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Insomnia Solutions


sleeping tips

Forty-eight percent of us will experience a bout of insomnia this year, and women are more likely to be affected than men. Researchers are discovering that insomnia is a risk factor for other serious maladies, including heart disease and depression. It often appears as a side effect of a different problem – pain from a medical complaint or a stressful life-changing event, such as a breakup or the loss of a job. But it can linger after the primary difficulty has been resolved. As a result, experts say that if you find yourself suffering from acute insomnia – a week or two of very poor sleep quality – you need help.

“For a lot of people, insomnia takes on a life of its own,” says Wilfred Pigeon, Ph.D., a sleep specialist at the University of Rochester in New York. “The longer someone has insomnia, the more intractable it becomes.” Why? Because when you spend night after night lying awake, you start to anticipate not falli8ng asleep, and you develop habits and associations that prolong the problem.

Your best sleeping tips:

Sleeping tips: Sleeping pills are effective insomnia treatments and are widely used – doctors wrote 35 million prescriptions in 2004.

The data suggests, however, that these medications may be habit-forming, and at least some patients report that they stop working over time. Specialists say that pills are best used as a short-term solution for sudden, intense bouts of insomnia. If the problem persists, the best approach is to change your sleep habits.

Sleeping tips: Learning proper sleep techniques is a bit like going to boot camp – for weeks at a time, patients are denied bed except for short periods.

It’s like sleep starvation. Patients become so exhausted that they start sleeping soundly – initially for short periods and eventually for a full night. For best results this process should be supervised by a n expert at a sleep clinic, but you can try to provoke a sleep craving by going to bed later than you normally would, while always rising at the same time in the morning no matter how tired you are – and never napping. Gradually allow yourself to go to bed earlier, keeping your wake time the same.

Sleeping tips: Never try to sleep, and don’t spend extra time in bed. When you are not sleeping, get up and do a quiet activity until you feel drowsy, and then return to bed. Relaxation exercises or guided-imagery CDs can be useful sleep aids.

Bed Down

Sleeping tips: If you’re trying to lose weight, it may be time to go to the mattresses.

sleeping tips

In a University of Chicago study of overweight adults following a balanced, restricted-calorie diet, subjects lost 55 percent more weight as fat (almost two pounds) after two weeks when they slept for 8.5 hours each night compared with a period of sleeping only 5.5 hours. When you’re short on shut-eye, study authors say, your body produces more ghrelin, one of the hunger hormones.

Sleeping tips: To keep munchies at bay, sleep for however long it takes you to feel well rested in the A.M.

No guilt about squeezing in a siesta: A 15- to 30-minute snooze can score you serious mental and physical benefits – including less stress, more energy, and better memory.

Sleeping tips: Your catnap will be the most renewing if you take it between 1 and 3 p.m.

It’ll replenish your energy but won’t make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. So sneak off for some shut-eye on your lunch break, arrive a few minutes early for school pickup and lay your head back – or simply wait for the weekend to indulge.

Wake Up with More Energy

Getting solid slumber can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and depression: make you more alert; and help you process information faster. Follow these sleeping tips to get restorative sleep.

Booze isn’t really a liquid lullaby. Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but once your body begins to remove it from your system, it acts as a stimulant. Four or five hours after your last drink, you’ll wake up, and it will be hard to fall back to sleep.

Sleeping tips

Sleeping tips: Instead of a glass of pinot noir, do a nighttime ritual that actually promotes sleep: Take a warm shower (when you step out, your body begins to cool off, a process it goes through before sleep) or sip a cup of decaf chamomile tea.

If you suffer sleep apnea, you’re about 80 percent more likely to feel sluggish during the day, no matter how many hours you sleep. The condition occurs when the soft tissue at the back of your throat blocks your airway during sleep, stopping your breathing and waking you up as many as hundreds of times a night. Imagine how exhausted you’d feel if someone were constantly poking you awake. Apnea deprives your brain of oxygen, increases your heart rate, and saps your energy levels.

Two common signs of apnea: loud snoring and, more seriously, waking up to the feeling that you’re choking.

Sleeping tips: Visit your doctor and start sleeping on your side instead of your back with your head propped up on two or three pillows. If you rest your upper body at a 30-degree or greaterincline, it may make a more direct path for air to move in and out of the lungs. Though it won’t cure sleep apnea, using a neti pot (a ceramic vessel used to flush sinuses with a salt/water solution) daily can make breathing easier.

