A recent study has found that jogging can help you sleep at night.
Insomnia is often caused by troubling thoughts. Worrying is one of the main reasons people have trouble sleeping. So it makes sense that going for a jog in the local park or forest can be beneficial to release the tension.
Doctors tend to agree according to a Glasgow University study. In a survey of 2000 active people, it found that jogging outdoors was twice as beneficial as exercising in a gym. You can read more about the study in this Daily Telegraph article.
The study concluded that being around nature heightens our sense of well being more than being indoors. In addition, the researchers found that exercising outdoors lifts mood and relieves stress. Both of these can be highly beneficial if you are suffering from insomnia and wondering ‘how can I get to sleep?’ at night.
So if counting sheep isn’t working, maybe you should put on your trainers and pound the earth in your local park for 30 minutes to see if jogging can helps you sleep instead.
SLEEP apnea is a common disorder in which you experience one or more pauses or reductions in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. These breathing pauses usually last between 8 to 15 seconds, sometimes longer, and can happen more than a hundred times while you are sleeping. Health experts blame the disorder as the main culprit for insomnia.
In most instances, normal breathing resumes, sometimes in a choking sound or loud snort. When regular breathing is temporarily interrupted, you are derailed off your natural sleep tracks. As a result, you spend more hours in faint sleep and very little moment in restorative sleep that people need to be mentally alert and physically active the following day.
The disorder, if left untreated, keeps you from enjoying a healthy night’s sleep which is very important in your overall mental and physical well-being. Chronic deprivation of sleep results in poor concentration, sluggishness, slow reflex, heightened risk of accidents, and daytime drowsiness.
Sleep apnea can also cause health problems over a certain period of time, including weight gain, insomnia, stroke, heart disease, hypertension and even diabetes. But with early medical intervention, the symptoms can be controlled and allow you to get long normal sleeps and start to relish what it is like to feel reinvigorated and sharp every day.
Sleep apnea is normally a chronic malady that muddles your state of slumber. A person with the condition is often jolted out of deep sleep and into light sleep when their regular breathing pattern is disrupted or becomes superficial. The outcome is miserable sleep quality that makes the person feeling very feeble during his waking hours.
This form of sleep disturbance usually goes undiagnosed. Medical experts often can not detect the ailment during regular office visits. Also, sleep apnea does not require any blood testing.
Sleep apnea is very rare among children but common among grownups. Although a diagnosis of the disorder is often based on a person’s medical background, there are various types of tests that can be applied to validate the diagnosis. Treatment can be either non-surgical or surgical.
Majority of those who suffer from insomnia brought about by sleep apnea do not realize that they already have it simply because the disruption only takes place when they are sleeping. A member of the family or partner in bed is usually the first person who notices the symptoms of sleep apnea.
When you’re battling insomnia, you lie there for hours on end, getting agitated and worrying about being tired and crabby the next day. You may dread, yet again, missing the eight hours of sleep you need to be getting every night.
There’s a wide range of reasons why you might be suffering from the nighttime blues. It could be a reaction to medication, too many cups of coffee, troubling thoughts or a wide range of other reasons.
So the first step in battling insomnia is to try and identify what is stopping you from going to sleep at night. Introducing good sleep hygiene habits, such as going to sleep at the same time every night and avoiding stimulants late at night, is a also a wise step.
But if you’ve cut out the caffeine, haven’t been sat in bed working on your laptop and cant identify any psychological reason why you are still awake, it might be worth listening to some music a try.
How can music help me sleep?
To get to sleep, your mind and body has to be able to relax. If your mind is too active, worrying about things or being distracted, then it wont be able to go through the stages of relaxation needed to drift off to sleep.
There are a number of reasons why music can help you get to sleep at night:
1. Helps your body to relax
Along with your mind, your body has to be able to relax in order to get to sleep. This means your heart has to be able to beat at a slow, steady pace so that your muscles and body can relax.
Music can help if it is slow and matches the rhythm of a calm heart because it can subconsciously slow your breathing so that you reach a semi-meditative state and your muscles stop being tense and relax.
2. Calms down an overactive mind
Have you ever noticed how your thoughts seem to become abstract and random just as your drifting off to sleep? This is your mind becoming relaxed. It stops focusing on the here and now, but instead delves into the chaos of the subconscious mind. To help your mind get there, it needs to be able to relax.
Adopting the practices used by meditators to relax their mind and body can be an effective way of overcoming insomnia. Soft, relaxing music can enable you to calm the mind and to think in a less ‘present’ active state.
3. Blanket out background noise
If you live in a busy street, with noisy flatmates or family members watching the TV until late at night, background noise can be a real problem. Music can be helpful in providing a blanket of soft noise to replace the background sounds that might be keeping you awake.
Another option is to listen to ‘white noise’ that provides a continuous stream of sound. This can mask distracting background noise that’s disturbing you.
