Sleepless in DreamLand
What is the one thought or subject you must never think of when you go to sleep? Read on:
Most readers here are familiar with my writing on sleep aids including:
- The ten cent snoring cure – taping up the dependent nasal tip
- The sit ups for the flabby throat
- The Hydro Pulse nasal irrigation to clear nasal blockage with the Throat attachment to the Hydro Pulse to shrink swollen tonsils and throat tissue
- The counted breathing exercises. Count breath in four and out six
Suppose you have done these. Your nose is perfectly clear, your throat muscles are strong and free of fat, you can relax by counted breathing. Yet, still not sleeping. Because?
All the sleep advisors speak of calming down before sleep, de-stressing. Some do this by
- A warm bath
- Watching a dull TV show
- Relaxing music
- Water fountain
Aroused before Sleep?
However there are some patients who are actually aroused before going to sleep. They worry about getting enough sleep. They lay in bed thinking:
- Will I fall asleep
- Why aren’t I asleep
- Should I try yoga for sleep
- Am I falling asleep?
- What time is it?
- How long have I been trying to sleep?
Turns out thinking about the act of sleeping is the WORST thing you can possible do! NEVER think about falling asleep, am I falling asleep? Never use the word sleep!
Best is counting sheep! Or using counted breathing. Or count your wiggling the toes. Why? Counting is non-judgemental, doesn’t arouse any anxiety. Another aid is breathing in count four and out count six. This is because when the exhalation is longer than the inhalation, that sends a message to your stress center to relax.
Is this important? All studies have shown that poor sleep results in poor performance next day. Hypertension, Gerd or gastroesophageal reflux is a common complication.
Why Snoring Makes You Fat
Worse, when you don’t sleep because you snore, next day you eat extra sweets for energy to get you through the day. This increases the swelling of your throat areas and you snore even more, then you eat more! It is very difficult to lose weight when you snore or don’t get good sleep.
Why do you get Reflux?
When your tonsils are swollen, they block inhaling air. Your brain needs air, so you push harder in your sleep for that air. That extra pressure pushes on the stomach and forces acid up the esophagus into the throat where it irritates the throat and causes more swelling. This is why you should not eat 3 hours before bedtime. A full stomach is more likely to push acid up to the throat.
Why snoring causes hypertension
The brain needs oxygen and will do anything to secure it. If swollen nasal membranes are blocking the airway, then the body will adjust by raising blood pressure as a means of getting better oxygen.
Driving after poor asleep
The drivers that cross the median divider, the train conductors that don’t slow down around the curve, the truck drivers that hit the cars in front of them: when you analyze these accidents you find that between 30 and 50% were caused by failure to get good sleep. Same with serious industrial accidents.
When to use CPAP
If your snoring hasn’t responded to clearing the nose with Hydro Pulse nasal/sinus irrigation, using the throat irrigator to shrink tonsils and swollen tissue, try the oropharyngeal exercises.
Push your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Say the vowel sounds out loud. Push the tongue hard forward, repeat the vowels, then to middle of palate, then as far back as you can go. The louder the vowel sounds the better.
Pull your tongue as far back as you can. Say “aahhh” loudly.
When these exercises are done 10 minutes 3x a day, 58% of patients got full relief from their snoring.
When to use Surgery
It is very important to remember that CPAP has a very high rate of success – when it is used. Surgery on the other hand does not. When patients don’t want to use CPAP I have them talk to persons who currently use this with grateful results.
Aroused in Dreamland
Most important is that NONE these techniques work when the patient is convinced that she can’t fall asleep. She grows more anxious as bedtime approaches. Once in bed she monitors being asleep constantly.
Recall that the more you think about sleep the less actual sleep chemicals you will create. Instead of relaxing hormones, you will be filled with adrenalin because of anxiety that you are not sleeping!
How to create the good chemistry? When you were relaxed at the beach you had good chemistry, good hormones, good immunity factors.
When you were worrying over taxes you had bad chemistry. Therefore recalling using all your five senses what relaxing at the beach was like, helps you to fall asleep.
Or make up a happy fantasy – going on a great trip with wonderful friends, or writing a story to send in to a contest.
Wrong actions that result in arousal instead of sleep:
Jim used falling asleep to solve his legal cases.
Alice used falling asleep time to work on her budget
Phyllis used it to review her college courses
Jack tried to record how long it took him to fall asleep, was it 10 minutes or
Adrian put his college course on tape and tried to memorize by hearing them before falling asleep.
Whether it is relaxing with a warm bath or listening to a waterfall, the important thing is to distress, put your mind on pleasant thoughts, and never to think actively about actual sleeping.