Saturday, August 17, 2019

Common Sleep Questions, Answered!

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1. How much sleep should I get?

  • 12 – 18 years (8-9 hours)
  • 19 – 65 years (7-8 hours)
  • 65 + years (7-8 hours)

Sleep researchers say only a few people require less sleep than the suggested number of hours. The quality of your sleep is as important as the number of hours you sleep.

How do you know if you’re getting enough sleep?

  • Do you need caffeine to keep you going all day?
  • Do you feel fully alert all day?
  • Do you often have trouble concentrating?
  • Do you often have trouble remembering important information?
  • Do you get tired during the day and want a nap?
  • Do you get sleepy in boring meetings?
  • Do you often fall asleep watching TV or reading?
  • Do you often feel sleepy while driving?
  • Do you worry about situations beyond your control?
  • Do you frequently have stomachaches or headaches?
  • Do you feel down or depressed a lot?
  • Do you feel anxious about your future?

2. Can I make up lost sleep?

It is possible to make up sleep if you don’t have too large a sleep debt. It takes 2 hours of weekend sleep to make up for every lost hour during the week. If you really require 7 hours of sleep and are only getting 6 every night, you would need approximately 10 extra hours of sleep every weekend (5 x 2 hours = 10 hours) to make up your sleep debt.

3. Are naps a good way to combat sleep loss?

If you’re not getting enough sleep, then taking a nap may help; however, the best solution is to go to bed earlier to avoid building up a sleep debt. Even an hour earlier is helpful, but if that’s impossible, then a daytime nap can give you an added boost. If you decide to nap, limit your time to 20 or 30 minutes early in the day. Any longer or later and you’re liable to awaken feeling groggy instead of alert.

4. Is too much sleep unhealthy?

Getting enough sleep is never unhealthy. Some people require as many as 9 hours of sleep to feel good. If you use sleep as an escape because you’re feeling depressed or facing too many difficulties in your life, then it can be unhealthy. Over-sleeping can be an important sign for you to seek some professional help.

5. Are sleeping pills safe and effective?

Doctors and sleep experts agree sleeping pills are only a short-term solution to a sleep problem. They work by slowing down the central nervous system. Over-the-counter sleeping pills, such as Nytol, Sominex, and Excedrin PM are not recommended. They are primarily antihistamines, and can make us tired and groggy when we awaken.

Prescribed medications may be helpful for a short while. Ambein, Ativan, Valium, and Zanex are most often used today and provide temporary relief from insomnia and other chronic sleep problems. The down side is they have side effects, are habit forming, and should only be taken for about a month.

6. How should I prepare for a good night’s sleep?

Here are some important guidelines for a good night’s sleep.

  • Set a regular sleep schedule for yourself. Go to bed and get up each day at the same time, 7 days a week. Avoid long naps especially late in the day.
  • Establish a bedtime ritual. Take a hot bath, read, listen to peaceful music, relax and unwind.
  • Separate your work/living space from your sleep place. Avoid working in bed, watching intense TV, or dealing with stressful matters, such as finances, before bedtime.
  • Create a good sleep environment. Your room should be quiet and a pleasant temperature. Your pillow and mattress should give you comfortable and adequate support.
  • Avoid heavy meals at bedtime or going to bed hungry.

7. Does everybody dream?

Yes, everybody dreams, but we don’t always remember them. Most of our dreaming takes place during REM sleep. When we dream our brain processes information and ideas into learning and memory, solves problems, and works to resolve negative feelings and conflicts to help keep us emotionally balanced.

People who don’t sleep well or spend enough time sleeping suffer negative consequences. When we’re REM sleep deprived for a number of nights, we’re apt to feel more anxious, agitated and irritable, less controlled and unable to concentrate well.

8. How does stress affect my sleep?

Generally, if you have sleep problems, your stress response is being activated by feelings of fear or anxiousness. For example, you or a loved one may be having a health problem, there are difficulties at work, you may be having a relationship problem with family or friends, or you may be having financial difficulties. Your brain senses these anxious feelings that you take to bed with you, it activates the stress response and causes adrenaline to be released into your system, which prevents your natural sleep cycle from working effectively. The stress response and the sleep response are opposite reactions in the body.

9. How do caffeine, nicotine and alcohol affect sleep quality?

Lifestyle habits are important factors affecting sleep quality, and the use of caffeine and nicotine are two major culprits that disrupt sleep. They act as stimulants increasing production of hormones to raise blood pressure, speed up the heart rate and stimulate brain-activity. Caffeine comes in many popular forms: coffee, tea, soda pop, chocolates and in many medications. Nicotine has a similar affect on the body as caffeine. Smokers have difficulty falling asleep, and also staying asleep. They tend to wake up at night craving a smoke, so their sleep is often fragmented. Insomnia ranks near the top of smokers’ complaints.

