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We know that sleep deprivation wreaks havoc with our lives and health, even after one night of bad sleep; so, what are the top 10 reasons why some people aren’t getting the sleep they need?
While being an old, idiomatic cliche, “burning the candle at both ends” still applies today to us, whether we be farmers, students, or Wall Street Yuppies. The drive to succeed can supplant the need for sleep. Burning the candle at both ends means to be up late, using light, and to arise early before the crack of dawn, again using light. It also may involve stimulants that carry unwanted side effects. You may know someone who is considered a “workaholic,” and many societies applaud them, until of course sleep deprivation puts a halt to their health or relationships or both. Robert Herjavec, of Shark Tank fame, is an interesting example. When accused of not sleeping enough, his favorite retort is “I’d rather be rich and tired . . ..'' On the surface, that may sound clever and witty, but its shallowness is exposed in the fact that he should really have said, “I’d rather be rich and sleep-deprived than less rich and healthy.” Tired vs sleep-deprived is like hungry vs starving. One is normal; the other is life-threatening. The problem is that at some point, the sleep deprivation will catch up to him in the form of some debilitating illness, be it mental or physical. We humans simply can’t keep “burning the candle at both ends'' for very long before we see the negative ramifications.
Whether it’s a young person immersed in the cell phone under the bed covers, a video gamer launching attacks late into the night, or a movie lover binging on films when they should be sleeping, electronic devices are common culprits in stealing the life-enhancing power of good sleep. Parents can exercise authority by taking away cell phones at night, which does more than solve the immediate problem. Nights without cell phones lead teens to the realization that they can indeed live without their phones, even all night long; and this is good for self-esteem. If the video gamer is emancipated and living independently, there is little anyone else can do except wait till the “man-child” suffers enough from the addiction to abandon it. The same goes for late-night movie watching. Parents have influence with minors; adults just need to see what’s more important—their job or the latest Marvel movie.
It may take some clever maneuvering, manipulation, or plain old begging, but insisting on the existence of the three keys will make heavenly change to your sleeping life. Humans are built to sleep best in cool rooms, in the dark, and when it’s quiet. Compromising any of these, and you just won’t experience the deep cycles of sleep that are required for rejuvenating the mind and immune system. House rules, agreed to by signature, can go a long way to keeping rooms cool, lights out, and TV and stereos shut down.
An estimated 25% to 45% of the population snores, either occasionally or regularly. Whether this prevents deep sleep cycles for fully recuperative sleep depends on the individual, but the problem certainly can annoy roommates and is hardly a good thing. Fortunately, there are mouth devices that open the airway at the throat to enable freer breathing to prevent snoring. Some dentists make these customized for the patient, and they are quite expensive. Also, there are several over-the-counter mouth guards that are much less expensive and don’t require a prescription. Because snoring and sleep apnea (OSD) often occur in the same people, these oral devices can provide relief for both sleep disorders.
The most used and abused drug in the world is caffeine, be it by coffee, energy drinks, or pills. Caffeine stimulates the CNS (Central Nervous System) and therefore can interfere with sleep hormones, causing wakefulness. Many studies recommend no caffeine after 3:00 in the afternoon; and this, of course, depends on the individual. Some people aren’t able to consume any caffeine past noon, and others tend to sleep fine even with evening caffeine. This drug boosts alertness, hence its popularity, but it also increases heart rate and can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. If caffeine is interfering with your sleep, make a plan to decrease its consumption or the time of day for use.