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The Body And How Stimulants Can Affect Sleep

July 18th, 2012 by Phil

Try to avoid heavy meals at least 4 hours from sleep, as Stomach digestion will disturb sleep. If you must eat, you should avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates before bedtime, you should also avoid foods that are likely to cause excessive gas, for obvious reasons.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. This may seem like a lot but water is essential to keep our bodily functions working properly. Dehydration can also cause you to wake at night, but try and avoid drinking too much just before bedtime as you may find yourself waking up constantly to go to the toilet.

Drinking alcohol before bedtime may make you feel relaxed, but generally should be avoided. Although it may help you to fall asleep, you will experience lighter, more fragmented sleep. This is partly due to the fact that it metabolizes during sleep, which causes mild withdrawal symptoms.

You should avoid drinking too much Caffeinated drinks in the day and at least 3 hours before bed time. Nicotine is also a stimulant that should be avoided before bedtime. We all need a boost in the morning to wake us up and indeed caffeine does promote alertness, however it can also cause nervousness and irritability.

Caffeine is a stimulant which increases your brain waves, heart rate and blood pressure, and can last up to 6 hours in your system. If you don’t like the taste of water but like a hot beverage in the day, try a herbal tea, or decaffeinated drink. Chamomile tea is caffeine free, and is a soothing and relaxing drink which can aid a restful night’s sleep if drunken before bedtime.

Most people dread exercise, the idea of sweating, hard work and aching muscles isn’t the most alluring past time. But, exercise doesn’t have to be intense and strenuous. If you don’t like playing sports like basketball or football, try swimming, Pilates, yoga or other low impact exercises. Even housework and a brisk walk can be beneficial to your health.

Exercise is not just good for you physically but also mentally. It is effective at improving mood, confidence and self image, and also effective at reducing anxiety, stress and depression. Exercise increases your metabolic rate and your body temperature, making you more awake. This aids the body’s natural rise and fall in temperature during the day, which can improve sleep.

It is worth noting also that when you exercise, our brain increases deep sleep to compensate for the physical stress caused on the body. Ideally we should exercise everyday for at least 20 minutes during the day, but avoid exercising at least 3 hours before sleep to give your body enough time to cool down.

As well as physical exercise, we need to exercise our brains! Lack of mental stimulation during the day can affect our body’s need to sleep. During the day you should engage yourself in mental activity.

Try learning something new and fun, or creative like painting, cookery or writing. Even playing Sudoku or other puzzles will help stimulate the brain. Mental stimulation increases alertness and improves memory and mood. Similarly to physical exercise, you should avoid too much mental exercise before sleep.

As you already know stress and anxiety can disrupt the normal sleep cycle. Even before you attempt to sleep you may have already decided that you are not going to be able to sleep. Experiencing stress and negative thoughts during the day can affect sleep. Later we will look into some useful techniques that are quick, easy and highly effective at tackling stress.

Find out here how to sleep peacefully every night

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How Body Temperature Affects Sleep

July 15th, 2010 by Phil

I have already mentioned that melatonin induces sleep and reduces body temperature. So what has temperature got to do with sleep? Well have you ever found that during hot summer nights it is even more difficult to sleep?

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Women suffer from sleepless nights when they are menstruating as their body temperature increases. During the day when our body temperature levels increase we become more alert and energized. During the night our body temperature drops and in turn, our alertness reduces and we become sleepier.

A hot bath an hour or so before bedtime can be very effective at inducing sleep. Although it increases your body temperature and energy levels, the quick drop in temperature can accelerate the drift into sleep. Be aware that you should not have a hot bath just before going to bed, as your body will need an hour or so to cool down.

Wear comfortable clothing to bed. Also ensure that your bedroom is cool and comfortable at night, as this will help you stay asleep. During summer this can be difficult, I suggest that you wear lighter clothing, use a thinner duvet, and keep your windows open.

When in bed you should try and sleep on your back as this is the best position for your neck and spine. Try and avoid sleeping on your front or left, as this may affect your breathing, and apply pressure to your internal organs. Obviously during sleep we change from position to position, so this is not always possible. Also when in bed try and avoid looking at the clock, it’s best to have a clock which does not illuminate at night and is relatively quiet.

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How Sunlight And Darkness Affects Sleep

July 13th, 2010 by Phil

During darkness increased Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland and in the retinas of your eyes. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which induces sleep and causes the body temperature to fall. When Sunlight enters the eyes it reduces the production of melatonin and the production of serotonin increases. Our body temperature increases thus making you feel more awake.

