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A Sleepless Nation 70 Million Strong

A new report by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine shows that between 50 and 70 million Americans struggle with chronic sleep problems, and according to the United States Surgeon General, sleep deprivation and disorders cost the nation $15 billion in health care expenses and $50 billion in lost productivity each year.

A lack of sleep can take a toll both psychologically and physically, from daytime sleepiness to weakened immune systems. Long-term sleep deprivation leads to problems that can include memory lapses, depression, irritability and impaired work performance.

To win the battle over sleepless nights, many Americans are turning to medication. In 2005, 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled. An analysis by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. found that the number of adults ages 20 to 44 using sleeping medications rose 128 percent between 2000 and 2005, and was up 114 percent among 10 to 19-year-olds in that same time period.

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting between 30 and 40 percent of adults within a given year. Other sleep disorders include sleep apnea-a temporary suspension of breathing that occurs throughout the night-and restless leg syndrome, which is characterized by intense discomfort, mostly felt in the legs when at rest. One of the first steps to relieving sleep problems is to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about it.

Here are some tips for insomniacs:

• Keep to a regular sleep schedule: Go to sleep and wake up at about the same time each day, even on weekends.

Exercise regularly: Exercise done early in the day can reduce stress and help put you to sleep at night.

• Watch what you eat and drink: Avoid alcohol, caffeine and meals close to bedtime, but a cup of warm milk can help make you sleepy.

• Unplug: This is particularly important for teens with sleep problems-make sure the bedroom is free of computers, video games, TVs and phones.

Sleep troubles can be a symptom of a physical or psychological condition that requires treatment, so it’s important to see your doctor if your sleep problem persists. Depending on the diagnosis, your physician may recommend a behavioral therapy and possibly drug treatments for serious sleep disorders. Medications include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs called hypnotics. Drug therapy is usually only recommended for short-term use. A combination of medication and behavioral interventions is often more effective than either approach alone for those with chronic insomnia.

As many as one in four Americans report trouble sleeping.

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May You Rest And Sleep

Did you know that a third of your life is actually spent in sleeping? And did you know that the amount of energy saved everytime you sleep is so unsubstantial? Getting the normal eight hours of sleep only amounts to about 50 kilo calories, or what is equivalent to the energy that can be had for eating a piece of toast. If that is the case, what then is the fuss about getting enough sleep in order for our body to have a chance to recharge and recuperate from its daily activities?

“Why do we sleep?” is a question that has eluded many scientists and researchers for many centuries. Until now, they still cannot give a definite answer as to why we sleep. All they could offer is the fact that sleep is absolutely essential in maintaining the normal and healthy function of our brains. We have to sleep in order to develop normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, innovative and flexible thinking.

A better way to understand the significance of sleep would be to ask the question, “What happens if we don’t sleep?” Now, we can come up with several answers to this question based on our very own experiences.

Lack of Sleep

Most people exhibit unpleasant behavior such as being sluggish, irritable, grouchy, and forgetful when they don’t get enough sleep. Obviously, lack of sleep has serious effects on our brain functions. Sleep deprivation results in the inability to focus and concentrate, or having a shorter attention span compared to when we are fully rested. Inadequacy of sleep impairs certain parts of the brain that are responsible for the control of our cognitive functions, our ability to respond to stimuli, in making decisions and rational judgments. But lack of sleep is not only a matter of having an “off day”, or being irritable, or lacking energy. Who would have thought that lack of sleep can be a contributory factor attributed to a number of disastrous events such as the Chernobyl Nuclear Tragedy and the Challenger Shuttle Explosion? Sleep deprivation, when taken to the extreme, can lead to human error and catastropic consequences.

Sleep Disorder

Sleep deprivation weakens or slows down our cognitive functions. It poses very serious risks to our mental, emotional and physical health.

But what causes lack of sleep in the first place?

Disorders such as insomia and sleep apnea have been the leading causes of sleep deprivation. These conditions have been associated with stress, obesity and high blood pressure, among others.

