QuoteReplyTopic: Stop insomnia challenge Posted: Feb 07 2014 at 8:32am
Lets do an insomnia challenge!
I used to have insomnia for about 4 years. Now I have it only a few times out of the week. I've found loads of articles and things to try. I don't want to rely on sleep aids for extended periods of time. What I've learned from multiple sources is basically life changes such as routine, exercise, etc. work.
WE CAN FIGURE OUT THE RULES TOGETHER, but here's a sample:
Basically for the challenge you have to pre plan ur day, drink water, exercise at least 15 min a day, and begin winding down 1 hour before bed. Eat no later than 2 hours before bed.
Of course these things can b adjusted or more can b added. We should post articles or opinions about causes of insomnia, and just research and support each other. Many health problems can cause or result from insomnia.
Y'all had better join because its too many of y'all always saying y'all got insomnia!
Alcohol Side Effects: 4 Ways Drinking Messes With Your Sleep
We know that a nightcap -- or three -- won't help us drift off into a peaceful slumber. But we didn't know exactly why it sets us up for a restless, sweaty, snore-y, anxious night.
By Valerie Ross
Thanks to an April 2013 review of 20 studies -- and to the more than 500 people who drank in the name of science and then turned in for the night in a sleep lab so that researchers could record their brainwaves -- it's been confirmed: If you only have a bit to drink, alcohol can help you sleep better during the first part of the night, spurring an increase in slow-wave sleep, which the body needs in order to repair tissues and strengthen the immune system, and leaving dream-studded REM sleep untouched. Too much booze, however, can interrupt REM sleep, which is vital for memory and concentration. As the alcohol wears off during the second part of the night, sleep is often disrupted, the review found, as people frequently wake up. (In some cases, they'll also start sweating, feel anxious or -- if they do manage to get some REM sleep -- have nightmares.) But that's only the beginning of how alcohol gets between you and a decent night's rest.
It's Especially Disruptive to Women After an evening of drinking, women, in particular, are likely to be tossing and turning, a 2011 study found. Although everyone in the study drank until they were equally drunk (the researchers doled out drinks adjusted for gender and weight and measured intoxication by breath alcohol content), the female participants woke up more often during the night, stayed awake longer and slept for less time overall than the men. This might be because women metabolize alcohol more quickly -- meaning they speed through alcohol's sedative effects and get to that second, fragmented part of the night sooner.
It Reacts Badly with Sleep Aids, Both Prescription and Natural Many prescription sleep medications should never be taken after drinking, including Ambien, Lunesta and other drugs often given to people suffering from insomnia. "Somebody could essentially stop breathing if they mix alcohol with any of those medications,” says Dr. Reena Mehra, a sleep-disorder specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. But even natural sleep aids and alcohol don't go well together: Melatonin, a chemical produced by the body to regulate circadian rhythms, which is taken as a supplement to improve sleep, can form a sort of biological echo chamber with alcohol, with each increasing the other's sedative effects.
It Has You Making Trips to the Bathroom -- or Regretting Your Trip to the Pizza Place Alcohol is a potent diuretic, so those after-dinner cocktails can send you tiptoeing to the restroom several times during the night. And that late-night slice of pizza or order of cheese fries you had in an effort to soak up the booze and prevent a hangover (which, sad to say, doesn't work anyway -- the alcohol has long since gone into your bloodstream) can trigger acid reflux when you lie down, keeping you from falling asleep.
It Makes Sleep Problems You Already Have Even Worse Alcohol decreases muscle tone in the upper airway, meaning that breathing-related sleep issues are exacerbated after you've had a couple of drinks, Mehra says. That's especially bad news for people with obstructive sleep apnea, who stop breathing for short periods during sleep when their airway is blocked: Since alcohol makes the airways especially collapsible, people suffering from sleep apnea tend stop breathing more frequently and for longer periods after drinking. The reduced muscle tone from even a couple of drinks also aggravates less serious, but more familiar, problems. "It worsens snoring," Mehra says. "I can attest to that with my husband."Alcohol Side Effects: 4 Ways Drinking Messes With Your Sleep
Exercise helps insomnia, but not right away, study says
Most people with insomnia have probably heard this advice: exercise more and you will sleep better.
The advice is excellent, but it should come with a caveat, say researchers behind a new study. It turns out that exercising today probably won't help insomniacs sleep better tonight – though it will help a lot in the long run.
