Dr. Shane is proud to share his findings on his blog, sleep easily, where he writes sleep research articles and helpful tips for sleeping better. He discusses a plethora of topics from keeping electronics off close to bed time to tips for police officers for a better nights sleep, to insomnia, and even cognitive therapy practices.
Top 10 Facts About Nightmares You Should be Afraid
We love to sleep, and we love to dream. Though I wish that every dream we experience during our sleep is a good one, because if not, then say hello to nightmare!
In here you will read real-life stories and tragedies that happened during their sleep. The list is not in order but here are the top 10 facts about nightmares you should be afraid of.
Dreaming inside the Dream
A false awakening is when in your dream you think you have woken up. You get out of bed, brush your teeth, and go about your business until you realize you are still asleep, or you awaken properly. One false awakening is nothing scary. However, they can happen multiple times. The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell claimed to have gone through around a hundred false awakenings when coming out of the sleep following a general anesthetic. It’s a disturbing thought that you could experience the feeling of the waking up again and again until you are no longer sure that what you are experiencing is real.
Imagine you had a dream in which you died. Now imagine if the next day’s events around you started to follow those of your nightmare. There are numerous unexplained cases of nightmare premonitions. Abraham Lincoln dreamed of walking into a room in the White House where a corpse was being guarded, and the guards told him it was the president, who had been assassinated. This was just days before he was shot and killed. 9/11 victims spoke out about nightmares of a terrorist attack, and there were 19 precognitive dreams about the Titanic sinking. One Titanic ticket-holder, Mr. Middleton, had recurring dreams of a huge vapor eaten by the waves, with the sea around full of struggling people.
Dreams tend to be more negative
It is thought that guilt, sadness, and confusion are the causes of nightmares, rather than fear. Quite a few nightmares are also linked to feelings of anxiety. When your teeth fall out, it could represent the fact that you are anxious about how others judge your personal appearance. Storms show a feeling of a lack of control, and if you miss a big event in a dream, it could mean that you are anxious about failing in something. Dreams tend to be more negative than positive in nature. This is thought to be an evolutionary trait that allows our brains to work through negative emotions or problems that we face, helping us build psychological defenses.
Nightmare Gives Warnings
It has been found that certain people, who act out their nightmares by kicking and screaming, could be suffering from the early stages of brain disorders. The violent dreams are a form of a warning from the brain. In a study of 27 people suffering from a disorder that caused strong violent nightmares. 13 developed dementia, 12 Parkinson’s disease, 1 Parkinson’s dementia, and 1 person multiple system atrophy, a similar disease to Parkinson’s. So if you suffer from bad dreams often, then it may be a worrying sign.
When members of the Hmong people in Laos suddenly started dying in their sleep, they began their own mythology of “dab tsuam” – a jealous hag-like woman that would sit on their chests, stopping them from breathing. It is now known that a genetic irregular heartbeat that couldn’t be detected earlier was responsible for their deaths. However, it is also thought that because the Hmong believed so fiercely in the dab tsuam, this would cause them to have night terrors about the woman, which would put such a strain on their heart that it would set off their genetic defect. This would kill them in their sleep, seemingly without explanation. These events inspired the classic horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Night terrors cause a dreaming person to sit bolt upright, with their eyes wide open, yelling and screaming, as they are still trapped in their nightmare. The person will sometimes act out their dream, kicking and punching, or trying to run away as if being attacked by something. People have caused injury to themselves and other through their actions in this state. In 1943, Joan Kiger began fending off “shadowy figures” during a night terror, and while sleepwalking she shot and killed her father and her 6-year-old brother. William Pollard, a known sleepwalker, dreamed he was being attacked, only to awake and see that he had bludgeoned his daughter to death with a flashlight.
Hypnagogic hallucinations happen in the moments between wakefulness and sleep. They cause you to hear voices, feel phantom sensations, or even see strange people in the room. People have often reported seeing animals or insects crawling up their walls. Even though they are technically dreams, these hallucinations have a profound effect on people, as they are indistinguishable from reality. Many artists, writers, and scientists have stated that hypnagogia increased their creativity. Salvador Dali, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, and Beethoven mentioned it. Even some alien close encounter experiences have stemmed from the hallucinatory lights and sleep paralysis experienced in this state.
