Sound Asleep

Many Americans complain of the inability to get a good night’s rest. Learn about what causes insomnia and how you can change your routine to improve your sleep.

Over 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia or other sleep related problems. A lack of sleep can be extremely detrimental not only to your health, but to your ability to execute your daily responsibilities.  People who suffer from insomnia don’t awaken feeling refreshed and alert, which affects their mood, livelihood and relationships.  Sleep troubles can also be a large source of stress and frustration in a persons life, leaving them angry and searching for answers that will allow them to get those much needed hours of sleep.

There are many common causes of insomnia that range from stress to diet and lack of exercise.  If you or someone you love is suffering from sleep deprivation it is important to evaluate all aspects of your life in order to determine which area is the primary cause of your sleep problems. Here are a look at some of the common causes:

Stress
An increase in home, work, or personal stress can cause a person to lose sleep, or have trouble falling/ staying asleep.  Relaxation techniques such as prayer, meditation, reading or affirmations are very useful when done before bed to calm your mind and prepare for rest.

Medications

Many prescription medications can interfere with sleep, especially anti-depressants, high blood pressure medications, allergy medications, corticosteroids and most over the counter (OTC) pain killers which contain caffeine and other stimulants .

Poor Sleep Habits
Doing any type of stimulating activities like watching TV, exercising, not having a regular sleep pattern, or using the bedroom for activities other than sleep can make it hard for you body to equate that space with sleeping.  If you do these activities before bed do them in another area of the house, leave the bedroom for sleeping and other marital activities.

Eating After 8pm
Try not to eat at least 2 hours before bed. Late night snacks can cause on increase in blood sugar and stimulate digestion which makes it more difficult for your body to relax in time for sleep. If you do snack avoid sugars, grains and processed foods.

Lack of Exercise
That’s right, good old fashion exercise is still one of the best remedies for sleep problems. Get your body on a routine of strenuous exercise, which can be as few as 12 minutes a week! Ask your Maximized Living doctor for more information about surge training.  This will not only make you tired enough to get a good nights rest, but it will also regulate your hormones so you feel refreshed and have more energy.

Are sleep medications a safe way to get those much needed ZZZZ’s? Unfortunately, in a society that uses a pill for everything, these medications are becoming very common, but they are not a safe alternative! Not only do these medications often leave you feeling groggy for hours after you wake, but they also have very dangerous side effects. Some of the most popular sleep drugs on the market have been found to induce such side effects as not only sleep walking, but now sleep eating, sleep driving and other highly destructive behaviors . One 12 year study, based on 14,000 participants, found that prescription medications used to treat insomnia increased the patients mortality rate by 36%, and that was after controlling for lifestyle behaviors and risk factors. So even though they may seem convenient, try more natural solutions first to treat insomnia before resulting to medications.

If you have concerns that you might be suffering from insomnia or other sleeping problems talk to your local Maximized Living doctor about how your nervous system could be influencing these problems, they can also help you develop a specific sleep plan to get you back on track…sweet dreams!


1 1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)
2 CNN health
3 New York Times March 8, 2006
4 Professor Genevieve Belleville: Canadian Journal of Psychiatry