Posts Tagged ‘sleep’
As mentioned many times before, sleep is extremely important to your health. There are various factors that contribute to a poor night of sleep, and though it may be acknowledged in private before, a doctor has now publicly stated that sleeping in separate beds may be good (or even better) for married couples.
For some couples, I believe that’s very true. Issues of snoring, blanket-hogging and movement can be disturbing for the partner, which results in poor sleep. It is especially the case when the partner is a light sleeper.
I know from experience that having kids join you in the night is extremely annoying. I also know that my husband would prefer to sleep in his own bed – no disturbances from anyone. I, on the other hand, would prefer to sleep with my husband. Yes, we end up disrupting each other’s sleep, but there’s also a sense of security knowing that someone is there.
We’ve done the sleeping separately deal. I can’t speak for him, but I really haven’t noticed that my sleep hygiene is any better. I do notice that there is less waking up in the night, but it is not nil. That may just be a function of the bed I sleep on. In any case, the jury’s still out on this.
At least the doctor didn’t advocate that all married couples sleep separately. It would only be a consideration if there were some serious sleep issues involved. And it need not be a permanent state. I have to admit that we both have sleep issues and are constantly tired. But, the first step would be to get decent beds.
One of my most common complaints, though not a serious health issue, is constipation. Now, I realise that to actually have a diagnosis of constipation it should be a change in bowel pattern, such that it is not normal to myself. Everyone’s bowel habits are different – some go twice a day, while others may not go more than once a week. I fall somewhere in between, but there are other symptoms I suffer when I know I have constipation. One of those symptoms is bloating. And last night was one of those severe nights of bloating.
I was unable to sleep because every position was uncomfortable. I felt I needed to vomit to release everything inside my stomach. The stretching of the bowels was painful and as I rubbed my belly for comfort, it felt like I was distended from pregnancy. A large, loud burp relieved some of the pain and distention, but immediately, it would build up again. I had to sit, leaning forward to ease some of the pain.
In the past, I would turn to liquid antacids for relief. It did not always help and for many years, I have taken nothing. Yet, last night I was wishing for some. I had to turn to a peppermint lozenge. Why? Because I know that mints are one of the no-nos for people who suffer from acid reflux. (It may be that I have a problem with acid reflux due to my love of mints, which may be the culprit for all this bloating.) However, I understand that the mechanism of action is that mints lower the pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter, that muscle that separates the end of the esophagus and the stomach. This muscle relaxes in order to allow food to enter the stomach and contracts to prevent food from returning to the esophagus. Mints act to relax the muscle, which exacerbates acid reflux. However, I felt I needed it to relax to release all the trapped air. Whether or not it worked, or whether the gas finally dissolved on its own, I cannot say. But, I do know that eventually, I felt sufficiently comfortable to return to bed.
Now, I’ve tried to identify the triggers for the bloating, but it never is constant. I can be eating the same thing day after day and not have a problem and then bang! I’m bloated. The one thing I can associate it with is constipation. If the bowels are blocked up at one end, gas cannot pass through that end. So, when I feel bloated, I try to burp. Excessive burping warns me that my bowels are blocked.
People may not find passing gas very pleasant, but it is a necessary and vital part of life. Kids love it, though – they think it’s hilarious. Now, one should be careful not to encourage them to fart too loudly in public or amongst crowds, but one should not discourage them from relieving themselves when necessary, either. They should do it tactfully and others should tactfully try to ignore it.
It is a well-known fact that sleep deprivation affects your mood. So the recent Finnish study that reported children’s behaviour worsened with inadequate sleep should come as a no-brainer. However, it made news because most reports on sleep focused on adults.
But, now we know better. Children who do not get enough sleep may not show signs of sleepiness, but often they do. However, they may be very irritable and hyperactive, instead. Some, for those unfortunate parents, may show all these signs. It is difficult for most parents to gauge the amount of sleep their children are getting. Just because they’ve sent their children to bed does not mean that child fell asleep. Some children may have difficulty falling asleep while others purposely stay awake to do something else. The consequences are usually the same. Yet, it may be difficult to persuade children that if they had enough sleep, they would feel better.
The children in the Finnish study did not have ADHD, but when they had less than 8 hours of sleep, they began to display symptoms of ADHD. Perhaps, there is a connection somehow. It seems that more and more children are being diagnosed with ADHD recently. Many are treated; some may be inappropriately treated. Though the studies showed that 8 hours was the threshold for sleep adequacy, experts warn that not all children need 8 hours. The Healthy Blogger would agree. Some may need much more. On the other hand, some may function very well with less. This is less usual and would probably be more appropriate for older children. The same criteria can be applied to adults. Most require 8 hours, some may do with less, some will require more. And, usually the elderly do better with frequent short spurts of sleep.
However you look at it, we all need adequate sleep. How much is adequate is individualised. You can always tell when you’ve not had enough. Now, you know how to spot it in children as well.
