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  • Sleep Education

    The idea of providing education about sleep within our children’s health programs in school is a novel one, but one that should be seriously considered. Most people think of sleep as something that comes naturally and that is an unchanging aspect of our lives, but our sleep requirements change dramatically as we age; every aspect, including how much rest we need, what time we go to sleep and how much of our time is spent dreaming or not, changes as we progress from infancy, to childhood, from teenage years to middle and old age.  Our lack of knowledge about these changes can lead to health problems and even dangerous situations as we get older, and all of these problems could be minimized with a little bit of basic guidance, much like that which is offered regarding nutrition.  Continue reading

  • Insomnia: Its Dangers and its Causes

    The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be stressed strongly enough: when a person suffers from sleep deprivation they are operating at an extreme disadvantage in terms of happiness and mental acuity, and if their sleep debt builds for more than a few days the dangers of something disastrous happening increase dramatically.  Unfortunately, just as sleep is one of the first things that people are willing to sacrifice when it comes to a tug of war between social or work obligations and getting enough rest, the same lack of understanding of sleep’s importance can mean that a person who experiences repeated bouts of insomnia dismisses the problem as insignificant. When insomnia strikes for more than a few days, it is essential that its cause is found and it is treated. Continue reading

  • Sleep and Aging

    It seems as though just as we outgrow the notorious teenage problem of being unable to fall asleep at a healthy hour, life and all of its relentless responsibilities catches up with us and piles on top of us, offering us absolutely no relief from the sleep deprivation that seems to have followed us from puberty on up. As our bodies age and our muscles, bones, skin and internal organs begin to deteriorate in middle age, our sleep cycles do as well.

    Though we can blame much of it on nature, the truth is that much of our middle-aged sleep deprivation arises from our own dreams and desires. We prioritize the business of our lives so that sleep is shattered by our schedules rather than by hormones or a shifting biological sleep clock.  The requirements of our work lives, the need to care for our families and all of the other million things that drive us all to run ourselves ragged also end up infringing upon our sleep time, in large part because we still have not correctly prioritized our bodies’ need for rest.  Most middle-aged adults get seven hours of sleep per night, a number that is probably less than they need. Continue reading

  • The New Sleeping Pills

    For those patients who have consistent sleep problems that are having a profound or sustained impact on their lives, physicians may recommend the use of prescription sleeping medicines. Where prescription sleeping pills were once actually depression medications that were used for their sedative effects, the new class of sleeping pills works specifically on the sleep cycle rather than as a secondary effect. All of these drugs are much more powerful than any of the over the counter or natural remedies that are available, and it is important that people taking them understand the impact that they have on their bodies and brain functions: prescription sleeping aids interfere with your ability to concentrate, make informed decisions and react quickly, so tasks such as driving or operating heavy machinery should never be undertaken while they are active in your system.  Continue reading

  • Dreaming while Pregnant

    Pregnant women have been found to experience many more dreams than do women who are not pregnant, and this is particularly interesting when you consider the fact that overall, pregnant women tend to get much less sleep. Pregnancy makes women tired but also introduces a great deal of stress and discomfort, particularly during the third trimester when the body’s burden exacts a toll and it is difficult to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. The baby’s kicking can actually wake the mother from a sound sleep, which becomes increasingly rare due to worries about the upcoming responsibility they are facing. Continue reading

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