Why is Sleep Important
Whether you sleep a lot or very little, love to nap whenever you feel like it, or adhere to a strict routine, sleeping is undeniably important. In fact, it’s a necessity – prolonged, unconscious rest is required for the body and mind to recharge so that at the most basic level, you can stay awake when you’re supposed to and perform the tasks required of you. Along with diet and exercise, a good night’s sleep is one of the fundamental building blocks of keeping yourself healthy.
Sleep studies have uncovered that certain functions of the body, especially the mind, actually thrive during sleep. Important hormones are produced, and many biochemical and physiological activities take place, helping your body relax, recover from daily wear and tear, and improve its immune system. Lack of sleep can prevent your body from carrying on its natural healing processes, causing muscle aches and pains, and in many cases, sickness. Also, the chemicals your body produces can also come out of balance, which can cause mood problems as well. Sleep when sick is especially important so that your body and immune system can recover faster.
That’s why sleep disorders are such a major concern, and why experts have turned to high tech mattresses like Tempurpedic or Sleep Number, and to sleep medication in order to aid people and help them discover a way to optimize their sleep. Without sleep, people are more prone to memory problems, accidents and injuries, and lapses in judgment.
Sleep is important – here we offer some simple tips to a better sleep and information about available sleep medication.
7 Tips for Better Sleep
While upgrading your mattress can make a huge difference, that’s not the only thing you should be thinking about when you’re seeking a better night’s sleep. Some simple rules can quickly enhance your sleep starting tonight.
- Keep it Dark. Seems obvious, but many people think that just because it’s night, it’s as dark as you need it to be. Ambient light from street lamps, passing cars, the stars or the moon is still bright enough to prevent you from falling asleep. So close the shades before you turn off the bedside lamp.
- Keep it Quiet. Another basic thing that people don’t think about is how much noise pollution there is, from your house settling to distant street noise. A soft constant hum of a white noise machine or fan can block out all of the sudden sounds that can wake you up, and you won’t need earplugs.
- The Bed is for Sleep. Don’t clutter your bed with your work, newspapers, and all the things that you like to keep handy. The less you think of your bed as an alternate workspace, and more like a sleeping area, the better your sleep will be.
- No Games or TV. While having the TV on while going to sleep may seem comforting, visual stimulation will keep your mind racing for hours longer than you want. Watch TV or play your videogames, but turn them off long enough for your mind to settle down before going to bed.
- Avoid Eating or Drinking in Excess. In general, that’s a healthy tip as well, but eating or drinking in large amounts right before going to bed can easily ruin sleep. Food sitting in your stomach can feel uncomfortable, and liquid may interrupt your sleep with frequent trips to the bathroom.
- More exercise. Whatever you feel comfortable with, from a quick walk to a long distance run, yoga, or simple stretching, burning off excess energy is a surefire way to fall asleep.
- Create a sleep ritual. Doing something that you enjoy on a consistent basis is relaxing for the mind. Whether it is a hot bath, reading a book, or even doing the dishes, stick with it, and you body will associate sleep with these activities, and help you fall asleep more consistently.
How to Stop Tossing and Turning
The dreaded tossing and turning – it is one of the most frustrating and feared things that can ever happen to a sleeper. Hours of useful rest can be lost every year, and despite all of the advancements in sleep technology and understanding, we still seem to fall into the same trap now and again. There are generally two accepted causes of tossing and turning, one mental, one physical. Read up a bit more to see what might be the cause of your discomfort, and then find a solution.
Many believe that tossing and turning comes from being unable to relax, rather than not being able to find the most comfortable spot on the bed. When the mind is still running, whether with concerns or seemingly nothing, it is sensitive to even the smallest disturbance, and it become impossible to become relaxed enough to fall asleep. Following 7 tips to a better sleep, avoiding over stimulation, and creating an environment where your mind can relax and stop the tossing and turning.
Finding the right mattress, by doing a mattress comparison, can help stop tossing and turning as well. Your mattress may be too soft, too firm, or just worn out. From dependable innerspring mattresses to the latest advancements in latex beds,air beds, and memory foam, there are now countless options that are effective and offer a wide range of mattresses for every body type and sensitivity – you just need to find the best one for you.
In some cases, sleep medication may be the only answer. Always consult your doctor when choosing medication. But always start with things you can change on your own – you may find that stopping tossing and turning is easier than you think.
You may have tried everything to fall asleep, or stay asleep. From drinking warm milk, to buying countless CD’s of nature sounds, using aromatherapy and even meditation, there seems to be something that works for someone – except you. In this case, consulting with your doctor and trying some sleep medication may be the answer. There are many prescriptions and over- the- counter solutions that have proven effective against insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Trying over- the- counter solutions can be a casual way to see if your body requires some sort of sleep medication to aid in falling asleep. The main component of over- the- counter sleep medication is an antihistamine – the kind often found in allergy medication, and the reason why one always feels drowsy when taking allergy medication. Brands like Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, and Unisom are common over over-the- counter sleep medications meant for short-term sleep disorders.
For long-term insomnia, you will need a prescription from a physician. But there are some well known and reliable prescription sleep medications like Rozerem, Lunesta, Sonata, and Ambien – even those who aren’t in need of medication are probably familiar with their commercials. There are some differences between what these drugs do, from mimicking the effects of melatonin to slowing down the nervous system through receptors in the brain.
The alternative over-the-counter solutions are alternative and herbal sleep aids. Pills offer combinations of recognizable names like Chamomile to Valerian Root and St. John’s Wort. Tryptophan, often blamed for being what makes you sleepy after eating a thanksgiving turkey, and Melatonin, the naturally occurring hormone are also found packaged as sleep aids. The FDA has not conducted formal studies, but these are available to whoever wants to avoid common sleep medication concerns.
Find out more about how sleep medications work, consult your doctor, and make sure you feel fully informed before choosing a solution.
Sleep Medication Concerns
We’ve all seen the commercials. A good night’s rest is right around the corner with prescription sleep medication. But then you notice that during the commercial, a low speaking voice quickly lists off the potential side effects of taking drugs as a solution for sleep disorders – and you wonder, what did he just say? But to their credit, drug companies and physicians do make it clear that, as with any medication, there are potential side effects that need to be considered when choosing a sleep aid.
A major sleep medication concern is – will I become dependent on it? And as with most drugs, there is a risk that you can either physically or psychologically. You may begin to believe that you can’t sleep without medication, and then it can be even more difficult to return to the habit of sleeping naturally. And when you stop taking sleep medication, you may feel symptoms of withdrawal like nausea and cold sweats.
A building up of tolerance of the sleep medication can also be a risk – as time goes on, sleep medication becomes less effective. This means you will begin to want to take more, which again increases the risk of dependency, as well as other side effects. And what are those side effects that the commercial is listing off anyway? It’s everything from allergic reactions, hallucinations, facial swelling, memory lapses, sleep driving, headaches, and daytime sleepiness.
That is why even well known sleep medications like Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, and Rozerum require a prescription. Having a trained medical professional monitoring how much sleep medication you take, as well as help solve any allergic reactions and side effects can be a huge help.