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27 Nov

Guest Post: Conquer Restless Nights with This Simple Sleep Cure

insomniaA 3-Step Cure for Poor Sleep
By Nick at Health Hackers
I always had a creeping feeling that this modern life I live has negative side effects on my sleep, but I was shocked to learn the extent of it. I never really worried about it too much – that was until something terrible started happening.

I Started Losing My Memory.

I slowly began realizing that I could not concentrate as well as I used to. My short-term memory seemed impaired and I could not control my emotions as much as I used to.

Thank God for the web! I got to work. I started digging on the net and found some surprising information, but I also found a 3-Step Cure for Poor Sleep*. It works by following these three steps:

1. Detection and Admission
2. The Cure Process
3. Ongoing Maintenance

*See below for the detailed 3-Step Cure for Poor Sleep

What made the information I found even more compelling was that a number of recognized sleep experts were all in agreement. Ok, hold onto your seat! Here’s what I learned:

Poor sleep can give you brain damage!  This is from research done just last year.

What The Sleep Experts Say

According to Matthew Wilson, a neurobiologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge , poor sleep will affect the organization of your memories. It will prevent what you should learn during a normal day.  Professor Bruce McNaughton and his colleague David Euston say that you need to sleep long enough nightly to allow your brain to repair and rewire. This strengthens your memory.

In addition to forgetfulness, sleep problems can result in accidents at work or while driving. The damage you cause yourself from poor sleep will not only affect you but also your family, your partner, your friends, and anyone else that comes in contact with you.  Poor sleep affects your mood and will keep it in an altered state. If untreated, poor sleep can even cause depression!

Poor Sleep Leads To Depression

A 2006 study conducted by Eric Johnson, at Research Triangle Institute International, found that sleeplessness foreshadowed depression 69% of the time. The good news is there are plenty of warning signs that you can follow to avoid poor sleep and the onset of depression.

How Our Modern Lifestyle Affects Sleep

As we all know, these days we have plenty of technology at our disposal, including cell phones, PCs, media players, video games, home entertainment systems and more. These all can have side effects that can negatively affect our sleep.

Lifestyle Sleep Problems

There are plenty of modern day lifestyle problems that can cause poor sleep; let’s look at a few of them:

- How easy it is to obtain sleeping pills
- Always on the internet
- Weekend party culture; going to bed early and sleeping late on weekends to “make up sleep”
- Working night shifts
- Staying up late to cram
- Noise from living in the city
- Always connected – mobile phones, PDAs

The Sleep Warning Signs

I am on the computer all day most days and even some nights. Until recently I treated sleep as an after thought. I had little respect for it and did not realize what havoc it was playing on my very life.

Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Feeling stressed
- Lack of concentration
- Moodiness
- Memory loss
- Lower motivation
- Fatigue

Let’s take a closer look at the steps I mentioned above to naturally address and improve your sleep – and your health.

1. Detection and Admission

As they say, the first step to curing anything is an admission that there is a problem. Some people are particularly stubborn (including me) at recognizing that they have a sleeping problem, or they may realize it only when it’s too late – like after an accident. You may need to visit your doctor and be prepared to admit if you have a problem.

2. The Cure Process

The first thing you need to do is to reset your sleep body clock – this means being disciplined.

It was worth going through a few weeks of stress to get a good routine established.

First, establish a consistent night-time routine. Set a time that you will go to bed each night (every night). Don’t skip a night – this is extremely important, especially in the first few weeks. You must do this, even though it is difficult.

More tips:

- Isolate Your Weakness.

It might be that you leave the television on all night, or stay up surfing the web. You might like texting or calling friends later at night. Don’t! Turn off your mobile phone and any other electronics and devices that may wake you up or disturb your precious sleep. Isolate, eliminate, and commit. Set a time to go to bed and follow through every night at the same time.

- Sync Your Bedtime With Your Partner

This can only work if you and your partner are both working with the same routine, both in time and activities. You might need to work up some brownie points or shower your partner with gifts for a while, but they should understand if you are not your bright and happy self.