Sleeping Pills

Due to the serious consequences of sleep deprivation, an equally serious thought should be given to the need to manage our sleeping habits and the various factors that influence our bedtime behavior. Once you have exhausted all means and tips to get a good night’s sleep such as avoiding caffeine and daytime naps, or relaxing before bedtime — you may need to take another step, this time, towards the option of medication. If sleep remains elusive inspite of the dozens of techniques you’ve used, taking sleeping pills may already be a good option for you to consider. Sleeping pills are sedative drugs which are used to relieve anxiety, stress, depression, and even muscle tension by slowing down the central nervous system. This medication is nothing new and dates back many centuries when opiate laudanum, barbituates, benzodiazepines, and non-benzodiapines were introduced. There are several over-the-counter sleeping pills available in the market. These medications may not carry the same risks of drug dependency and sleeping pill overdose as other products released decades ago. However, certain medical conditions such as liver and kidney problems may have adverse reaction with the use of the current crop of sleep-inducing drugs. Frequency of use may influence the effectivity of the medication. Caution and proper consultation with a physician is strongly advised. Some side-effects of sleeping pills are dizziness and prolonged drowsiness. It may also cause dry mouth, severe allergic reaction, facial swelling, lightheadedness, abdominal pain, rash, nausea, vomiting, depression, reduced interest in sex, chest pain, sleep-driving, over-eating, blurred vision, and low-blood pressure.
All of us deserve to find quality rest and relaxation that only sleep can provide. The easiest way to start getting that rest is by sticking to a regular sleeping habit and by practicing a healthy lifestyle. Living a good life is not just about the fun and excitement of activities done while you are awake. Living a good life also means having enough time in the sack.


Tinnitus Symptoms Be Gone! Tips To Help

There are ways you can reduce the annoying noise in your ears. The following tips will help you can soothe the symptoms of tinnitus.

Avoid the sort of places and events that are likely to involve loud noise level. Tinnitus is often caused by continued extended exposure to excessively loud noises. You may lessen your ear so the tinnitus will not expose yourself further excessive sounds. It could also stop an occurrence of your current symptoms.

Stay away from situations where there are loud noises. If you can’t, such as when you’re at work, wear earplugs. Tinnitus may stem from exposure to excessively loud noises. To avoid making your tinnitus worse, you have to protect your ears from further damage. Avoiding loud noises will also prevent a recurrence of tinnitus.

TIP! Before seeing your doctor, do some research to help him or her assess the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. It is easier for your doctor to treat your tinnitus symptoms if they have been educated properly about the condition.

White noise can can help.Having some background noise can distract you fall asleep despite your tinnitus. You’ll just have to try out some options and discover if works best for you.

Make yourself a calm bedtime routine each night. A common issue that people with tinnitus deal with is falling asleep or remaining asleep. A relaxing routine at bedtime ritual can be very useful in alleviating this frustrating problem. This will help you relax and reduces your blood pressure.

A professional can help you establish a therapeutic routine. Ultimately, your goal will be to find ways to avoid fixating on the ringing or buzzing. Your therapist can help you let go of your anger, fear and depression over having tinnitus, so that you can focus on living your life. You will be able to deal with your condition better. If tinnitus takes over your life, you will not be able to be happy.

TIP! To minimize your chances of having problems with tinnitus at some time in the future, stay away from loud noises. Consistent or prolonged exposure to high-decibel sounds can cause damage to the cells that make up the delicate structure of the inner ear.

Give yourself a full 15 minutes to go to sleep. If you cannot fall asleep in that amount of time, get up and get out of the bedroom. Don’t do any activity that will get you revved up or mental stress. If your bed is only for sleep, you will retrain yourself to associate the bed with falling asleep and won’t have a hard time getting to sleep each night.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help to reduce the effects of tinnitus. This kind of therapy will teach you how to stop focusing on tinnitus. Professional therapy is designed to help relieve any issues you release emotional baggage that are related to your tinnitus. This will allow you to better cope with your tinnitus. You can’t live a happy life if all you gain mastery over your tinnitus.

