In the last blog I talked about the circadian rhythm which are responsible for our “sleep and wake cycles”. These rhythms are responsible for our ability to have a restful and restorative night sleep.
My patients are like so many other Americans who have difficulties getting quality sleep, a condition called, insomnia at least several times per week. Insomnia is definite as the prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey in 2009 about the sleep problem in the United States and here were some of their findings. 64% of the people being surveyed experience a problem sleeping problem at least a few nights per week up 13% from 2001. Over 40% of the participants stated that they have difficulty sleeping every night. Some other finds were that difficulty sleeping affected people’s ability to work, caused people to feel drowsy while driving, and prevented people from participating in leisure activities.
The hormones that play a major role in our sleep and wake cycles are melatonin and cortisol imbalances in these hormones cause our sleep problems. Let’s look a common reason why you might have low levels of melatonin too much light at night.
Melatonin levels rise in the absence of light so if there is too much light in your eyes each night melatonin levels will be low. What can cause too much light all of our technology computers, cell phones, TV, or falling asleep with all the lights on. The solution to this problem is to turn off all computer etc a couple of hours before going to bed. TV is hard one for many of my patients because they don’t want to turn it off a couple hours before bed so I recommend that they take the TV out of the bedroom so the bedroom can be used for sleep. Many people think TV is relaxing but it is actually stimulating to the brain and to the light receptors in your eyes. This is also why it is important to make your bedroom as dark as possible to increase your melatonin levels.
Proper eating is also essential to make sure that you have of the precursors to create serotonin and melatonin in the body.