Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

And To All A Good Night (Review)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

My initial goal when starting this blog was to take you on my journey to establishing a bed and breakfast in Oxford, Mississippi…but this dream has taken a sudden backseat as we now find ourselves raising our grandson…becoming a “new mother” at the age of fifty.

So this has been a journey, or “Now What,” series of posts on taking the “sleeping aspect” of my daily life and learning how to make it better…Lord knows that I need to this, being the 49 year old mother for a four year old.

 

Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. How well you sleep each night can impact nearly every aspect of your life.

Lack of sleep can…

  • Affect performance on the job or at school
  • Cause countless headaches
  • Cause increased irritability of the person who has had trouble sleeping
  • Cause the immune system to function poorly
  • Cause us to become more irritable, short-tempered, and impatient during the day
  • Damage relationships
  • Decrease the quality of work performance
  • Diminish quality of life
  • Give you a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically.
  • Hinder our ability to stay focused for long periods of time
  • Make certain activities, especially driving, dangerous for both ourselves and people around us
  • Make getting started on even the easiest work or school assignments even harder than normal
  • Make you gain weight
  • Make you have less energy to tackle the day ahead
  • Sabotage our health
  • Sap our energy levels
  • Slow the ability of the nervous system to process information and translate visual cues into conscious thought.

I have personally found that having such a “nightly routine” of soothing transitional activity between my being awake and actually falling asleep helps your sleep quality and overall wellness….just like it probably did when my kids were little, and does for my “resident four year old.”

The following is a summary of the tips that I have learned lately to help create a relaxing ritual that I can do each and every night that will help me fall asleep faster and more consistently…healthy bedtime habits—such as meditation, soothing music, essential oils—that will help program your mind to get ready for bed.

Breathing Techniques

  • Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 Technique
  • Kapalbhati Breathing
  • Nadi Shodhana
  • Pranayamic Breathing Techniques
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Essential Oils for helping to cure insomnia..

  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang ylang

Music

Supplements

  • 5-HTP
  • Flower essences
  • GABA…GABA (gamma butyric acid)
  • Holy basil
  • L-theanine
  • Magnesium
  • Melatonin
  • Skullcap
  • Valerian Root
  • Vitamin Supplement

 

Snacks

 

  • Almonds and Almond Butter
  • Bananas
  • Cereal and Milk
  • Cheese and Cottage Cheese
  • Cherries and Cherry Juice
  • Edamame
  • Granola
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Peanut Butter
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Whole-Grain Crackers

Tea

  • Banana
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oat Straw
  • Passion Flower
  • Peppermint
  • St John’s Wort
  •  Valerian

Apps

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

There’s An App for That

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Adults “should” supposedly get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Yeah, dream on…right?!

This amount of sleep is said to be important in order to promote optimal health and well-being.

Not getting this many hours of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke…as well as an impaired immune system, a decrease in cognitive performance, and an increased risk of accidents.

 

But some nights I find myself lucky if I can only get about two or three hours of  such “quality” sleep.

The fact is that studies have shown that one in every three adults are not getting this “required” amount of sleep on a regular basis. These days nearly nine million Americans take some sort of medication to help them sleep each night.

 

But the answer that so many of us are looking for in our quest for better sleep could simply be right in our hand most of the day, if we knew what we were looking for.

Assuming that you are actually have your phone in your hand and are no longer looking for it, let’s take a look at some of the top-rated sleep apps that have been designed to help us each find these recommended seven hours of quality sleep each night that we all have been looking for.


1. Digipill

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: Free…
  • How It Works…Choose one of several available 30-minute “audio treatment pill.” Each “pill” is formulated for a particular ailment—such as “Sleep Deeply,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Power Nap”—based on your current needs.
  • Review

 

2. Good Morning Alarm Clock

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: $3.99
  • Purpose…to help you feel more rested and alert upon awakening with its built-in smart alarm
  • How It Works…wakes you up during your natural waking phase, provides essential statistics from the night before on a straightforward sleep graph and aggregates your statistics weekly to allow you to track sleep debt and sleep quality, plays relaxing sounds or a playlist featuring your favorite songs to help both lull you to sleep and wake up in the morning, will alert you if you are getting less sleep than you need.
  • Review

 

