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5 things that interfere with sleep: How to cure insomnia

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Top sleep tips from celebrity expert Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz has offered a variety of sleep tips on his programs. Here are some top tips to cure insomnia and 5 things that interfere with sleep. Find out what to do about them.

The reasons were don't sleep well are multifactorial and include hormone changes for 70 percent of women. Many of us are just unable to calm the mind. Sometimes we worry or can't get comfortable. But the good news is there are remedies that meansyou don't have to turn to dangerous or expensive sleeping pills.

Dr. Oz has multiple suggestions to help all of us get needed rest, including a supplement that he recommends, which is the amino acid L-theanine.

Do you have to buy it? No – you can drink green or black tea. Supplements are inexpensive and you can get them in any health food store if you prefer.

The way L-theanine works if by blocking brain chemicals; calming the brain. You can try 200 mg. one hour before bedtime.

When we don’t sleep enough are at risk for weight gain – even from losing one night of good slumber. But Dr. Oz’s concern is that it makes us less alert and vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents that can be fatal.

He says a good night’s sleep can “dramatically” change a woman’s life. We are sure lack of sleep is a problem for men that can be remedied.

A second tip to help sleep is white noise light that you can absolutely free on your iPhone, which has the added perk of being portable.

White noise light drowns out sounds that can keep you awake. There are over 40 sounds and over 10 million people have downloaded the iPhone white noise light app.

Aside from a busy mind and hormones for women, there are other reasons people don’t get a good night’s sleep. Here are 5 commons reasons we might suffer from insomnia or interrupted sleep and what to do about them.

  1. Snoring: Don’t let snoring keep you awake. Try taking a decongestant, elevate the head of the bed, try to lose weight and limit your alcohol to help remedy the problem.
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    There are also home remedies for snoring that can help keep you and your spouse asleep.

  3. Waking up and not being able to get back to sleep Get rid of the bedside alarm clock, Dr. Oz says, explaining we don’t need to know what time it is in the middle of the night. Stash it in a drawer or put it outside the bedroom where you can still hear the alarm. Another solution is to just turn the clock around.When we wake up in the middle of the night and see what time it is we only get more anxious, Dr. Oz says.

    Another supplement for sleep that you can use is Magnolia Bark extract that has been used for thousands of years as a traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. Magnolia bark can calm anxiety and may help you stay asleep.

  4. Too much light: We don’t sleep well if we’re exposed to light. Turn down the lights one hour before bedtime and turn off electronics.
  5. One study found some interesting information about what goes on in our bodies and why turning down the lights at night can promote sleep.

  6. Worrying: Start a “worry journal” in a notebook or on a notepad. Draw a line down the middle and create two columns on three separate pages. Page one is “I need to take care of”; page 2 is “I can forget about…” and page 3 is for “I am worried about…” Next, complete the sentences on the pages. In the right column of each page write down a date and/or a time you will take care of it. And remember that no worry or concern is too small or too silly, says Dr. Oz.
  7. You can’t get comfortable in bed: Dr. Oz recommends ‘bed yoga’ if you have insomnia and can’t get comfortable, which is just simple stretching. First sit up in bed and either cross your legs when they’re straight out or sit cross legged. Next twist your body gently being careful not to feel any pain, tugging or pulling and try to look over your shoulder – first left; then right. Breathe in to the count of 3 and breathe out to the count of 3 while you are stretching.

You can also do what is known as a “figure 4” that is demonstrated in the video below.

If the above is too difficult, you can do the stretch on your back.

You can also try guided muscle relaxation. You can bookmark this and play it at bedtime. Just don’t forget to turn off or put your computer to sleep too.

Lack of sleep can increase our risk for diabetes, heart disease and obesity. For better sleep and especially if you suffer from chronic insomnia, make it your goal to find a solution that works for you.

Older people have had success using a 'blue light system' that scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center have investigated.

You may want to try a combination of Dr. Oz’s tips for sleep that are listed here. If you have some of your own, please share. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also recommends seeing a sleep specialist if you have interrupted sleep, insomnia or other sleep disturbances.

The National Institutes of Health has some tips to help us get a better night's rest too.

  • For short-term, recent insomnia you might consider cognitive behavioral therapy that is a type of counseling that teaches how to naturally calm anxiety. Te goal is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones that can creep into our minds when we turn out the lights and sounds.
  • Pay attention to any medications you might be taking. Over-the-counter cold and cough remedies can act as stimulants. Even the effect of caffeine can last up to 8 hours making it hard to fall asleep at night.
  • Consuming alcohol before bedtime might seem like a good idea because it's relaxing. The truth is you will sleep lightly and be more likely to awaken.
  • Soothing music, a hot bath or reading a book before you get into bed are also proven ways to calm and relax for a good night's sleep.
  • Don't change your bedtime. It's important to maintain a consistent routine and stick with it.
  • Make sure your room is comfortable. Hot and cold temperatures can also lead to insomnia and interrupted sleep.

"How is insomnia treated?"