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Sleep is something we all need. Some need more hours than others in different times in our life, but we all need a good night's rest in order to function in life. I know from personal experience if I do not get a good night's rest, I am sleepy all day, groggy, grumpy, and my body aches. And for some reason, I just want to eat junk food.
I have had trouble sleeping since I was a child. My parent's still complain to this day( Mind you I am in my thirties) that when I was a baby they could never ever get me to sleep. And now I struggle with Insomnia as an adult. Here are a few doctor's I have researched who give some really great tips and reasons why some of us really struggle with getting a good night's rest.
I found great info from the Sleep Foundation about Pain and sleep. The Sleep Foundation found through numerous studies that problems with sleeplessness caused by pain can often be prevented with appropriate strategies.
Sources of pain can come from lower back pain- which results in waking up in the middle of the night, resulting in a lighter, less restorative sleep. Some reasons for lower back pain could be from the way you are sleeping. One way to prevent lower back pain is change the way you are sleeping.
According to the Sleep Foundation, it is important to know what the issue is with your sleeping pattern, so you can perfect it and get a better night's sleep. When pain is a problem it can be a domino effect. One night of sleeping can turn into months of lack of sleep, depression, problems with work, and then in turn, more lack of sleep.
Some other triggers of back pain besides the position you are sleeping in can be Headaches, TMJ, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, PMS, or Cancer.
The things you have control over are:
- stopping caffeine
- limit Alcohol, especially 2 hours before bed
- avoid vigorous exercise at night
- under supervision of a physician use pain killers, and sleep aids
- practice relaxation techniques.
Dr. Oz gives three examples of the way you may be sleeping.
1) Dead Man's Float- stomach sleeper
not such a great position for your back, also creating a hyper flex on your neck, and exerting pressure on you nerves and back. This also creates a pins and needle effect.
improve this position: do not use a head pillow and/or use a pillow under your hips
2) Soldier-back position.
this is a problem for breathing issues.
Improve this position: put pillows under your knees and under your lower back
3) Sleeping Beauty- side sleeper
this is the ideal position for great back support. Your back is slightly curled with your knees bent and arms folded.
to even better perfect this position: put a pillow between your knees and get a medium thick pillow for your head
A very interesting theory, by M.D. Kulreet Chaudhary, finds that it is crucial to fall asleep at around 10pm and stay asleep until 2am. Her research shows that 10pm to 2am is the peak for the most deep and restorative sleep you can get through the entire day. After 2pm if you wake up, the later the hour gets, the lighter more superficial sleep you get.
Here is the scientific reason: The Pineal Gland. I never hear much about this part of the brain. Very interesting stuff.
The Pineal Gland receives info from the sun through your eyes via the optic nerve. As the sun sets, the Pineal Gland is able to sense the change in light transmitted through your eyes and it begins to secrete a hormone called melatonin, to prepare your body for sleep.
This is very interesting to me, because I swear by Melatonin, a natural sleeping aid. I also wonder how living in an area where there is no sun can affect your sleep?
As for us Women and sleep issues:
Dr Oz gives great info on what we should be aware of:
2 out of 3 women face issues with sleep quantity and quality. This creates weight gain, long-term memory issues, and increased blood pressure.
Here is his list to help us girls:
- again limit alcohol
- turn off the lights in your home around 8..to work with the hypothalamus and the Pineal gland
- environment- keep your thermostat at 65 degrees. If you get cold, just throw on some more blankets
- extra time- do not use the snooze button- snooze button is only ten minutes, and it takes 60minutes to get a restorative sleep.