I learned this pose from the last mindfulness-based cognitive therapy retreat in May 2011. Basically, it is an inverted sitting position. But instead of lying your back against a chair, you lie on the floor with your legs supported by a chair. Put a pillow underneath your head to give your head and neck some support. Rest your hands beside you.
From the picture, it is not hard to imagine why it is called the astronaut pose. In this position, it looks like you are ready to take off for the distant stars! And is not that what happen during meditation when thoughts fade in and out of our consciousness like stars in the night sky?
This is an especially soothing meditative posture, one that Bieklus calls a "time out for adults." "Doing this inversion will ease tension in your legs," says the yoga instructor, who recommends the pose or anyone who's active on their feet all day or may have over done it at the gym. Turn your hips toward the wall and kick your legs up and lean rest them vertically against it. "People who have a hard time meditating may find this as an easier way to clear their minds," Bieklus adds. Tight hips? Put a pillow under your seat to ease any discomfort.
Is your insomnia down to what you are eating? Food tips for better quality sleep
Your diet makes all the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one. Just a few changes could give you better quality shuteye..
Getty How did you sleep last night – tossing and turning restlessly in the small hours? Well yesterday’s dinner, or even breakfast, could be to blame for your bleary eyes today.
Scientists have found that our diet directly affects how well we sleep – and the resulting advice is nowhere near as obvious as simply avoiding that extra coffee before bedtime.
A study published in the journal Appetite found big differences in the diets of people who slept the longest number of hours compared with those snoozing for the least.
Those who slept less than five hours drank less water, took in less vitamin C, had less selenium, which is found in nuts, meat and shellfish, but ate more green, leafy vegetables.
Longer sleep was associated with consuming more carbohydrates, less choline, which is found in eggs and fatty meats, and less chocolate and tea.
Nutritionist Linda Foster says: “It makes perfect sense that our diet can affect our sleep quality.
“Some foods such as bananas contain high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you sleepy, so they can be a great help in combating insomnia.
“From a medical standpoint, we know that deficiencies of key minerals such as calcium and magnesium are linked to certain sleep disorders.”
And while everyone knows that eating a large meal before bed is a bad idea if you want a good night’s kip, scientists have now pinpointed that avoiding food for three hours before bed is optimum, as it lets your body go into wind-down mode and release the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
Research also dispelled the old wives’ tale that eating cheese at night can keep you awake or trigger bad dreams.
In fact, in one study, three-quarters of volunteers who were fed a 20g piece of cheese every night before bed reported that they slept very well.
So if sleep has been hard to come by of late and medical causes have been ruled out, it’s well worth taking a long, hard look at your diet.
The food-sleep cycle
In the last few years, the link between what we eat and our sleep patterns has emerged as an important piece in the obesity puzzle.
Not only can the right food aid sleep, it works the other way too – better sleep promotes weight loss.
Lack of sleep, however, has been found to stimulate production of hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes us overeat.
Evidence shows that the more sleep you get, the fewer calories you eat the next day.
A German study last year showed that after just one night of disruption, volunteers were less energetic and used fewer calories, but were hungrier and ate more – a recipe for weight gain.
This means eating the right foods for a better night’s sleep is a win-win solution.
It will help you sleep, which in turn should keep you trim. So can you eat your way to sounder sleep?
Healthy diet cured my insomnia
Better sleeper: Joanna Salzmann Joanna Salzmann, 37, a chemist from South London, is married with a son, 18 months
I’ve suffered with sleep problems for the last 10 years but doctors have never been able to pinpoint the cause. I can’t count the number of times I’ve lain awake at 3am, desperate for sleep.
I’ve tried everything from the herb valerian, to jogging at lunch and buying a blackout blind, but nothing helped.
Then last year a friend told me she’d been getting the best sleep of her life since improving her diet to train for a charity run. She’d been eating wholemeal carbs, fish, fruit and veg and had ditched tea, coffee and alcohol.
This struck a chord with me as my food habits were pretty bad – I relied on tea and chocolate to get me through a busy day at work, skipped lunch, then tucked into a ready meal and a few glasses of wine around 10pm.
So I overhauled my diet, starting the day with porridge, snacking on nuts and fruit, drinking peppermint tea and having a carb-rich dinner such as chicken with rice or pasta dinner no later than 7pm. I also banned wine for a month.