Exercise will help improve the quality of your sleep – if you time it right. Working out late in the day can actually leave you staring at the ceiling in bet, since it can take three to four hours for your body to cool itself afterward. When your core body temperature is too high and your heart rate is too fast, it can keep you awake. Sleeping tips: It’s better to exercise at least four hours before bedtime. Better yet, hit the gym in the morning or at lunch – you’ll feel the energy-boosting effects for hours.

Sleep Stealers

You got your baby to sleep through the night and later succeeded in getting her used to her own bed. By the preschooler age, she was falling asleep on her own. “That’s the end of that!” you might think. Or is it?

The struggle for a good night’s sleep may be a continuing saga for your big kid. A child aged 5-12 years old still needs 10-11 hours of sleep at night to stay alert and function better in school. Worn-out kids display crankiness, hyperactivity, depression, and poor school performance. About a quarter of gradeschoolers experience at least one of these sleep problems.

sleeping tips

Snoring and Apnea. What was thought of as a cute little snore is considered today as a sign of a potentially serious problem. Snoring may be the result of simple nasal congestion, but when your child snores like a chain saw and has difficulty breathing, this may be a sign of apnea. In these case, there are pauses in breathing and mini-awakenings throughout the night. Your child’s chest may also heave strongly.

Sleeping Tips: Keeping the head propped up and giving a dose of sinus medication may help when snoring is mild.

But with heavier snoring, a visit to a sleep lab may be in order to see if  your child has sleep apnea. Treating apnea may require removing the tonsils and adenoids or simply getting your child to lose weight.

Insomnia. Kids who suffer from insomnia complain of difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early. Insomnia is sometimes caused by anxiety. That request for another glass of water may actually signal that something is wrong.

sleeping tips

Sleeping Tips: Get to the root of your child’s anxiety, and help her resolve them.

Get her in the mood for bedtime with sleep-inducing snacks. A glass of milk, or peanut butter with crackers an hour before bed will spark a release of serotonin, the body’s built-in sleep activator. If she rouses, don’t do anything to encourage staying awake like serving snacks or chatting.

Sleepwalking. Sleepwalking occurs when there is an incomplete sleep-stage transition that causes the body to move around even when the brain is already asleep. It tends to happen during the first two hours of sleep.

Sleeping Tips: Try moving your child’s bedtime earlier, as sleepwalking is sometimes caused by lack of sleep.

Don’t worry, a child usually outgrows sleepwalking. In the meantime, keep her safe by ensuring that the windows are locked, and the floor is clear of toys. Keep the nanny in the room, too, for extra assurance.

Night Terrors. Night terrors involve sudden and inconsolable crying, flailing and screaming that lasts for an hour or more. Your child is not having a bad dream, since she is totally unaware of her behavior. But it can be a nightmare for parents.

Sleeping Tips: Avoid triggers like over tiredness, radical schedule changes, fever (reduce it before bedtime), and certain meds (such as antihistamines). Your child will seem awake, but she isn’t, so riding it out will be the only thing to do.

sleeping tips

Nightmares. Nightmares are frightening dreams that occur during REM sleep, and often awake your child up. These are more common between the ages of 3-8, when children’s imaginations are very active. Nightmares can result from a real-life scary event or a change in routine.

Sleeping Tips: Using a night-light may help prevent nightmares. When your child experiences a nightmare, give her a tight hug to make her feel safe and secure. Unlike night terrors, your child will be responsive and may recall details of the nightmare. Ask her if she wants to talk about it.

Sleep on It!

A 20-minute nap can get you through the midday slump and boost your concentration when you need it the most. However, naps are not created equal. Some leave you feeling refreshed; others give you a bad headache.

Here’s the news on sleeping tips.

Benefits of a nap. Naps can reset the system and give a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. They work better than coffee, since caffeine can hamper your memory (so you’re active, but more prone to mistakes). A Harvard study also shows that regular naps lower your risk for heart disease.

sleeping tips

Sleeping tips to get the best nap.

Need to stay alert or tackle a task that requires motor skills (like driving or typing)? Limit your nap to 20 minutes, which will help you get to Stage 2 sleep. But if you need to do something creative (like write a report), and need sharp memory and decision making, sleep for 30 minutes to an hour. That’s enough for you to reach REM sleep, which is crucial for making brain connections and problem-solving.

Other sleeping tips?

Schedule naps in the afternoon, but never after 4 p.m. – you won’t be able to fall asleep at night. Wearing an eyemask and a warm jacket can help you fall asleep faster.