Caption: Are your Sleeping Meds Asleep on The Job?
Sleep, it was the one thing I did not need when I was younger. I could be up for days on end just getting a quick nap here and there. Now, I’m 40 and I can only sleep when I’m medicated. The only sleep I get is when I pass out. It’s not refreshing nor helpful and I wake up 3 or 4 times and that is on a good night.
Sleep disorders affect a lot more people than you may realize — up to 20% of Americans in any given year according to the National Institutes of Health. These disorders and the resulting sleep deprivation interfere with work, driving, and social activities. The most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.
Yes, sleep disorders and insomnia are very common in general, but among people living with mental illnesses and mood disorders, there is a much higher percentage. Dr. Bengston says we should learn our”Circadian Rhythms,” this is the “regular changes in mental and physical characteristics that occur in the course of a day (circadian is Latin for ‘around a day’)”.
Basically, our body’s biological “clock,” called the suprachiasmatic nucleus ( SCN ), gets screwed up somewhere in the hypothalamus where the optic nerves cross. Light that reaches photoreceptors to the SCN glands act like a light-switch turning off and on production of the Melatonin. When the level of melatonin increases, it makes you sleepy. Simple, right? Now you have to factor in things like being exposed to bright lights in the evening or too little light during the day which can disrupt the body’ s normal melatonin cycles. For example, jet lag, shift work, working on the computer, not going out in the sun and poor vision can disrupt melatonin cycles.
So, this week I’m going to test this out by forcing myself to get out of the house into the sun for a minimum of 15 minutes a day and I’m going to take Vitamin D3. A friend of mine gave me some Vitamin D3 called Life D3. I looked it up and found Dr. Jarir Nakouzi, a Homeopathic who sells it. So I’m reading up on it before I take it, as I do with everything I take.
I’ll let you know how things are going.
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