If you have genuine Insomnia, you owe it to yourself to consider getting help because it not only makes you feel miserable…it can increase your risk of developing diabetes, depression,obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Self – test?

It takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep (at a time when you would normally sleep) or you wake up more than 3 times during the night and stay up more than 30 minutes in total and, this happens more than three times a week, more than three weeks a month, for at least three months.

Sleeping pills can cause more risks than benefits.  New finding:  Researchers analyzed studies involving 2,417 people who took either a placebo or a prescription sleep aid, such as zolpidem (Ambien) or over the counter medication, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), for five or more consecutive nights.

People who took sedatives were more than twice as likely to report daytime  fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, and falls.

A late bedtime is actually better than a full night of sleep with interruptions. New study: Adults who had a delayed bedtime experienced only a 12% reduction in positive mood versus 31% in those who were awakened serveral times during the night. Explanation: The interrupted sleepers had less slow-wave sleep, the type that leaves you feeling restored and rested.

A recent study of more than 400 adults, found that those who try to make up for lost sleep by napping and/or staying in bed longer in the morning reinforce poor sleeping patterns, which can lead to  chronic insomnia.  Get UP!!!

There is a non-pharmaceutical treatment that is proven to work for insomnia.  It is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBTI).  CBTI is a specialized form of cognitive behavioral therapy that emphasizes changing how our thoughts are structured (the cognitive element) and how we act (Behavioral  element).

The American College of Physicians recommends people with insomnia try CBTI before starting any medication.The problem is there are not enough specialists trained in delivering CBTI.  For additional info go to the internet and put in CBTI.

A study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine analyzed data from 440,00 British adults found that those who characterized themselves as “morning people” compared with “evening people” ate 25% more fruit and 13% more vegetables and spent less time on sedentary activities such as watching tv (about 29 fewer minutes a day) and computer screens.  “Morning people” were 60% less likely to be smokers.

While lifestyle change is never easy, there is growing evidence that becoming less of a night owl and more of a morning lark is a good place to start.  Hitting the sack earlier may not only help you get more sleep..a healthy thing in itself…also make it easier to achieve other healthy lifestyle changes.

Trouble having staying asleep.  Make certain you are eating adequate calories for dinner.  Skipping dinner causes your blood sugar level to drop, which increases cortisol in your body and can wake you up.  Eating a solid, healthful dinner that contains all three macronutrients…protein, fat, and carbohydrate..can mitigate this.

The National Sleep Foundation  offers some tips on getting a restful sleep.

Sleep problems and age related brain changes  are inconclusive, whether lack of sleep ages the brain or an aging brain thwarts sleep.still is a question needing answers. Hopefully, in the near future research will answer the question. It is important that we do everything we can to keep the brain fit. 

Stay on schedule:  Stick to the same bedtime and wakeup time as much as possible to train your body to keep with a healthful sleep-wake cycle.

Get Ready:  Relax before you go to sleep.  Turn off electronic devices about an hour before bed.

Skip the cat nap: Napping can leave you sleepless at night, make an effort to limit daytime naps.

Don’t force the issue:  If you can’t sleep, don’t force it. Get up,read a book,have a cup of soothing chamomile or passion flower tea and try again later.

Pass on the nightcap: Don’t drink alcohol close to bedtime.  Although an alcoholic drink can help lull you to sleep, it can adversely affect how well you sleep.  You will often find yourself waking up feeling restless and dehydrated a few hours later.