Want to learn more about how you can combat your sleeplessness to start getting the restorative sleep you need with the help of the COMPLETE Alteril® 1-2-3 Easy Sleep System?
Read these articles below:
Signs You May Need Additional Help Sleeping...
Lack of sleep is more than just an inability to fall asleep quickly and easily.
You may need help if you...
- Have trouble STAYING asleep
- Wake up too early... and can't get back to sleep.
- Sleep the full night through... but don't feel rested in the morning.
- Have difficulty focusing or concentrating during the day
- Doze off easily, at inappropriate times like during meetings
- Feel tired, irritable, or anxious
Alteril® is an all-natural sleep aid suitable for the treatment of transient (mild) insomnia ... where you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for a few days, where your sleep disturbances are brief, and your daytime functioning are minimally affected.
Health Issues Caused By Lack Of Sleep
An ongoing lack of sleep can pose significant health risks:
- Lack of sleep can impact your mental state, making you irritable, impatient, anxious, even depressed.
- It can also cause serious physical problems... everything from heart disease to high blood pressure to obesity.
During sleep, our immune systems work to produce disease-fighting cells, our bodies repair cell and tissue damage, our brains organize and store memories from the day, hormones that control our various brain and body functions rebalance, and we "recharge" our brains, so we feel more emotionally balanced.
But what happens if you don't get enough sleep?
Unfortunately, a lack of quality sleep can lead to many physical and mental health issues, some of them life-threatening. Here are just a few:
- Impaired mental functioning – Lack of sleep can affect concentration and memory, and can affect your ability to perform daily tasks.
- Stress and depression – Lack of sleep increases the activity of the hormones and pathways in the brain that cause stress, and changes in sleeping patterns have been shown to have significant effects on mood. Ongoing insomnia may be a sign of anxiety and depression.
- Heart disease – People with chronic sleep loss show signs of heart and nervous system activity that might put them at risk for heart disease.
- Headaches – Headaches that occur during the night or early in the morning may be related to a sleep disorder.
- Weakened immune system – Because sleep helps regulate your body's response to infection, a lack of sleep can lead to more colds and other illnesses.
- Diabetes – Your body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels is impeded, which may double your risk for type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure – People who don't get enough sleep are more likely to develop high blood pressure possibly due to their elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which strains the heart.
- Cancer – Sleeping fewer than six hours each night results in a 60 percent increase in breast cancer risk, according to researchers at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan.
That's just the personal costs of insomnia. Society pays a price as well. In the US alone, it's estimated that absenteeism and lost productivity due to a sleep-deprived work force costs American industry $150 billion a year!
And a report by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that more than 1,500 people die in the 100,000 vehicle accidents that happen every year due to drivers who are functioning without enough sleep.
As you can see, if you're not sleeping 7 to 8 hours each night, there's much more at stake than simply not feeling as alert and rested as you'd like.
Because your body uses sleep to repair and replenish cells, tissues, muscles, hormones, and your immune system, missing out on this restorative process can lead to serious illnesses, even premature death.
The Five Stages of Sleep
Most people think of sleep as a period of inactivity for your body and brain. You close your eyes, your brain disconnects, and you float off for 8 hours of refreshing, passive rest.
But the truth is, while sleep is how we refresh our bodies, the act of sleeping is anything but passive!
In fact, you're not aware of it while it's happening, but as you sleep, your body and brain go through five different – and very active – stages.
During these five stages, your brain activity changes, your body temperature fluctuates, and your body goes to work repairing your cells, tissues, and muscles, refreshing your body, and preparing your brain for your next day.
These stages (known collectively as "sleep architecture") follow a predictable pattern over the course of a typical 8-hour period of sleep.
Here's how they work:
Stage One: During Stage One of your sleep cycle, you hover between being awake and being asleep. During this stage, your brain produces "theta" waves, which are very slow brain waves. If someone were to wake you up during this first stage, you may feel like you hadn't been asleep at all. Stage One lasts for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Stage Two: The second stage of sleep, which lasts for about 20 minutes, is when your brain begins to produce quick, rhythmic brain wave activity known as "sleep spindles." During this stage, your body temperature begins to drop, and your heart rate begins to slow.
Stage Three: This is the stage at which you begin to transition from light sleep to a much deeper sleep. During this stage, your brain begins to produce slow brain waves known as "delta" (higher amplitude, lower frequency) brain waves, and your heartbeat and breathing are at their slowest.
Stage Four: Many scientists refer to this fourth stage of sleep as "delta sleep," because this is the stage during which your brain produces significant delta waves. During this deep sleep, which lasts about 30 minutes, your blood pressure drops and muscles relax, though blood flow to muscles increases. Stage Four is the most restorative sleep, when your body releases hormones for growth and development, repairs tissue, and refreshes energy.
Stage Five: Also known as "rapid eye movement "(REM) sleep. REM sleep is the stage where you have the most brain activity of all sleep, with brain waves that often resembles those you have when you're awake.
REM sleep is characterized by movement of your eyes, increased breathing, increased brain activity, and relaxation of your muscles. Most of your dreaming is done during this stage.
During REM sleep, your brain processes what you've learned that day, strengthens your memory, and refreshes its supply of critical chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which help with your mood the next day.
What's most interesting about the five stages of sleep is that they don't occur in order.
You begin sleep with Stage One, and then progress through Stages Two, Three, and Four. But instead of going on to Stage Five (REM) sleep right away, you go back to Stage Three, then Stage Two, and then move on to REM sleep.