Sleep disturbances have made news again. As mentioned previously, any sleep disorder can cause physical and mental fatigue. When the sleep disorder becomes chronic, people can become quite mentally disabled. In those who already suffer mental disorders, sleep problems may be a manifestation of that psychiatric disorder, but it may also cause or exacerbate the condition. Sleep disturbance and suicide have been linked in those with psychiatric problems, but new research shows that the two are also linked in those without psychiatric problems.
Lack of sleep affects a person’s judgment and ability to control impulses. Many attempted and successful suicides result from spur of the moment impulses. Of course, some will argue that the chronic insomnia created a psychiatric disorder, in which suicidal tendencies are just one manifestation. Nevertheless, it can be argued that someone without a pre-existing psychiatric illness can become suicidal from the sleep disturbance.
So it is extremely important to reiterate the need for adequate sleep. It is essential for normal day-to-day functioning as well to lengthen your lifespan.
I have pointed to all the dangers of not getting enough sleep, but I was surprised to find that some study in the past had pointed to an association between disrupted or lack of sleep and cancer risk. How they discovered this, I have no idea. But the fact that there was a link between working late night hours (or night shifts), which causes the disrupted sleep pattern, and the risk of cancer has now led to Denmark compensating women who worked night shifts and developed cancer. Of course, only those women who demonstrat that the cancer was caused by working night shifts and no other causes are the ones getting the compensation. There is a theory that melatonin, which is produced by the brain in response to sunlight, has some protection against cancer. For those working night shifts, the production of melatonin is suppressed, which makes them vulnerable to developing cancer. So far, it appears that the women being compensated are those who developed breast cancer. It is still unclear, however, what role melatonin plays in breast cancer protection. So, in addition to getting adequate sleep, now we must ensure that we sleep at the right time. Which means that those in financial hardships may have to give up their night jobs if they have to protect their health. For, if they are not healthy, they cannot work.
I have pointed to all the dangers of not getting enough sleep, but I was surprised to find that some study in the past had pointed to an association between disrupted or lack of sleep and cancer risk. How they discovered this, I have no idea. But the fact that there was a link between working late night hours (or night shifts), which causes the disrupted sleep pattern, and the risk of cancer has now led to Denmark compensating women who worked night shifts and developed cancer. Of course, only those women who demonstrat that the cancer was caused by working night shifts and no other causes are the ones getting the compensation.
There is a theory that melatonin, which is produced by the brain in response to sunlight, has some protection against cancer. For those working night shifts, the production of melatonin is suppressed, which makes them vulnerable to developing cancer. So far, it appears that the women being compensated are those who developed breast cancer. It is still unclear, however, what role melatonin plays in breast cancer protection.
So, in addition to getting adequate sleep, now we must ensure that we sleep at the right time. Which means that those in financial hardships may have to give up their night jobs if they have to protect their health. For, if they are not healthy, they cannot work.
The dangers of inadequate sleep have been stressed by scientists, but it seems that doctors do not discuss the risks with their patients as much as warning them against alcohol and cigarettes or advising on diet and exercise. This may be because many doctors themselves have lack of sleep and see it as a normal part of daily life.
Anyhow, for several years now, it has been pointed out that inadequate sleep, which some people had assumed would make them lose weight, actually caused weight gain. It is the same with stress. Though at some point in the past people had associated weight loss with stress, the reverse is now becoming true. As obesity becomes more pervasive, it just seems that it enters into every aspect of daily living. Because of this tendency to gain weight, researchers have found that those who do not get adequate sleep are at risk of developing pre-diabetes, or impaired fasting glucose, a state where the body makes excessive insulin but the body is not responding to it. There are many theories, and one is that the body makes insulin in response to stress and insulin is known to cause weight gain.
The study set the limit on sleep at six hours, which is less than the previously recommended eight hours, which many of us are struggling to get every night. So, besides all the dangers of fatigue and lack of concentration due to inadequate sleep, now everyone needs to be warned about the dangers of developing diabetes. Will the bad news ever end?
Getting enough sleep has been stressed in order to maintain general well-being; with the recommended number of hours being eight. I don’t know how they came up with this magical number, but since I can never seem to even get this number of hours in during the night, I cannot test the theory. I do know that lack of sleep has certainly affected my concentration and memory. Studies have shown that short-term lack of sleep, especially in people suffering from jet-lag and new parents, can affect memory, which can worsen if that lack of sleep is not remedied.
Besides the memory issues, I have to face fatigue and lethargy. Though some people may advocate caffeinated drinks to overcome this, I have not found that it helps. It seems to make it worse for me. My problem is that even if my body is ready to go, my mind might not be. Or vice versa. Unless both mind and body are functioning together, I cannot be productive.
Some days, when I have nothing planned for the day, I might sleep in to catch up on the sleep. You’d think that would help, but instead it exacerbates the fatigue. After a few nights of less than eight hours sleep, it seems my body starts to adjust and if I sleep in, then it seems to want more. It becomes a vicious cycle. This recession has not helped any, because the added financial stress makes it difficult for me to fall asleep.
I will need to come up with some good relaxation techniques in order to overcome the stress and sleep problems. As studies have shown that recession can lead to a decline in public health, I need to take special care to avoid becoming a statistic.