How scared would you be if you woke up in your room to feel something beside you, or had it on top of you, crushing the breath from your body? And when you try to move you realize your whole body is paralyzed, every muscle lifeless? It occurs when your brain wakes up, aware of the REM cycle of sleep being over, but your muscles remain asleep and unresponsive to your brain’s commands. The choking presence common in sleep paralysis was called the “Mare” in the Northern European folklore. Linked to the succubus and incubus, she was known for riding people in their sleep, crushing their chests and trying to strangle them.
Nightmares Can Be Inspirational Too
It is not unknown for nightmares to inspire people. Elias Howe had a nightmare in which he was chased by cannibals carrying spears. These spears became the basis for the design of the needle in the first sewing machine that he invented. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’ and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde were both based on the respective author’s nightmares. Sharon Carr, Britain’s youngest female murderer, was inspired by violent dreams. She stated “Every night I see the Devil in my dreams – sometimes even in my mirror, but I realize it was just me.” At the age of 12, she stabbed a hairdresser 29 times.
It has been found that gamers are more likely to take control of their nightmares. A study has shown that the huge among of time some gamers spend in virtual reality trains their brains to respond differently in nightmares. They are more likely to have lucid dreams, turning scary situations into fun ones. It has also been shown that gamers are less likely to have aggressive dreams, but when put in a fight or flight scenario they will often stand and fight. While gamers may dream aggressively less often, when they do so, they will often have hyper-violence way beyond that of a nongamers nightmare.
Ethan Wright is a health enthusiast who believes every great day begins with a good night’s sleep. He is currently a researcher and writer for www.BeddingStock.com, an online retailer of gel memory foam mattress in the USA. When not wearing hi../Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail%20Downloads/D6E84272-9D30-4D86-9F95-BC3BE406A70E/www.BeddingStock.coms writing hat, you will see him traveling to places with his journal.
What contributes to restless sleepers? Having trouble sleeping? Restless nights? Wondering why you’re constantly feeling tired and fatigued? There are a number of possible factors that are stopping so many brits from getting a consistent and comfortable rest at night, but why are so many of us struggling?
Not sure what sleep apnea is? You can get the full details here. With that said, sleep apnea doesn’t account for every UK resident, but simple factors such as the environment in which we sleep or the quality of our mattresses play a huge role in our sleeping process. Therefore, we decided to dig deep and put together a visual regarding sleep problems in the uk and what exactly is causing restless and sleepless nights for so many of us…
Sleep Problems: What causes restless and sleepless nights?
Why Brits Are The Most Restless Sleepers (Infographic)
How to Choose a Mattress
Your sleep comfort is an important variable in your overall health, and if you are considering making a new mattress investment, be sure to consider your needs before making your choice. Your mattress is one of the most important sleep aids you can use to influence a better night’s rest since tossing and turning, and aches and pains, are generally all directly related to your personal comfort. A poor night’s sleep can have a detrimental impact on both your mental and physical health and even affect those around you through the increased probability of vehicular and industrial accidents.
When you aren’t sleeping comfortably, you increase the chances of interrupting your sleep cycles: crucial steps to ensure brain function and physical rest. These sleep cycles not only allow your body to relax and recharge: the deeper stages of sleep also repairs and regrows tissues, builds bones and muscles, and increases your immune system. Your memory is also positively affected as cognitive function process take place that influences decision making and recognition.
Therefore, if you wake often through the night, or are aware of your own restlessness, you need to start taking the time to correct this issue because it only takes up to four days to create a sleep debt and start to see negative changes in your short term health. But where exactly do you begin to find the best mattress for your comfort amongst the many choices recently introduced to the industry?
It can be a bit overwhelming at first to begin this search, especially since your sleep comfort is such an important aspect of your overall health. So to begin, you need to ask yourself a few questions to get started.
What Help Exists to Get Started?