Once your REM sleep is over, you typically go back to Stage Two, and start the cycle over again.
During the course of a typical night, you go through this full cycle of stages about four or five times. But with each cycle, Stage 5 lasts longer, so by the final cycle of your nightly sleep, you may be staying in REM sleep for up to an hour.
So rather than a period of inactivity or "down time" for your body, sleep is actually a highly complex and active period, during which your brain works to repair and restore all of your body's systems, as well as get you ready for your next day.
With such critical processes taking place, one thing is clear: getting a good night's sleep every night is of utmost importance for your continued good health and mental well-being.
Signs You're Sleep Deprived
Are you having trouble fitting in as much sleep each night as you need? Then chances are, you're sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation may sound like something related to military exercises or scientific experimentation, but in reality, it's something that a large percentage of the population experiences.
Put simply, when you're sleep deprived, you don't have the opportunity to sleep as much as you'd like (as opposed to insomnia, where you have the opportunity to sleep, but are unable to).
Sleep deprivation is becoming increasingly common, as the pace of life accelerates, and we continue trying to pack more and more into each day.
And if you think that you need to miss out on hours of sleep each night in order to be sleep deprived, think again. Sleep deprivation is cumulative, so even if you just shortchange yourself a bit each night, it adds up to a huge sleep "deficit" later down the road.
While many people simply shrug off sleep deprivation, chalking it up as a part of modern life, it's important to note that there are some very serious health problems associated with sleep deprivation, including:
- Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- Moodiness and irritability
- Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
- Inability to cope with stress
- Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
- Concentration and memory problems
- Weight gain
- Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
Ironically, many people who are experiencing sleep deprivation don't even realize it.
That's because, once you get used to functioning on a limited amount of sleep each night, you become accustomed to feeling groggy, unfocused, and irritable all the time, and that begins to feel "normal."
Here are eight of the most common signs that you're sleep deprived:
When your alarm goes off, you routinely shut it off, then roll over and go back to sleep
When you wake in the morning, you feel groggy and lethargic, then find staying awake during the day a challenge
Long meetings, overheated rooms, and heavy meals make you drowsy
You're more accident-prone or come close to nodding off while driving
You have a hard time concentrating on important tasks at work
You're increasingly grumpy and irritable with your spouse and children
You have a hard time completing simple tasks
You fall asleep when relaxing or watching tv
If this sounds like you, it's highly recommended that you take a look at your lifestyle, and make some changes.
Remember that ongoing sleep deprivation leads to serious health problems: everything from depression to high blood pressure to heart disease.
5 Ways To Improve Sleep Quality
Do you go to bed at a "decent" hour each night, fall asleep almost immediately, get a full 7-8 hours of sleep, but still wake up in the morning feeling irritable, unfocused, exhausted, and un-refreshed?
You may think that you must not be getting enough sleep, but the quantity of your sleep may not be your problem.
It could be the quality of your nightly sleep that's the problem.
If you have poor quality sleep – which is characterized by waking up multiple times during the night (even if you don't realize you are) – your critical sleep cycles are interrupted, and the restorative processes are broken.
The result? Even though you've had a complete night's sleep, you wake up feeling tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate... and may even find yourself falling asleep at work during the day.
In order to get the full benefit of your complete sleep cycle, and wake up feeling rested and energetic, it's critical you improve the quality of your sleep so you don't interrupt the cycle.
Here are five ways you can do it:
#1: Synchronize Your Natural Sleep Rhythms
One of the best ways to enjoy quality sleep is to make sure you're in sync with your body's natural rhythms. So start by going to bed at the same time each night, and waking up at the same time each morning.
And if you find yourself nodding off on the couch after dinner, get up do something to wake yourself up so that when your bedtime comes around, you'll be sleepy.
#2: Avoid Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep, Like Caffeine and Alcohol
We all know the power of caffeine in keeping us awake, so be sure to avoid drinking coffee or tea (or cola) for at least four hours before bedtime.
And remember: while alcohol may seem like it puts you to sleep, don't be fooled! Alcohol really is a stimulant, and if you drink too much before bed, you'll find yourself waking up during the night.
#3: Eat Properly and Exercise Regularly
How you treat your body during the day dictates how well you sleep at night. This is particularly true as you get closer to bedtime.
It's best to avoid eating heavy meals within two hours of going to bed, as the amount of energy your body needs to digest it can actually keep you awake.
At the same time, remember that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep more soundly, but it also stimulates the brain, so avoid doing any exercise within three hours of bedtime.
#4: Make Your Bedroom a More Sleep Friendly Environment
You want your bedroom to be a calm, quiet and relaxing space, so start out by limiting the activities you do there. Keep your laptop, tv, work materials, and other distractions out of your bedroom, to help make the connection between bedroom and sleep more solid.
Then make sure your room is comfortable, by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. If necessary, get blackout curtains and earplugs, and banish any pets that may wake you during the night.
#5: Know When to Get Extra Help
If, after you've worked to improve the quality of your sleep, you're still waking in the morning feel un-refreshed, like 40 million other Americans, remember that there are safe and natural sleep enhancing solutions like Alteril® out there that can help you start enjoying uninterrupted sleep.
Alteril® is proven safe and effective, and can help make the difference between waking up feeling like you've barely slept a wink, and waking up feeling alert, alive, and ready to face your day!