funny, and yet ...for some people who are
experiencing stress in their lives... it can be exactly what
they need to relax their minds and refocus their thoughts away
from daily concerns.
For example, think black - a black cat on a black velvet
pillow on a black corduroy sofa, etc.; or tell yourself it's 5
minutes before you have to get up and you're just trying to get
a few extra winks.
Sleep Tip 7 - Have a Good Sleeping Environment
Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep, such
as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or a TV or
computer in the bedroom. Also, keeping the temperature in your
bedroom on the cool side can help you sleep better.
Personally, I like diffusing calming therapeutic grade
essential oils that aid in relaxation. Gentle scents like
lavender or blends like "Peace and Calming" which can also be
rubbed onto the bottoms of your feet for a peaceful night's
When stress becomes super high during hectic times, I also
enjoy listening to soothing relaxation audios such as Susie
"Your Present: A Half Hour of Peace" audio book (audio CD).
Or even better for ambient sound control in your
bedroom, you can try one of the
Marsona Sound Conditioners (available through Amazon and elsewhere). A
good quality sound conditioner can have you sleeping like
a baby. The portable travel types are best for hotel rooms
and people on the go. You'd be surprised at how effective
they can be for a great night's
and Information About Sleep Needs
Sleep needs vary. In general, most healthy adults need an
average of eight hours of sleep a night. However, some
individuals are able to function without sleepiness or
drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep. Others can't
perform at their peak unless they've slept ten hours. And,
contrary to common myth, the need for sleep doesn't decline
with age (although the ability to get it all at one time may be
Keep in mind, it's not just the quantity of sleep that
counts, it's also the quality.
Special Note: If your sleep problems persist for
longer than a week and are bothersome, or if sleepiness
interferes with the way you feel or function during the day, a
doctor's help may be needed. To get the most out of your
doctor's visit, you'll find that it is often helpful to keep a
diary of your sleep habits for about ten days to identify just
how much sleep you're getting over a period of time and what
you may be doing to interfere with it. It can help you document
your problem in a way that your physician can best understand.
And most important if suspected, a person having signs
of sleep apnea should see a doctor.
The bottom line on sleeping is this: Adequate sleep
is as essential to health and peak performance as exercise and
good nutrition. If you aren't getting enough, talk to your
physician. You deserve it.
We hope this short article helps. Pleasant dreams!
Sources And Additional
Resources for Better Sleeping and Getting a Good Night's