Technology has made it easier than ever to shop for what you need. Consumer reports and third party reviews provide transparency of products, and sites that dedicate themselves to honest, unbiased reviews have become more and more commonplace. The Sleep Judge is one such site that provides reviews surrounding the entire sleep industry and offers hundreds of product reviews, as well as researched advice concerning the importance of sleep health. Other sites are dedicated to getting to the bottom of the materials used by specific brand names and sharing quality control. The bottom line is that taking the time to research what you are looking for will come in handy when deciding to make a final purchase decision.
What is Your Sleep Position?
Your sleep position is a leading factor in your overall comfort. Many people think they prefer a soft or firm sleeping surface based on initial feel, but truly have no idea what these levels of comfort mean to their body health. Understanding your own needs is an important step to focusing your overall shopping experience.
Side sleepers need a softer surface in order to align their spine. Too firm a mattress will cause pressure points and allow curvature of the spine. Memory foam tends to be a popular pick for these types of sleepers due to how it conforms to the body and allow the body to sink into the surface and keep the spine straight.
Back and stomach sleepers may think they like a soft surface, and be comfortable with them initially, but what they need is a firm, supportive surface that allows the natural curvature of the spine to be supported. Many people who sleep in this position complain of shoulder or lower back pain due to those areas of the body sinking into too soft a surface, which pulls the spine and surrounding muscles into an unnatural position. This is a leading cause of the major aches and pains many people awake with each morning.
Combination sleepers, or people who share a mattress with a partner, should take into account each other’s comfort. Many mattresses are created to help address these needs and are created with different materials and technology to address the needs of multiple sleepers in just one bed.
What you don’t know is that no matter your sleeping position, if your body isn’t supported correctly, you are most likely unknowingly moving into new positions through the night as your body attempts to alleviate stressful positions. This breaks your sleep cycle, and even if you believe you’ve gotten a full night’s rest, it’s probably been compromised if you are still waking up feeling tired.
What Sort of Bed Do You Own?
You’d be surprised at how many people are unsure of exactly what bed size they own and what mattress size they need. Make sure to double check your bed size and take measurements before committing to a purchase. If you have a non-traditional type bed, such as a daybed or Murphy bed, this is especially important as occasionally only specific sizes are available for specialty sleeping surfaces.
What Can You Afford?
Cost is always an important consideration to take into account before you purchase anything, especially a long-term investment such as a mattress. In many cases the more you pay the higher the quality, but with recent mattress startups and innovative technological advancements in the industry, quality mattresses are more affordable than ever. You should definitely start your search by taking note of what is available for what you can afford in both mattress showrooms and online to have a jumping off point concerning material preferences.
Online mattress purchase will be cheaper due to the cutting out of brick and mortar markups and commission. Getting your product direct from the manufacturer undercuts much of what drove up mattress costs in the past, and with a little research, you can get top quality for a fraction of what it may cost you at a showroom.
This isn’t to say to ignore showroom mattresses, however. This increase in industry competition has been well noted by major brand names and awesome deals can be picked up locally in many cases because of it. This is great to note, especially if you refuse to buy before first seeing in person.
What Guarantee Do My Choices Have if I’m Not Happy?
With the influx in online mattress offers, there has also been a rise in warranty and sleep trial satisfaction. With the influx of tech-based advertising, it’s easier than ever to review the rating of any particular product and see why it has become so popular- or not. Because of this customer service is at it’s best, and happier customers are what drives the business.
Replacement guarantees and sleep trials are available with almost any online purchase of this caliber, so be sure to look into what, exactly, your purchase comes with and what kind of returns exist.
Sleep is a crucial part of your overall health, and can be easily disrupted from a variety of factors. One you do have control of though is your sleep comfort, and if you have been waking with aches and pains, or are unsure of the age of your mattress- you are probably due for an upgrade.
A comfortable sleeping surface influences how well you sleep, and with the help of technology, shopping for what you need is easier than ever. Online guides, quality offers, and more affordable options are readily available to preview and research prior to purchasing.
Originally published on Sleep Easily blog where you can find articles and resources about Sleep!
