Monday, January 18, 2010

BEDROOM MAKEOVER. . . . . hmmmm

We all know how our mental health and relationships- all of or life is affected by the quality of our sleep - or lack thereof . If we're sleep-deprived we know the risk of bitchiness prima classa in draahma style. This is an area in my study which is now personal already: how to find better sleep.
Two winters ago I had a ski accident which ruined my shoulder, tore the rotator cuffs which holds your arm in place, and the axcillary nerve which supplies power for movement to the bicep area was 90% crushed. Fortunately I had a fantastic young surgeon from the Mayo Clinic lured to an orthopaedic practice in the Boston area; he looked all of 17 years old! (actually he was 34. . lol ) He was very upfront, no nonsense: "Justin, I am fix this mess you've made. Only G-d can heal that nerve!" [GULP!]

Both did their work marvelously. Gradually the nerve was restored to full use. However there are some residual reminders. . . .the major being night-wake-up-pain in my spine. So I have vested interest in sleep study not only for my service career as a therapist, but also "Physician, heal thyself!"

So. . .how are you doing with / in your sleep area? ;-)


Lawrence J. Epstein, MD

Harvard Medical School

I f a busy schedule prevents you from getting the full seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep per night that the vast majority of adults require, it’s no wonder that you often feel drowsy during the day.
But what if you spend plenty of time in bed yet still never feel fully rested? Something in your sleep environment may be keeping you up or creating disturbances that, even without waking you fully, interfere with the normal progression of sleep stages that you need to feel truly rested.
Concern: Chronic sleep deprivation negatively affects virtually every aspect of life -- energy, alertness, work performance, mood, sex drive.
New finding: Sleep deprivation also contributes to weight problems. Studies show that losing sleep for just a few nights raises levels of hormones linked with overeating and weight gain and makes a person more likely to reach for fattening comfort foods instead of nutritious fare. Even worse: Sleep deprivation increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease as well as car crashes and other accidents.
What to do: Speak to your doctor -- sleep problems sometimes signal a potentially serious condition, such as sleep apnea (repeated cessations in breathing during sleep) or depression. If you still have trouble sleeping well even after underlying medical problems are ruled out or treated, chances are that your bedroom is not offering an optimal sleep environment.
Recommended: Follow the eight simple guidelines below to create a space conducive to restful, restorative slumber...
1. Clear out clutter. Ideally, a bedroom should be simply furnished and decorated so that there isn’t a lot to distract you from the primary purpose of sleep. Keeping the bedroom neat and well organized helps minimize anxiety.
Reason: A messy room often is an oppressive reminder of other things that need to be done, making it harder to fall asleep.
2. Don’t work -- or play -- in the bedroom. Keep your computer, checkbook, to-do list, briefcase and other paraphernalia related to your chores, job or responsibilities in your home office, where they are less likely to intrude on your thoughts during the night. If you must have a phone in the bedroom, use that extension only for emergencies, not for potentially exciting or disturbing conversations.
Recreational activities (other than sex, of course) also should be done elsewhere -- so remove the TV, DVD player, stereo and anything else that shifts the bedroom’s focus to entertainment. If you play music in your room every night before bed, for instance, and then wake up in the middle of the night, you may be unable to fall back to sleep unless you turn on the music again.
3. Banish dust bunnies. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that provoke nasal congestion and/or asthma attacks in allergy-prone people. Because airways naturally constrict at night, allergy flare-ups are likely to interfere with sleep.
Best: Regularly wash bedding in hot water, vacuum under furniture, and dust all surfaces.
4. Block the light. Light sends a strong message to the brain to wake up. Of all the external cues that keep the body clock operating on a 24-hour cycle, light striking the eyes -- even when they are closed -- is the most influential. Though you may not become fully conscious, light can move you out of deep-stage sleep and into lighter, less restful stages.
Solution: Hang shades, blinds or curtains made from "blackout" material over windows. Remove or cover any electronics that light up, including your alarm clock. If you cannot block ambient light, wear a sleep mask.
For safety’s sake: It is fine to use a low-level night-light -- for instance, to see your way to the bathroom.
5. Hide the clock. When you have insomnia, repeatedly checking the clock only makes the problem worse by providing an unwelcome reminder of just how much rest you are missing. Turn the face of the clock away so it won’t taunt you as you toss and turn.
6. Muffle or mask sounds. Noise is extremely disruptive.
Recent findings: People whose partners suffer from sleep apnea (which causes loud snoring and gasping) lose about the same amount of sleep each night as the apnea sufferers themselves do. Also, people who live near airports often experience blood pressure elevations and disturbances in the heart’s normal resting rhythm when planes fly by.
Self-defense: Use heavy draperies, double-paned windows and rugs to muffle outside sounds. Earplugs are very effective -- try an inexpensive foam or silicone drugstore product. If you find earplugs uncomfortable, turn on a fan or white-noise machine (sold at household-goods stores) to create a low, steady background sound that masks more disruptive noises.
7. Make the bed comfortable. The older the mattress, the less support it generally provides (and the more dust mites it may harbor), so if you have had yours for more than 10 years, consider getting a new one. Take your time testing mattresses to see which brand and level of firmness feel best to you, and lie on your favorite one for as long as you need to before you buy to make sure it is comfortable.
Helpful: Replace pillows when they no longer feel comfortable. Avoid products filled with natural down if you are prone to allergies. Keep extra blankets at the foot of the bed -- body temperature drops a few degrees during sleep, so you may wake up chilled during the night.
8. Keep a pen and paper on your bedside table. If you are fretting over impending tasks or feeling excited about a new idea as you’re trying to fall asleep, jot down some notes about the situation. This way you won’t worry about not remembering your thoughts in the morning -- clearing your mind for a good night’s sleep.