The small study, published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, documents a phenomenon that "frustrates patients," and discourages many from keeping up their exercise routines, says lead author Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
"They come to us and say, 'I exercised until I was exhausted, but I still couldn't sleep,' " she says.
The new study uses data from a previously published larger study; it showed that a 16-week exercise program, combined with better sleep habits, helped people with insomnia sleep longer and better than those who worked on sleep habits alone.
For the new report, Baron and colleagues took a closer look at data collected on 11 women ages 57 to 70 in the exercise program. The women kept exercise and sleep diaries and also wore tracking devices on their wrists that recorded how long they took to fall asleep, how often they woke up and how much sleep they got each night.
The women were all inactive at first, but worked up to exercising for about 30 minutes three or four times a week. Most walked on treadmills.
Overall, results were very good: After 16 weeks, the women were sleeping an extra 46 minutes a night – 6 hours and 40 minutes, up from 5 hours and 54 minutes, on average.
But there were no immediate payoffs, in longer or better sleep, on the nights after workouts. The researchers did pick up on one immediate link between exercise and sleep, though: Women who had a particularly bad night's sleep were less likely to exercise the next day.
The bottom line is that exercise does pay off over time and that it's worth fighting past a day's fatigue to keep up the routine, Baron says.
"Of course, there is no quick cure for insomnia," says Barbara Phillips, a sleep medicine specialist at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. She was not involved in the study but says it suggests exercise produces impressive long-term results – and would be a much better choice than sleeping pills for most people.
Phillips is a spokesperson for the non-profit National Sleep Foundation. That group released a poll earlier this year that showed healthy people – those without insomnia or other sleep problems – report sleeping better the night after a workout.
That has also been shown in lab studies, Baron says. It's not clear why people with insomnia don't get the same immediate benefits. But, she says, "It probably has to do with the underlying reasons they have insomnia."
Insomnia is defined as having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or getting restful sleep. Sufferers also have trouble functioning during the day because of their sleep problems. Sleep doctors recommend that people with insomnia go to bed and get up at the same times each day and follow other sleep-promoting habits, such as limiting caffeine and keeping bedrooms cool and dark. Some also benefit from behavioral therapy.
I have a stress-filled job, and I also have periodic bouts of insomnia. Could there be a connection between the two? In a word, yes. Not all insomnia is due to stress, but people who are under considerable stress can have insomnia. In the case of insomnia related to stress, alleviating the stress should alleviate the insomnia. Stress causes insomnia by making it difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep, and by affecting the quality of your sleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness. Nevertheless, many people under stress do not have insomnia.
How can I know if my insomnia is the result of stress, or something else?
As with any symptom, an important question to ask is "when did it start?" Does the sleep problem come and go with the occurrence and disappearance of stress or does it persist through all the permutations of one's life? That is, is it situational? Also it is helpful to clarify what one means by stress.
For example, are you frequently anxious whether or not you are under unusual stress? Is it hard for you to "wind down" at the end of the day? Are you frequently infuriated? Or do you feel depressed? If you feel "blue" much of the time, your problem may be a mood disorder like depression, instead of a problem with stress.
What then should I do to help my insomnia?
No matter what the cause of your insomnia, it's important to get on a good behavior program—one that pays attention to periods of relaxation. I suggest three steps:
First, set your bedtime and your wake-up time according to the number of hours of sleep you are getting currently. For example, if you are sleeping only five hours a night (even though you usually plan to spend eight hours in bed), set your sleep time for that amount. Then gradually increase the amount of time allotted for sleep by 15 minutes or so every few nights. The idea is to "squeeze out" the middle of the nighttime awakening and gradually increase the amount of sleep you will get during the night. Spend some time "winding down." A person with insomnia needs a "buffer zone," a period of time to allow the activating processes in the brain to wind down to allow the alerting mechanisms to decrease their activity so that the sleep systems can take over. I suggest that you start winding down two hours before bedtime. Stop all work and end phone calls to family and friends, as often they are activating. Watching television is all right in the evening. However, an hour before bed, I recommend reading or listening to music. Finally, focus on conditioning yourself for different sleep behavior. Insomnia is painful for people—it can take control of their lives. When someone suffering from insomnia walks into their bedroom, they often feel anxious, uncomfortable and tense, as they know from their experience that they might spend the night tossing and turning. They need to set up a situation so that they like going to their bedroom. The bedroom should be visually pleasing and very comfortable. One should use the bedroom only for sleep, sex, and changing clothes, pleasant activities, and if awake in the night should leave the bed and bedroom and spend "unpleasant" times awake in another room. "Waking" activities such as working on the computer, talking with one's partner, talking on the phone and watching TV should take place out of the bedroom. What about over-the-counter medications? Do they help?
