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Good Habit to Sleep Better & Faster

If you are suffering from insomnia, there are many steps you can take to change behaviors and lifestyle to help you get to sleep. Here are some tips for beating insomnia. 

1-Wake up at the same time each day. 

2-Eliminate alcohol and stimulants like nicotine and caffeine.  

3-Limit naps.  

4-Exercise regularly. 

5-Limit activities in bed.  

6-Do not eat or drink right before going to bed. Eating a late dinner or snacking before going to bed can activate the digestive system and keep you up. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or heartburn, it is even more important to avoid eating and drinking right before bed since this can make your symptoms worse. In addition, drinking a lot of fluids prior to bed can overwhelm the bladder, requiring frequent visits to the bathroom that disturb your sleep. 

7-Make your sleeping environment comfortable. Temperature, lighting, and noise should be controlled to make the bedroom conducive to falling (and staying) asleep. Your bed should feel comfortable and if you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider having the pet sleep somewhere else if it tends to make noise in the night. 

8-Get all your worrying over with before you go to bed. If you find you lay in bed thinking about tomorrow, consider setting aside a period of time — perhaps after dinner — to review the day and to make plans for the next day. The goal is to avoid doing these things while trying to fall asleep. It is also useful to make a list of, say, work-related tasks for the next day before leaving work. That, at least, eliminates one set of concerns. 

9-Reduce stress. There are a number of relaxation therapies and stress reduction methods you may want to try to relax the mind and the body before going to bed. Examples include progressive muscle relaxation (perhaps with audio tapes), deep breathing techniques, imagery, meditation, and biofeedback. 

10-Consider participating in cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy helps some people with insomnia identify and correct inappropriate thoughts and beliefs that may contribute to insomnia. In addition, cognitive therapy can give you the proper information about sleep norms, age-related sleep changes, and help set reasonable sleep goals, among other things .

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How Alcohol affect our sleep

Sleep & Alcohol Relation

Reference from https://sleepopolis.com

Alcohol is the most popular sleep aid in the world. Though it may not be marketed as a sleep medication, at least 20% of Americans regularly use it as one. Even healthy people who don’t abuse alcohol may use it on occasion to fall asleep more quickly and easily.

But while alcohol can help usher in sleep, it can also disrupt it. Nighttime awakenings, lower sleep quality, and reduced sleep efficiency are common side effects of consuming alcohol, even in moderate doses. Most of us consider a drink or two to be safe, even healthy. But it doesn’t take much alcohol to change sleep patterns and have a detrimental impact on health.

Sleep A-Z article graphic, Alcohol and Sleep

Note: The content on Zensleep.com.au is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t take the place of medical advice and supervision from a trained professional. If you feel you may be suffering from any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see your healthcare provider immediately.

Alcohol and The Body

The type of alcohol used in beverages is called ethanol. (1Ethanol is produced by the fermentation process of grains and fruits such as potatoes and grapes. Pure alcohol has no color, and converts to a sugar-based fuel inside the body. Alcohol depresses activity in the central nervous system, and is classed as a depressant drug.

Whether or not alcohol is dangerous to health may be dependent on dose. While moderate drinking may have physiological benefits as well as some potential drawbacks, chronic heavy consumption of alcohol can cause irreversible damage to the brain and body, including the circadian rhythm.

Ethanol

The only type of alcohol human beings can consume without harmful and potentially fatal effects to the body.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Consuming alcohol in moderate quantities — approximately one drink a day for women and two for men — could have a beneficial effect on certain biological functions. Moderate drinking may help enhance immune function, especially when the alcohol contains polyphenols such as those present in red wine. (2) Other studies show that moderate drinking has a neutral effect on immunity. (3)

Blood pressure graphic, Alcohol and Sleep article

Moderate alcohol consumption appears to have a similar effect — beneficial or neutral — on the cardiovascular system, including blood pressure and heart rate. It may also reduce the risk of stroke and diabetes. (4)

Moderate drinking can raise the risk of some cancers, including esophageal and breast cancer. (5) Even light drinking may have an effect on cancer risk due to alcohol’s ability to alter the mitochondria of cells. Mitochondria generate the energy used by cells, and may cause cell death or dysfunction when damaged.