After two weeks, I couldn’t believe the difference. I was falling asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed.
I also stopped waking in the early hours, slept soundly all night and actually woke feeling refreshed the next morning.
I now stick to my healthier diet most of the time. I still can’t believe the difference these changes have made.
Best bedtime snacks
GettyHungry at night? The ideal pre-snooze nibbles are small enough that they won’t need a lot of digestion, but rich in carbs to boost sleep-inducing serotonin levels.
Good picks include:
? A bowl of porridge made with milk and a chopped banana
? Granary toast with peanut butter
? Wholemeal pitta bread with houmous
? A glass of warm milk
Top 10 sleep tight tricks
1 Eat little and often
Having something nutritious every few hours helps your body and brain maintain the right balance of hormones and neurotransmitters, essential for falling – and staying – asleep at night. Rather than large meals with gaps in between, aim for six mini meals a day.
If you go to bed hungry, your body’s innate biological need for food will send signals to keep you awake to find subsistence – a survival throwback to our cavemen days when food was scarce. So a small snack is better than nothing.
2 Eat early
Avoid eating your evening meal any later than three hours before bed, as this will optimise your blood sugar and melatonin levels.
Eating a big meal increases the blood flow to your digestive tract, causing your stomach to secrete more gastric acid and making your intestinal muscles work harder. This stimulates your body’s metabolic systems at the very time when you want them to be slowing down.
Some studies even suggest that eating too close to bedtime, or very late at night when you’d normally be sleeping, may throw your body’s internal clock into confusion and lead to overeating and weight gain.
Avoiding large late meals also reduces reflux, when stomach acids rise up into the oesophagus, which can be a serious sleep disrupter. Indeed, US research suggests that that up to 25% of people who report bad sleep without a diagnosed cause actually have acid reflux without realising it.
3 Go bananas
Have a banana – ideally in the second half of the day.
This sleep wonder fruit is packed with potassium and magnesium, nutrients that double as natural muscle relaxants.
Plus, they contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, which ultimately turns into serotonin and melatonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a natural chemical that promotes relaxation, while melatonin is the hormone that promotes sleepiness.
4 Have a carb-rich dinner
A recent study at The University of Sydney, Australia, found that people who ate rice before bedtime fell asleep faster than those who didn’t as rice is rich in sugars, which increase production of tryptophan, the amino acid that makes you sleepy.
Bread, pasta and cereal can have the same effect.
5 Avoid fatty meals
Not only will greasy takeaways scupper your diet, they’re a recipe for sleep disaster.
Research suggests people who have fatty meals in the evening clock fewer hours of total sleep than those who don’t, so stick to lean meat and plenty of veg.
6 But don’t crash-diet
If you’re eating fewer than 1,200 calories a day, as many diets recommend, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on key nutrients, which can seriously affect your sleep.
Low levels of calcium, from dairy products, and magnesium, which is found in green veg and nuts, are linked to poor sleep, as both are natural relaxants.
Low iron can trigger restless leg syndrome symptoms in which twitching leg movements disrupt your sleep.
A deficiency in the B vitamin, folic acid, found in wholegrains and green leafy veg, may also lead to insomnia.
People who don’t get much vitamin C – in fruit and veg – or selenium from nuts, meat and fish have been shown to sleep for fewer hours.
The answer? Follow a healthy, varied diet rich in fruit and veg, wholegrains, low-fat dairy, nuts, fish and lean red meat to ensure a good supply of vital nutrients.
7 Lay off the booze
Initially drinking induces sleep, but if you indulge in more than one or two small drinks you’re in for a fragmented night.
One recent study showed alcohol increased slow-wave deep sleep in the first half of the night, but increased sleep disruptions in the second half – thus wiping out all the earlier benefits!
8 Watch the salt
Processed foods such as ready meals and even many breads and soups contain a lot of sodium, which can interrupt sleep by raising your blood pressure and dehydrating you.
9 Drink plenty of water
Research shows the more hydrated you are, the more hours kip you get.
Aim to drink around six to eight glasses of water a day.
But if getting up for the loo disrupts your sleep, avoid liquids for three hours before bedtime.
10 Skip coffee
People often stop drinking coffee at lunchtime, but experiments shows that caffeine stays in your system for up to 12 hours – an 11am latte could linger until 11pm.