We all suffer from some sort of sleep loss. It’s nearly impossible to live in today’s world and be able to say that you get a solid 8-10 hours every night. Right? Whether it’s in the form of a new baby, long work hours, or a touch of insomnia, sleep deprivation rears its ugly head for us all.The health benefits of sleeping is a topic very important to me. As a writer and a parent, I need to be on full alert at all times and have the clarity to get my work done. But do you ever wonder what other areas of your life become affected byThe health benefits of sleeping is a topic very important to me. As a writer and a parent, I need to be on full alert at all times and have the clarity to get my work done. But do you ever wonder what other areas of your life become affected by lack of proper rest?Let’s Break It Down, Shall We?
In order to really grasp the many pros to the benefits of good sleep, you have to see the facts. I’ll break it all down and hit the key areas that affect most people.
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
This answer varies for different people, but the biggest factor is age. A small child will require far more rest than that of an adult who is pretty much done growing. Let’s take a look at the different sleep requirements by age.
Now, these are the national average of hours per night, according to the Sleep Foundation, and are meant to be a guide. But how many of you can honestly say you get the recommended amount of slumber each night?
Emotional Well Being
Of course sleep is going to affect your mood. Just think of how cranky you are in the mornings after a night of unrest.
Makes You Happier
When you get the right amount of rest each night, and keep that consistent, you will automatically begin to see major changes in your emotional health. You’ll be happier, more patient, and less likely to suffer from depression.
Apparently, getting one extra hour of rest each night has the equivalent effect on your happinessas making an extra $60k per year in a salary.
Less Depression & Anxiety
There are tons of medication you can take for anxiety and forms of depression, but why go through that when you can try more natural solutions at home? Like getting better rest, for example. Studies show that most of the common forms of depression are linked to sleep disorders.
It was discovered that the risk of developing some sort of depression or anxiety was far more likely in those who suffer from insomnia or other types of sleep loss.
When we’re caught in the cycle of sleep loss, our brains begin to fritz. The amygdala, the part of our brains that control emotion, goes haywire and reacts in ways we don’t normally do. A recent study pinned the results of two groups against each other; one that was kept awake for over 35 hours and the other who was well rested. The results were what you’d expect; the deprived group were far more irritable and less happy.
Just imagine a sleep deprived mother dealing with her child. She’s far more likely to lose patience at a faster rate than that of a mother who got at least seven hours the night before.
Fitness & Physical Benefits
There are tons of ways to help improve your physical well being, but sleep is probably one of the best. This is because it affects so many factors. If you want to start working out more then your body needs the proper amount of rest to keep up with the extra exercise. Best Ways to Stay Fit
How to Lose Weight Running or Walking - YouTube
Believe it or not, there are so many ways the sleep health directly affects of physical well being. We all know there’s a lots of ways to exercise and stay fit. Running or walking each day, hitting up the gym, eating right and drinking plenty of water. These are all key factors if you want a healthy, fit body. But many people forget about sleep. That should be high on the list!
Builds Muscle Easier
Proper rest ensures that your muscles can recuperate and regenerate new tissue, helping you to trim excess fats and build new muscle. If you’re into bodybuilding, try adding 1-2 hours of sleep to your schedule and see what a difference it makes.
You ever hear of a ‘rest day’? It’s what fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders call their one or two days of rest. They allow their bodies the time it needs to recuperate and help their muscles to build new tissue. This means lots of sleep!
When you’re not getting enough rest, your body tries to compensate in other ways and draws nutrients away from the surface to help what’s inside. This can have horrible effects on our skin. It can become dry and wrinkled with dark spots forming under your eyes. Bags begin to show as puffiness, and it takes longer for scars to heal.
Seriously, it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! Proper rest helps your body to repair itself and rejuvenate, not only your skin, but your hair, nails, and other surface appearances. That’s right. When you’re suffering from insomnia, you can become stressed very fast and this stress causes hair loss and thinning of the nails.
You’ll See Better
It directly affects your sight, too. Did you know that? When suffering from sleep loss, our brains are trying desperately to either run on fumes or just simply shut down. And do you know what controls your vision? Your brain. If the organ isn’t functioning on all engines, then your vision can become impaired. This could lead to some serious issues, dangerous ones.