3. MotionX 24/7

  • Purpose…#1 top paid medical application—all-in-one sleep tracker, sleep cycle alarm, snore, apnea, heart rate monitor, weight loss and activity tracker
  • How It Works…measures and correlates resting heart rate, monitors advanced sleep cycles with smart alarms and power naps, allows you to set goals—such as 5,000 steps per day or 7 hours of sleep per night and monitor your progress.
  • Review

 

4.  Noisli

  • Cost…Android: $1.99…iPhone: $1.99…
  • Purpose…to help treat insomnia, reduce stress, relax while reading, and alleviate headaches and migraines by quietening distracting background noises…to achieve improved concentration and productivity while working, or to create a chilled audio environment for yoga, meditation, and sleep
  • How It Works…allows you to mix and save a personalized combination of sounds—rain, wind, thunderstorms, leaves, and water streams, coffee shop bustle, white noise—to create your perfect stress-free atmosphere.
  • Review

5. Pillow

5. Pillow

  • Title…Cost…iPhone: Free…
  • Purpose
  • How It Works…uses motion and sound pattern detection to plots the times you are awake and in the different phases of sleep…keeps track of sleep session statistics—such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate, dietary calories, and caffeine and alcohol consumption—to analyze how these measures are affecting your sleep quality.
  • Review

 

IMG_5125

6. Pzizz

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: Free…
  • How It Works…uses over a hundred billion slightly different sound effects—including psychoacoustics, sound sequences, dynamic dreamscapes, neurolinguistic programming, music, binaural beats—tailor-made for each portion of the sleep cycle
  • Purpose…to help you relax, re-energize and get better sleep
  •  Review

 

7. Recolor

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: Free…
  • Purpose…to help you relax and to relieve stress by channeling this anxiety into making a satisfying and creative “work of art”
  • How It Works…select one of the images from an alphabetically-organized library of more than 1,000 images—animals, pictures of food, sports, pop art, scenery, and sea life—and then use the app’s bold and uplifting color palette with various shades and hues to complete your “work of art”
  • Review

 

 

Getting Healthy

Music and Sleep

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Listening to about 45 minutes of relaxing music before bed can help you relax and fall asleep faster, sleep longer, wake up less during the night, and feel more rested in the morning.

Listening to the “right” kind of music can slow down your heart rate to the 60-beats-per-minute range needed to enter the “sleep zone,” help you breathe easier, and lower your blood pressure.

 

The “right” kind of music can masks background noise,

The “right” kind of music can shorten stage two sleep cycles and help you reach restful REM sleep, the restorative part of our sleep, more quickly.

The “right” kind of music can blocking both disruptive external sounds, such as traffic, and internal sounds, such as tinnitus.

The “right” kind of music can fill in uncomfortable silences.

And the “right” kind of music can provide a sense of companionship and security.

 

So what is the “right” kind of music to listen to if I want to have a good night’s sleep for a change…and what makes it “right”…

Music is a always a matter of personal preference…(just ask any Southern Baptist about their preference between singing hymns or 7-11, seven words sung eleven times, songs in big church)…

But there are certain things to keep in mind when choosing the music that you do listen to at night, such as…

  • Beats Per Minute…Choose something that has a rhythm of about sixty to eighty beats per minute.
  • Familiarity…Choose something that you actually are familiar with and like.
  • Neutrality…Choose music that does not evoke strong emotions.
  • Pitch Perfect…Choose music with lower pitches, nobody wants or needs to hear anyone scream and squeal right before they go to sleep and tranquil melodies.
  • Rhythm…Choose music a regular rhythm, not too much syncopation.
  • Words…Choose music without words…it’s more likely to make you sleepy. Our good friends Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, not to mention Frederic Chopin, have written enough music to fill our playlists from here to eternity.

So what IS the “right” kind of music to listen to if you want to have a good night’s sleep for a change…and what makes it “right”…

The “right” kind of music for you personally to listen to in order to have a good night’s sleep for a change may not be, and probably will not be the “right” kind of music for any other person on this planet Earth.

So the “right” kind of music for you personally to listen to in order to have a good night’s sleep for a change should be music that you choose, based on what you like and what you need from the music at the time.

But to get an idea of the type of music and playlists that have worked for other people, take a look at these top  “sleep” playlists from Spotify and these options available from Bedtime Beats.


Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oils—“Aromatic” Use

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

In order to enjoy the aromatic benefits of an essential oil, you could obviously take a few drops from the bottle into the palm of your hands, cup your hands around your mouth and nose, and inhale deeply for as long as needed…

…or simply hold the bottle of essential oil a few inches from your nose and breathe in the aroma…

or…add a drop or two of the essential oil to your pillowcase or pajama shirt, I guess…

 

 

But a much easier and smarter method would be through diffusion.

Diffusion is one of the simplest and most effective methods for using essential oils aromatically.

Simply putting two to eight drops of an essential oil that has been found especially beneficial for sleeping, (see next post), along with whatever water quantity is specified in the instructions for your particular diffuser, may be the perfect answer for your questionable sleep.

…and if you find using only one essential oil to become quite boring, you can also combine several essential oils in your diffuser. There are many such “sleep blend recipes” to be found on the internet or in books about essential oils. For example, try combining three drops of lavender, three drops of cedarwood, and two drops of frankincense.

 

So how does a diffuser work?  All diffusers work by breaking the essential oil(s) down into tiny molecules and dispersing them throughout the air, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of the oil as it circulates in the air for several hours while you sleep.

 

 

What should I look for when shopping for a diffuser?

Factors to consider when purchasing an essential oil diffuser include…

  • availability
  • ease of use
  • estimated operating time
  • material that the diffuser is made from (cheap plastic or polypropylene?)
  • noise level
  • price
  • product review
  • size of the actual diffuser
  • size of the room you want your diffuser to effectively cover
  • “special” features, such as a timer and ambient lighting
  • water capacity

 

 

Some of the most popular diffusers on the market today include…

 

1.  DoTerra AromaLite Diffuser

  • Estimated operating time…up to eight hours
  • Noise level…silent
  • Price…$102
  • Product review
  • Size area diffuser effectively covers…up to 1000 feet
  • “Special” features…optional night light
  • Type of diffuser…cool mist humidifier
  • Water capacity…3/4C

 

2.  Noor Litemist Aromatherapy Diffuser

  • Availability...Walmart, Overstock.com
  • Estimated operating time...four hours
  • Material diffuser is made from…plastic
  • Noise level…silent
  • Price…$30
  • Product review
  • Size of actual diffuser…5.9″x5″
  • Size area diffuser effectively covers…300 square feet
  • “Special” features…multicolor LED lights, automatic shut-off
  • Water capacity…1/4C

 

3.  Lagute Apple Shaped Diffuser

  • Estimated operating time…five hours
  • Material diffuser is made from…wood-grain BPA-free plastic
  • Noise…less than 36dB
  • Price…$25
  • Product review
  • Type diffuser...ultrasonic
  • Water capacity…100ml

 

4.  Plant Therapy AromaFuse Diffuser

  • Availability...Walmart
  • Estimated operating time…up to ten hours
  • Material diffuser is made from…BPA-free plastic
  • Noise level…very quiet
  • Price…$50
  • Product review
  • Size of the actual diffuser…8″x8″x5.2″
  • Size of area diffuser can effectively cover…at least 500 square feet
  • “Special” features...five different timer settings,  LED light
  • Type of diffuser…ultrasonic
  • Water capacity…300 ml ( a little over 1 ½ cups)

 

5.  PlantTherapy Advanced Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

  • Noise level…output volume control
  • Price…$130
  • Product review
  • Size of actual diffuser…3.5″x5.5″x4.2″
  • Size area diffuser effectively covers…up to 700 square feet
  • “Special” features…two quick-change atomizer attachments
  • Type of diffuser…nebulizer
  • Water capacity…15ml

 

6.  Whisper Premium Silent Misting Diffuser

  • Estimated operating time
  • Material diffuser is made from
  • Noise level…completely silent
  • Price…$20
  • Product review
  • Size of actual diffuser…8″x3.5″x3.5″
  • Size area diffuser can effectively cover…up to 1,000 square feet
  • “Special” features…automatic shut-off
  • Type diffuser…ultrasonic
  • Water capacity...100ml
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Essentials about Essential Oils

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils are perhaps the oldest known element in following a “natural health” regimen…dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who seem to have used them as far back as 3500BC for religious, cosmetic, and health purposes.