Avoiding caffeine for one day, on the other hand, can improve sleep quality that night, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Even chocolate and tea, which contain the stimulant theobromine, have been shown to disrupt sleep and may be best avoided
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
someone told my mom about it and it helped her insomnia tremendously. she had me look up the science and it has something to do with replenishing glucose while you sleep. i'll have to find it. but it has worked for me as well.
oh um, no alcohol to get you to sleep. you're passing out, not sleeping
http://www.insomnia-free.com/cause-of-insomnia.html Bedroom Cause of Insomnia ;
Your very own bedroom — the place you spend one third of your life — could be a major cause of insomnia. Here is a list of the common bedroom-environment sleep-busters. Too much light or not enough light in the room?
Most people are not aware of the profound effect light–both natural and artificial–has on our circadian rhythms and the sleep/wake cycle. If your bedroom doesn’t block out enough light streaming in through the windows–either natural light from early morning or artificial light from outdoors–it could be one cause of insomnia that you can treat very simply with light-blocking drapes. Noise?
Ah, yes, noise… possibly the number-one environmental cause of insomnia, and maybe even the most irritating and annoying one. Neighbors? Dogs? Helicopters? Parties down the block? Traffic? Early morning construction? Late-night band practice down the street? If you are bothered by noise, and especially if you are sensitive to noise and about to split your seams and break a few windows over it… I’ll discuss some of options for relief in the articles below. Temperature fluctuations?
Is your bedroom too cold or too hot at night, or does the temperature swing from one extreme to another? This is common with centralized systems (especially old ones, like mine). Poor temperature control could be a contributing cause of insomnia that you can look into. Portable heaters and air conditioners have become much better–and cheaper–lately. I have a very quiet and effective one in my own bedroom for those endless hot, sticky summer nights. Poor mattress?
If your sagging, lumpy old mattress ranks high on your list of possible insomnia causes, you really can’t afford NOT to buy a better mattress. Save money on something else, but please give yourself the comfort you need for peaceful sleep. (Find out if buying a mattress is something you need to seriously consider at this site.) Wake-ups by children and pets?
If you’re a brand new parent, forget about getting full sleep for a while. But if you also find it difficult to get back to sleep in between waking up to tend to your baby, as so many parents do… there is still help for the insomnia caused by your bundles of joy! Bed-partner issues?
That person sharing your bed… hogging blankets, shaking the bed, snoring, watching TV when you’re trying to sleep… might be the ideal mate and loving companion during the day, but at night, it’s a whole different story. Sharing a bed peacefully with someone may require patience, compromise, good humor and… what about separate beds? Some couples have found it a reasonable solution. Allergens, dust, air quality problems?
Your bedroom is your sanctuary and comfort is a must for sleeping. So if allergies are a main cause of insomnia for you, it’s worth every penny you spend to improve the air quality in your bedroom. There are lots of effective and affordable air filters on the market now that can clean the air in an entire bedroom in a couple hours. You should not have to suffer from indoor air quality issues. Using your bedroom as corporate headquarters?
Sleep experts like to advise people to use their bedrooms only for sleep and sex, meaning NOT for work, TV watching, video gaming, conference calls, treadmill running, and other fun activities. This is supposed to set up a conditioned behavioral pattern that helps the mind unwind and tune out stimulation when you enter the room where you sleep. And while you probably think, “Yeah, right” it’s good advice because it works. Environmental cues can be very powerful. But some people use their bedrooms as the home office because they have no other place to do business. And others use it for exercise or entertainment because they have limited space. There are ways to keep your work activities separate from your sleeping. Some involve physical separations, like covers and screens, but most will inevitably involve a bit of self discipline and determination to keep a wall of separation between sleep and work/play. I’ll be exploring this in more detail shortly. I think we’ve covered each important bedroom cause of insomnia. If any of these resonate with you, check out the insomnia articles below. Related posts you may find interesting...
