National Highway Safety Administration estimates that as many as 100,000
traffic accidents are caused by a lack of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine
disagrees with that assessment, they think the number is actually, 250,000
accidents per year.
Even if you never get behind the
wheel, a lack of sleep is hazardous to your health . If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t lose
that last ten pounds, break through a weight training barrier or felt down when
nothing was wrong, it could be that you’re not getting the seven to eight hours
of sleep necessary to remain healthy.
Depriving yourself of sleep has very real medical implications. It can lower your testosterone levels if you
are a man, which also means that you won’t get the results from strength
training that you expect. Sleep
deprivation has also been implicated in increased risks of stroke, diabetes and heart
If you’ve never had sleep problems,
you are one of the lucky few. It is
believed that half of all Americans don’t get enough sleep. For those who have problems falling asleep,
staying asleep or a combination of the two, there are a number of drugs on the
market but there also side effects that can be as bad as the ailment.
sleeping pills - Over The Counter
sleeping pills will not always play nice with other medications in your
system. Drug interactions can have
serious consequences. There is also the
possibility of dependence, and daytime dizziness.
Sleep Medication - There are quite a few brands but the most
famous of these are Ambien, Lunesta, andSonata. Useful but the side effects are the same as
those above plus a few more that are downright creepy. There are reports of weird dreams,
sleep-walking, sleep-driving, sleep eating (another way to sabotage a diet) and
finally, sleep sex, which is not as amusing as it sounds since some people
become violent or touch people other than their partners.
Melatonin - Touted as a “natural” medication,
melatonin is not without risk. Just as
an over-reliance on synthetic testosterone can shut down the human body’s
mechanism for making it (thus shrinking the testicles!) so too can an
over-reliance on melatonin be not-so-good.
Side effects include daytime sleepiness, dizziness and headaches. It can also interact with some prescription
high blood pressure medication.
are some suggestions for people who want to get a good night’s rest without
1) Don’t Fight The Rhythm - Unless you have to work shifts, allow your circadianrhythm to govern your sleep. Late
night T.V is not your friend, (neither is your XBox) so don’t stay up and
watch. Invest in a good DVR and decrease
the risk of diabetes, strokes and weight gain.
Also, don’t fear the clock. If
you wake up during the night, don’t look at the clock, or if you do, don’t
freak out and start thinking about the upcoming day, or even why you are
awake. Count backwards, from one hundred
to one while breathing deeply and slowly, you’ll bore yourself to sleep. Keep in mind that brief moments of waking are
normal, staying awake is not.
2) Before Bedtime – Take a cold shower. Don’t turn the shower on full
blast until it stings, this has the opposite effect of waking you up. Run cold
water under your arms, around the neck, over the back and the crotch. Slight shivering or muscle contraction is a
these two techniques for a week.
you still can’t sleep then move onto, “The Ice Bath”. This techniques comes from the expert on
human body hacks, “Tim Ferris” of the 4-Hour Body. Tim writes,
“put two or three bags of ice from a convenience store into a half-full bathtub
until the ice is 80% melted.” Sit in the
tub up to the waist for 10 minutes max. If
you get used to this method, progress to full submersion but do not go over the
10 minute limit. Mild hypothermia
is a sleep aide, severe hypothermia is deadly. According to Ferris the
effect is, “like getting hit with an elephant tranquilizer.”
3) Lemongrass Oil - Don’t feel like freezing your butt off? Neither do I.
Try rubbing lemongrass oil on the bottom of your feet before getting
into bed. This works on me but I don’t
know why. Usually, the oil is highly concentrated so a little goes a long
way. An eye dropper full should cover
the soles of both feet. Use this method
only when you are certain that you will get seven or more hours of sleep.
4) In Bed - Lock yourself into a sleep position that prevents tossing and
turning. Lie on your stomach, bring your
right arm up and bend it at the elbow, like you are raising your hand in
school. Bring your leg on the same side
up slightly and bend the knee, adjust as necessary until comfortable, then
breathe deeply until you fall asleep. In
this position, staying asleep becomes a lot easier.
The importance of sleep cannot be understated. Try the techniques above and gain the benefits of sufficient sleep to both your mind and body.