Over-the-counter medications, in combination with a good behavior program, can be helpful for a few days; but the problem with OTC medications is that they tend to have limited effectiveness over the long term and can have a high incidence of "hangovers." Many people taking OTC medications still feel tired the next day and attribute it to their insomnia, but it can be a lingering effect of the medication. Be wary of OTC medications— use them only as you would aspirin for a headache, only so much for so long.
At what point should I seek professional help?
It's important to recognize that transient insomnias are very common. A night or two of insomnia may not be much of a problem for most people. But if insomnia persists for days and has an impact on the way you feel during the day, you should think about speaking to your doctor. Most doctors will turn to sleep aids for short-term insomnia. When judiciously used, medications can be very safe and highly effective in combination with the kind of behavioral program I've described. If the problem persists, you might need to turn to a board certified sleep expert.
What's the most important thing to know about insomnia?
A lot of people suffer from insomnia, and they say to themselves, "I know what this is, but I can't do anything about it." However, consider the toll insomnia takes on your life, the effect it has on your family, your ability to work at a high level, and to socialize with others. The consequences are so enormous that it's important to do something about it. It can be addressed through proper diagnosis and treatment. And if your physician can't help you, find a sleep professional. By all means, don't accept it as a necessary part of your life.
Depression and insomnia are common and possess common symptoms. Some estimate that 30% of Americans will eventually experience clinical depression, and perhaps 40% of adults complain that many or most nights they don't get enough sleep, wake too often, or feel unrested on awakening.
So which is chicken and which egg? Or are they both?
Depression Causes Insomnia
One of the earliest symptoms for many depressives is insomnia. They can't fall asleep. They can't stay asleep. There are times you can almost diagnose depression by looking at individual sleep studies, where the sleep architecture goes fantastically out of line: 1. Deep sleep, where we produce growth hormone, a stage critical for memory and decision making, may altogether disappear with depression. 2. Awakenings and arousals increase dramatically. Sleep becomes highly fragmented. 3. REM sleep is often broken up, and its very appearance changes. Rapid eye movements may appear both erratic and dense. The changes are so characteristic that Professor Jerry Vogel and others from the 1970's on tried to treat depression by waking folks every time they started REM sleep. Preliminary results were strongly favorable, but faded.
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Depressives and Sleeping Pills
As people become depressed they often identify sleeplessness as their main problem. Insomnia is common and holds little stigma; depression is a "disease" that can cost you jobs, insurance, relationships and self-esteem.
People in depressive episodes often seek sleeping pills, sometimes with desperation. Generally they will feel better - for a while. Unfortunately the quality of sleep tends to decline as long as the depression is not fully treated.
Frequently sleep medications stop working altogether. Behavioral and other regimes may also then fail.
Many times I have seen depressed people taking enormous doses of sleeping pills who tell me, correctly, that they hardly sleep at all. I tell them, sadly, that until their depression gets better they will probably not sleep well. Sleep can be the last thing to normalize in a depressive episode. So it's strange to many, including sleep clinicians, that depression can also cause insomnia's opposite - prolonged sleepiness. It's even more of a surprise that forcing people to stay awake at night can improve depression.
Depression Also Causes Prolonged Sleepiness
When most people think of people who sleep too much they usually don't consider depression as the cause. Their first thoughts (and that of most physicians) is that sleep apnea, or leg kicks, narcolepsy or medications are to blame.
It turns out many who sleep too much are suffering from depression. In groups studied by Michel Billiard at the University of Montpellier, once common sleep disorders like sleep apnea were dealt with, depression was the major cause of hypersomnia.
How can an illness cause insomnia and its opposite? Try to think of depression as what it is - a massive deformation in the brain's information network. Some depressives sleep too much (though perhaps in part because their sleep quality is poor) while others sleep hardly at all. Just as there are hundreds of causes of depression, its manifestations are manifold. People with bipolar illness may demonstrate a more compressed version of such aberrant brain sleep control, sleeping two hours one night and sixteen hours the next.