3. Ongoing Maintenance

Commit for Thirty Days
Get a calendar and place an X  on your calendar every time you go to bed on time. Reward yourself!

Plan a Vacation Now!
Consistently having things to look forward to is a great way to increase vitality  and commitment over the long haul.

Eat Your Bigger Meals in the Middle of the Day
Your digestion is so much more active during the day time. At night, your body naturally will begin to slow down and it is harder to digest food. Eat light dinners and drink plenty of water.

It’s Worth the Effort
The struggle I went through to build a good sleep routine paid off. It was worth going through a few weeks of stress to free myself of fatigue, poor memory and poor sleep. Those X’s on the calendar are one of many simple ways to motivate yourself and commit to giving yourself the sleep you deserve.

Exercise!
This will increase oxygen to your body, lower blood pressure, release hormones necessary to good sleep, and make it easier to fall asleep at bedtime. A simple way to do this is to incorporate a brisk daily walk. Strolls with your partner, family or a friend in the crisp air are memorable and healthy.

Think positive
Try and engage only in those thoughts and actions that you hope to hardwire into your stored memory nightly. Try and let negativity and failure go. Get some books on this as they can guide you through the process of thinking positively – look up Cognitive Therapy Treatment.

The Only True Sleep Solution.

It’s essential to gain control of the underlying mechanism that governs your sleep and energy. Let’s call it your ‘Inner Sleep Clock.’

This consists of a number of variables in your body. Your clock lets you know when to feel tired and also when to feel awake. It controls how deep your sleep is as well as how long you sleep. By optimizing your sleep clock using the the 3-Step Cure for Poor Sleep, you can increase the quality of your sleep, not just the quantity.  (It’s important to note that longer bed time may not translate to better health or higher quality sleep. Aim for quality, not duration.) A good night’s rest keeps your immune system strong, enables you to fight off depression and makes you smarter! It’s time to treat your sleep with respect – after all, your life depends on it.

Questions

Have I left something out? Do you have experiences with how our modern lifestyle choices can affect our sleep? What do you do to ensure quality sleep?

Thanks, Nick!

Further reading:

Why our modern lifestyle is not designed to support human health

Mark’s exercise routine

10 Serotonin Boosting Foods

Note from Mark: stress-related sleep issues can be naturally and safely addressed with Proloftin.

Leevin Photo on Flickr

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You want comments? We got comments:

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    Rose wrote on December 24th, 2008
  2. My husband has been suffering from lack of sleep for several months. He went to the Dr and he gave him prescription for anxiety medicine to help him sleep, didn’t work, he has tried several different drugs for anxiety and is now taking generic for ambiem for sleep. The label says not to take over 10 days and he asked the Dr. about that but the Dr said not to worry about getting addicted to it just keep taking it? The drug is helping him get some sleep but not much and he doesn’t have any energy can’t get motivated to do much. He is loosing his muscles in his arms and legs and lost about 15 pounds. We keep asking the Dr. about referring him to sleep specialist but he says that won’t do anything different from what he is doing. We need help, does anyone have any suggestions?

    lngregory wrote on March 25th, 2009
  3. Mark, I am have been living Primal for a month and I am loving it and seeing the benefit but here’s the ‘but’… I work crazy shifts as a patrol police officer. There is no pattern over the 10 week rota. Somedays I am working 7am – 5pm, others I am working 10pm – 7am. You say it is essential to get control of my sleep: ‘A good night’s rest keeps your immune system strong, enables you to fight off depression and makes you smarter! It’s time to treat your sleep with respect – after all, your life depends on it.’
    Any suggestions on how I can improve things other than switching my job! :-)
    Thanks and thank you again, Andrew

    Hindshouse wrote on March 14th, 2011
  4. I have emphysema so I am on a lot of medicine and since I quit drinking 6 months ago sleep is hard to find.I was sleeping ok until a couple of months ago.I think buterol a medicine used for COPD has something to do with it I feel really ansy hyper when trying to sleep, I have pain pills for my neck and I cant wait till they come in the mail, least I will sleep,but I dont want to get addicted.

    ROB Hultman wrote on April 21st, 2011
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