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Want To Sleep Better?

Following on yesterday’s article about EMF radiation, I am getting quite a few inquiries from my readers saying “HELP ME SLEEP!” or “how can I sleep better?”

Initially it might seem like the two articles are not connected, but they definitely are.  If you are trying to sleep in a room that has high electro-magnetic frequencies, chances are your sleep is going to be disturbed.

Melatonin Plays a Role

Also the whole issue about melatonin comes into play – I mentioned in yesterday’s article that studies have shown women who have breast cancer normally have quite low levels of melatonin, often as little as one-tenth what they should.  Check out yesterday’s article: EMF Dangers and 7 Tips To Help You Avoid Exposure.

If you have breast cancer or are wanting to reduce your risk of it, improving your quality of sleep is, I believe, absolutely crucial.  Studies have shown that shift workers, especially nurses, are more prone to breast cancer and the researchers are discovering that lack of melatonin could be the cause.

Why We Don’t Sleep Well

Since there seems to be a great need out there to improve quality of sleep, let’s first examine some of the reasons why people don’t sleep well:

  • Noise – from the neighborhood, a snoring spouse or pet, crying children, barking dogs, screaming ambulances – noise can be a big problem
  • Light – too much light entering the bedroom
  • Pets – needy pets sleeping on your head don’t help!
  • Alcohol – a big sleep disturber
  • Caffeine – stimulates your nervous system, and lots of caffeine over the period of a day can build up
  • Thinking and Anxiety – an inability to shut the mind off or feeling anxious about things
  • Jet Lag – constant travel can be a problem for your inner time clock
  • Restless Legs – sufferers of this syndrome have an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve sensations described as itchiness, pins and needles or other discomforts
  • Hot Flashes – whether you are menopausal or undergoing treatment for breast cancer, you know how completely sleep can be interrupted by these darned things

My 11 Best Tips – How to Sleep Better

  1. Remove EMFs – See yesterday’s article about removing EMFs from the bedroom.
  2. Noise Reduction – It can be difficult to control the noise factor.  I have tried earplugs but I hate the sensation of them in my ears and find that makes sleep difficult.  Often just turning on a fan can be helpful – the “white noise” from the fan and the movement of air can be soothing.  Also, there are “white noise” machines available from places such as Sharper Image, Amazon.com, etc.  Just ensure you don’t place it close to the bed (again, the EMF problem).  If a snoring partner is the problem, one of you should move to another room to sleep, if possible.
  3. Light Reduction  – Make your bedroom as dark as possible.  This is important because if your bedroom is full of too much light (including light from an alarm clock), it directly inhibits the production of melatonin.  Use room darkening shades if possible and rid your bedroom of as many appliances as you can that create little lights at night.
  4. Pets – People love their pets, but pets have no place in the bedroom, I am sorry to say.  They can disturb your sleep by wanting to play or wanting to be let out or… whatever.  If you are having trouble sleeping (unless of course the pet helps you to sleep), getting pets out of the bedroom helps a lot.  Here’s an article from webmd I found extremely helpful.
  5. Limit Alcohol – Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not help you sleep.  Studies show that alcohol decreases the duration of sleep and its efficiency.  It also increases your risk of breast cancer.
  6. Limit Caffeine – How caffeine affects us varies widely.  For instance I’m very intolerant of it, I can’t have it past about 1 pm in the day or I’ll be awake half the night.  My husband can drink black tea all day and all night and sleep like a baby.  I believe each person’s tolerance for caffeine is pretty different.  Just be aware of what yours is – it is, after all, a stimulant to the nervous system.  If you’re finding that you don’t sleep well, try limiting your caffeine intake after about 3 pm for about 2 weeks and see what happens.
  7. Meditation and Positive Affirmations – Thinking too much and anxiety are double trouble, much prone to them myself.  Here’s what helps me.  If I meditate for 20 minutes prior to going to bed, I sleep much better.  The use of positive affirmations helps with anxiety.  One of the tenets of Buddhism is living in the moment.  If you find your brain is running amok and going through all those “what if’s” and it’s creating massive anxiety, ask yourself this question.  AM I OKAY RIGHT THIS MINUTE?  99% of the time, the answer will be “yes”.  Tell yourself, “I am okay right now and right now is all that matters”.  Are you aware that 90% of the things we worry about never happen?  Just breathe.  Be here now.  Without wishing to minimize your problems and worries, it might help you to realize that if  you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, you are doing better than 50% of the population of this planet.
  8. Jet Lag Tips – A big sleep disruptor.  Here’s a good article from USA Today on how to reduce jet lag.
  9. Restless Legs – This can be a big problem for a lot of people, including me.  I found a great cure for it when I was living in Australia – maddeningly the cure isn’t available in the USA.  It’s a supplement made by a company out of New Zealand, Blackmores, and it’s called P.P.M.P. which stands for Potassium phosphate Magnesium phosphate.  I haven’t found anything else that works faster.  The Mayo Clinic has an article about RLS with some tips and tricks which may help.
  10. Aromatherapy – Breathing in a good quality lavender essential oil and spreading it onto the bottoms of your feet just prior to bed helps immensely because it has wonderful calming qualities and helps with depth and quality of sleep.  Essential oils are extremely beneficial for more than just sleep improvement! For more info see my page about essential oils.
  11. Cool Those Hot Flashes – I wish I had the cure-all for this.  I’ve found many things that assist, nothing that makes them go away entirely.  I wrote an article recently with some tips and tricks.

I really hope that this helps you get a better night’s sleep.

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