Daily Archives: October 22, 2011

No Longer Sleepless in Northern California Using “Sleep Toys”

 

     Not falling asleep within 20 minutes? Don’t just lie there. Silly, do something – anything boring – without exposing yourself to bright light. This should bring on sleepiness.

     I have struggled since the days of weighing 325 pounds. Last week, I had a sleep over at the Stanford University Clinic to determine if I still had sleep apnea now that I am down to 187 pounds.

     An empty stomach can mess with my sleep. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan – a natural sleep inducer. Don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime because that can interfere as well.

     Get better sleep using toys and personal hygiene techniques. These are a couple tips known in the medical field as “Sleep Hygiene.”

  1. Sleep only when sleepy
  2. Get some “Sleep Toys”

An excellent website resource from Dr. William C. Dement of Stanford can be located at:

http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/sleepaids.html

Here are more “Sleep Hygiene” ideas:

     Don’t take naps. I don’t care for this idea. I love to nap everyday if I can. They say, “ This will ensure you are tired at bedtime. If you just can’t make it through the day without a nap, sleep less than one hour, before 3 pm.“

     Get up and go to bed the same time every day. Even on weekends! When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better. Well, maybe so but this does not sound very practical.

     Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime. I like this idea because I really do not like exercise at anytime. The website states, “Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.”

     Develop sleep rituals. They suggest, “It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine free tea, or do relaxation exercises before bedtime.”

     Only use your bed for sleeping. This idea won’t work for me. Where would I have sex? Well, what do you think? “Refrain from using your bed to watch TV, pay bills, do work or reading. So when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep.”

     Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed. With me, I do not see this as practical either. The website says, “Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end up having fragmented sleep.”

     Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime. A hot bath will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy. Read about the study done on body temperature below.

Trouble Sleeping? Chill Out! – A press release from the journal Sleep

about the significance in body temperature before sleep

     Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. I agree that a hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs or get a “white noise” machine.

     Use sunlight to set your biological clock. This is another good idea.

     “As soon as you get up in the morning, go outside and turn your face to the sun for 15 minutes.”

     Good luck!

     Hopefully, we will receive timely visits from The Sandman everynight.

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compiled by D. A. Dailey

[for musement only]

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