Health
3/24/10 at 12:49 PM 0 Comments

Why can't I fall asleep?

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The inability to get a good night sleep is a huge problem that effects our overall health. It's when you repair and recharge your body. In fact, sleep is when you release your growth hormones and activate your immune system. So, the lack of sleep can be detrimental to your overall health.

When people tell me they have problems sleeping, the first thing we need to differentiate is do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This helps determine if whether or not your diet and ability to keep your blood sugar stable is also part of the problem.

Either way both problems are usually associated with stress and exhausted adrenal glands. Today, I'm going to focus more on those who have a hard time falling asleep. I am not going to discuss the same old suspects that always get mentioned by mainstream medicine such as no caffeine, use your bedroom only for sleep, turn the lights down, etc, which are important but don't cover the whole story and what could truly be the cause of your sleep problem.

Let's think about it for a moment, because if you look at history, and how we lived before the advent of the light bulb. When the sun began to set and evening came upon us, we usually began to unwind and prepare for bedtime. There was nothing else to do....we relaxed, we talked with our families, we read, we did all types of things that triggered our body and brain to literally calm down and relax. This made it easy to fall asleep, because all the chemical brain messengers (neurotransmitters) that tell the body to relax, unwind are being released at the end of the day when there wasn't much else to do.

This relaxing period at the end of the day was great because it automatically caused our ‘excitatory' neurotransmitter and brain messengers that stimulate our brain to calm down and literally turn down. This is a good and normal thing and the way He designed us. The activation of our relaxing brain messengers should outweigh the activation of our stimulatory brain messengers in the evening, which makes it easier to fall asleep

Unfortunately, times have changed and instead of quietly relaxing in the evening, many of us are playing stimulating video games, checking e-mails, working late hours, searching the internet, watching stimulating television, racing to and from athletic activities for the kids, and the list goes on. The point is all these activities increase the production of our stimulatory brain messengers such as dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These 'excitatory' neurotransmitters stimulate your brain the same way a stimulant like coffee does, which is why it is hard to fall asleep...even though you are following all the other suggested sleep tips.

How can anyone fall asleep with all these stimulatory brain messengers racing through their body late in the evening - it doesn't happen. This is why so many people are turning to sleeping pill.  They manipulate your brain messengers, but don't forget every drug has its side effect!

There are so many people who are staying away from caffeine and doing all the other commonly suggested stuff and are oblivious to the fact that their lifestyle is part of the problem and needs to be addressed. So to improve your sleep, don't just look at the same old usual suspects. Take a look at what you do in the evening. If you are still running and going till it's time to jump in bed, you might want to change a few things.

1. Stop working and begin to relax at least an hour before bed.

2. Take a good nutritional supplement to help increase the relaxing brain messengers such as magnesium, chamomile, valerian, l-theanine...I like the relaxing teas at the end of the day.

3. Read a good book, I'm a fan of ‘the' good book or something motivational. What you feed your mind with before you fall asleep is what your subconscious will chew on for the next 8 hours.

4. Do some light stretching before going to bed...you will be amazed at how relaxing that is.

5. A warm bath with 2 cups of Epsom salt is great because Epsom salt is loaded with magnesium, add a cup of baking soda to protect your skin..

6. Try one of the new 3D Holographic Chips for Sleep. They work along the same lines of acupuncture and ‘energy' medicine, but without the needles. They made a believer out of me when they helped me get through some tough sleepless nights. I like them because they are so easy to use. Don't worry about how many pills to take, do I take with foods, how long before bed?

The most important thing about a good night sleep is that you have to have it. I don't know why He designed us to be asleep a third of our lifetime, but who am I to question why! The body is not designed to function without sleep, so give your body a chance to repair and recharge. Next time I'll talk about what we can do to help stay asleep, which is also an adrenal problem, but we are going to discuss why diet and our maintaining our blood sugar is critical for a good night sleep

Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness expert, as well as, author and developer of the new fitness product the Work Horse Trainer. His goal is to help people who are looking for answers on how to stay healthy and fit. To learn more or join his bi-weekly teleseminars visit www.DrLenLopez.com and follow his daily Blog or simply use the online health quizzes.


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