The agony of sleeping together when you have insomnia (and my Ozzie and Harriet solution)
"Life with an insomniac" by: Anita Dalton – CC BY 2.0 This post is about sleeping together. GAUCHE! Except, I mean, actual sleeping. As in closing your eyes, turning off your brain, allowing the worries of the day to melt into tiny, infinitesimal oil slicks on the calm sea of your beatific self-possession. Oblivion sneaks over you like the smell of a fart in a conference room, and before you know it you're flying to Magnolia Bakery for red velvet cupcakes in the TARDIS with Joseph Gordon-Levitt until, precisely eight hours later, you awake to the sound of early morning songbirds outside your window like a goddamn Disney princess. Seriously, those people. I'm an insomniac. Not in the cool way. I'm not staying up because I'm punk and badass, or my thoughts are too deep to be constrained to your bourgeois daylight hours. I'm talking about the kind of insomnia that sees me refreshing websites that don't update at night, over and over, because I am too tired to concentrate enough to navigate to actual content. The kind of insomnia that can play Tetris for seven straight hours and never get past level ten. The kind where I've occasionally laid in bed actually crying because I want to sleep so, so badly. This is my whole life, basically — certainly my life past puberty. When I took my GREs I hadn't slept in three days. I got the scores back and literally didn't even know I had taken the test, which was awesome because I drove to it. I have ground most of the enamel off my teeth because the mouthguard my dentist gave me keeps me awake. Everything keeps me awake. When the cat drinks from her bowl in the kitchen, the sound of her tongue keeps me awake in the bedroom. And now I have a fiance. Ozzie and Harriet beds: The aftermath of sleeping separately This is in response to the insomniac post. I saw a few comments like, "Separate beds will help. Separate rooms would probably help even more."... [more] If Disney had made a princess movie starring a 6'4" tattooed guy with a beard and glasses and enough muscle to pick up a couch with one hand, that princess would sleep the way my fiance does. When he has to fly at 5am, he'll say things like, "Well, we should leave the house at 3am, so I'm going to go to bed at 7:30 tonight so I have enough sleep." Then he puts his dinner dish in the sink, brushes his teeth, packs his suitcase, lays down in bed and actually does it. I've never seen him take more than five minutes to fall asleep — and I've had ample opportunity, as we've lived together for two years and in that time I've never once fallen asleep before him. He's not a perfect sleeper (he's occasionally sleepwalked, and sleeps very lightly) but every time he wakes up he just falls right back to sleep. It's enraging enough to make me occasionally — usually around 5am when I'm just sitting in bed waiting for his alarm to go off — wonder if he'd nod off so easily with a mouthful of fist. (Spoiler alert: I've never actually punched him, but I think the answer would be yes.) Being an insomniac is bad enough. Being an insomniac in love with a good sleeper is its own special kind of torture. Here's a nightly schedule: 10:30. Fiance, who works an early schedule, goes to bed. I go in with him for cuddling, because I want him to at least associate some positive thoughts with me and bed, and we both know what's coming. 10:35. Fiance falls asleep. I do the routine; make sure his blankets are good, refill his water glass, turn off the radio. That sounds '50s housewife, yes, but I know if I don't the guilt later will be enough to keep me awake even more. 10:40. My night life begins. The first three hours are me trying to tire myself out. I do mentally taxing activities — writing, video games, money management, a fair amount of wedding planning. I try to make schedules and get a little ahead on work so my anxiety will have fewer anchorages to latch onto later. 2am. I start trying to wind myself down with Sleep Literature tricks — yoga, directed thinking, breathing exercises. 3:30. The tricks haven't worked, and I've thought of at least four things I still need to do. I figure, why not do them now, since I'll just obsess about them anyway? 4am. Go to bed. Fiance is woken up by: me opening the door, me opening the pajama drawer, me getting into bed, every microscopic motion I make once I'm in bed. Some of the wakings are accompanied by him getting more blankets or getting a drink, which means he's awake longer and I feel bad. Sometimes they're accompanied by him asking sleepily, "You need anything, babe?" which just stab me in the heart already, why don't you. 4:30am. Sleeping in here isn't happening; I've been lying as stiff as a cadaver listening to his breathing with my teeth gradually turning into cornmeal. Either I stay in this position, my muscles freezing in shape, for another hour until his alarm goes off, or I go lay on the futon. Most nights I go lay on the futon. Sometime during the next day. Him to me: "Hey babe, I'm sorry if I wasn't much fun to sleep next to last night. What can I do? I hate seeing you sleeping out on the futon." And then my heart breaks forever. Recently, I've gotten a job that gives me proper benefits, and as it turns out, we live in a region with a few really good sleep specialization centers. So I'm finally biting the bullet and getting some tests done — probably an MRI and I might sleep for a few nights in a university basement with Science Pads glued to my head. But gradually I've been wanting one solution more than anything else, even more than strong drugs (which is saying something, because I really want strong drugs): Separate beds, like Ozzie and Harriet. I get my own blankets, I don't have to feel like every time I roll over I'm ruining his sleep, and we get to be in the same room every night in touching distance. I finally sat the fiance down and discussed it with him. I had no idea how he'd react — I mean, how weird is that? This is literally a piece of furniture that is not made for adults. We would have to buy children's beds and probably decoupage over the vinyl Buzz Lightyear decals with pages from Dwell. Plus, there's the rejection factor. What if he thought I meant I didn't want to sleep with him, you know, in the Biblical sense, anymore? What if he thought it meant I was subconsciously disgusted by him? What if it made him resent me? What if this was the death knell that would be the end of all our joy, and I'd spend the rest of my life alone on my tiny twin bed, looking across the nightstand at what might have been? His response? "Oh man, could we maybe get bunk beds? That'd be SWEET!" I love this man. And I guess this will work out. READ MORE POSTS ABOUT: BEDS, SLEEP
His snoring, snuggling and shifting are keeping you up all night. Follow these strategies to get your rest without getting rid of him.
