Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 13:55
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Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep/day?  Do you wake up many times while sleeping?  Do you lie awake in bed for hours during the night?  Maybe this pearl can help you get a better night’s sleep.


Let's face it, if you are in pain or anxious about anything you will not get a restful night's sleep.  But, other than that you can get a more restful sleep if you can find the variables surrounding sleep that work for you.


Research has shown that it is healthy to get about eight hours of sleep a night; unfortunately this is not usually the case, especially if you are over 50.  If for example, you went to bed at 10:00 pm and awoke at 6:00 am that may constitute eight hours of sleep, but it usually does not.  Most people who “sleep” for eight hours end up only getting about 6 to 6.5 hours of actual sleep.  Even people who “sleep” for 9 or 10 hours only get about 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep; and lets face it, who can afford to lie in bed for 9 to 10 hours unless they are retired from work.


Most people have to be up at a certain time each morning and thus, if you go to bed an hour earlier you might get that important extra hour of sleep.  For most people, lifetime habits keep them from going to bed earlier, but that can be change for at least a few days a week if not every day.  If you think about going to bed an hour earlier instead of thinking about doing the usual, TV, reading, work, etc., then you will get to bed earlier.


But, just going to bed an hour earlier doesn’t guarantee an extra hour of sleep.  I have found that I just lie in bed an hour longer before going to sleep.  Something else needs to be changed.  We need to relax our body before going to sleep so that the muscles we abused by excessive sitting/standing/bending all day are relaxed.  Doing exercises that stretch the back of your legs works just fine.  If you want an even better daily exercise regimen (and have a healthier less painful back), click on this link.


Research has also suggested that late night snacking can affect our sleep.  Supposedly, having carbohydrates (sweets) puts us to sleep and protein foods keep us awake.  Personally, I find that if I snack 2-3 hours before bedtime that it disturbs my sleep.


Research has also suggested that if you keep the room below 70° (preferably 68°) that we will sleep better.  I find that if the room doesn't have a little chill that I can't fall asleep.  Unfortunately, that chill comes with more of a need to visit the bathroom.


Some people find that they can’t sleep if there is too much light in the room—so keep the room dark.  Some people find that ambient noises interfere with their sleep and therefore use a fan, air purifier or sound box to drown them out.  A snoring bedmate can also destroy a good night’s sleep—I find that my hours of actual undisturbed sleep is increased significantly using soft rubber ear plugs (like you get on a plane redeye flight) to quiet the snoring.


But even going to bed earlier, stretching and masking light and sounds may not guarantee you a good nights sleep; you may still lay awake for hours with intermittent sleep.  If that is the case, you may need to help your body/mind to allow you to sleep—I find that melatonin helps.  Melatonin as you know is secreted by the pineal gland when your eyes detect sustained darkness.  Melatonin blocks off your body sensations from the neck down allowing you to go into a deep sleep.


Every person reacts differently to melatonin supplements, but you can eventually find what works for you.  For the past 10 years I have averaged 6.4 hrs/night of actual sleep, while lying in bed for about 8-9 hours.  For the past five months I have experimented with melatonin with dosages of 9 mg/night, 6 mg/night and finally 3 mg/night and averaged about 7.3 hrs/night sleep while in bed for 8+ hours (big improvement).  I decided on 3mg/night because 6 or 9 mg/night made me feel a little sluggish the next day and because too much melatonin will eventually stimulate seratonin that tends keeps one awake.


Now that most of the usual variables surrounding a good night's sleep have been presented, maybe you can find the mix that helps you to get a more restful night’s sleep.

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