FAQ

Q: What are mitochondria?A: Types of structures inside cells that convert oxygen and nutrients into energy.

Heavy Alcohol Consumption

Studies show that heavy drinking and binge drinking have a detrimental effect on all of the body’s systems, from immunity to blood pressure to liver function. (6Heavy drinking is generally described as three or more standard drinks a day, while binge drinking is five or more.

There is no benefit to heavy drinking and binge drinking. (7) The International Agency for Research on Cancer states that alcohol and acetaldehyde, a byproduct of the breakdown of ethanol, can cause cancer when consumed in high amounts. Heavy drinking raises the risk of numerous health conditions, including:

Bar graphic
  • Accidents, including car accidents
  • Certain cancers, including cancers of the colon and stomach
  • Liver disease
  • Brain damage
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart damage

The impact of alcohol abuse, also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is both physical and psychological. Alcohol is strongly implicated in suicidal thoughts and behavior. Studies show that heavy drinkers have a five-fold increased risk of suicide, particularly among men. (8) In one study of suicide attempts, alcoholics were more likely to complete suicide than those who were not dependent drinkers.

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, AUD is a “chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”

Alcohol and Sleep

Anyone who has experienced a restless night after a few drinks can attest to alcohol’s disruptive effect on sleep. Studies prove that alcohol can reduce sleep quality, change sleep patterns, and reduce time spent in one sleep cycle while increasing time spent in another. Though alcohol can increase drowsiness and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, drinking generally does not have a healthy influence on sleep efficiency or sleep-related bodily functions.

Drinking can disrupt the circadian rhythm, which controls the sleep and wake cycles as well as digestion, body temperature, and myriad other essential processes. Studies of alcohol consumption and sleep show that the body can develop tolerance to alcohol when drinking occurs over consecutive nights. Though the body may be successful in adapting to consistent alcohol use over the short-term and in rebalancing sleep patterns, it is unable to adjust sufficiently when alcohol consumption is heavy and chronic.

Circadian rhythm graphic

Alcohol impacts the way circadian genes express themselves by reducing levels of molecules that help to manufacture essential proteins. (9) Studies show that circadian rhythm genes may continue to display dysfunctional tendencies even after heavy drinking is stopped.

Once alcohol reaches the brain, it appears to mimic GABA, the predominant neurotransmitter of the circadian system. (10)  GABA also inhibits other neurotransmitters, preventing or delaying their primary fucntions. This inhibition can significantly slow down reactions and promote sleep during the early part of the night, but disrupt sleep cycles once the body metabolizes the alcohol and levels of GABA fall. (11In addition to alcohol, GABA is impacted by drugs such as benzodiazepines and prescription sleep medications.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Sleep

While the sleep-damaging effects of alcohol abuse are well-established, how does moderate drinking impact sleep? Research shows that the body metabolizes alcohol best during the “happy hour” of early evening. When consumed later at night, alcohol appears to shift sleep’s homeostasis — the balance between the need to sleep and wakefulness — to an earlier time of the evening. (12)

Moderate drinking can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, a period known as sleep latency. (13In addition to its effect as a central nervous depressant, alcohol increases levels of adenosine, which blocks wakefulness-promoting cells in the basal forebrain. This process, as well as alcohol’s effect on GABA, may explain reduced sleep latency and the awakenings that can occur once levels of adenosine and GABA return to normal.

FAQ

Q: What is sleep latency?A: Sleep latency, also known as sleep onset latency, is the amount of time it takes to go from wakefulness to the N1 stage of sleep once the lights have been switched off.

Moderate consumption of alcohol alters the orderly pattern and stages of healthy sleep, referred to as sleep architecture. Sleep is typically lighter and less efficient after drinking. Though more time may be spent in deep sleep during the first part of the night, time in REM sleep is reduced. The majority of dreaming occurs during REM sleep, as does the processing of emotions and memories. (14)

Decreased REM sleep can affect memory and potentially impact emotional responses during waking hours. (15) Noise, light, and other stimuli are more likely to cause awakening during REM sleep, which can increase daytime fatigue.

