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How to Find Your Needed Sleep

Is sleep something that you do at the end of the day when you are too tired to accomplish anything else? Do you set the alarm in the morning and struggle to pull yourself free of the covers and get out of bed? Do you lay awake at night and watch the clock count off the minutes you should have been sleeping?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may be setting yourself up for some serious health problems. Iím not talking about the occasional bad night, but the chronic poor sleep, or even working the night shift. Studies are showing that chronic lack of sleep can cause some really bad results.

Lack of sleep causes a thinning of the blood-brain barrier that lets toxins into the brain. This can cause neurological problems and set you up for dementia and Alzheimerís. Studies show that lack of sleep can cause the formation of false memories and hallucinations. It has even been linked to schizophrenia.

Shift workers who work a stable shift and are able to get quality sleep during the day donít seem to have the problems that those who work a rotating shift or whose home life does not allow for quality sleep seem to have. Lacking sleep or getting scattered sleep has been linked to type 2 diabetes, low testosterone, headaches, and depression, junk food cravings and obesity.

Taking a pill to get the Ďoptimumí amount of sleep isnít the answer. These prescriptions have been link to a long list of problems themselves. Even takin those for as little as three months have been shown to increase the risk for Alzheimerís disease. They have also been linked to early death from multiple sources, including cancer.

What is the answer? There are multiple ways to address the problem.
1. Get a regular sleep schedule. Working with nature is the best, but if that is not doable then creating a schedule and sticking to it is better that nothing.
2. Get some sunshine or bright light early in your Ďdayí. This sets your circadian rhythm, setting your body up for better quality sleep.
3. Avoid bright light later in the day. This includes television, computers, sleeping in a brightly lit room.
4. Try taking a warm, not hot, bath half an hour before bed. For even better results add a cup of Epsom salts to the water, and maybe some soothing essential oils such as lavender.
5. Make sure your bed and pillow are in good shape. Worn out bedding can impede both the link and quality of your sleep.
6. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants late in the day.
7. Get some exercise early in your day.
8. Drink a cup of herbal tea. Try herbs such as chamomile, hops, passionflower, and valerian root.
9. Eat foods at dinner time that are calming. These include almonds, cherries, and bananas.
10. Avoid naps late in the day.

This is a battle that is not going to be won in a day. Be patient with yourself, and donít give up. Success may be just around the corner.


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