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- Self-Help for Sleep Issues & Sleeplessness
7 Ways to Get a Good Nights Sleep
Sort out your memory
Poor sleep patterns are generally obvious, but another clear sign that you are not getting enough sleep is an increase in forgetfulness. Doctors often attribute forgetfulness to the aging process and rarely look at the amount of sleep a patient is getting. If you find that you are having trouble remembering facts and names it may not be that you are just getting older it may be that you are not getting enough sleep.
Research has shown that the amount of quality sleep a person gets directly affects a persons memory, particularly the parts of the memory allocated to recalling facts and events. If you are at the doctors due to poor memory bring up the fact that you are not sleeping well and the doctor will be able to offer you some great advice and methods that will aid you in getting a good nights rest.
Sleep and memory loss
Try going herbal
It is a generally recognized fact that a GP has about 10 minutes to spend with each patient, which is not a lot of time. If you see your doctor about a sleeping ailment (such as insomnia) the doctor is likely to quickly prescribe a sleeping pill of some kind. This is due to the fact that the doctor has little time to spend with each patient and a sleeping pill is a very quick fix that works. Unfortunately sleeping pills are only a temporary solution and come with a number of side effects. Some sleeping pills can cause dependency, which means that when you stop taking them you are back to square one and cannot sleep without them, it can also mean that to achieve a good nights sleep you may need to take higher doses. Another side effect of sleeping pills is that they can leave you feeling drowsy the next morning instead of feeling refreshed and well rested. Feeling rested and alert the next morning is the point of getting a good nights sleep so if sleeping pills fail to achieve that then it is kind of pointless taking them.
Mention to your doctor that you are reluctant to take prescription pills for sleeping and would like to try a gentler herbal solution. There are many herbal sleeping aids available on the market. Try keeping an eye out for supplements that contain the herb Valerian (Kalms and Nytol contain this). Valerian is a traditional remedy for helping you sleep by helping you to relax at night. Valerian is unlikely to offer instant relief from sleeping problems but will begin to have an effect after about three weeks of taking it.
A soothing tea may be a good solution for you. Chamomile tea is known to help relax you so drinking a chamomile tea before bed could help improve your sleeping pattern. Chamomile tea has been used for centuries as an aid for restful sleep.
Another way to promote restful sleep is to sprinkle dried lavender or a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow, or add some to your bath before bed.
Herbal sleeping pills
How many hours of sleep do you get each night?
Lettuce tea may be a little more time consuming and a bit more fiddly than making a cup of herbal tea but it can be worth the effort. Sling about 3 - 4 large lettuce leaves in 250ml of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and add a couple of mint leaves for flavor. Leave to brew for a further 2 minutes then strain off the liquid. Sip this brew before bed and drift off to a pleasant sleep.
For this brew you can use any lettuce. So it is a good idea to choose the cheapest available, such as iceberg lettuce.
The reason that this tea works is because it contains a substance called Lectucarium, which acts on the brain in a similar way to opium. Although it is important to note that this brew will not get you high and will not be addictive.
Summary so far
- Tell the doctor about your poor sleep affecting your memory
- Try using herbal remedies
- Try lettuce tea
- Eat a supper of turkey or banana
To help you get to sleep try having either some turkey or a banana for supper. Both of these foods contain high levels of Tryptophan, which is a compound that promotes drowsiness. One of the main reasons why people feel sleepy after a big Christmas dinner is because of the amount of turkey eaten. Bananas are full of Tryptophan as well so are great for a late evening snack and they also contribute to one of your five a day.
Bananas and Tryptophan
Check your medications
Every time you take a trip to the doctors they are supposed to ask you about the medications that you are taking but due to severe time constrains they may forget to ask this. If you consult your doctor about insomnia or other sleeping related problems they may not think to connect your medication with your sleeplessness.
Unfortunately there are a lot of prescription drugs that have the side effect of sleeplessness. Some of these include; beta blockers, thyroid medication, decongestants, some antidepressants, corticosteroids and a whole host of medication containing caffeine such as, over the counter pain killers, and cough and cold medication. So, if you are going to visit your doctor about insomnia then it is advised that you take along with you a list of all prescription and over the counter medication, as well as their doses that you are currently taking.
Help relieve restless leg syndrome
Have you ever gone to bed feeling worn out, you have gotten under your covers ready for a good nights sleep, you are just drifting off when all of a sudden your legs jerk and you are wide awake? Your legs continue to jerk on and off all night interrupting your sleep. This could be restless leg syndrome. If restless leg syndrome is causing a detrimental effect on your sleeping patterns the answer could be a simple vitamin supplement.
There was a study that showed that women who frequently suffered from restless leg syndrome, often had low levels of Folic acid, a form of vitamin B9 that is essential for proper brain and nerve function. Symptoms improved when these women were given a dose of Folic acid. You could try to take a supplement of 500mcg Folic acid a day, along with 50mcg vitamin B-complex in order to avoid upsetting your body's vitamin B balance.
You should also not that if you don't like taking supplements there are foods that are rich in Folic acid. Spinach is one such food. If you add more spinach to your diet you could help fight off restless leg syndrome.
Exercise can help
There have been numerous studies done that have shown that mild exercise; such as walking for 30 minutes, can aid in a restful nights sleep. The thing that most people forget, or are unaware of is that the timing of the exercise is important. Exercise stimulates the body so is not an activity that you should do just before bed. If you want to exercise yourself to a good nights sleep then you should try doing some mild exercise in the early evening. Aim to to this exercise at least 4-6 hours before going to bed because it takes about that amount of time for your body's metabolism and temperature to drop after exercising so that you will be in the optimum state for sleep.