When it comes to quality shut-eye, research has shown that women are the sleepless sex. They tend to have a harder time falling asleep than men and are more easily startled or jostled awake. Despite this, more women than men claim they're loath to give up spending the night at their partner's side. Here are the most common co-sleeping issues women have, and how to solve them.
"It drives me crazy how he falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow." "Men can fall asleep faster, almost anywhere, and have fewer complaints about the quality of their sleep," says John Dittami, an Austria-based sleep researcher and co-author of the recent book "Sleeping Better Together." One possible explanation has to do with sex hormones, which affect how long we sleep overall and the amount of time we spend in each stage. Women's levels of estrogen and progesterone tend to fluctuate, especially during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Dittami says it's important for each member of a couple to focus on his or her own go-to-sleep routines. If yours involves reading in bed, look for a gooseneck light with a focused, just-strong-enough beam, because even a small amount of diffuse light can disrupt your partner, according to Dittami. Leave the iPad and laptop, with their sleep-inhibiting blue glow, in the other room. Because sleeping men tend to be less sensitive to movement, Dittami says you don't need to worry about waking him when you climb into bed.
"His snuggling -- while sweet -- makes it hard for me to fall asleep." While researching their book, Dittami and his co-authors found that for couples, spending time together in bed (talking, touching, snuggling) is an extremely important aspect of a relationship. But most of us try to combine this together time with sleeping time, and that's where things get tricky. "Sleeping is an individual thing. It's not a duet," Dittami says. He advises separating the two phases of the night and setting aside time for pillow talk or cuddling (or both at once) before you move to opposite sides of the mattress. "We have this Hollywood idea where the couple goes to bed at the exact same time, with the woman falling asleep snuggled under the arm of the male," Dittami says. Not only does this rarely happen in real life, but, he points out, few women would be comfortable with their neck cramping in their partner's armpit.
"He gets so warm that I feel like I'm sharing the bed with a space heater." You aren't imagining things: Men have a higher core body temperature, which is due in part to their thyroid function and testosterone levels, says Dittami. As your own body temperature falls just before bedtime, you might enjoy cozying up next to a warm partner. But this can get uncomfortable later in the night, especially if he starts sweating. He may feel damp, and he'll be more likely to emit pheromones that can keep you up (this is not to say he stinks; we're just sensitive to certain odors when we sleep). Dittami says he's heard of female patients starting off in warm pajamas and then shedding layers as the night continues and their temperature changes. Another idea is to put a cool pillow barrier between the two of you to block some of his body heat.
"Him: one thin cotton sheet. Me: a multilayered down cocoon." "Using one blanket for two people just isn't conductive to sleep," Dittami says. Not only will it make you hyperaware of your partner's tugs and kicks, but it will amplify the heat. Dittami says that in Europe it's common for couples to use separate covers in bed. In fact, this is what he's found to work for him and his wife. Each has their own layered tiramisu of blankets. "It works like a peace treaty," he says.