A lack of serotonin can be associated with people who suffer from anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Seratone 5-HTP is a natural mood enhancer which helps maintain the levels of serotonin. Both Seratone 5-HTP and melatonin are available, but before taking any new medication I advise seeking medical advice.

Lack of sunlight during winter periods can adversely affect your sleep, mood and energy levels. People, who suffer from depression and sleep problems during winter months, are often diagnosed with SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Sunlight helps regulate a good sleep rhythm. However during winter months when sunlight is reduced, an artificial light box can be used as a substitution. It’s important to expose yourself to light as soon as you wake and throughout the day, this will improve your mood, energy and alertness.

It is best to be in bed by 10 pm and to wake up early in the morning. This way you can maximize your exposure to sunlight in the day. It is recommended to dim lighting an hour or so before you sleep to increase your melatonin levels, to help prepare your body for sleep.

It is also important to make your room as dark as possible when you sleep, by turning out all lights and ensuring that you have no outside light entering into your room. A set of thick lined curtains will do. However, if you already have curtains then you can line the inside to make them less permeable to light. A cheaper option would be to wear an eye mask, but make sure it’s comfortable to wear and that it’s kept clean.

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Creating The Perfect Environment for Sleep

July 12th, 2010 by Phil

There’s no place better to start than the bed itself, it’s the place you’ve learnt to dread and have spent countless sleepless nights in. If you have become to associate your bed with negative thoughts, don’t worry as we will be looking more into that later.

Your bed is supposed to be for sex and sleep, it is not for work, watching TV or eating in. If you learn to associate your bed with wakefulness, you will inevitably find it more difficult to fall asleep in. So that is the first tip, which to most is obvious, but we have [...] Continue Reading…

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Too Much Tension Can Cause Chronic Insomnia

June 29th, 2010 by Phil

Stress and tension can build up in our bodies without us even knowing. Telltale signs such as a headache or neck ache might give us indication that we’re under stress, but by this point we are already suffering the effects of stress.
Too much stress and tension can be bad for our psychological and physical health and can wreak havoc with sleep. In this day and age, people are so accustomed to experiencing stress in the day they often accept it as part of life.
Most people might associate stress with feelings of anger, however feelings such as resentment and frustration [...] Continue Reading…

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Relax And Get Away From It All. Even If It’s Just For A Moment

September 19th, 2008 by Phil

You know how it is sometimes. Life feels like it’s getting on top of you. You find it hard to relax – to breath. It’s good to give yourself a break, even if it is for just 5 or 10 minutes during the day. And what better way to relax than just to sit, relax, listen to calming music and breathe slowly and deeply.

Watch and listen to the video below and unwind. Let go of your days stresses and enjoy.

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How To Beat Insomnia and Sleep Disorders

July 12th, 2008 by Phil

If you have ever suffered from insomnia, no one has to tell you how crazy it can make you feel. Not being able to sleep when you desperately want to can be incredibly frustrating. Not getting the rest you need can completely drain your energy and motivation. Plus, the sleep deprivation symptoms that build over time turn you into an accident looking for a place to happen. Would you like to find out how to beat insomnia? It can be done. But first it’s important to determine if your sleeplessness is related to sleep disorders.

Many people mistake insomnia for [...] Continue Reading…

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Hypnosis For Sleep

May 15th, 2008 by Phil

Hypnotherapy has been used successfully to cure addictions, phobias, cravings and even mental disorders. Hypnotherapy has been used for thousands of years and has been scientifically proven as an effective therapeutic tool. Practitioners such as the world famous hypnotist and TV celebrity, Paul Mckenna have helped make hypnotherapy popular.

Hypnosis works by tapping into your subconscious and implementing gradual changes to thoughts and behaviors, through visualizations or affirmations. Hypnosis works because the mind cannot tell from reality and vivid imagination.

Positive changes can be made in a very short space of time. In fact, hypnotherapy has been used to treat insomnia [...] Continue Reading…

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Chronic Insomnia

April 3rd, 2008 by Phil

Chronic insomnia is also known as long-term or hyper-insomnia. Sleep studies show on average that 10% of adults suffer from this condition. Unlike transient and intermittent insomnia, chronic insomnia sufferers rarely experience a good night’s sleep.

In fact many chronic insomnia sufferers have suffered for years and even their whole lives. What many people do not understand is that it’s a very serious condition that affects the sufferer physically and mentally.

Being an ex-chronic insomnia sufferer myself I understand how frustrating this condition can be. I thought I was going to go insane at some point; not being able to fall [...] Continue Reading…

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Laughter Is The Best Medicine

March 20th, 2008 by Phil

They say laughter is the best medicine. I couldn’t agree more, which is why I wanted to share this video with you. The Japanese come up with the most original pranks!

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