If you’ve suffered from a serious injury, or even just a hard day at the gym, a good night’s sleep can rejuvenate you in ways you never thought. Our bodies release important chemicals and hormonesthat scour the areas and help speed up the healing process. Without it, springing back from a bad injury can become difficult.
Lastly, when you’re not getting enough rest, your body will begin to hoard energy. This means sugars and fats. It does so as a form of protection. No sleep means no energy, so your body will try and syphon it in other ways. Like storing up excess fats and other bad things. This can prove to be a hurdle when trying to control your weight. The benefits of sleep and weight loss when used in combination are very positive.
Less Risk of Disease
Believe it or not, proper rest directly challenges the awful pangs of disease. And not just any diseases, but some of the worst ones imaginable. Just think, you can lower your risk of some of the most horrendous terminal diseases just by getting more rest and taking care of your body. Go figure.
Less Time & Money on Medical Visits
Many things change when you manage to get the amount of sleep that is recommended by the Sleep Foundation, but none can be more important than minimizing your risk for disease. If you ensure you are getting the right amount of sleep for you age you will undoubtedly spend less time at the doctor. Whether it’s a lack of getting the flu or the common cold, or just giving your body more energy to fight off germs, less time at the doctor means a healthier you and less money spent as well.
Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Along with the basic health benefits, you are also actually less likely to develop Diabetes if you are getting a healthy amount of sleep. According to WebMd, “people with high blood sugar are a key indicator of someone with sleep problems because they are trying to get energy from sources other than sleep.”
Fewer Migraines & Headaches
Also according to WebMd, sleeping less can actually trigger headaches and migraines due to an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine levels upon waking up either at the wrong time or with too little sleep. Surprisingly enough, not only headaches can be limited with more sleep, but so can certain forms of cancer!
Less Worries of Cancer
The Cancer Treatment Center of America has found that people with sleep problems have more instances of inflammation and abnormal immune function. Though they don’t specifically know why, some forms of cancer can occur at a higher rate for people who don’t get a healthy amount of sleep.
Good Heart Health
Finally, sleep is an essential component when it comes to heart problems as well. Again, though it isn’t exactly certain why this is an important factor, people that got less than the amount of sleep recommended were almost twice as likely to develop cardiovascular problems according to the Sleep Foundation. Basically, the more sleep you get, the less likely you are going to have some very serious health issues down the road in life!
Performance and Intellectual Ability
While proper rest helps us to improve our inner bodies and battle things like cancer, depression, and diabetes, it also help us to better the outside, too. Things like performance and decision making. These actions rely heavily on the fact of whether or not we’ve had a good night’s rest.
Have you ever gone to class after a long night of partying? Or maybe gone to work after a night of restless sleep? You obviously don’t perform as well as you would have had you gotten a healthy night’s rest before you had to be there. It pretty much goes without saying that a good night’s rest will help you with your performance in your everyday life, and you don’t need a special source to tell you that.
Did you know that if you study something before sleeping, you are more likely to commit what you learned to long term memory after following it with a healthy night’s rest? The people at Healthy Sleep agree with this and many other benefits to memory when it comes to sleep.
Reverting back to the previous comment about proper rest and how it can affect your eyesight, it goes without saying that this could also impact your driving skills. But it’s not just eyesight that’s a determining factor here. Your brain needs to be on full alert and functioning without the heavy fog of sleep deprivation hovering overhead.
So, while driving, if you find yourself blinking a lot or having a hard time recalling the last few miles you drove, then pull over. You’re driving impaired and this could have lethal results. A great way to battle this, at least enough to get home safely, is to pull over and get out. Jog around your car, sprint down the side of the road and back again. This speeds up your heart and improves blood flow which alerts the brain and can keep you awake long enough to get to your destination.
Easier to Speak
There was a massive study done at the University of Nebraska that reviewed the effects of sleep on children’s speech and ability to process words. First, a group of parents were asked to monitor their child’s rest patterns for a week. Then that group was divided into two.
One group was less rested than the other and when tests were administered to challenge their speech and ability to comprehend visuals to words, the children facing poor rest performed far worse than the other group. They were slow to react, much slower to process, and could only procure simple words and phrases.