"His tossing and turning feels like a mini-earthquake." Men and women move about the same amount in bed, but women are more sensitive to their partner's movements. Even if he doesn't flop into bed "like a sumo wrestler" (as one woman described her husband's nightly ritual), his sudden movements may wake you. "Sleep gates," as researchers call them, tend to come up every 90 minutes or so, and that's when we're more susceptible to being yanked awake. If your partner happens to do something noisy, startling or disruptive during this time, and especially if it lasts longer than a minute or two, you may find yourself staring at the ceiling (or at him) in frustration. As mentioned, separate blankets can help, but if his jostling is a big problem, you may want to consider a new mattress -- or two of them. Sleep researchers suggest that couples invest in approximately 71 inches of mattress (which allows sleepers to stay about an arm's length away from each other, says Dittami); American king sizes are 76 inches. Memory-foam mattresses are best for minimizing bounce, according to "Sleeping Better Together," and a split-king mattress (two long twin mattresses set side by side in the same foundation) will mean you'll barely notice each other -- but can also make it challenging when you want to get close.
"He snores/clenches his jaw/gnashes his teeth." While these unconscious habits may be infuriating to you, they're also taking their toll on the partner who wakes up with a sore jaw or molars with hairline cracks. Persuade your nocturnal teeth-clencher or gnasher to get a mouth guard, and remind him to wear it every night (both he and his dentist will thank you). A snoring spouse can be dealt with proactively or in the heat of the moment. Dittami says people tend to snore more when falling asleep, so if you're a sound sleeper, try to get to bed ahead of him. If he starts up during the night, you probably already know that you should nudge him off his back and onto his side. Dittami says the key is to do this immediately, at first wheeze, because the longer you wait, listen and stew, the harder it will be to fall back asleep. Most people change body position every 40 minutes or so during the night, so once he's in place, Dittami suggests propping a pillow against his back to keep him from rolling over.
"He sleeps -- or pretends to -- through wailing kids, mystery crashes and potential burglars, so I'm always the one who has to get up and investigate." A British study ranking the sounds most likely to wake people found that a crying baby was number one for women but didn't even break into the top 10 for men (though car alarms, howling wind and buzzing flies did). Women were also more sensitive to dripping taps and commotions outside. It helps to hear he's not faking, but that still doesn't relieve you of nighttime surveillance duty. Dittami says this issue comes up all the time with couples, but the solution falls outside his area of expertise, so we called licensed marriage and family therapist Diane Gehart, PhD. She strongly advises that you wait until the next day, when you're both alert and rational, to explain the situation and ask for your partner's help in finding a solution. One suggestion: Explain that he'll probably have better luck than you calming a fretful child because therapists like Gehart say fathers tend to get less nighttime push-back than mothers. As for the unexplained noises, keep track of what's bothering you and come up with a plan that doesn't involve sending your husband downstairs five times a night to check for intruders. Noise machines block thumping air conditioners, alarm systems provide peace of mind and a dog can act as an extra set of ears, especially if it's kept close to you. "Pet trainers have told me that it's better to put a guard dog in your home than out in the yard, where it can be distracted or tricked," Gehart says.
Is sexual insomnia the reason behind your sleepless nights? It may comfort you to know that you are not alone. This commonly misunderstood syndrome affects millions of American housewives. Sexual frustration drives women to heavy use of tobacco, liquor and tranquilizers. Sleeping pills are not always the best cure. Donot work yourself into a state of mental frenzy worrying about the hard days work that lies ahead. If you have been lying awake all these years don't let that infuriate you. The solution could lie elsewhere than you think.
Does your partner satiate you physically? Or do you simply feel nervous and more wide awake than when you first lay down. Erotic frustration is one of the common causes for insomnia. Unsatisfied sexual desires produce restlessness.
The best way is to develop openness on your physical needs and maintain dialogue with your partner. It is ok to discuss your fantasies with your partner. Don't expect him to always read your mind.
Be proactive and surprise him with a new lingerie or wearing your favorite perfume. Be creative and maintain freshness in your sex life. Try not to bring stresses from your office or your kids into the bedroom.
In fact, during the war cigarettes were urged upon the men in service in part because smokers seem to lose some of their sexual ardor. Nowadays, the heavy smokers are also likely to be low in erotic desire and become prematurely impotent.
Many platonic husbands are in the 40 to 50 age brackets. Yet their older brothers were not impotent. A lot of platonic men were heavy smokers whereas the virile males were not.