Essential oils have been called the “life blood” of the plant and are typically extracted from within the many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds in which they are found through the process of steam distillation. These essential oils have been used for both physical and emotional benefits for thousands of years.

Each person will respond to the aroma, or these specific chemical elements, when breathing in the scent of an essential oil, in his or her own unique way…based on individual emotions, behaviors, memories, and experiences.

That being said, certain essential oils are always considered to have a certain effect regardless of these factors. Certain oils simply almost always seem more uplifting, more invigorating, more calming, more soothing….

In a future post, I will be sharing a list of the best essential oils to use when fighting insomnia.

 

But what good is that list of essential oils and a brand new vial of essential oil…if you’re like I was the first time that I purchased essential oil. It sat in my bathroom for years before I finally gave it away to my daughter because I had no clue what to do with it…(okay, did I just admit that?!)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils can have a huge positive influence on us both physically and psychologically.

Physically, using essential oils aromatically can help heal and maintain the respiratory system by improving the quality of the air we are breathing and protecting us from environmental threats…

Psychologically, using essential oils aromatically can help control moods, tension, and stress.

But first, how and why do essential oils work aromatically?

When you inhale essential oils, you are actually breathing in a fine mist or vapor of the actual oil. This vapor contains all the same properties of the actual liquid oil itself, just in a different format.

Once you have inhaled the vapor, the scent of the essential oil interacts with smell receptors located in the brain, known as “olfactory sensors.”

These “olfactory sensors” are part of the “olfactory system,” the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell. The “olfactory system” part of the brain is located near and closely connected to the limbic system.

Once the scent is processed by the olfactory system, it travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system.

The “limbic system” is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, emotions, behavior, memory, and thoughts…and that can help us feel calm, encouraged, and so forth. Here, the scent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences.

Notice that the limbic system, the part of the brain most closely connected with the olfactory system, is not connected with processing sight, sound, or touch…explaining why smell, more than any of the other five senses, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.

And why essential oils have a particularly powerful effect when used aromatically.

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The 4-7-8 Breath

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

 

One of the most popular breathing techniques or exercises is the relaxation breathing exercise known as the 4-7-8 breath. This technique is shockingly simple, takes hardly any time, and can be done anywhere in five steps.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned physician, holistic health author and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is the mastermind behind this 4-7-8 breathing technique and claims that his technique will help even the worst insomniac go to sleep in sixty seconds. He describes the technique as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.”

This technique is rooted in yoga and based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath.”

Supposedly this technique can work wonders before bedtime, or any other time you’re feeling stressed. People who have tried this technique claim that it helps calm their anxious minds, reduces tension throughout the body, and eases them into a state of calmness and relaxation so that they can enjoy better sleep.

It works by slowing down your heart rate and encouraging the fast removal of carbon dioxide from your passageways.

How do I do it?

1. Sit up in your bed with your back straight.

2.  Press the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth.and keep it there through the entire exercise.

3.  Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

4. Hold that breath for a count of seven. According to Weil, this is the most important part of his technique because holding the breath in will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and thPen circulate throughout the body, produces a relaxing effect throughout the body.

5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

6. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths

It will probably require your practicing this technique twice a day over two months to perfect the technique, but once you’ve mastered it, it will become a more and more effective tool for helping you deal with anxiety and stress in your life.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Just Breathe

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Learning the simple act of breathing correctly is one of the most important steps to combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. How well you are breathing has a strong influence on your physiology, thought processes, and mood.

And in today’s fast-paced, highly stressed society, many of us have lost this ability to simply breathe in and out well enough to shut down stress and get a good night’s sleep.

Focusing your attention on taking these slow, deep breaths helps quiet the mind and helps reduce both your heart rate and blood pressure.

 

Breathing correctly is also one of the best tools for beginning the process of relaxing tense muscles and shutting your mind down for the evening, not to mention that breathing is free.

Always do these sleep exercises at bedtime, after you are already in bed. If you do these exercises anywhere other than actually in bed and then have to get up in order to get in bed, you will negate anything that these breathing exercises may have accomplished.

So first go lie down in bed…as we always tell the kids at camp, “in the sack, flat on your back.”

Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.