What sort of music can help me sleep?
Some of the music that helps people get to sleep includes Coldplay, Loreena McKennitt or even some downbeat ‘Dream’ trance music.
The best advice is to try calm instrumental music without any vocals. If there’s a singer in the song then it can distract your mind and stop it from relaxing. This could be because your brain has to subconsciously make sense of the words.
Soft, soothing music without vocals is probably the best for helping your mind and body to relax. You could try listening to panpipes, something ambient (like the sound of crashing waves or rainfall) or maybe even classical music.
A study by the University of Toronto found that music with slow rhythmic patterns created a meditative mood and slower brainwaves. It also found that classical music with this pattern helped people to get to sleep faster and for longer.
So if you’re wondering ‘what music can help me sleep? try some Bach or Beethoven to see if the scientists are right and that calming classical is great for sleep.
Many people with insomnia rely on sleeping aids and pills just to sleep better. But another experiment that has surfaced that can make you sleep soundly at night is a more natural form of treatment – hypnotherapy. This medicinal form of hypnotism is a process which leads you into a deep sleep state, just like a fish swimming deeper into the ocean.
Recent research on its benefits for insomnia gathered objective data by using high-density electroencephalograph to document the high and low of the slow-wave sleep activity. It found that, patients that cant sleep and are suffering from insomnia because of difficulty turning off their thoughts can use hypnosis as a method in helping them focus their attention and sway off those deliberate thoughts.
Medication free, yes. But is hypnosis a risk free treatment when you cant sleep?
I have known hypnosis as a technique used by psychotherapist to treat a wide number of ailments and provide therapeutic benefits. I’d never known before that insomnia can be one of them. But what guarantee does it provide that it is safe? Knowing the vast history of hypnosis, how does it affect the patient’s brain? After all, as the patient only responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist, being in a defenseless state is what makes it a bit scary. I’ve got a friend who tried hypnotism before and woke up an hour afterwards terrified. She thought she detached from her own body and just wandered around the room.
How does hypnotherapy cure insomnia? Considering the high cost of having insomnia and the health risks it comes with, I think it would be worth taking the risks to try it out for once. As it claims to have permanent result. The procedure is very simple; a hypnotist will coaxed you to breathe deeply and told to relax your body. Until you reach a euphoric stage where every part of your body is free from tension and at ease. And the hypnotist would count down from three. They then provide suggestive thoughts to lead your brain into certain ways of thinking.
Hypnotherapy may work for some cases of insomnia, but it doesn’t guarantee to work for patients who have low hypnotic suggestibility compared to those who have higher suggestibility. But the relaxing effect of hypnotherapy may help every patient with insomnia to feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.
A new study has found that insomnia could contribute to back pain. The survey was conducted in Tel Aviv Medical Center Inflammation Survey (TAMCIS) and was written by Maayan Agmon, PhD and Galit Armon, PhD of the School of Nursing at the University of Haifa in Israel. The assessment of the study was based on the medical records of the patients and their interviews during the TAMCIS. The study also revealed that more women who can’t sleep had reported to experience back pain problems than men. But the research’s authors failed to provide additional evidence on whether back pain can increase insomnia symptoms.
Does insomnia causes back pain? Or is it the other way around? I know most people who suffer with back pains have difficulty sleeping. Among those are mostly senior citizens, our grandparents and old folks who are experiencing the price of old age. But for those of us who are still on our prime and already experiencing back pains every now and then.
Well, I most certainly think that back pain precedes insomnia. I did not feel the effects of so many sleepless nights 10 or 15 years ago. But now, I know for sure that all those of years wondering ‘why can’t I sleep?’ has had an effect. I can feel my body is aching and my muscles are twitching whenever I wake up following a sleepless night. There were even times that I caught myself a few winks of sleep whenever I’m seating in front of my computer or even when I’m driving, which scares me sometimes.
Sleep is a requirement for life, an indispensable necessity that has no medical substitute. Sleep rejuvenates and repairs every cells and tissues in our body. Although some people considered sleep as their number one enemy. Like Yennis Cheung an actress from the James Bond movie Skyfall. She suffered from insomnia at a very young age. She had such a bad relationship with sleep that makes her anxious and nervous before going to bed.
But eventually she found a supplement that aid her sleepless nights – a chemical-free powdered food supplement made from fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. She mixes them with soya milk and sprinkles them on her meals. Yennis is now back on our screens with BBC drama Panic, she said she felt much better that she conquered her sleep demons.
Tart Cherry Juice has shown some potential to be the most delightful way in aiding your sleepless nights if you can’t sleep. This recent discovery was presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 Annual Meeting by a group of researchers from Louisiana State University.
