Sunday, May 1, 2011

9 Tips For Better Sleep to Night

Have trouble dozing off at night? Put away your Sleepytime tea—a new technology might help you catch more ZZZs. A studypublished online in the journal Brain and Behavior suggests that a special therapy that matches musical tones to brainfrequencies may reduce symptoms of insomnia.

Twenty people with signs of insomnia participated in the study. First, researchers established the participants’ InsomniaSeverity Index (ISI)—a scale that measures sleep disruption. Then they separated the participants into two groups—a controlgroup, and a group that was given a therapy called high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalicmirroring (HIRREM), or, as it’s commercially known, Brainwave Optimization.

HIRREM involves using sensors to detect electrical frequency bands in the brain. Once scientists identify a specificfrequency, they assign it a coordinating musical tone, which is then played back to participants via earbuds within 12milliseconds of frequency detection. The musical tones reportedly help correct any frequency imbalances between the twohemispheres of the brain. (Those imbalances can be caused by trauma, or extended periods of stress, which create a fight orflight response in the brain, according to Charles Tegeler, M.D., professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist andprincipal investigator of the study.

Participants who received the HIRREM therapy showed a significant drop in their ISI. The control group members, whooriginally reported no sleep improvement without the HIRREM, were also later administered the treatment and saw asignificant drop in their ISI scores as well. (Disclaimer: The study was funded by a grant from Brain State Technologies,LLC, Scottsdale, Ariz., the company that owns the technology used in the study.

While Tegeler says you probably can’t replicate these results at home, there are other ways to get better sleep that don’tinvolve an EEG. Try these tips the next time you need to get some serious shut-eye:

Don’t Focus on Sleeping
The more you think about the sleep you are missing, the more stressed you will be. And more stress means even less sleep.If you wake up and can’t fall back asleep within 15-20 minutes, get out of bed. Do something relaxing outside of thebedroom, like listening to music or reading. If you lie there stressing out about falling back asleep, you’ll only get moreanxious. Understand that sometimes the quality of your slumber is out of your control.

Stick to a Schedule
Regularity is sleep’s best friend. Try and adhere to a strict bedtime and wake time every day, even on the weekends. Whenyour body has a routine, it knows when to start winding down and preparing for sleep.

Check for Sleep Apnea
Snoring is common, and although it’s usually harmless, it could be a symptom of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. If youhave long pauses in your snoring (ask a friend/bedmate to listen), see your doctor. Sleep apnea, while sometimes lifethreatening, can be treated.

Turn to the Tub
Your mom knew a thing or two about nighttime baths. The body starts to feel sleepy when it’s temperature drops. You canexaggerate that effect by taking a warm bath or shower and then lying down and letting your body heat get low.

Block Out the Light
Even just a little bit of light can disturb your sleep. So make sure to shut off all your night lights and hallway lamps,not to mention TVs, laptops, tablets, and phones, well before you head for bed.

Exercise Earlier
Regular exercise can actually improve your sleep but you need to schedule it for the right time. Working out too close to bedtime may cause your body temperature to stay elevated, which makes it harder to doze off. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bedtime–preferably in the afternoon.

Avoid Heavy Foods and Booze
Consuming heavy foods or alcohol before bed can cause indigestion, not to mention frequent trips to the bathroom. Andalthough drinking alcohol may make you tired and help you fall asleep faster, you will wake up more often and not get thequality of sleep you need to feel rested the next day.

Upgrade Your Pillow
Choose a pillow that is supportive, comfortable, and suited to your sleeping position. A stomach sleeper and a side sleeper may need different pillows. Find the best pillow for your sleep habits.

Knock Boots
Yep, sex before bed can help you fall asleep faster, too. Getting frisky releases feel-good endorphins which can relieve

stress, making it easier to fall asleep. Sounds good to us.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these tips! I have a boyfriend that really struggles with regular quality sleep. I'm definitely going to be passing on your expertise :)

    New follower here! :) x