America’s Not Sleeping – Here’s What You Can Do About It By: Patrick, K. Porter, PhD. Over the years I’ve had countless clients complain that a lack of deep, peaceful sleep was ruining their lives. Far too often these exhausted and frazzled folks with dark moons under their eyes tell a sad tale of morning grogginess, foggy thinking, and poor memory. “I’m tired of having to force myself to get out of bed,” was a common refrain. These poor people were fed up with having no energy or ambition because at the end of the day all they had the strength to do was plop down and rest in front of the television. Some have been getting poor sleep for so long that it’s caused side-effects like dizziness, heart palpations and memory loss. Most have given up on sleeping pills because they didn’t work. Others were too scared to try sleep aids for fear they could end up being habit forming. Year after year the problem got worse. After the economic crash of 2008, when chronic insomnia became epidemic, I put started researching how to naturally induce deep relaxation and restful sleep in an all-natural, non-toxic way. What it takes to get the deep, restorative, restful sleep our bodies need may surprise you. And it may amaze you even more that the solution doesn’t come in a pill or even a supplement bottle. Anyone can effortlessly fall asleep anytime they want, sleep deeply the way nature intended, and wake up refreshed and revitalized, ready to tackle a new day—and it can happen as soon as tonight. But first we need to explore what we’ve been doing that’s forcing our bodies to develop the problem of poor sleep quality. Why people no longer fall asleep naturally As hard as it may be to believe, the majority of Americans have unconsciously trained themselves not to fall asleep naturally. Our over-taxed minds, over-stimulated brains, and living a life in overdrive is preventing our bodies from creating the deep relaxation level we need to enter deep sleep. Our brains have literally forgotten how to sleep. But you can retrain your brain and body to relax without chemical intervention. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m really feeling stressed out today”? These words are not to be ignored, because they are the first sign that you’re unconsciously training your brain to stay in an over-aroused state that will keep you from a good night’s sleep. Here are some of the leading culprits and how they affect you.
- Environmental Stress: In your personal life, you may have credit card debt, housework, taxes, crying babies, or wayward teens, marital troubles and more. On the job, you may have difficult co-workers, lengthy meetings, technology meltdowns, and cell phones that now keep you chained to work no matter where you go.
- Electronic Stress: We’ve invented technology to simplify our lives, but in effect we have increased our stress levels—by being in constant connection—boosting our chronic stress levels like never before.
- Overproduction of Stress Chemicals in Your Body and Reduction in Production of Relaxation Chemicals: Because of constant, never ending stress your body produces an excess of the fight-or-flight hormones adrenalin, noradrenalin, and cortisol. You may end up with chronic headaches, upset stomach, irritable bowels, or high blood pressure. Over time these chemicals block your body from being able to manufacture the relaxation chemicals that allow for proper, restorative sleep. No matter how hard you try to switch it off, you can’t, because your brain is too wound up.
- Chronic Stress Reduces Your Immune Response: Not only do you get every flu bug that comes around, but chronic stress reduces the response you have to any attack on your system.
- Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise: Eating on the run and skipped meals result in an improper balance of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients and prevents your body from producing the sleep hormones it needs. Not taking the time to get some fresh air and exercise can hamper your body’s natural need to expend energy. When you can’t take time out of your hectic life to exercise, not only your muscles but also your mind will start to fail you.
- Working Odd Hours or Too Late at Night: Working long hours or very late can cause problems with your natural sleep cycle. Once your natural sleep cycle is disrupted, it gets harder and harder to go to sleep at the same time and wake up refreshed.
- Worries: Constantly thinking about finances, relationship problems, or job concerns is a major cause of restless nights. Financial worry is what most people say keeps them awake at night.