The Montmorency cherry juice contains a set amount of proanthocyanidins and procyanidins, two naturally occurring compounds in cherries. They are also a good source of the naturally-occurring compound melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles which has been attributed with sleep enhancing effects. The presence of tryptophan in cherries is also known to improve sleep.
The research participants were insomniacs who agreed to drink the tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks. Their assessments were divided in two parts the first one is in a sleep laboratory in which the researchers use polysomnography to evaluate sleep efficiency, duration and onset. The second part is through questionnaires that relate to anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep. After 2 weeks the scientists found out that through taking tart cherry juice you can increase sleep time by almost an hour and a half each night in adults with insomnia.
The positive result is greatly appreciated specially by most senior citizens who comprise the 23 percent of population suffering from insomnia. Recently a senior patient was admitted to ER due an adverse reaction to an insomnia drug. According to recent statistics, the risks of taking drugs like Ambien for treating insomnia in older patients are much higher than for patients aged 19 to 44.
With this in mind, the discovery of the sleep boosting properties of Montmorency Cherry Juice could offer a better and safer way to treat insomnia, plus the fact that it is a tasty way to get some shut eye.
Sleep apnea is believed to be the primary cause of major transportation accidents. This is according to Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board member. A new mandate is now being considered for Transportation Operators requiring truck drivers, bus drivers, pilots, train conductors and basically every mode of public transportation to undergo a sleep apnea test to screen each driver to avoid major catastrophic accidents in the future. It has been said that people who were diagnosed with sleep apnea have a tendency to rapidly fall asleep during the quiet moments of the day when they are not active. A recent accident on New York City’s Metro North line has been attributed to the train engineer who is suffering from sleep apnea, which was undiagnosed and therefore untreated.
There are no nationwide rules to require drivers and truck operators to be tested even if they are high risks. Spencer of that Independent trucking Association were dubious as to whether sleep apnea was really proven as the major cause of human errors on road accidents. Although, some big companies were taking measures to alleviate the problem. But most of them were saying that the procedure, from the diagnosis to the treatment for sleep apnea, costs way too much and they just can’t afford it. Innovative technologies are now available, which can alert the drivers to their fatigue state and preventing them to nod off while driving. By installing these high tech devices, future collision accidents could be avoided.
People with sleep apnea often dont know they have it
A lot of people suffering from sleep apnea are oblivious to its signs and symptoms. A more common sign of sleep apnea is fighting sleepiness during waking hours of the day, at work or while driving, morning headaches, concentration problems, feeling irritated, depressed, mood swings, waking up due to frequent urination, dry mouth and sore throat.
I went to a bank one morning and a lot of people were waiting to be served. I sat next to a man, I think he is on his forties, weighed more than 300 pounds and he looked haggard even though it is still early in the morning. A few minutes later, I heard someone snoring, when I turned my head to my side I saw him still sitting there dozing off and snoring loudly. I think this is one of the main reason that sleep apnea should be taken seriously. I hope that man wasn’t driving a public transport.
If you cant sleep at night it could be because you’re one of those people who prefers to stay up late, watching TV or playing video games. So if you want to get to sleep earlier, you need to consider altering your sleeping pattern.
Instead of staying up late at night, why not wake up earlier instead? It’s healthier, more peaceful, and those extra hours in the morning will help you to get stuff done in peace and quiet, without the distraction of the other people in your household. We all know that our day routine plays a huge factor on how well we sleep at night. But very few of us knows how waking up earlier can improve our productivity for the entire day.
Waking up early will give you more determination and drive to get your project done. It also gives you opportunity to set a positive tone to start your day and plan ahead. Waking up earlier to work is the smart alternative to staying up late, it avoids overloading on caffeine and energy drinks which just make your insomnia (and any anxiety contributing to it) worse.
Vanderkam recommends these four simple steps to help you get up earlier in the morning:.
1. Keep a time journal
People who already adapted the habit of staying up late at night are not really convinced of the benefits of waking up earlier in the morning. If you’re a “night owl” you may find it hard to wake up early in the morning. This is because it’s natural to feel tired waking up early if you’re not used to it, especially if you spent the previous night working.
Vanderkam recommends keeping a daily journal for the entire week to assess if you are really spending your nights productively or just browsing random sites and looking for any distraction other than going to bed.
2. Imagine your perfect morning
“Industrious and hardworking people wakes up earlier than the rooster.” This is what my grandma used to say whenever she wakes me up in the morning. I used to imagine my perfect morning the night before and I find it very motivating. I wake up the day after earlier than my alarm, do my exercise routine and cook breakfast. I felt lighter, healthier and get a lot of things done.
According to Vanderkam, “Getting up earlier is not about punishing yourself. You will not get out of bed if you don’t have a good reason to do it.” I love how our house smelled early in the morning and how placid and wonderful my surroundings feel. These are just a few of the many things that give me reason to wake up early.