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Coop said...

I got a clock radio a couple of years ago. This Thing is bright enough to light runways! Even the "dim" setting bugs me.
I use the alarm on my phone or turn clock radio toward the wall or throw a sweatshirt over it.

Don't sleep learning or your arm. It will go numb and wake you up.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the one I learn over and over again.
No Iced Coffees at 6 pm.

Coop said...

oh yeah.... no sitting up until the early hours on the compoopter for ANY REASON (Mind out of the gutter, Just in).

Gary Kelly said...

Your ski accident reminds me of the oft-used phrase of boys and teens, "It'll be alright, mom, don't worry about it."

Coop mentioned a clock radio alarm. I don't use one. The birds are my alarm. I live in the country so there's no shortage of birds to herald the start of a new day. The kookaburras are usually first... hahahahaha hooohooohooo hawhawhawhaw. Funny things. Or the magpies with their complicated and melodic morning songs. It's all very lovely, really, and certainly better than an annoying alarm.

But I agree that sleep is essential to our wellbeing. In fact, I'm actually in a daydream as I type this.

JustinO'Shea said...

Gutter? GUTTER???? I dont get high being in the gutter !

A curious question. Why did it ever happen that ppl equate sex with "playing dirty". .or "mind in the gutter"? and the like?

Sure doesn't say much for their attitude aout sex and sexuality.

You think that comes from the uptight Pilgrims? Might be. . .


Anonymous said...

Justin wrote:
"A curious question. Why did it ever happen that ppl equate sex with "playing dirty". .or "mind in the gutter"? and the like?"

A good question, one that I'll contemplate as I go through the day's work. Hmm.....

Coop said...

I know you aren't in the gutter, Jus tin. I meant it as shorthand... of sorts because you seem to have an active imagination.

I have a bad habit of being on the compoopter till 1 am or later into the night. I didn't want one to think that I spent my bad habit time looking at "suggestive" pictures and videos and stories.

That said, Goodnight

J said...

I'm surprised the writer didn't mention the effect weight has on sleeping. I used to have a hell of a time waking up at night until I stopped eating and dropped 20 pounds. Losing excess weight also has a dramatic effect on your energy level. There isn't any doubt but that retaining the weight level of your youth will dramatically improve your health and sense of well-being.
I started losing weight when I told my housekeeper to stop bringing over fried foods and sweets and started eating salmon filets every night, using a recipe Shannon Boh published about a year ago. It really made a difference. There's a hell of a lot of truth for those in America's south in these lines from "Dixie":
"Buckwheat cake and injun batter, make you fat, a little fatter. Look away, Look away, look away, Dixieland."
Look away indeed! Have you noticed how people in New York City don't have the punched out guts of people in the rural south? Its because they don't have cars and walk everywhere.