When Your Mind Won’t Wind Down


Where Is The Off Switch?

Have you ever been so wound up with thoughts or concerns that your brain refused to allow you to fall into blissful sleep? As long as your emotions are influenced by excessive amounts of stress, the pressure will continue to spark anxiety which will continue to rob you of sleep, even if your body is completely wiped out. A vicious cycle of insomnia not only prevents the body from getting the restorative sleep it needs, it can contribute to depression or panic disorder.

People are so busy these days that it can be a challenge to check off everything on to-do lists, so it is rather common to see folks working right up until bedtime. However, if you are having problems turning off your thoughts at night, you must break this habit and allow yourself to calm your mind in preparation for sleep. That means you need to avoid activities like housework, checking emails, paying bills, or any other activity which keeps your mind active, for at least an hour before your usual bedtime.

Anxiety and Sleep

What fuels the mind and makes it work overtime in the majority of cases is anxiety. The bed is supposed to be a place for sleep, yet many individuals lie in bed with thoughts spilling over, and are unable to get the thoughts to cease because they provoke anxiety. The chances of solving any problems while trying to fall asleep are slim, so the constant worrying only serves to interrupt much-needed sleep. Honestly, how often have you been able to solve an issue you were worried about, after you crawled in bed? Your mind will be better equipped to solve any issues which plague you if you shut off your thoughts and allow the restorative benefits of sleep to take over.

Go To Paradise

Try redirecting your thoughts by practicing guided imagery. While lying in bed, close your eyes and imagine a beautiful place, such as a tropical paradise. Breathe slowly and evenly, while imagining hearing the waves crash on the beach, and feeling the sand and the warmth of the sun. You can even play ambient sounds of the ocean to help you visualize the scene. This relaxation technique can be extremely effective in not only shutting off the endless chatter in your brain, but also in getting you to fall asleep.

If you are concerned that ideas or concerns will pop into your head in the middle of the night, keep a notebook and a pen next to your bed. Once you write something down, put the notebook away and let it go. Remember that it really can wait until tomorrow.

Macafem Video Review on YouTube

Please check out my review of Macafem which was shot in 2015. Macafem is a supplement designed to address the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause (hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, etc.). I have not been approached, paid, or otherwise encouraged by the makers of Macafem to put a review together. This video is merely my unbiased review of the product from my personal experience taking it.

I am still taking Macafem, and my symptoms of night sweats and hot flashes have pretty much subsided. I also lost all the water weight I was carrying while I went through menopause.

Tired Body, Active Brain

Improve-Your-Sleep-806x393

Original post can be found at:

http://xactmind.com/xc/articles/tired-body-active-brain/

By: Dr. Stacey Naito – Physician and IFBB Pro

Where Is The Off Switch?

Have you ever been so wound up with thoughts or concerns that your brain refused to allow you to fall into blissful sleep? As long as your emotions are influenced by excessive amounts of stress, the pressure will continue to spark anxiety which will continue to rob you of sleep, even if your body is completely wiped out. A vicious cycle of insomnia not only prevents the body from getting the restorative sleep it needs, it can contribute to depression or panic disorder.

People are so busy these days that it can be a challenge to check off everything on to-do lists, so it is rather common to see folks working right up until bedtime. However, if you are having problems turning off your thoughts at night, you must break this habit and allow yourself to calm your mind in preparation for sleep. That means you need to avoid activities like housework, checking emails, paying bills, or any other activity which keeps your mind active, for at least an hour before your usual bedtime.

Anxiety and Sleep

What fuels the mind and makes it work overtime in the majority of cases is anxiety. The bed is supposed to be a place for sleep, yet many individuals lie in bed with thoughts spilling over, and are unable to get the thoughts to cease because they provoke anxiety. The chances of solving any problems while trying to fall asleep are slim, so the constant worrying only serves to interrupt much-needed sleep. Honestly, how often have you been able to solve an issue you were worried about, after you crawled in bed? Your mind will be better equipped to solve any issues which plague you if you shut off your thoughts and allow the restorative benefits of sleep to take over.