Young Adults May Abuse Alcohol Less
So, naturally, in their down time (like weekends) what do they do? They look for ways to unwind and relax which often leads to drinking. If teens had less homework and pressure to perform on tests, then they may get more sleep at night.
The average student receives about one hour of homework per techincal class (Science, Math, etc) each day. Multiply that by the average number of technical classes they take…that’s at least 3-4 hours of homework every night. When do they sleep?
More Work Productivity
We’ve already addressed how more rest can help you feel rejuvenated and more alert. Your mind and body are both in sync and you’re full of energy. This wouldn’t happen if you were suffering from sleep loss. We’ve all had those days where we get up for work and literally drag our bodies around until we can go home.
This can lead to underperformance at work and can make you look really bad to your boss and coworkers. Just try and get at least 1-2 hours of sleep each night and you’ll notice a huge difference in your work productivity within a matter of a few days. In fact, others may notice it, too!
Better Reaction Times
It also goes without saying that your memory will work better and you will have better reaction time on 7-9 hours of sleep than you would on 3-5 hours. Researchers at the University of Texas did a study on two groups of people; one well rested and the other deprived. Then the groups were asked to perform the same task twice but 24 hours in between.
The results showed that even though the deprived group had already performed the task, when it came to do it the second time they were far less inclined to think fast and react in a timely..
Getting the adequate amount of sleep while dealing with chronic or even mild pain can be extremely difficult. Sleep is a main physiological necessity people need to survive. When dealing with chronic pain, it can be nearly impossible to get the sleep required for optimum performance. Recent research done by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), shows that people with chronic pain have an average of “42 minutes [of] sleep debt” every night. Those with only acute pain were living with an approximate “14-minute sleep debt”.
Amerisleep has studied the NSF’s research and has found that there are several different factors that compromise the sleep of people in chronic pain. The main discovery was that “those with chronic pain indicate that temperature and their mattress most significantly impact their sleep.” Improving your sleep environment, including your lighting, home temperature, bedding, and mattress can help improve your sleep quality and get you out of sleep debt, even if you are in chronic pain. To find out more about Amerisleeps research findings click here.
The correlation between fitness and a good night’s rest might be slightly off. For those in the know, timing and effort are crucial to getting the best results and still have sufficient time between workouts to rest the muscles. But what happens when those muscles don’t get the rest they need? Furthermore, what happens to the body when the strain of exercise prevents it from following a proper sleep cycle? As these devices increase in popularity, the newly-fit users are finding it hard to rest.
Tracking Devices – Just A Fancy Fad?
A fitness tracking device allows users to track their level of activity to ensure they’re burning enough calories for optimal fitness. Furthermore, these devices are known to inspire would-be fitness fanatics to get off the couch and in the gym. For many, however, that is where the usefulness of the tracker stops. Knowledge of the techy fitness features won’t actually move those muscles and get those heart rates up. There can be a link between the effectiveness of wearable tracking devices and improved levels of fitness, but users need to have the desire to change their lives before purchasing the device. Without that initial desire, the device cannot assist the user to meet their fitness goals. Tracking devices aren’t just for fitness, however, as they are used by many to monitor other parts of their life, from counting calories to hours slept.
The Correlation Between a Fitness Tracker and Sleep
Sleep-measuring devices and apps are able to track the resting heart rate of the user. With a few fancy gadgets, it also manages to determine when the user enters REM sleep. Although this may allow the user to better understand their sleep patterns, it could also cause undue stress or hypervigilance. The added information on the mind could cause the user to lose sleep over losing sleep. Furthermore, the pressure the device causes on the user to train better and meet a daily target, could cause users to train during slots they shouldn’t or put their bodies under stress. Therefore, the quest for a good night’s sleep becomes obsolete.
Should Users Get Rid of Their Tracking Devices?
No, however, a better understanding of the pressure it could cause, would allow the user to set their goals accordingly. Also, the fitness tracker is the ideal tool to use to track the baseline of the sleeping pattern. Users can then use a product such as Sleep Easily to improve their sleep. Combining the two technologies allows users to meet their physical goals and still enjoy the level of sleep and rest required.