Once alcohol wears off, the body experiences a rebound effect. Sleep becomes lighter and less efficient, with more frequent awakenings. Though the disturbances to sleep have a significant impact on the body, not all awakenings will be noticed or remembered by the sleeper. Dehydration from alcohol may cause the heart to beat faster, making sleep more difficult.

Moderate drinking before bedtime can also increase the risk of the following:

  • Parasomnias such as sleepwalking and sleep-eating (16)
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders
  • Waking to go to the bathroom
  • Chronic insomnia due to negative psychological associations with the bed and sleep

Parasomnia

A certain category of sleep disorder that involves abnormal movements, dreams, perceptions, or behaviors, most of which occur when falling asleep or transitioning between sleep stages.

Heavy Alcohol Consumption and Sleep

Heavy consumption of alcohol has damaging effects on the body and severely impacts sleep over time. Chronic heavy drinking can suppress REM sleep, while stopping alcohol can trigger a condition called REM sleep rebound. REM sleep rebound causes excessive dreaming, nightmares, and disturbed sleep, and may continue for weeks or months.

Long-term alcohol abuse causes changes to the brain that can result in persistent sleep disturbances, even with abstinence. Though insomnia is not the only sleep-related effect of alcohol abuse, the disorder may be to blame for 10% of all costs associated with excessive use of alcohol. (17)

In addition to its effect on the circadian rhythm and neurotransmitters, alcohol appears to influence the release of essential hormones. These include melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone that is necessary for healthy sleep and wake cycles. Alcohol can also suppress growth hormone, which is important for proper immune function. Even in lower doses, alcohol reduces levels of testosterone, raises levels of estrogen, and changes the way the liver metabolizes hormones of all types.

Reference from Sleeppolis.com

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right-mattress-firmness-helps-backpain

If your back pain keeps you up at night, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their life, according to the American Chiropractic Association. That’s a lot of folks potentially losing shut-eye because of a bad back.

There’s good news: A few lifestyle tweaks could greatly improve your time spent snoozing. For starters, having the right pillow for your sleeping position is a small change that makes a world of a difference. The best pillows to prevent neck and back pain in side sleepers have a gusset that gives the pillow extra height and structure to properly support your neck and spine throughout the night. Side-sleeper pillows for the legs might help lower back pain caused by sleeping, too. Stomach and back sleepers, on the other hand, don’t need a gusset, but instead should look for pillows that are supportive and conform to the head.

“It’s best to err on the side of firmness, although what’s firm for one person might not be firm for another.”

– TERRY CRALLE, CLINICAL SLEEP EDUCATOR

If changing your pillows hasn’t helped, it’s worth considering how your mattress affects your shut-eye, said clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle.

“If you suffer from back pain, being able to get a decent night’s sleep can make a world of difference, and having the best mattress for back pain can set you on the right path,” she said. ”When looking for a mattress, evaluate your sleep position to mitigate back pain, consider different mattress types, and don’t assume that high cost equals a quality mattress for back pain.”

Perhaps the best mattress for lower back pain is of medium-firm density, said Dr. Thanu Jey, a chiropractor and clinical director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic in Toronto. You need a mattress that will support your upper back and take pressure off your lower back, Jey said.

A mattress that’s too soft will bow your spine as you sink into it, while a mattress that’s too hard can put unnecessary pressure on aches and pains, especially if you’re a heavier person. “That being said, it’s best to err on the side of firmness, although what’s firm for one person might not be firm for another,” Cralle said. “You need a firmness that supports your back in its natural position.”

 
 

If you’re ready to ditch your current bed and buy the next one that promises to relieve your aches and pains, keep in mind that it’s probably a good idea to test out a new mattress before committing.

“Trials are the absolute best,” Jey said. “It’s really tricky to tell how your body will respond [to a new mattress] so making sure that you get a week or two to see how your body responds will make all the difference.”

To help you on your hunt for a better night’s sleep without middle back pain, lower back pain, neck pain or anything in between, we’ve rounded up some of the best medium-firm to extra-firm mattresses out there. Some are even mattresses with lumbar support that’ll help you rest easy all through the night.

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