Go To Paradise

Try redirecting your thoughts by practicing guided imagery. While lying in bed, close your eyes and imagine a beautiful place, such as a tropical paradise. Breathe slowly and evenly, while imagining hearing the waves crash on the beach, and feeling the sand and the warmth of the sun. You can even play ambient sounds of the ocean to help you visualize the scene. This relaxation technique can be extremely effective in not only shutting off the endless chatter in your brain, but also in getting you to fall asleep.

If you are concerned that ideas or concerns will pop into your head in the middle of the night, keep a notebook and a pen next to your bed. Once you write something down, put the notebook away and let it go. Remember that it really can wait until tomorrow.

Hot and Cold

Hot-Flashes-2

Many women who are in their early 40’s and beyond experience a roller coaster ride with their internal thermostats which is absolutely maddening. They can go from sitting comfortably one minute, to a sudden sweat and flush which makes them feel like they are standing next to a fiery blaze the next minute. Such a roast-fest can last from seconds to minutes, after which a woman may feel pretty comfortable. But the pendulum can swing the other way, and the woman may suddenly feel very cold once the air conditioning has kicked in, prompting her to put on a sweater. Guess what? Chances are that sweater will be peeled off in a matter of minutes when the woman has another hot flash. Hot, cold, hot, cold, hot, cold. Fun times. Such fluctuations in a woman’s perception of temperature, coupled with her constant putting on and taking off layers of clothing, are often perceived as pretty nutty by people who don’t have a clue about the torture these women go through.

I can relate to the constant temperature fluctuations because I have been suffering from it for over a year now. I fully realize that my body doesn’t know what temperature it is. Thanks to hormonal imbalance and the decline associated with peri-menopause, I am very familiar with the sweating which is sudden and intense, and I know that feeling of desperation which has me peeling off clothes, fanning myself, and sticking my head in freezers and in front of blowing fans. However, I only recently began experiencing the feeling that I am suddenly freezing my butt off, and I truly can’t stand it. My perception of the ambient temperature can go from upper 70’s, to 120 degrees, to 60 degrees, within 5 minutes flat.

woman with chills

On my worst days I will have maybe five or six of these episodes, so the daytime hours aren’t too bad, but my evenings make up for the relative break I get during the day, because I am hot and sweaty for many hours and cannot cool down at all, even if I wear a cooling towel around my neck, lie on the floor under my ceiling fan (the darned thing is positioned right over the foot of the bed and doesn’t cool me off at all when I am in bed), and lie over the covers. My bedroom feels like it is 100 degrees and I cannot get away from the heat because, of course, the heat is emanating from ME. My hypothalamus is tricked every night into perceiving that my body needs to release excess heat. I know that this is the result of low estrogen levels, but my professional knowledge of estrogen therapy is enough to keep me from ever supplementing with estrogen, so I will continue to suffer as long as my hypothalamus triggers the way it does. At least I know I am not alone: about 85% of women who are peri-menopausal experience hot flashes. Hot flashes can last from several months up to 15 years, with an average of 2 years. I hope and pray that I fall into the average! Seriously, hot flashes and night sweats are absolutely miserable. I often get as little as two hours of sleep at night when my night sweats are in full effect!

Melatonin

Originally published on RxGirl on Thursday, 19 June 2014

http://www.rxmuscle.com/rx-girl-articles/11102-melatonin.html
Sleep-girl
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain which regulates the wake-sleep cycle. Production is turned on later in the evening when lights are turned off for bedtime. However, there are a number of poor habits which people commonly engage in which interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, with harmful results such as impaired immune response, increased rate of cellular aging, and increasing the risk of cancer formation.

Basically, those late nights you spend watching TV or reading are interfering with optimal health. As soon as a light is turned on at night, you send a signal to your brain that it is daytime. Production of melatonin ceases and does not resume when you turn the light off either.

Shorter wavelengths (red, orange, yellow) of light are less detrimental than white or blue light and should be used in the evening. I love the salt lamp I have in my bedroom and try to use that light as my sole illumination in the bedroom as much as possible at night.

Why is it so important to preserve the body’s natural production of melatonin? Because melatonin is a potent antioxidant and excellent for reducing inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.

Implement the following guidelines to optimize the body’s production of melatonin:

1. Try to get daily bright sun exposure. Production of melatonin approximates the contrast between bright sun exposure during the day and complete darkness in the evening.