The spring time change can affect people’s circadian rhythms and disrupt their regular sleep habits. In the spring, we turn the clock forward an hour, so if you normally go to bed at 10 PM, the new clock time would be 11. If you are shooting for 10 o’clock bedtime, it’s like going to bed at nine. This early bedtime is what most people find hard because they aren’t ready and they don’t feel tired enough to fall asleep.
Simple changes that can make the spring clock change easier:
Shift your clock gradually – Change your daily behavior a little each day to make adjusting easier!
Four days before the clock change—the evening of March 8—begin your evening routines 15 minutes earlier. So, eat dinner 15 minutes earlier and go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Then each day for the next three days, move that daily routine shift 15 more minutes each day.
Integrating a 15-minute time shift for each day is negligible, so it’s easier to accomplish than the one-hour shift all at once. Simple? Of course! But it can make a difference especially for those sensitive to daylight savings changes.
Melatonin is a common sleep supplement. Here’s how it works:
Melatonin in your body is a hormone produced by your pineal gland. It helps your body and mind feel sleepy. Taking a melatonin supplement one hour before bedtime can help you feel sleepy sooner than you would have otherwise, so it can be helpful to take it starting four days before the clock change. Once you have adjusted to the new time, you can discontinue use of melatonin.
Research has shown that low doses of supplemental melatonin can support the brain in creating melatonin. Conversely, high doses flood the brain, weakening the brain’s ability to create melatonin. In a natural food store or online, look for melatonin in 1 mg tablets. All stores don’t carry the 1mg tablet, so plan ahead in case you need to order them
There are some simple daily changes you can make to improve the likelihood of a better night’s sleep. Take a look and see if you can adopt even a few.
The above tips are external changes that can make it easier to fall asleep earlier. Our program, Sleep Easily creates the inner mind and body changes, so you will fall asleep more easily during the time change or especially if you have deeper ongoing sleep problems.
In the media, much attention is being given to the importance of sleep. Television and radio programs, journal and online articles, and books talk about the importance of lifestyle changes, called sleep hygiene, that can support good sleep. You have likely come across these changes. Below are sleep hygiene tips, but organized in a way to make this easier for you. The list below also contains information you likely have not seen elsewhere.
Intake of food, drink and substances
• Avoid caffeine (including chocolate and caffeinated sodas) six hours before bedtime.
• If you smoke, don’t smoke too close to bedtime, as nicotine is a stimulant.
• Limit your alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per day, and avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime. When you drink alcohol right before bed, the alcohol wears off in the middle of the night, causing early awakenings.
• Drink enough water during the day so you are not very thirsty at bedtime. If you need to drink before bed or in the middle of the night, drink as small amount as possible.
• Have your last full meal be several hours before bedtime to allow for digestion. Avoid spicy foods or foods that cause indigestion.
• If you need a snack before bed, find which foods—carbohydrates, dairy or a small amount of protein—don’t disturb your sleep.
During the Day
• Get out into sunlight at least 15 minutes each day.
• Exercise, but not too close to bedtime.
• Limit naps to 30-45 minutes (set an alarm) and nap no later than early afternoon. Bedroom
• Ensure your mattress, pillows, and bedding is comfortable.
• Keep your bedroom be quick, dark and cool.
• Turn your clock so it is facing away from you. Clock watching increases stress, making it harder to sleep.
• Follow a regular sleep and wake schedule. That helps regulate your body clock so sleep is easier.
• Have your house lights be dim in the evening. Installing dimmer switches on lights allows you to function in lower light and lower light is calming and attractive.
• Slow down an hour before bed with a bath or reading something calming or stretching.
• Avoid stimulating activities like doing work or discussing emotional issues just before bedtime.
• Television, computer, cell phone and tablets emit a blue-white light that interferes with your brain’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Blue-blocking glasses help block blue light. Available online.
• Stop using a computer, cell phone, and tablets 30 minutes before bed.
Strengthen the Association of Your Bed with Sleep
• Limit bedroom activities to sleep and sex.