Many unmarried folks likewise lie awake at night, fretting and worrying over the matter of auto erotic practices. But some insomnia is simply due to tension and apprehension based on problems' of the office or factory. In any case of insomnia, however, it is not smart to clobber your brain into unconsciousness with chemical clubs called sleeping pills or tranquilizers.
The main purpose of sleep, anyway, is to rest your heart. And your heart gets its relief by the very fact your body is in the horizontal plane when you are in bed, even though you are still awake.
And the very best pre-sleep ritual is to contemplate eternal verities. In short, think about God. Head a few verses in your Bible. Consider why you are down here in this earthly classroom in God's Cosmic School
I often encounter patients who report that they regularly use cannabis – for sleep. Many swear by its ability to help them relax and fall into a deep restful sleep. Because most psychoactive drugs, including many that are prescribed as sleeping medication, actually degrade the quality of sleep; this is a bit difficult to believe. Mental health clinicians are aware that many psychiatric patients use cannabis. It also appears that many patients suffering with insomnia also use it. Although it remains illegal and many people are arrested for possession annually, it does not seem that anyone wanting to use it has difficulty obtaining it and more states are providing for medicinal use of it. Connecticut is the most recent state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis and to provide for medical marijuana.
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This is a timely issue as there are two states that have ballot initiatives for today that could result in legalization of medical marijuana (Massachusetts and Arkansas) and two others (Washington and Colorado) will be considering essentially legalizing adult possession with regulation and taxation similar to that used with alcohol. This could lead to further conflict between state and federal law enforcement.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for its psychoactive and purported medicinal qualities. Cannabis has often been classified as a hallucinogen and regarded as a minor psychedelic although more recently it is being seen as a unique and complex drug with many different effects, some of which may be of medical value. It can be classified in a number of ways such as a hallucinogen, a psychedelic, or as a drug that causes an altered state of consciousness with mild euphoria, relaxation, perceptual alterations and enhanced sensory experiences (see references below). It can also cause distressing and unpleasant effects as well, such as intense anxiety that is often described as “paranoia”.
Culturally, cannabis has had a somewhat different role in society than other drugs that may be abused, often being associated with the counterculture or the subculture represented in movies such as “Up in Smoke”, “The Pineapple Express” or any of the Harold and Kumar movies. In recent years research has been increasing with regard to psychedelics and related drugs such as ketamine for the first time since the early 1970s. Research regarding psychedelics and marijuana is being spearheaded by organizations such as MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), and new knowledge about the potential therapeutic uses of these agents is increasing.
But what evidence do we have regarding cannabis and its effects on sleep? Not much. Most of the research on cannabis and sleep was conducted in the 1970s and is discussed below. Currently research on the medicinal use of cannabis is restricted due to the legal status of marijuana.
As it turns out cannabis is an exceedingly complex drug preparation and its effects depend on the variety of the plant, the composition of the chemicals in any given sample, the route of administration, the setting in which it is used and the psychological set of the user.
Cannabis is a plant with three different strains that reportedly have different psychoactive characteristics depending on the specific chemical make up of the plants. Cannabis sativa is generally the most commonly used strain and is considered the most psychoactive. In recent years selective breeding in both the underground production system and by those working in the medical marijuana field has modified it to increase its psychoactivity or enhance various putative medicinal effects. For example, some samples may be extremely psychedelic while are others are more sedating.
These drug effects are caused by the action of chemicals known as cannabinoids that activate cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system. The primary cannabinoids responsible for the characteristic psychological effects of marijuana are THC (tetrahydocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the only cannabinoid found in marijuana that has direct psychological effects but its effects may be modified by the action of cannabidiol and perhaps other cannabinoids as well. In small doses THC tends to be a sedative, in moderate doses to be a stimulant, in large doses it is psychedelic, and in very large doses may cause psychotic-like symptoms.
While cannabis is sometimes eaten in foods such as brownies, it is most often smoked. This allows users to more carefully titrate the dose by checking the subjective effects before taking another puff. Medical marijuana patients are now using vaporizers to absorb THC while avoiding the inhalation of smoke. Eating marijuana may result in extremely powerful effects that become apparent only some time after consumption with no way of reducing the dose. The setting in which it is used will also affect the user’s experience. A quiet and supportive environment is less likely to result in anxiety. It should also be noted that some people are much more sensitive to the effects of cannabis and may have strong reactions to even fairly small doses.