SuprachiasmaticNucleus

2. Turn off your computer and TV at least one hour before going to bed. Both computers and televisions emit blue light which interferes with the body’s normal production of melatonin.

3. Sleep without any lights on. The darker your room is while you sleep, the better chance you have of allowing your body to produce melatonin without interruption.

4. Drop the thermostat to 60 to 70 degrees.

If you think your melatonin levels are low or you have lab work demonstrating low melatonin, and you also suffer from insomnia, you might want to supplement with melatonin tablets. Beware of the dosage, and keep it at 0.5 to 3 milligrams maximum dosage each night. At higher doses, melatonin can have hypnotic effects on some individuals, and on others, a paradoxical hyperaware state may manifest.

On a personal note, I had lab work early this year which demonstrated low melatonin, but I wasn’t suffering from insomnia. A colleague insisted I supplement with 3 milligrams of melatonin per night, which resulted in anxiety and a completely sleepless night for all of the nights I took melatonin.

Another caution: If you are trying to get pregnant, you must avoid taking melatonin supplements because they interfere with fertility.

Melatonin Article For RxGirl.com

Original post can be found here:

http://www.rxmuscle.com/rx-girl-articles/11102-melatonin.html

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain which regulates the wake-sleep cycle. Production is turned on later in the evening when lights are turned off for bedtime. However, there are a number of poor habits which people commonly engage in which interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, with harmful results such as impaired immune response, increased rate of cellular aging, and increasing the risk of cancer formation. Basically, those late nights you spend watching T.V. or reading are interfering with optimal health. As soon as a light is turned on at night, you send a signal to your brain that is daytime, and production of melatonin ceases, and does not resume when you turn the light off either.
Shorter wavelengths (red, orange, yellow) of light are less detrimental than white or blue light and should be used in the evening. I love the salt lamp I have in my bedroom and try to use that light as my sole illumination in the bedroom as much as possible at night. Why is it so important to preserve the body’s natural production of melatonin? Because melatonin is a potent antioxidant and excellent for reducing inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.

Implement the following guidelines to optimize the body’s production of melatonin:

SuprachiasmaticNucleus1. Try to get daily bright sun exposure. Production of melatonin approximates the contrast between bright sun exposure during the day and complete darkness in the evening.

2. Turn off your computer and T.V. at least one hour before going to bed. Both computers and T.V.’s emit blue light which interferes with the body’s normal production of melatonin.

3. Sleep without any lights on. The darker your room is while you sleep, the better chance you have of allowing your body to produce melatonin without interruption.

4. Drop the thermostat to 60 to 70 degrees.

If you think your melatonin levels are low or you have labwork demonstrating low melatonin, and you also suffer from insomnia, you might want to supplement with melatonin tablets. Beware of the dosage, and keep it at 0.5 to 3 milligrams maximum dosage each night. At higher doses, melatonin can have hypnotic effects on some individuals, and on others, a paradoxical hyperaware state may manifest. On a personal note, I had labwork early this year which demonstrated low melatonin, but I wasn’t suffering from insomnia. A colleague insisted I supplement with 3 milligrams of melatonin per night, which resulted in anxiety and a completely sleepless night for all of the nights I took melatonin. Another caution is if you are trying to get pregnant, you must avoid taking melatonin supplements, because they interfere with fertility.

I Sleep Like A Rock

Sleep-GarfieldI feel sorry for everyone who suffers from insomnia and can only imagine how exhausting it must be to have the desire to sleep with a body that won’t allow slumber to occur. Though I have had a few very brief bouts of insomnia in my life, I have always slept VERY deeply from the time I was an infant. My mother found it humorous that I could sleep through alarms and small earthquakes without a single response. This actually was problematic for me in my teens and early adulthood because it always required a gargantuan effort on my part to try to wake up at a decent hour.

Even now, after suffering from several days of sleep deprivation, my body completely rebels and insists on a full eight hours of sleep, pinning my eyelids together and making it impossible for me to progress from a state of slumber to a wakeful state until the full eight hour rest stretch is completed. I can hear insomniacs around the globe groaning as they read this blogpost, but this is honestly a problem! I can also drink a large mug of caffeinated coffee right before going to bed and sleep like a baby. Believe me when I say I wish I could bottle this up for insomniacs because I would be filthy rich by now!