Are you getting enough sleep?

It’s true that more and more Americans are not getting enough sleep. A recent study found that only 49% of adults in America are getting a good night’s sleep every night. 1 So what’s wrong with this picture? Did you know that sleep is just as important as food and water when it comes to your overall health? 2 Your body cannot function properly without adequate sleep. Do you need more sleep? Keep on reading to learn how you can rest easier.

Sleep requirements for optimal health

Sleep requirements can vary from one person to the next. Most adults in good health require about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. 2 However, don’t be afraid to get extra rest if you feel like your body needs it. It is always better to get your sleep in one consecutive segment, and also try to avoid sleeping during the day if possible. Above all else, we feel it is important to listen to your body when it comes to getting the proper amount of rest.

The many causes of sleep problems

There can be many different causes involved with sleep problems, and some causes are easier to notice compared to others. When it comes to sleep remedies, we always like to try the simplest things first. That being said, most of us know that stress can contribute to sleep problems. Therefore, it may be helpful to first reduce your stress levels if you are trying to sleep better. Keep on reading to learn more about stress reduction techniques can help reduce your stress levels naturally.

There can be many different causes involved with sleep problems, and some causes are easier to notice compared to others. When it comes to sleep remedies, we always like to try the simplest things first. That being said, most of us know that stress can contribute to sleep problems. Therefore, it may be helpful to first reduce your stress levels if you are trying to sleep better. Keep on reading to learn more about stress reduction techniques can help reduce your stress levels naturally.

However, simple stress reduction techniques may not be enough when the body is sleep deprived, weakened, and out of balance. Diseases, sleep disorders, and old age can also make sleep problems even worse. Thankfully there are still many options available for sleep deprived individuals. It may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor or a sleep specialist to help you uncover the deeper cause(s) of your sleep problems.

Here are some hidden causes of sleep problems that you may want to consider with your doctor:

  1. Neurotransmitters and Hormones – Neurotransmitters are an integral part of the nervous system and the entire body. Neurotransmitters and hormones control everything from breathing to sleep patterns. Unbalanced levels of neurotransmitters and/or hormones have been linked to depression, bipolar disorder, sleep problems, and other degenerative diseases. 3 Fortunately, you can now have your levels of neurotransmitters and hormones checked to rule out any specific problems.
  2. Sleep apnea – This sleep disorder occurs when the airway to the lungs becomes blocked, decreasing blood oxygen levels and disrupting sleep. 4 There is no blood test for sleep apnea, but you can meet with your doctor to rule out this condition. Note that sleep apnea does not seem to affect one’s ability to fall asleep, only the quality of sleep. Many people with sleep apnea will wake up in the morning feeling tired and unrefreshed.
  3. Food and Environment Sensitivities – Food and environment sensitivities can temporarily put extra stress on the body and cause sleep disturbances. Taking an accurate allergy sensitivity test and removing the offending agents is the best course of action.
  4. Diseases and Illness – Diseases and illness may place extra stress on the body, create imbalances, and may cause sleep disturbances. Therefore, treating the illness may help in correcting sleep problems.
  5. Stimulants, Drugs, and Alcohol – Stimulants such as drugs, cigarettes, and caffeine can interfere with normal sleep patterns by overstimulating the body. 2 5 6 Alcohol may help a person to fall asleep but can interfere with the deep stages of sleep. 2

Sleep Remedies

There are many natural sleep remedies available to help you get better sleep. But before we discuss these sleep supplements, let’s take a look at some basic stress reduction techniques. Stress reduction may be one of the best and most inexpensive ways to help you get more sleep.

What are stress reduction techniques and how can they help you? Stress reduction techniques may include activities such as: walking, deep breathing, breath work, yoga, and meditation. These activities may reduce stress and promote healthy sleep patterns. And best of all, they are free! If you are looking for better sleep and haven’t tried these stress reduction techniques, click on the links above and start integrating these techniques into your daily schedule for a better nights sleep.

If stress reduction techniques are not enough, remember there are many natural sleep supplements that may help you fall asleep without the use of harsh sleeping pills. Let’s explore a few of the most popular supplements:

  1. 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) – A supplement similar to the amino acid tryptophan that is converted directly into neurotransmitter serotonin. 7 5-HTP has proven help full in treating depression, anxiety, and insomnia. 7 8 You may find 5-HTP helpful if you have chronically low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
  2. Melatonin – A hormone produced by the pineal gland that is directly involved in sleep/wake cycles. 9 Unless melatonin is supplemented directly, the neurotransmitter serotonin must be present for the pineal gland to produce melatonin. Production of melatonin also decreases with age.
  3. B Vitamins – B vitamins are involved in the metabolism and production of many key sleep hormones. For example, vitamin B6 is involved in the production of serotonin. 7 Vitamin B12 is also very good for nervous system and production of melatonin. 10 Taking B vitamins as a complex may help prevent individual B vitamin deficiencies.
  4. Amino Acids – Amino acids regulate immunity, growth, neurological development, reproduction, recovery from illness and injury and a host of other life sustaining functions. In other words, the right amino acids may help balance your body. Besides taking 5-HTP it may be helpful to take an amino acid supplement that contains L-Tyrosine and L-Cysteine to help balance your neurotransmitters and hormones. 8

In closing, keep in mind that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Remember to look for the root cause(s) of sleep problems and work on lifestyle changes to help promote better sleep. Practice stress reducing techniques if possible and take natural supplements if necessary. We hope you will rest easier after reading our guide to better sleep.


Sources

  1. Trouble Sleeping? Join the Club! Ed Zimney, MD. EverydayHealth.com.
    http://www.everydayhealth.com/blog/zimney-health-and-medical-news-you-can-use/trouble-sleeping-join-the-club/
  2. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
    http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm
  3. Brain Disease. Marty L. Hinz, MD. NeuroResearch.com.
    http://www.neuroassist.com/brain-disease.htm
  4. Sleep Apnea. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – Diseases and Conditions Index.
    http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/SleepApnea/SleepApnea_WhatIs.html
  5. How Caffeine Works. Marshall Brain and Charles W. Bryant. HowStuffWorks.com.
    http://health.howstuffworks.com/caffeine4.htm
  6. Cigarette smoking and sleep disturbance. Underner M, Paquereau J, Meurice JC. National Center for Biotechnology Information – PubMed.gov.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16820750
  7. 5-HTP supplement for depression, dosage, side effects, risks, safety. Ray Sahelian, M.D. RaySahelian.com.
    http://www.raysahelian.com/5-htp.html
  8. Neurotransmitter depletion. Marty L. Hinz, MD. NeuroResearch.com.
    http://www.neuroassist.com/Neurotransmitter-Depletion.htm
  9. Melatonin – Overview. WebMD.com.
    http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/tc/melatonin-overview
  10. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin, cyanocobalamin). Natural-Health-Information-Centre.com.
    http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/vitamin-b12.html

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