Use the diaphragm, abdominals and lungs to take in the deepest breath that you can. Hold that breath for a moment. Then gradually let that breath go.

Focus your attention on the full breath, from start to finish. If your mind is wandering, just notice that it has wandered and gently eedirect it back to your breath.

Focus on where you feel each breath move within the body. As you inhale, you should feel your rib cage expand and your lungs fill completely. As you exhale, you should feel these both falling back into their natural position.

Concentrate on this rise and fall that take place as you breathe, refusing to let any negative or stressful thoughts and emotions interfere or seem more important at the time than the simple act of breathing.

This alone can do wonders for helping you relax at night, even if you do nothing else such as special breathing exercises designed to also calm the central nervous system and quiet the mind.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Investigating Insomnia—Why Me?!

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People with insomnia live a cult-like existence where they begin to think that being awake at all hours of the night can give them so much more time to get things done and enjoy some peace and quiet that they might have never had before. (Trust me…I blog…at all hours of the night…trying to convince myself that I am doing something important while the rest of my family is sleeping their lives away).

But the truth is that these nights and nights of inability to sleep may be the result of underlying symptoms and lifestyles.

So before we can look at HOW to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, it’s important that we first take a look at the possible reasons WHY you’re not getting any sleep in the first place.

1.  Aging...Insomnia becomes more common with age for many reasons—including the facts that noise and other changes in your environment are more likely to wake you and that you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.

 

2.  Alcohol...Alcohol is a sedative that can make you fall asleep initially, but may disrupt your sleep later in the night and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.

 

3. Anxiety…Getting caught up in thoughts about past events, excessively worrying about future events, and feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities can make it hard for even the people who used to never have any trouble falling or staying asleep to sleep at all.

 

4. Caffeine…We all know that caffeine is a stimulant that can help us start the day feeling productive, but did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for as long as eight hours?

And far too many of us, myself included, drink at least four cups of coffee each day…if not each hour.

A 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll found that people who drink at least this much caffeinated drinks a day are more likely to experience some level of insomnia at least a few nights each week than people who limit themselves to only one cup per day…(still working on that, or not(?!))…, so the effects are long lasting.

 

5.  Certain Medical Conditions…Certain medical conditions can affect your sleep. These include…allergies, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

6.  Food…Heavy meals close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep, make you uncomfortable, and make it hard for you to settle down and relax. Spicy foods can also cause heartburn.

 

7.  Hormones...Hormone shifts during pregnancy, menstruation or menopause can make it difficult to sleep. During menopause, night sweats and hot flashes often disrupt sleep.

 

8. Light...Exposure to light from televisions and smartphones prior to going to sleep can affect natural melatonin levels and make it take longer for you to fall asleep.  The light from your computer could also make your brain more alert.

 

9.  Medications…Medications such as those taken for the common cold and nasal allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, birth control, asthma, and depression can cause insomnia.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), medications that can cause insomnia in some patients include corticosteroids, statins, alpha blockers, beta blockers, SSRI antidepressants, ACE inhibitors, ARBs (angiotensin II-receptor blockers), cholinesterase inhibitors, second generation (non-sedating) H1 agonists, and glucosamine/chondroitin.

Not only that, but many over-the-counter medications — such as some pain medications, allergy and cold medications, and weight-loss products — contain caffeine and other stimulants that can disrupt sleep.

 

10.  Napping…Taking even short naps in the afternoon may be helpful for some people, but for others they make it difficult to fall asleep at night.

 

11.  Non-traditional hours...Working irregular hours or working at home in the evenings or during the middle of the night can also confuse your body’s clock, especially if you are trying to sleep during the day, or if your schedule changes periodically.

 

12.  Psychological Issues…These include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders.

 

13. Stress…Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.

 

14.  Trying to “bank” sleep...Trying to “catch up” on lost sleep by sleeping in actually confuses your body’s circadian rhythm, or built-in clock, and make it difficult to fall asleep again the following night.

 

15.  Underlying Sleep Disorders…The two most common sleep disorders are RLS (restless legs syndrome), a neurological condition in which a person has an uncomfortable sensation of needing to move his or her legs, and sleep apnea, waking up briefly because your airway becomes partially or completely obstructed during sleep. Having your airway obstructed during sleep apnea leads to pauses in