Simple Health Exercises -
Sleeping Pills or Not
W.P. Allen Allen
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By W.P. Allen Allen
Published on 10/24/2009
If you have difficulty falling asleep, try the following for at least one-month:

1. Try to set a regular bedtime. Delay it if necessary so you can go to bed only when you are tired and sleep can overtake you.

2. If you wake-up in the night, relax in bed for awhile and let sleep return. You should not lay in bed for more than one half-hour, if you can’t fall asleep. If lying in bed for a ½ hour doesn’t work and you are growing frustrated and tense, get out of bed and do some quiet activity until you are sleepy again. Then return to bed. Repeat this as often as necessary. Do not watch TV in bed.
3. Cut down on alcohol, smoking, chocolate, coffee, tea, and caffeinated drinks. Avoid them in the afternoon and evening or better still eliminate them from your diet.
4. Schedule time in the early evening hour to write down your worries or concerns and what you can do about them.
5. Avoid heavy meals too close to bedtime. Eat your meal at least 4 hours before going to bed. A snack of hot milk and a plain cracker is all right before you go to bed.
6. Keep physically active the day after a bad night’s sleep and avoid napping during the day. The day after you have trouble sleeping, go to bed the same time as you usually do.
7. Before going to bed, take a warm shower, letting the water hit your neck and shoulders for a five-minute period of time. During this five minutes, breath in air through your nose and let it out slowly through your mouth, imagining all the tension leaving your body and good air coming to replace it. (This is a relaxation technique that can be used at other times during the day to help deal with the tense feelings experienced in your daily routine.)
8. Repeat the above breathing exercise in bed, before going to sleep. Concentrate on the flow of air i. e., bad air flowing out and good air coming in, with accompanying feelings of warmth and relaxation.
9. If, for whatever reason, certain thoughts consistently run through your mind, try the following technique to interrupt these thoughts: put a rubber band on your wrist. Snap the rubber band every time you want the thoughts to stop, while at the same time telling yourself to stop. Repeat this exercise as often as needed. The goal is to interrupt the flow of these repetitive thoughts and reduce this type of "noise" which acts as an impediment to your falling asleep.

Be advised that these techniques should be tried a minimum of two weeks to a month before discarding them as not applicable to your situation. It is also important that you determine whether any medical condition or possibly prescription medications are keeping you awake. This means checking with your physician, informing him/her of all medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbal preparations you are taking. All these can have an effect on sleep patterns.

In 1959, Peter Tripp, a disc jockey, decided to go without sleep for 200 hours so that he could raise money for the March Of Dimes After he spent about five days going without sleep, he began to have hallucinations

Missing Sleep
In 1959, Peter Tripp, a disc jockey, decided to go without sleep for 200 hours so that he could raise money for the March Of Dimes. After he spent about five days going without sleep, he began to have hallucinations. Several of the hallucinations that he had was that he believed that a tweed suit someone was wearing was made of worms, and that a drawer nearby had flames coming out of it. He did manage to get through his broadcast during the day, but felt that he was in much danger at night. After he reached the 200 hours of going without sleep, he slept a total of 13 hours and felt a whole lot better. After that he got a few nights of extended sleep, then was essentially back to feeling normal, except that he reported various feelings of depression for several months afterwards.

In 1964, Randy Gardner, a high school senior who was 17 years old at the time, tried to establish a new world record of going for 260 hours without sleep as a project for his science fair. After about the fourth day he became extremely irritable yet he retained many of his basic skills. After sleep loss of 230 hours he was still able to hold his own pinball machine with a sleep researcher from the Sleep Disorder Center at Stanford university.

Several experiments at laboratories that have involved sleep deprivation for long periods of time have found that a person's mood will first deteriorate as joy completely disappears and the person becomes very grim and very sleepy. After several days, most people start to have tiny minisleeps, which are little lapses of attention when the brain goes to sleep for only 5 to 10 seconds but then wakes up immediately afterwards. By about the fifth day, these minisleeps become longer and much more numerous. By the 10th and 11 day, the minisleeps happens so often and are so mixed with wakefulness that the subject can't tell whether they are awake or sleep. You will talk, and in the metal of having a conversation you'll have two or three different waves of sleep. You can walk, and for one step to the next you might catch a second of sleep.

During this type of sleep deprivation if you're given a task to do, such as adding a column of numbers, the minisleeps may occur without you even being aware that they are happening. However, if you're given a quick paced task (for example, if someone calls out different numbers to you that you have to add) you will probably make very many mistakes, because for the few seconds that you have a minisleep you don't hear the numbers.

These are just a few of the different types of attempts to understand sleep deprivation. The main thing that sleep researchers have discovered is that, in sleep deprivation such as losing a few hours of sleep a night doesn't really have much of an affect on a person. However if you go for several days or several weeks with sleep loss it can have an affect on your ability to function on a day to day basis.