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By Dr. Mercola
Helpful Tips for Sleeping Better This Summer
If you’re like most Americans, you’re likely not getting
enough sleep. Nearly 41 million US adults are sleeping just six
hours or less each night, which recent research has linked to an
increased risk of chronic inflammation and heart disease in women.
Over the course of the five-year long study, women who slept
poorly quantified as sleeping less than six hours per night had
2.5 times higher increases in inflammation levels compared to men
who slept poorly. As reported by the featured article:
Researchers speculated that the gender difference may be due
to lower estrogen levels in the study's post-menopausal female
subjects, whereas men were protected by higher levels of
But regardless of gender-based hormonal differences,
summertime can be a time of year when sleep becomes harder to come
by, courtesy of rising temperatures. This is just one of a whole
host of factors that can have an adverse effect on your sleep.
Restless legs syndrome is another ailment that can prevent you
from getting sufficient amounts of shut-eye.
Interestingly, a recent observational study found that men
with restless legs syndrome have a whopping 40 percent higher risk
of total mortality. This finding was independent of other known
risk factors, including a variety of chronic diseases.
The relationship between restless legs syndrome and all-cause
mortality was stronger for men who had symptoms 15 or more times
per month compared with those who had symptoms five to 14 times
According to the researchers, one (of several) potential
mechanisms that might account for this increased mortality risk is
disturbed sleep. Previous research has also found that people with
chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any
Sleep Deprivation Takes a Serious Toll on Your Health...
You can have the healthiest diet on the planet, doing
vegetable juicing and using fermented veggies, be as fit as an
Olympic athlete, be emotionally balanced, but if you aren’t
sleeping well it is just a matter of time before it will
adversely, potentially seriously affect your health.
Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that
you might not even realize you suffer from it. Science has now
established that a sleep deficit can have serious, far reaching
effects on your health. For example, interrupted or impaired sleep
Dramatically weaken your immune system
Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster
in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions, primarily
due to disrupted melatonin production. Melatonin inhibits the
proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as
triggering cancer cell apoptosis (self destruction). The hormone
also interferes with the new blood supply tumors require for their
rapid growth (angiogenesis)
Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if
you've already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight
Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor
sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours can impact your ability
to think clearly the next day. It’s also known to decrease your
problem solving ability
What You Need to Know About Sleeping Pills
While it may be tempting to look for a pill to quickly help
you sleep, these will not address any of the underlying causes of
insomnia. In fact, researchers have repeatedly shown that sleeping
pills don’t work, but your brain is being tricked into thinking
In one meta-analytic study, they found that, on average,
sleeping pills help people fall asleep approximately 10 minutes
sooner. From a biomedical perspective, this is an insignificant
improvement. On average, sleeping pills increase total sleep time
by about 15-20 minutes. But here is the catch: This study also
discovered that while most sleeping pills created poor, fragmented
sleep, they also created amnesia, so upon waking, the participants
could not recall how poorly they’d actually slept!
Worse yet, sleeping pills have also been linked to a wide
variety of health hazards, including a nearly four-fold increase
in the risk of death, along with a 35 percent increased risk of
Additionally, most people do not realize that over-the-counter
(OTC) sleeping pills -- those containing Benadryl -- can have a
half life of about 18 hours. So, if you take them every night,
you're basically sedated much of the time. Not surprisingly,
they're associated with cognitive deficits in the morning. Trust
me, there are far better, safer and more effective ways to get a
good night's sleep...
Tips for High-Quality Shut-Eye from a Sleep Wellness Consultant
As previously discussed by Dr. Rubin Naiman, a leader in
integrative medicine approaches to sleep and dreams, sleep is the
outcome of an interaction between two variables, namely sleepiness
and what he refers to as "noise. This is any kind of stimulation
that inhibits or disrupts sleep. In order to get a good night's
sleep, you want your sleepiness level to be high, and the noise
level to be low. Under normal conditions, your sleepiness should
gradually increase throughout the day and evening, peaking just
before you go to bed at night. However, if noise is conceptually
greater than your level of sleepiness, you will not be able to
Sleep wellness consultant Nancy Rothstein offered up six tips to
improve your sleep, wisely starting off by addressing environmental
noise in your bedroom (for the rest of her suggestions, please see the
Create a sleep sanctuary. This means removing items
associated with entertainment, recreation, work and hobbies, and
turning your bedroom into a single-purpose space one for sleeping.
