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How to Achieve Deep, Uninterrupted Sleep

February 16, 2008 | 124,978 views
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sleep, restAmericans now get about 25 percent less sleep than they did a century ago. This isn’t just a matter of fatigue, it causes serious damage to your body.

Sleep deprivation can alter your levels of thyroid and stress hormones, which play a part in everything from your memory and immune system to your heart and metabolism. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to:
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • High blood sugar levels and an increased risk of diabetes
  • Brain damage
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to get the sleep your body craves. Here are 10 to start with (and the link below has 14 more):

1. Sprinkle just-washed sheets and pillowcases with lavender water, and then iron them before making your bed. The scent is proven to promote relaxation.

2. Hide your clock, so that its glow won’t disturb you and make sure there is no light coming from other sources including your windows as this will seriously impair your body’s ability to produce melatonin.

3. Choose the right pillow -- neck pillows, which resemble a rectangle with a depression in the middle, can enhance the quality of your sleep and reduce neck pain.

4. Paint your bedroom sage green, or another soothing color, which will provide a visual reminder of sleep.

5. Move your bed away from outside walls, which will help cut down on noise.

6. Kick your dog or cat out of your bedroom -- studies have shown that they snore!

7. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime; it increases your core body temperature, and when it abruptly drops when you get out of the bath, it signals your body that you are ready for sleep.

8. Keep a notepad at your bedside -- if you wake in the middle of the night with your mind going, you can transfer your to-do list to the page and return to sleep unworried.

9. Put heavier curtains over your windows -- even the barely noticeable light from streetlights, a full moon, or your neighbor‘s house can interfere with the circadian rhythm changes you need to fall asleep.

10. Eat a handful of walnuts before bed -- they’re a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Before the invention of the light bulb, people slept an average of 10 hours a night. Nowadays, a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll found that Americans sleep just under 7 hours per night, on average, during the week and about 7.5 hours on the weekends.

While I don’t believe there is a hard-and-fast rule as to how long you must sleep, it is crucial that you do get enough, and this means listening to your body.

Unfortunately, sleep problems -- such as waking up too early, not being able to fall asleep or not being able to stay asleep -- are at near epidemic levels. One NSF poll found that more than half of the adults they surveyed experienced one or more of these symptoms.

Why is Sleep so Important?

Of course, you know instinctively that sleep is essential just by the way you feel when you don’t get enough of it. But sleep is very complex, and sleep deprivation can impact your body in a number of ways:
  • It can make you fat: People who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than people who sleep more. This could be because sleep deprivation alters metabolism. Leptin, the hormone that signals satiety, falls while ghrelin, which signals hunger, rises -- and this boosts your appetite.
  • It may increase your risk of cancer: How well you sleep can seriously alter the balance of hormones in your body. This can then disrupt your sleep/wake cycle, also called your circadian rhythm. A disrupted circadian rhythm may influence cancer progression through shifts in hormones like melatonin, which your brain makes during sleep.
What Makes Sleeping so Difficult?

There is no one answer to this question, but there are some common factors that can easily disturb your night’s rest:
  • Racing thoughts: Your worries can easily keep you awake if you don’t know how to overcome them (for this I highly recommend using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to release your negative emotions).
  • TV, computers and video games: Not only do these electronic items make it more difficult to fall asleep, but they also keep you from getting high-quality sleep if you fall asleep with them on. In fact, many teens are now getting “junk sleep” for this very reason (but, of course, teens are not the only ones falling asleep with the TV or computer on).
How to Get a Sound Night’s Sleep

The Reader’s Digest article above has some excellent sleep tips that are worth trying out, and I have also compiled my top 33 Secrets for a Good Night’s Sleep.

If you have trouble sleeping, please take a few minutes to read through this list, as it has emotional, physical and practical solutions to help you overcome your sleepless nights.

[+] Sources and References