• Keep computers, TVs, and work materials out of your bedroom.
In addition to the above suggestions, Sleep Easily helps you fall asleep or back to sleep more quickly and easily. For more information, please explore the rest of this website.
As winter approaches, some people are affected by daylight getting shorter. For some, it’s a minor change in mood and others experience a deep depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What causes this? The reduced level of sunlight can disrupt the body’s internal clock and cause a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood. Less exposure to sunlight can also disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, the hormone that affects sleep patterns and mood.
What can you do to help you feel better when there is less daylight?
Get outside during the day to get as much sunlight as possible. This can be tough when you get to and from work in the dark. So remember to invest in warm clothes so you can be comfortable outside even if it is cold. Make an extra effort to get outside on the weekend.
If it’s cold or snowy try to get outside to workout. If it’s completely impossible, see if you can find a gym where you can exercise near a window.
When indoors, keep your window coverings open to let in as much daylight as you can.
Take vitamin D with added vitamin K2 (which boosts the effectiveness). This combination is available online. Vitamin D is the vitamin our skin receives from sunshine so taking vitamin D can help compensate for reduced sunshine. Look for the USP seal on supplements.
If you can’t get outside, you can get a light therapy box which provides light that is much brighter than that of regular light bulbs and in different wavelengths. Sitting in front of that light for 30 minutes in the morning stimulates the brain in a way similar to sunshine.
Get an alarm clock that awakens you with gradually increasing light, rather than just sound.
Throughout the ages, people have taken the winter season with its shorter daylight hours to be a time to reduce life’s craziness and have more time with aspects of life that are quieter, less busy and slower.
Make your bedroom cozier for winter nights. Invest in a new comforter, new sheets or pillows if you can afford it. Make your bed a place that embraces you with comfort.
Maintain a regular bedtime, which can help improve your sleep, and help you feel better during the day.
Get Social Support. Make a mental or written list of people you could call if you’re feeling down. A phone call, email exchange, or getting together in person could help lift you up.
Try even a few of these steps and you can reduce the impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder and feel more in charge of your life this winter.
It works the same for all of us, if you normally went to bed at 11 PM, the new clock time will indicate it is 10 PM at that time. When you wait until it is 11 PM new clock time, that makes it the equivalent of midnight before you changed clock time, so you are staying up one hour later. Some people find this change difficult and even upsetting.
Here are some tips to try to make this change easier:
Remember, you have probably stayed up later on weekends for even more than one hour extra without too much trouble, so know that your body can adapt to a later bedtime. That fact can help calm some of your anxiety about the coming time change.
One week before it’s time to shift your clocks back, go to bed 15 minutes later. Every two days after, go to bed an additional 15 minutes later. This will gradually shift your sleep rhythms to be in sync with the time change when it comes.
During the week before it is time to shift your clocks back, gradually shift your dinner time to being later. That will help shift your evening and time before bedtime.
Adjust the lighting in your house. Open your window coverings as soon as you awaken. In the evening, dim your lights to help you calm down before sleep.
It is helpful to install dimmer switches on lights so you can have adequate light to do your day end activities while reducing exposure to bright light. This helps you to calm down.
You want to respect and care for the part of you that is anxious. A good way to do that begins by slowing down and relaxing sleep preparation activities one hour before the new sleep time. That is the time you went to sleep before changing clock time.
Taking a hot bath is an excellent way to slow down before bed. In addition to providing relaxation, a bath raises your body temperature. Then when you get out of the bath your body temperature lowers, which is what happens when you sleep, so lowering your body temperature helps you ease into sleep.
Caffeine and alcohol both interfere with your sleep cycle. So for a day or two before the time changes, limit your intake of those substances and that will help your sleep cycle more shift more easily and naturally.
If you need to nap, do it mid-afternoon at the latest and for a maximum of 30 minutes. Napping in the late afternoon or for longer periods can interfere with your body’s natural wake-sleep rhythms.
If you have children, use tips # 2-5 with them and that will help them more easily adjust to the time change.
Turning your clock back one hour can be very manageable if you follow these simple tips! Sleep well!