Can Forced Insomnia Treat Depression?
Keep normal people up all night and many describe transient euphoria. Keep depressives up all night and many feel much better mood. Yet the effect disappears as soon as they fall asleep. Even a few short minutes of slumber and the more normal mood is gone.
Researchers are extremely interested in why this happens. Theories abound. Many have to do with the basic "uses" of sleep itself. Yet the nature of depression's effects on sleep is terribly complicated - one reason brief interludes of sleeplessness are rarely used to treat depression.
Insomnia Causes Depression?
It has been known for decades that chronic insomnia was associated with depression - but did it cause it? Jules Angst, professor of clinical psychiatry, observed the young citizens of his city, Zurich for decades. The longer they were insomniac the more depressed they became. When insomnia became chronic, lasting ten years or more, depression's incidence became frequent, affecting a third or more. But was this merely a correlational finding? Would these people have gotten depressed anyway, and just showed up first with symptoms of insomnia?
More recent studies argue no. First, data with young people show that those who have trouble with insomnia tend to experience far more depressions. And data is arriving from varied sources that sleeplessness alone - for whatever reason, including shift work - is associated with higher rates of depression.
Insufficient sleep has many different effects. Higher rates of depression are among them.
So What's Chicken and What's Egg?
Insomnia and depression are dialectically related - both influence each other. If you are insomniac, the lack of rest required for your body's natural regeneration provokes a greater tendency to depression. Depression itself massively reorders sleep, often in the form of horribly disrupted sleep architecture and seemingly "untreatable" insomnia.
Both make the other worse. Can improving either decrease the chance for both? Many clinical studies would argue yes.
What You Can Do For Both Depression and Insomnia
Depression and insomnia are clinical syndromes. Their many different symptoms are highly interrelated, and engage many similar brain areas and functions. So it makes sense that some things you do to prevent or treat one may help the other. Treating either usually requires a mix of different therapies, ranging from cognitive-behavioral to physical to pharmacologic to techniques of rest-relaxation.
Fortunately there are simple things most people can do on their own that engage basic activities of life: 1. Physical activity - some people make their way out of depressive episodes through heavy bouts of aerobic exercise. Many studies argue physical activity is as effective as medications for relatively minor depressions. Most folks sleep at least little better as they become fitter. Exercise in the morning helps some sleep better, particularly older women, while others find evening exercise, 3-5 hours prior to sleep, is more effective for them. Physical activity helps more than sleep and depression, of course. Particularly when it is combined with 2. Sunlight - Morning light and physical activity improves mood and can also help people sleep. Light is a drug, changing mood, biological clocks, immunity and performance. Decreasing light exposure before sleep may also make falling asleep easier - and perhaps 95% of Americans use light-filled electronic media in the hour before they fall asleep. 3. Social support - mostly unheralded in the US, social support is a very important reason for improved lifespan. People who have more friends and colleagues have less depressive episodes. Social support can also aid sleep - especially when people close to you keep you on a regular sleep-wake cycle, as in
4. Keeping regular body clocks. Time rules life. Many insomniacs and depressives are aided by regular schedules of moving, eating, and sleeping. The simple rhythm of Food-Activity-Rest (going FAR) can help here.
Insomnia and Depression
The different symptoms we experience may feel and sound nearly unique to many of us, but not to brain scientists. Insomnia and depression are deeply interlinked, as are the brain areas involved in both - the information network is often similar. Both depression and insomnia can make the other worse. Fortunately simple life activities can be used to prevent both - and to treat them.
During this season of short days and long, chilly nights, it strikes me that this is the perfect time to reassess our patterns and approaches to sleep. More and more, technology is dictating the way that we spend our days—and it may dictate how you spend your night, too! Studies are showing that even if the computer is closed once you go to bed, electronic devices still have a severe impact on the way we sleep.
Read on to learn about how technology is affecting the sleep quality of nearly 41 million people in the U.S. and what natural steps you can take to get the quality sleep that you deserve!
Are your devices keeping you awake?