Tinnitus, which is a ringing or other noisy sensation in your ears, can have major impacts on your ability to relax and feel “normal.” For trouble sleeping with tinnitus, it can be helpful to play some quite music or run a small fan to create some white noise.

TIP! Try sleeping with a fan on in your bedroom for the white noise it creates; it can ensure you get a better night’s sleep. Try out many different “white” noises to find which one most relaxes you.

If you are someone who suffers from tinnitus, try to practice different techniques that help will you relax, yoga or meditation is fun. Tinnitus can be exacerbated by stress or things that raise blood pressure.

If you suffer from tinnitus, you should wear ear plugs whenever you go swimming. Water in your ears, and this can exacerbate your tinnitus symptoms, if you’re afflicted with this condition.

If you have had tinnitus before, you should let any new doctor know this. There are multitudes of medications that can make your tinnitus worse. If you experience new or increasing tinnitus symptoms soon after beginning a new medication, talk to your doctor about changing your prescription.

TIP! Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, TRT, is something you should consider. This isn’t a cure, but it makes tinnitus tolerable.

There are some things that can be done to minimize the potential to develop tinnitus, and a variety of treatments if you already experience it. Avoid excessively loud music, and put the protection of ear plugs in your ears if you find yourself exposed to significant noise. The suggestions in this article can help you begin to find the treatment that will work best for you.

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Sleep Disorder and Teenagers

Source: Flickr

There is a sleep disorder that affects between seven to ten percent of teenagers called Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, also known as DNS.
Most teenagers outgrow this disorder by the time they reach young adulthood. Less then one percent of adults are believed to have DSP. Often people mistake this sleep disorder for insomnia.

Left on their own, people with delayed sleep phase disorder would stay up until very late, sometimes until 4 or 5 a.m. They like to get up very late in the morning or early afternoon. Often they are referred to as night owls.

Many teenagers like to stay up late and sleep late in the morning. Sometimes this is because they want to socialize at that time of the day. However, it can also be due to the natural delay in the circadian sleep / wake rhythm at their age of development.

Teenagers with this sleep disorder often have a very hard time getting up in the morning for school. Even if they go to sleep at a regular time, such as 11 p.m., they toss and turn for hours like someone with insomnia. They difference is, unlike an insomniac, people with delayed sleep phase disorder have no difficulty staying asleep. They do have a very difficult time getting up early in the morning. Teenagers with this sleep disorder are very tired during the day and may even fall asleep in the classroom. The exact cause of this sleep disorder is not known. It is known for certain that it is a circadian rhythm problem.

Treatment for this sleep disorder is available for people that need to get onto a more traditional sleep / wake schedule. The types of treatment include, bright light, chronotherapy, melatonin and over- the-counter prescribed sleeping pills.

Bright light treatment for delayed sleep phase disorder uses bright light to trick the brain’s circadian clock . Exposure to bright light shifts the circadian rhythm if it is administered within a few hours of the body’s lowest temperature at night.

Using chronotherapy as a treatment for someone with delayed sleep phase disorder requires a block of time one week long. Each day bedtime is delayed by three hours successively. For example, for someone that falls asleep at 2 a.m. but wants to fall asleep at 11. p.m., their bedtime would move to 5 a.m. on the first day. The next day it would move to 8 a.m. and continue this cycle for a week. A teenager suffering with delayed sleep phase disorder would need a week off from school in order to complete this therapy. Once the desired bed time is reached it is very important to keep a consistent wake up time.

There are several treatments involving various drugs that are used to treat delayed sleep phase disorder. Melatonin has been successful in changing the sleep cycle of people with this sleep disorder. Prescription medication such as Ramelteon, and other sleeping pills, have been successful in treating teenagers and adults with delayed sleep phase disorder.

If your teenager has trouble falling asleep and always wants to stay up late, be aware of the possibility that a sleep disorder may be present.