Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dealing with Insomnia - A Farewell To Sleepless Nights

Sleep is a matter of vital concern to everyone, but it is an entirely individual matter; one cannot lay down any rules about it. Some people, for example Napoleon, could manage perfectly with four hours of sleep while others require eight to nine hours. Napoleon could sleep at will. Even in the middle of a battle he could take ashort nap. There is the case of Lord Nuffield, who never slept at all and yet his brain was razor-sharp throughout his life. Winston Churchill used to sleep for three hours every afternoon, but worked regularly until the early hours of the morning.

Causes Of Sleeplessness
There is a close relationship between worry and sleeplessness. If one has a number of worries, for example, insecurity in one's work, children doing badly, sickness or marital disharmony, these factors often play on the subconscious and the result is sleeplessness. Insomnia may also be due to climate, ill-fitting pyjamas, uncomfortable mattresses or bad-clothing, drinking too much coffee — one cup will not keep you awake — fear, sexual abstinence or unsatisfactory sex relations.

Sleeping Pills
When there is some special worry, say, a death in the family or some serious problem at work, one may be justified in taking some of the numerous tranquillizers or sleeping pills one finds on the market. Tranquillizers generally have few side-effects and enable the mind-temporarily to forget its worries. However, one
should never make a habit of taking tranquillizers or sleeping pills for going to sleep. The reason is that in course of time, sleeping pills will lose their effectiveness and excessive and continuous taking of such drugs is bound to have some bad effects.

Worry About Sleeplessness Bad
One of the most common problems relating to sleeplessness is the worry which so many people have because they think that they are not getting enough sleep. In most cases, this worry is entirely unnecessary as such people probably do not need more sleep: they get all the sleep they need. Often, these very same people have brief cat-naps during the day, and this together wilh the sleep which they have had at night is more than enough for their wellbeing. In fact, such people should consider themselves fortunate as they have some extra hours every night during which they can read and which less fortunate people who sleep eight or nine hours every night do not have.

Special Diet, Drink And Sleep
There are a very large number of patented drinks and food advertised for bringing about sleep. But in most cases, the effect of these rather expensive preparations is almost entirely useless for inducing sleep. They are usually purchased by people who are so desperate for sleep that they are willing to try anything. There is a widespread belief that hot milk taken before going to bed brings about sleep, but there is little medical basis to support this.

Suggestions For Insomniacs
What very often brings about sleeplessness is an upset tummy which might be caused through over-eating and over-drinking. A tablet of soda mint or milk of magnesia might just do the trick and put right the upset tummy and the result will be sleep.
  • Persons who have difficulty in sleeping should not take the offensive: let them use the hours during which they cannot sleep by reading something useful. This is very often a time when the brain is clear and capable of learning and absorbing difficult ideas and concepts. In time, sleep is bound to come; this is certainly far better than just tossing about restlessly in bed. Anxiety about lack of sleep is much more harmful than any actual loss of sleep. Some of the insomniacs time could also be spent taking in large doses of fresh air or by exercising.
  • A useful exercise which very often brings about sleep is to lie flat on one's back: hands by the side, legs slightly apart. In this posture, one should breathe deeply and slowly through the nose, both in and out. The brain should concentrate on the breathing and the body should be completely relaxed. In time, sleep will come; and even if sleep does not come, it does not matter: this posture and breathing will refresh and relax the body even without actual sleep.
  • When one is physically tired, one goes off to sleep immediately. Take a walk after dinner or in the evening or play games to produce a healthy physical tiredness and banish tension. Exercise is the best antidote to emotional tension. And once tension is removed, sleep comes very soon.
  • After a certain age persons tend to wake very early, as they may need only four or five hours of sleep. It may be advisable for such persons to go to sleep much later in tlie night to avoid waking up in the small hours of the morning.
Myths About Sleep
  • That a certain number of hours of sleep are necessary for one's health.
  • If one loses sleep for any reason over a night or two, one must make it up as soon as possible.
  • That insomnia is dangerous to health and may lead to insanity or death.
  • One hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.
Facts About Sleep
  • Old people sleep less than youngsters and men sleep less than women. Married people sleep better than single folk.
  • Fifty-two per cent of Americans suffer some difficulty getting to sleep.
  • One sleeps much better in a single bed compared to a double-bed.
  • Sleep comes in waves: it is light or it is heavy. Heavy sleep may only last for about one or two hours but even that can be quite enough for a good night's rest.

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