During these stressful times, the increase of insomnia is rising, and attention is needed to address on how to avoid unnecessary dependency on medications and prevent long term health decline.
According to John Hopkins, sleep expert, Rachel Salas, MD, insomnia is diagnosed as having disturbed sleep at least three times per week which lasts over a month.
Lack of sleep affects about one-third of US adults. It is one of the most common health problems affecting Americans. The average adult requires about seven hours each night. What most people don’t know, is it is a necessary part of our health to successfully function in the day.
All too often, we try to do too much in the day and don’t plan healthy sleep habits. Chronic sleep deprivation has so many negative effects on our cognitive function and overall health. There are even safety factors involved that could affect oneself and those around us.
Poor Sleep Affects our Brain
Sleep helps our memory. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, we formulate our memory. Sleep detoxifies the poisons in our brain. Poor gut health affects our brain and during the night, both the gut and brain are healing.
Also, with poor sleep, there is a protein called beta-amyloid, that can build up in the brain that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Along with other detoxification processes, this protein needs to dissipate from the brain and for it to occur sleep is needed.
People who are not sleeping well can have poor executive functioning, cannot make clear decisions and can negatively overreact when drowsy. Poor sleep is also associated with fatigue, attention deficit, anxiety, and depression.
Total Wellness of Health
Cardiovascular disease, apnea, poor circulation and lowered immune function are often found with chronic insomnia patients. Weight gain, obesity and diabetic patients can also be sufferers of poor sleep because the blood sugar cannot regulate in the night.
Poor sleep is also associated with safety while driving and using equipment. It is found that 1 out 25 accidents are related to fatigue. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many auto crashes are also a direct result of sleep exhaustion.
The quality of your sleep needs to be deep and restful. Getting sleep on track might be the key step towards better health. Symptoms of restless leg, muscle cramps, headaches, nightmares, reflux, night sweats and awakening several times in the night, are all warning signs of unhealthy sleep.
Aging and Sleep
Insomnia can greatly increase the aging process. As the body is resting in the night, many necessary processes are active. The liver is synthesizing hormones and detoxifying wastes. The digestion is metabolizing the food from the day to prepare for bowel elimination in the morning. The skin is repairing and healing. The adrenal glands are communicating with the brain by a circadian rhythm that affects melatonin and cortisol hormones. These patterns balance the inflammation, repair, utilize hormones of the body. And of most importance, the brain is resetting all systems at night to be able to coordinate the next day’s functions.
Make sleep a priority in your life. Avoid all unnecessary medications. Ensure you maximize the quality of your sleep by following natural approaches first. Set time aside to be consistent on your body clock. Awaken and bedtime around the same time every day. Even on the weekends this is needed.
Don’t overeat with a large meal. Increase vegetable portions to absorb more minerals such as magnesium. Allow 3-4 hours before reclining after dinner. Avoid excess alcohol and sugary foods. Caffeinated products are minimized to 1 cup of coffee in the morning. Avoid all energy drinks. Drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration.
Shut down your day. Make a sleep ritual of meditation, soothing music, no media news and set your worries aside. Try to avoid arguments and engage in peaceful conversations.
Dim the lights, take an Epsom salt bath, and open the windows a bit for cooler fresh air.
Gentle stretching exercises are encouraged but avoid strenuous activities three hours before bedtime.
If insomnia persists, get a through health checkup. Undiagnosed health conditions may be occurring. Proactive measures can be treated with early diagnoses of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nutrient deficiencies, gastrointestinal disorders can all interfere with a healthy night’s rest.
Remember, what your lifestyle is during the day, will affect your repair and replenishment at night. By increasing the awareness of a healthy diet, finding a balance of healthy activities, and practicing deliberate mindfulness, can provide great headway for restful sleep and overall a more rejuvenated body.