Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do You Have a Sleep Debt? by Gordie Guide

If you have trouble sleeping, you may be accumulating a debt that is difficult to pay back - a sleep debt. According to the National Sleep Foundation roughly 6 out of 10 people in the United States suffers from problems getting a restful night of sleep.

There are many variables when it comes to lack of sleep but surprisingly sleep disorders have become common place today and the following are the top 3 front runners.


When you are unable to fall asleep, wake up frequently or have difficulty staying asleep you may be suffering from insomnia. You may only have one symptom or a combination of all three. Unfortunately this type of poor quality sleep is surprisingly common and studies have shown that women are more often affected by this than men.


If you lead hectic lifestyle with work demands, an over-active social life and family responsibilities, this can add to your stress level. The additional stress will in all likelihood impact your sleep and this can very quickly become a cycle that is often difficult to break.

Sleep apnea

This is a chronic medical condition resulting in obstructed or blocked air passages. The inability to breath properly while sleeping can lead to loud snoring and the actual cessation of breathing, often a dozen times per night. This not only leads to sleep deprivation but also branches into the potential of additional serious health concerns.

With the increase of sleep-related disorders in society today, the usage of sleep aid or prescription sleeping pills is on the rise. However using these medications carry their own risks: a drugged feeling causing next day drowsiness and difficulty with concentration.

Then there is the psychological dependency of being unable to sleep without aid, as well as the physical side effects including anxiety, memory problems, and potential drug interactions.

There may be times in our lives where prescription sleep aids may be necessary for a short term period. But there are also many other simple strategies that you can incorporate into your night time routine to help you get to sleep... and stay asleep. With time you may be able to get your sleep debt back in control without medication.

*Keep your evening calm and don't engage in mentally stimulating activity before bed. Leave the latest thriller for the daytime hours.

*Keep your bedroom as dark as possible - this helps regulate the hormone responsible for sleeping and waking. Turn or cover your clock so you can't see the numbers.

*If possible keep your pets out of your bedroom.

*Never go to bed hungry. Eat a small snack, preferably one with protein.

*Keep your exercise routine for early in the day. Try some gentle Yoga poses for a quiet wind down before getting into bed.

*Keep a regular schedule of sleeping and waking.

*Make sure you have regular checkups and talk with your doctor about depression which is a common cause of sleep problems.

*Avoid caffeine and alcohol, within 6 hours of bedtime.

*Don't take naps during the day.

*If you find you wake up to use the bathroom, stop your liquid intake at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Carrying a sleep debt is a serious problem. Frighteningly, a 2002 National Sleep Foundation poll found that 14 million people reported actually falling asleep at the wheel during the last year. Today, driving while sleep deprived is now classified as Impaired driving can place both you and other people at risk as well as ruin your driving record.

If you have been having trouble sleeping talk to your doctor and explore your options. You may be depressed or experiencing an underlying medical condition you are unaware of. Don't let your long term health suffer by ignoring your sleep debt until it becomes too late to repay.