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Is Lack of Sleep Killing You?

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Sadly, that joking remark has become the motto of many overachievers in our society. The list of reasons why we pass up a good night’s sleep is extensive. It’s estimated that as many as 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping and the problem is progressively getting worse with the proliferation of gadgets and bad habits.

Skimping on sleep can affect your health in more ways than you might imagine. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night has been associated with lower overall brain activity. That affects people’s productivity, physical safety, and weight. Inadequate sleep increases your risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and depression, and can also lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

When you miss out on sleep, your brain pays the price. A study conducted in Italy found that a sleep deprived brain can actually begin to eat itself. Chronic lack of sleep leads to irreversible loss of brain cells and also increases the brain plaque believed to contribute to age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re tired of being tired, here are three simple ways you can prevent the negative effects of sleep deprivation:

Avoid Sleep Stealers

Getting a good night’s sleep is becoming little more than an elusive dream for many of us. It’s easy to develop bad sleep habits when leading a busy life. To restore proper balance to your sleep cycle, avoid common sleep stealers like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, daytime naps, and using technology right before bed.

Get Nutritional Support

There are many contributing factors to habitual wakefulness. If you’re having problems “turning off” your brain at night or staying asleep, a good nutritional supplement can support your body’s natural relaxation response and produce a soothing, sedative effect. Look for supplements that contain vitamin B6, magnesium, GABA, valerian, and melatonin. These can help relax your body and mind.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Though often associated with cleanliness, hygiene also applies to behavioral practices designed to sustain optimal health. Sleep hygiene is extremely important for a person’s brain health, physical health, and overall well-being. Follow these proven strategies to improve your sleep hygiene.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, or if you’re not feeling refreshed after sleep, Amen Clinics can help. Since sleep disorders often occur alongside other physical and mental health conditions, we seek to understand each patient’s individual challenges. We don’t just treat symptoms, we treat the root of the problem. Our goal is to help you achieve and maintain peaceful sleep without the use of sleeping pills or sedatives. One of the best ways we can accomplish that is with the use of brain SPECT imaging.

Our Full Evaluation of your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual history, coupled with two brain SPECT imaging scans, cognitive testing, and a clinical assessment is designed to address your unique needs and offer targeted treatment options.

Sleep deprivation is hazardous to your health. We can help improve the quality of your sleep. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.

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COMMENTS

  1. Roberta Peterson says:

    Hi,
    My sleep deficit is nearing our country’s deficit. This is despite knowing the dangers. Are you familiar with sleep avoidance? This is the cause of my severe sleep deprivation. Sometimes it’s work related (kind of). Night time is the only time nothing “gets in” as long as I am awake. I don’t think it is too common. It does cause serious problems. I have what would appear to others as narcolepsy, but it is caused by my own behavior. I have yet to make it past three nights of seven hours of sleep. I often wake up feeling doom as soon as I open my eyes if I have had a decent night of sleep. It started from being in a hyperarousal state. I’ve had chronic stress for about five years. Truly. I don’t see it ending soon.
    Thanks –
    Roberta

    • Charlene says:

      I suffered from these same problem and understand the compulsion to avoid sleep. The stress from my job and the lack of sleep were affecting my health and daytime performance. This had gone on several years and I was getting desperate.

      Two things have helped me immensely. I experienced results within months of putting these practices in place and I’m now getting 7-1/2 to i8 hours of sleep most nights.

      The first was putting a wind-down ritual in place. This includes doing relaxing activities an hour or so before bedtime. For me, I dim the lights and do a crossword puzzle. A warm bath, reading, listening to soothing music might be some other ideas.

      But the thing that has made the biggest difference for me is meditation. I like to meditate for 15–20 minutes in the morning to start my day out centered and focused. Then, I like to meditate for another 15–20 minutes at bedtime to practice gratitude for my blessings and to calm my brain before getting into bed.

      Consider starting small as the studies I’ve read indicate that even a few minutes of meditation each day effects our brains.

      Good luck!

  2. Randall White says:

    In my case it worked like this: stress>>hard work>>sleeplessness>>>manic like behavior
    The upshot was less sleep generated more activity, not drowsiness.
    Amen scan indicated brain abnormalities attributed to BiPolar 2 symptoms.
    Stress reduction combined with meds for 8 mos lead back to 7-8 hours sleep per night.
    Off meds now.

  3. Vaundalyn says:

    I had the right side of my brain caved in at birth. Never sleept much after that. Could this be the cause.

  4. Cathy Rothfeld says:

    Can you get too much sleep?

  5. Mary Lynch says:

    I am not sleeping because of discomfort and pain… from: peripheral neuropathy, sciatic nerve pain from lower back issues, pain from multiply toe surgeries. Not for any other reason. I have tried: physical therapy, numerous meds (find I am allergic to the pain killer Hydrocodone, epidurals do not work according to Emory Spine Center. I really want to sleep, and hate it that I go around like a “zombie” most of the time. Any suggestions?

  6. Kenneth weihe says:

    I had an aortic aneurysm fortunately in a clinic and received immediate attention before i bled out. The doctors capped the aortic vein . I
    Remember passing out from the pain. I woke up two days later in icu. I am fine now… five months later, but cannot sleep without medication ( 2 milos lorzapan) i havevthis fear of closing my eyes and notnot waking up. Irrational I know, but teal

  7. Dr. Kevin Narramore says:

    I have helped many clients to sleep better by removing non-native EMFs from bedrooms while at the same time producing high amounts of beneficial negative ions.

  8. Kathleen Holland says:

    I have sleep issues.

  9. Linda Maddox says:

    Adrenal fatigue after five years of fairly unrelenting stress. It seems my biggest mistakes are not taking this seriously enough and addressing it adequately, and “blowing past” the sleep bedtime of 10:30pm at the latest. If I go to bed later I get a second wind and am up until 1am-3am. I don’t recommend that.

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