3. Plan your morning
Arrange everything you need in the morning the night before. This includes your work clothes, a packed lunch and anything important you need to have with you that day. It is much easier to get going and keep going when you plan each day in advance. It makes you more competent and efficient and sets you up to achieve your goals throughout the day.
4. Build the habit slowly
Do not try to force yourself to adopt all these habits immediately. Changing your routine takes time before it truly takes hold and feels natural. If you used to set your alarm at 7:00 am and you want to change it to 4:00 am, you can set it up 10 minutes earlier every day until your body is able to cope with these new changes.
Once you switch to getting up early in the morning you may start to wonder how you got anything done beforehand. It will help you to feel more energized and proactive during the day. So if you cant sleep at night, start working on changing the habits or routines that are keeping you awake, so you can feel happier and healthier each day.
Another night spent tossing and turning in bed? Before you start losing hope, know that you are not alone. You might not know it, but every night there are plenty of other people begging the universe to ‘help me sleep!’
The key to dealing with your insomnia problem is identifying the cause. There are many possible reasons why sleep evades you night after night.
Sleep experts say that among the most common causes of insomnia are psychological conditions. This can mean anything from stress to depression and anxiety. In fact, most temporary insomnia attacks are tied to specific triggers such as stressing over major exams, suffering jet lag, or recovering from a painful breakup. Often, once you are able to overcome these situations, your sleeping pattern goes back to normal and you’re no longer constantly wondering ‘what can I do to help me sleep!’
How to sleep better by facing the mental causes
However, if you are suffering from chronic or recurrent insomnia, it’s possible that your sleeplessness is a symptom of a particular mental or physical issue. As mentioned, it can be caused by stress, depression, or anxiety. It may also be the result of bipolar disorder or a traumatic experience.
Instead of fretting over what you can do to help me sleep, ask yourself questions to help you determine if there are monsters in your mind that you need to battle. Are you stressed or depressed? Do you often worry about everything? Is there a recent event that triggered the insomnia attack?
As the saying goes, sometimes it’s all in the mind. Recognizing signs of a psychological issue can help you make the appropriate lifestyle changes so you can stop the nightly battle with sleeplessness. It will also help you decide if it’s time to visit your doctor. Finding out what’s causing your insomnia is the first step to knowing how to sleep better.
Like many medical conditions, insomnia isnt the same for everyone. It can vary from occasional bouts of not being able to get to sleep for an hour to a nightly battle of stress and frustration, dreading how exhausted you’ll feel the next day. Insomnia is a common problem, with it affecting up to a third of people – half of which suffer from it nightly.
There are all sorts of solutions you can try, from herbal remedies to sleep CDs and books to practicing good sleep hygiene. But if none of these have worked and you find yourself tempted to try sleeping pills, it might be worth taking a look at the Nightwave Sleep Assistant first.
What is the Nightwave Sleep Assistant?
The Nightwave Sleep Assistant projects a blue light onto the ceiling (or a wall) which slowly throbs in brightness. The idea is that you synchronize your breathing in time with the light. As the light’s brightness begins to fade your breathing is slows with it, enabling you to reach the relaxed mental and physical state needed for you to drift off to sleep.
The Nightwave Sleep Assistant has a 7 minute and 25 minute timer and 4 different functions: sleep mode, mood light, heartbeat stress reducer and flashlight.
Essentially, the Nightwave Sleep Assistant helps you to get to sleep in three ways:
1) If you suffer from anxious or overactive thoughts, which keep you in a state of wakeful alertness, the Nightwave Sleep Assistant can distract you from these thoughts by providing you with something else to focus on.
2) It harnesses the ancient relaxation technique of deep breathing, which helps to reduce stress levels and help you feel more relaxed
3) The light tells your brain that your eyelids are begining to droop, which subconsciously tricks you into feeling tired.
Does it work? Or it just a gimmick
The Nightwave Sleep Assistant isnt exactly cheap. So it’s wise to cynical of the claims made in the carefully worded sales pitch on their website. Whilst I haven’t used it myself, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it’s got 3.5 stars out of 5 from 98 reviews (at the time of writing) on Amazon which vouches for the fact that, in many cases, the Nightwave Sleep Assistant has helped people get to sleep. This includes an airline pilot, used to battling an erratic sleep schedule, and someone who hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for over four years following an accident before trying out the device.
A healthier alternative to sleeping pills?
When you’re battling insomnia night after night it can be tempting to rely in medication to resolve the problem. But this can cause problems it itself, because medication can make you feel drowsy the next day and you can come to develop a reliance on medication to help you to get to sleep. Relying on medication can also get expensive. So if the Sleep Assistant can help you to get to sleep naturally it’s going to be better for your long-term health and your wallet in the long run.
Having said that, if chronic insomnia is adversely affecting your life then you should always visit your doctor for professional advice.
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