Of utmost importance: Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and
quiet. These three factors can have a major impact on your sleep.
In regards to temperature, studies show that the optimal
room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees
Fahrenheit, so keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than
As for light, even the tiniest bit of light in the room
can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland's production
of melatonin and serotonin, hormones involved in your body’s
circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. So close your bedroom
door, get rid of night-lights, and most importantly, cover your
windows. I recommend using blackout shades or heavy, opaque
drapes. Also cover up your clock if it has a lit display.
Alternatively, you could wear an eye mask to block out any stray
Turn off your gadgets well before bedtime. Again, the
artificial glow from your TV, iPad, computer or smartphone can
serve as a stimulus for keeping you awake well past your bedtime
by disrupting melatonin production. I recommend turning off all
electronic gadgets at least one hour before bed. As Rothstein
suggests, that time is far better spent reading a good old
fashioned book, practicing relaxation techniques or meditating.
Some people find the sound of white noise or nature
sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing and sleep-
promoting. An excellent relaxation/meditation option to listen to
before bed is the Insight audio CD. Another favorite is the Sleep
Harmony CD, which uses a combination of advanced vibrational
technology and guided meditation to help you effortlessly fall
into deep delta sleep within minutes. The CD works on the
principle of "sleep wave entrainment" to assist your brain in
gearing down for sleep.
Exercise to sleep better, but do it early! Exercising for
at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep, but if you
exercise too close to bedtime (generally within the three hours
before), it may keep you awake instead.
Party-goers beware: alcohol tends to prevent good sleep...
Summertime tends to spark party invitations, but as Rothstein
warns, it would be wise to consider how a few drinks will affect
your sleep pattern. Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the
effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours
later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol can also keep you from
entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of
The same applies to eating. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid
eating or snacking at least three hours before bed. Especially
troublesome are grains and sugars, as these will raise your blood
sugar and delay sleep. Later, when your blood sugar drops, you may
wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.
Two More Aces Up Your Sleeve When Sleep Becomes Elusive...
My personal favorite fix for insomnia is the Emotional Freedom
Techniques (EFT). Most people can learn the basics of this gentle
tapping technique in a few minutes. EFT can help balance your
body's bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses
that are contributing to your insomnia at a very deep level. The
results are typically long lasting and improvement is remarkably
Another strategy that can help is to increase your melatonin.
Ideally it is best to increase your levels naturally, by exposing
yourself to bright sunlight during daytime hours (along with full
spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) followed by absolute
complete darkness at night. If that isn't possible, you may want
to consider a melatonin supplement. In scientific studies,
melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall
asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and
reverse daytime fatigue. Melatonin is a completely natural
substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in
addition to sleep.
If you decide to give melatonin supplements a try, start with
a very small dose, about an hour before bed as little as 0.25 mg
can be sufficient for some. Many end up taking too much right off
the bat, which could end up having the reverse effect you’re
looking for. Taking too much could also result in side effects
such as drowsiness, confusion, headache, nightmares, and more. So,
start with a tiny dose, and if after three nights you notice no
improvement, take a little more. The tips discussed so far are
among the most important for a restful night's sleep, but they are
only the beginning. For more, please read my comprehensive sleep
guide: 33 Secret's to a Good Night's Sleep.
Improving Your Sleep Hygiene Pays Off in Health Dividends
There's convincing evidence showing that if you do not sleep
enough, you're really jeopardizing your health. Everybody loses
sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary
shortcomings. But if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping
less than five or six hours a night, then you're increasing your
risk of a number of health conditions, including heart disease.
To make your bedroom into a suitable sleep sanctuary, begin by
making sure it’s pitch-black, cool, and quiet. Remember, even the
tiniest bit of light can disrupt your pineal gland's production of
melatonin and serotonin. For this reason, I highly recommend
adding room-darkening blinds or drapes to your bedroom, or if this
is not possible wearing an eye mask to block out any stray light.
For even more helpful guidance on how to improve your sleep,
please review my 33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep. If you're
even slightly sleep deprived, I encourage you to implement some of
these tips tonight, as high-quality sleep is one of the most
important factors in your health and quality of life.
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513
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This post first appeared on The Wholesome (Alternative) Health Site..."WHEN WI, please read the originial post: here