10. Will lack of sleep affect my job performance?

Sleep loss can affect your job. Researchers investigating the effects of lost sleep on workers’ performance found that often problem-solving skills are impaired, communication skills suffer, learning and memory suffer, and motor skills are impaired. Sleep loss is costing businesses $150 billion a year in higher stress and reduced workplace productivity.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Jsolin

    Sixty million Americans say they have trouble sleeping. Sleep problems are in fact, the second most reported medical complaint, the first being pain. Sleep deprivation is even being called the “silent epidemic”. Restful sleep is as important as exercise and a healthy diet, but few people are receiving the quality sleep they need.

    The global economy and technological advances pressure us to work, travel and parent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The fast pace of modern society is leaving more people awake when they shouldn’t be. Work demands often supercede sleep as a priority. We have become stressed and exhausted while working non-traditional hours that challenge natural human sleep patterns.

    Accumulated sleep loss over time becomes a sleep debt that can have serious consequences for the individual, the family, the employer, and society.

  2. Mary

    The number one cause of the growing sleep deficit in the United States, according to a recent USA Weekend Special Health Report on “The National Sleep Debt,” is “indifference to the importance of sleep.”

    Citing the 1995 the National Sleep Foundation Gallup survey showing that 49% of Americans report trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, Peter Jaret writes in this January 3, 1997, report that “a pill won’t cure this number one cause.”

    “Between early-morning meetings and late night television, between the demands of work and the pleasures of family and friends,” he continues, “we’re too quick to scrimp on sleep. Along the way, we may rob ourselves of the energy and alertness we need to enjoy it all.”

    This is in keeping with our own findings, which show the two leading causes of sleep loss problems to be stress and our beliefs about the importance of sleep.

  3. Mary

    Sleep serves a number of important functions for everyone. During deep sleep our body fights infection (when you feel sick what do you want to do?), and lighter or REM sleep plays important roles in learning, memory and brain functioning, and helps keep us emotionally balanced.

    From time to time most of us have trouble sleeping; in fact, 90% of our population has experienced insomnia. When we have insomnia, we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and/or we wake too early in the morning. Insomnia is not a disease in itself, but a symptom that occurs due to many types of illnesses or conditions.

    Two types of insomnia are prevalent — transient and chronic. Transient insomnia can last up to 3 weeks and is usually due to some emotional distress. When the stress issue is resolved, normal sleep patterns resume.

    Chronic insomnia lasts longer than 3 weeks and the insomniac’s lack of sleep can affect their mood (they become irritable), their relationships and often their ability to function well at work. When insomnia lasts 3 weeks or longer, it’s important to seek professional help. About 30% of the population suffer from chronic insomnia.

    Chronic insomnia can be very difficult to treat. Lifestyle changes are often helpful, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, eliminating naps, and using the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Prescribed medications also may be helpful. However, after a few weeks, they can lose their effectiveness, and many people become physically dependent on them.

    Sleep disturbances due to emotional traumas that get connected to sleep are very difficult to resolve. For instance, if one experienced a fearful event while sleeping or they were sexually or emotionally abused at sleep time, they usually will have difficulty sleeping well. The remembered “fearful feelings” are stored in long term memory and are always with the sleep-sufferer in their subconscious.

    Quanta Dynamics’ Gift of Sleep Program™ has been very successful in treating this type of chronic insomnia. Following is the testimonial of a woman who is solving her sleep problems with the help of our program.

    During the course of my life, I have had continuous sleep problems. I’ve been on difficult courses of medication, on-going, for the past 10 years for chronic severe insomnia-trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Prior to this past 10 years, I, from time to time, took prescription medication for sleep problems. As you can see, this has been a life long issue. We (my parents, doctors and I) could never really figure it out. I had some traumatic events occur during my childhood and during college that all related to nighttime and sleep.

    About one month ago I started using Quanta Dynamics’ Gift of Sleep™ sleep CD ‘s (“The River”). I had been on high doses of Restoril® after major surgery, which was taking a severe toll on me physically and emotionally. I found Quanta’s web site in a book I read, and after calling Quanta decided to try their program.

    I weaned myself off the sleeping pills in two weeks. The CD seemed to help a bit right away and I was determined to really make an effort to overcome this insomnia. While listening to the CDs during sleep and talking with my parents about my history, I came to the conclusion that I have a long term memory problem due to those traumatic events, in addition to living with a great deal of stress the past 20 years.

    Quanta Dynamics has been instrumental and supportive of my quest to resolve these sleep problems. I am amazed that I actually fall asleep and have sleep without medication. Physically, I feel almost normal.

    I have a way to go as I have to plumb the depths of that long term memory, but I feel that it will happen at some point in time. I am still on medication for anxiety but my doctor feels it is only a matter of time before I can work my way off of it. This is only the beginning but I feel that I CAN conquer this problem.

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