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 Sound Sleep Strategies

Many of us experience the occasional night of sleeplessness without any consequences. It is when the occasional night here and there becomes a pattern of several nights in a row that you are faced with a sleeping problem.
 
Repeated loss of sleep affects all areas of your life: The physical, the mental, and the emotional. Sleep deprivation can affect your overall daily performance and may even have an effect on your personality.
 
If your insomnia continues for a long period of time it can cause problems in your relationships, compromise your productivity, and perhaps lead to other health problems.

It can become a relentless cycle of worry and anxiety as night after night you toss and turn, wondering when sleep will come, wondering what is wrong with you.

Insomnia and sleeplessness generally fall into three categories:

1. "Initial" insomnia: where you have difficulty in falling asleep, generally taking 30 minutes or longer to fall into a sleep state.

2.  "Middle" insomnia: where after falling asleep you have problems maintaining a sleep state, often remaining awake until the early morning hours.

3.  "Late" or "Terminal" insomnia: where you awake early in the morning after less than 6 hours of sleep.

Insomnia can be the symptom of some medical conditions that may require your doctor's advice and medical care. In those cases the cause will be treated, not the insomnia.

If, however, your sleeplessness is due to a pattern of not sleeping, or because your body and mind find it difficult to settle into a state of relaxation necessary for sleep, this book offers you alternative choices for achieving healthy sleep without the use of prescription drugs.

This introductory section will teach you how to:

  • Set the mood for a comfortable sleep atmosphere 
  • Prepare your body for relaxation 
  • Use colors to stimulate calmness and relaxation 
  • Understand the importance of exercise 
  • Use music and other relaxation techniques 
  • Relieve your mind of anxiety and worry 
  • Discover the importance of reducing stimulants 
  • Use herbal teas and warm drinks to promote relaxation 
  • Use herbs and vitamins to promote natural sleep 

All of the techniques and sleep-inducing aids we discuss can be applied naturally and easily in your life. Our goal is to help you achieve sleep filled, restful nights without resorting to dangerous narcotics and other drugs.

It's a good idea to try one or two of the methods at first, then add others as necessary to find a strategy that works for you. Choose a technique that appeals to you that you can begin immediately and stick with it.

In some cases you may need to be disciplined and determined if your goal is to avoid the use of prescription medication. When you first start applying some of the techniques described here, stick to the same bedtime schedule for a week or two.

A good idea is to keep track of your sleeping habits using a sleep log or diary to record bedtime, wake time and any details regarding your sleeping patterns and the techniques you have used to aid in the sleep process on any given night.

 

Sleep Log or Diary

A sleep log or diary is a very valuable tool to help you find a solution to your sleep problems or sleep disorder. Sleep diaries have many great benefits. It helps you discover patterns in your sleep cycle that a doctor can then analyze and treat.

You should also include in your sleep diary a section for a dream journal. This section will help you remember your dreams and in some cases people have been known to learn to completely control their dreams. The dream section may be used by a psychologist to help analyze any psychological problems that may be affecting your sleep.

Sometimes sleeping disorders are not all physical. Sometime the mind can cause them and in those cases, a psychologist is the best option. Interpreting your dreams may hold the key to you getting a good night’s sleep.

Sleep diaries should include the following information:

What you had to eat that day: Sometimes the foods you eat can affect your sleep cycle. Some foods are known to have chemicals that cause dreams, cramps, insomnia, and other things. There are some foods that cause the exact opposite and are good sleep inducers. Knowing what you ate that day can help you see patterns that you can try changing.

What you did during the day: You don’t have to be extremely detailed on this. Just a basic outline of what was done throughout the day and any significant or stressful events. Some things can cause sleeping problems. Something that was very stressful can also cause sleep problems. For example, if you decided to exercise before bed, you probably will have a problem going to sleep because of the natural chemicals released into the bloodstream. Your activity throughout the day greatly affects your sleep. Knowing what you did that day can help you see patterns that you can try to change.

What time you got up: If you got up too early or slept in too late, your internal sleep cycle could be all screwed up. Most doctors agree that getting up at the same time every morning and going to bed at the same time every night is best. It keeps your body on a natural and regular cycle and is one of the best ways to treat most sleeping disorders. If you got up to early, your body will be tired all day and therefore you will be sleepy during the day. If you slept in too late, your body will have gotten too much sleep and you will be tired and lethargic all day.

What time you went to bed: The same thing goes for this. The amount of sleep you have at night has A LOT to do with your sleep cycle. Too many late nights will throw you out of whack for weeks. Scientists believe that your brain releases beneficial chemicals in the body, but only do so when our internal clocks are at about 2:00 AM. We have not yet been able to figure out why this is done and why at that time. Most doctors say that the best sleep cycle is to go to sleep at ten at night and wake up at six in the morning. This schedule keeps your body healthy.

Did you wake up in the night? If you woke up in the night, write it down. Write down if you did anything when you got up. If you got up to go to the bathroom, or let the dog out, or the phone rang, or if you just woke up for no reason. If you can, write down the amount of time it took you to go back to sleep. This will help your doctor see all of your sleep cycle.

What did you dream?  Your dreams can reveal things that are bothering you in your waking life. A psychologist can help interpret these and help make the proper changes in your life. Depending on your religious beliefs, a psychic or dream interpreter can be called in to do the same thing.

Regardless of who you trust to view this information, the more details you have in it, the easier it will be to treat you. If you think of any other sections you want to add, then add them. This is just a basic outline that can be changed to suit your needs.

Once you have kept a sleep log for several weeks, its time to begin treatment. We discuss your various options on the following pages.

After you have observed how your body and your own specific metabolism have adjusted to your new treatments, you can begin modifying your routine to incorporate more or less of the methods described. Be sure to note adjustments to your treatment in your sleep diary.

Remember, as with any health issue, never hesitate to consult your doctor if your symptoms raise concern for your overall health.

However, after reading this you will have the information you need to turn your sleepless nights into restful ones, waking in the morning refreshed and alert rather than tired and anxious.

Get ready to embark on the journey of falling asleep naturally!

On the next page we will discuss How to Prepare For A Good Night's Sleep.

 

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