That’s right—around 41 million people in the U.S. get six or less hours of sleep each night, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, largely because of how embedded technology has become in our daily routines. Computers, tablets, televisions, and even mobile devices can have an effect on our brain activity while we are trying to sleep, as electronic devices have a unique ability to stimulate activity in our brains even if we are not actively engaged with the device. Ping! Think of the text message that comes in just as you are drifting off toward sleep, or the television break to an extra-loud commercial—whether or not we realize it, these stimulants are a barrier between the quality sleep that many dream of.
Not only are these devices stimulating brain activity, but the artificial light from some devices, even e-readers, can disturb our helpful, sleep-promoting brain chemicals like melatonin. When our melatonin levels are altered, we experience sleep disturbances and our circadian rhythms, or natural clocks, are put out-of-whack. Our internal clocks affect both metabolism and digestion, and researchers suggest that lower levels of melatonin mean an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and immune disorders.
Here’s a word on the importance of circadian rhythms: Circadian rhythms are the cycles that govern the body’s natural cycles and regulate appetite, sleep, and mood. Within the past two decades, scientific research has confirmed the wisdom of ancient Chinese medicine, which believes that these channels are controlled largely by light, or the cycles of the sun. The body’s energy levels are meant to be higher during the day, exercising what is traditionally called the yang energy, while the nighttime is meant for rest and recuperation, a time to exercise the yin energy.
Nowadays, however, we are exercising more of our active yang energy before bed by playing games on our phones or doing last-minute work or shopping online. These activities don’t seem so active, but they generally match our activity levels for most of the day. This higher energy, tethered with electronic stimuli and artificial light, energize us, taking us further from the brain activity levels we tend to experience before a restful sleep, putting us back in the conference room, class, or our lunch-date. But don’t fret! We can still live our lives with technology and quality sleep.
Natural Ways to Get Your Zzzzz’s
I always recommend to my patients that they make a routine for going to sleep around the same time in order to help maintain healthy, sleep-promoting habits, and to keep parts of your life that don’t involve your bedtime routine separate.
Here are a couple of my favorite tips to help prepare you for rest:
1. Turn it off. Do not use electronic devices during the one-hour period before you go to sleep. By keeping the television off, computer closed, and using a paper book, you’ll be able to ease into your sleep cycle naturally without any disturbances.
2. Create a sleep sanctuary! Try setting your room up according to Feng Shui principles, by removing as many electronic devices as possible and decorating your bed or walls with the color blue. Light blue hues have been found to have a calming affect on our brains, and that’s exactly what we want before bed.
3. Relax with a leisurely stroll. An hour before bed, take a relaxing, 15-minute walk outside. Breathe in and enjoy the fresh air!
4. To do—or not to do? During the day, try to clear your daily calendar or to-do list. Leaving lots of unfinished business from the day tends to clutter our minds. I find it helpful to set aside a period of time each day after work to assess what I’ve accomplished for the day, and what I still must do. Reorganizing a practical and approachable plan for the next day helps my mind stay clear and focused on the rest of the day, rather than the past or future, which usually leads to worrying, increased stress levels, and reduced quality in sleep.
5. No midnight snacks. Do not eat at least two hours prior to going to bed. Ideally, your last meal should be no later than 7 pm, and you should be going to bed at 10 pm or earlier. By leaving time between meals and sleep, we allow our bodies to get a head start on digestion, which helps maintain our metabolic rhythms and prevent both weight gain and digestive disorders. Going to sleep at 10 pm enables us to wake with the sun and experience as much daylight as possible. Of course, while you are waking early I do, of course, recommend taking a nap every once in a while!
I hope you find plenty of ways to get quality rest!
You can find more ways to live a long and healthy life in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle. In addition, The Natural Health Dictionary makes a great companion to your quest for longevity. It is a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing herbs, longevity foods, vitamins, and supplements.
do all my next day planning and worrying before I get in bed
orange juice mixed with a little sea salt before bed and if you wake up (there's a science behind it)
they say stop eating early. but i can't sleep on an empty stomach otherwise i'll wake up and binge
when i dont do these things you'll find me on here posting at 4am
These r awesome! I've never heard of the orange juice one, I'm going to try it. I'm a late night snacker too. I feel like after eating healthy all the time, I'm always hungry. At night when I'm about to go to bed, I've started drinking 24 ounces of water, at first I had to pee a lot, but it went away. My stomach muscles started showing a lot more too. Oh and I stopped smoking weed right before bed
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