As noted above, although the psychoactive effects of cannabis are primarily due to THC, the effects of using complex plant material is not the same as if pure THC were to be used alone. THC can cause anxiety reactions but higher concentrations of cannabidiol may be effective in decreasing this effect by increasing relaxation. To date two receptors for cannabinoids have been found. CB1receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors are primarily found in the periphery of the body, especially in the immune system. CB1 receptors are located in diverse areas of the brain and are activated by endocannabinoids that are produced naturally in the nervous system and function to regulate various nervous system processes.
Interestingly, CB receptors do not function in the standard way that we were taught neurons work in our high school and college biology classes. In the standard model, a pre-synaptic cell releases a chemical called a neurotransmitter that crosses the gap (synapse) between the cells and affects the downstream (postsynaptic) cell by changing the probability that the downstream cell will fire (depolarize). Some neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin have modulating effects on downstream neurons. Other neurotransmitters are either excitatory and increase the probability that downstream cells will fire or inhibitory and decrease the probability of firing. The primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system is GABA and a primary excitatory neurotransmitter is glutamate. Cells affected by GABA are targeted by the major prescription sleeping medications and this is how they work to produce drowsiness.
Endocannabinoids, however, act on CB1 receptors through a process known as retrograde signaling. In other words, it is the postsynaptic cell that releases the cannabinoid that travels against the usual flow of neurotransmitters and affects the pre-synaptic cell. This allows postsynaptic cells to control incoming activity. If pre-synaptic cells are releasing GABA, endocannabinoids will decrease their output thus increasing the excitability of the postsynaptic cell. If the pre-synaptic cells are releasing gultamate the effect will be to decrease excitability of the postsynaptic cell.
THC is an exogenous plant derived cannabinoid that affects the functioning of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. THC’s psychoactive effects are produced by its interaction with the CB1 receptors. The complex possibilities presented by the way in which it can increase or decrease excitation gives some indication of how complex its effects can be, especially given that CB1 receptors are widespread throughout the central nervous system. THC is a unique, naturally occurring drug that causes its psychoactive effects in a much different fashion than the classical psychedelics such as LSD and DMT that are 5HT 2A (serotonin subtype) receptor agonists.
Many sleeping medications, such as the benzodiazepines, convert deep sleep into lighter sleep, so that while the total amount of sleep may be modestly increased, it may not be of optimal quality. Certainly anyone who has used alcohol to help sleep knows that in the long run, it really doesn’t. In fact, while alcohol initially can make you drowsy and even increases deep sleep, it later causes sleep to be light and fragmented. People who have had the misfortune of over-indulging in alcoholic beverages and have awakened with a terrible hangover know this all too well. However sleepy the hung over person feels, it is impossible to get comfortable and fall back asleep. This is why, for purposes of good sleep hygiene, we recommend limiting daily intake of alcohol to no more than 1 or 2 standard doses (4 – 6 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer or 1.5 oz of liquor) and not drinking after dinner so that the alcohol has time to get out of your system before trying to sleep.
The studies on cannabis and sleep that were conducted in the 1970’s (see Roehrs and Roth, 2011), give some information about the possible affects of cannabis on sleep. Low doses of THC (4 to 20 mg) mildly decreased REM sleep in both regular users and nonusers. Interestingly, deep sleep was increased when cannabis was initially used but this effect disappeared after repeated use. With high doses of THC (50 to 210 mg) REM sleep was decreased in both regular users and nonusers. Total sleep time was not affected but deep sleep was decreased. When THC was stopped some rebound in REM sleep was found with reduced sleep time and increased time to fall asleep.
Some people do have withdrawal symptoms when stopping prolonged and heavy use of cannabis and this can adversely affect sleep.
Clearly, many people are using cannabis as a sleeping agent and further research is needed, if a way can be found to do this despite the current legal difficulties to conducting marijuana research. Whether or not cannabis use helps or hurts sleep is not clear from the limited evidence reviewed above. Some advocates believe that it can be very beneficial but at this point, I think the best advice is that natural sleep remains the most optimal. It’s best to use any sleeping medication, whether prescribed, OTC, or obtained from joints, brownies, or bongs, as little as possible.
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