• Which Sleep Aids Are Best?


    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    If you ask anyone who has had any form of insomnia how they feel, they will readily admit how this health problem can wreak havoc on the body. Without the proper amount of sleep, you do not feel well and you cannot function right, either.

    But if you have done all you can to bring on a good night sleep - like having a comfortable bed, sleeping in a darkened room and avoiding anything that stimulates the senses like caffeine - and you still cannot sleep, then you need some extra help.

    If you cannot sleep because there are noises keeping you up at night and you don’t like ear plugs, then use a machine that produces white noise or use a CD that has soothing nature sounds like crashing ocean waves or the sound of a gentle rain.

    You can also find some extra help to get to sleep by using sleep aids. There are many different types you can get and some are natural and some are not. If you want to use natural sleep aids, you can try herbal supplements. You can also try exercises to relax or engage in forms of meditation.

    There are also natural food choices that can help you get to sleep. You can try having some warm “traditional golden milk” (recipe made with turmeric that can be easily found in google) before bed or drinking some chamomile tea (with no sugar). Some foods, such as those containing magnesium, can also help you get to sleep.  Magnesium is the best mineral that relaxes muscles and general tension.

    A natural sleep aid that you can take is melatonin, which helps prepare the body for sleep. Melatonin doesn’t help you fall asleep quicker but it will make sure that the hours that you are sleeping are deeper and therefore help you feel more rested in the morning.  Melatonin is an all-natural aid without groggy, morning after side effects and you can buy it in pill form.



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  • Seven Tips To Beat Insomnia


    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    Insomnia can range from mild to chronic. Mild insomnia can happen if you are feeling stressed about relationships or if you are having problems with finances or trouble on your job.

    Insomnia that is ongoing and continues to prevent sleep needs to be evaluated. Sometimes, insomnia is brought on by side effects of a medication or by a chronic hormonal imbalance.

    Whatever type of insomnia you might have or the reason behind it, you need a good night sleep in order to be able to function the next day. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to poor ability to function at home or work and it is been linked to numerous health problems.

    Following these 7 tips can break the cycle of sleeplessness and get you back on track so that you get a good night rest.

    1.- Shut off your thoughts. We are so busy during the day that it is easy to push aside thoughts of things that weigh on us. But at night, when our body is still, our mind often gets busy fretting about whatever is going on in our lives.

    If the anxious thoughts start, do not entertain them. Imagine yourself shoving all the worries into a closet and barring the door. If that still does not help, get out of bed and meditate. Do something that relaxes you - but do not start watching television .

    2.- Avoid eating a heavy meal right before you go to bed. Overeating can cause you to wake up throughout the night.

    3.-  Make sure your room is a sleep haven. Have a comfortable bed. Keep the room dark and block out any noises that might disturb you. Keep your room temperature at a level that you find comfortable to sleep in.

    4.- Exercise - but not right before you go to sleep. Exercise can stimulate and invigorate your body - the opposite of what you want before bed.

    5.- Set your internal clock by maintaining a bedtime schedule. Go to bed at a set hour. If you do this regularly, your body will begin to crave to sleep at that time.

    6.- Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed - and do not smoke, either - because nicotine is a stimulant that will keep you awake or cause you to wake up once you have dozed off.

    7.- Have a warm, relaxing bath before bed. Soak in the tub and listen to relaxing music while the water massages your muscles.


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  • Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing is not continuous while you are asleep. Your breathing stops temporarily and this pause in breathing can happen multiple times throughout the night.

    Sleep apnea can occur without you even being aware that you have it. It is usually a family member or a spouse that notices - and even then, he or she may not be aware that loud snoring or sudden bursts of gasping for air is a sign of sleep apnea.

    The gasping stems from not enough oxygen passing through to your lungs because your air can become blocked as it tries to move through the airways. This condition causes breaks in your sleep and because you are asleep, it escapes your notice.

    What you may notice, however, is that it is hard to function in the daytime. You may feel sleep deprived and have a strong urge to take a nap.

    Sleep apnea that remains undiagnosed can lead to diabetes, heart attacks, other heart problems - even premature death because the apnea can cause your heart to begin beating erratically and throwing it into an irregular rhythm that you may not be able to recover from.

    One of the most noticeable signs that you might have this condition is snoring that is loud enough to wake others. If others have complained about how loud you snore, it may be time to get that checked out.

    Another sign you might notice is that your throat is sore when you first wake up. You might chalk it up to allergies or sleeping in a cool room, but this is caused by snoring. You may have a headache upon waking - and this is caused by both the sleep interruptions and a lack of getting the proper amount of oxygen.

    Getting up throughout the night to urinate can be a sign - or you may also wake up feeling like your mouth is full of cotton. Having sleep apnea can make you feel sluggish, cause you to experience periods where you struggle to remember things and it can even cause changes in your mood.

    If you are overweight, then you are at high risk for sleep apnea.

    If you think you may be suffering with sleep apnea, talk to your doctor for a proper diagnosis and then with your naturopathic doctor to get to the root cause of your problem.

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  • Is It Possible to Get Too Much Sleep?

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    When the weekend rolls around, you will hear people talk about how they plan to sleep in since they did not get enough sleep during the week. There isn’t anything wrong with wanting a little extra sleep after a busy week.

    There is nothing wrong with it as long as you do not overdo it. Once sleep is lost, you can never bank enough hours to cover that deficit. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your body.

    A lack of the proper amount of sleep can cause you to develop heart problems and can cause your metabolism to slow down. It also leads to trouble concentrating and trouble dealing with stress.

    But on the other hand, getting too much sleep can also have adverse effects on your health. On average, you need and should aim to get between 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Some studies have shown than regularly sleeping for more than 8 hours can lead to putting on weight, developing type 2 diabetes and more.

    Sleeping too much can also cause some side effects. You may wake up groggy and remain drowsy throughout the day. With too much sleep, you will experience fatigue brought on by sleeping and the inactivity of resting.

    This can cause you to crave even more sleep. It is almost like an addiction because you are training your body to need more. You can also experience a sleep headache and a general sense of not feeling.

    Sometimes, sleeping too much can be indicative of a deeper problem. You might have an undiagnosed health problem that makes you feel constant fatigue and causes you to crave more sleep.

    You might also be sleeping too much to put off dealing with the things that drain you emotionally. It can be a sign that you are experiencing depression. The old adage that you will wake up once your body has had adequate sleep isn’t true. Sleep feels good - and it is easy to sleep for 10 hours or longer unless you set an alarm.

    There are ways that you can avoid getting too much sleep. Schedule an alarm if you find that you do sleep too much without one. Don’t change the time that you get up - even on the weekends.

    If you feel like there is no reason to get up because you have nothing going on, then set up a to-do list. Include fun activities, chores and special outings. If you consistently sleep too much because of insomnia, then talk to your naturopathic doctor who can help you address the root cause of your problem.


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  • How to Get to Sleep Faster

    Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

    No one likes to get into the bed and then spend the next few hours struggling to fall asleep. It can be so frustrating to know you need to sleep - and yet each time you look at the clock, another hour or two has gone by.

    You can stop dreading the process of trying so hard to sleep and start falling asleep fast by checking your bedtime ritual to see if you are doing anything that is causing you not to be able to fall asleep properly.

    Could you be setting yourself up for sleep failure? If you are camped out in front of the computer right before bed, you are stimulating your brain by reading the news, chatting with others, checking out your social media sites or playing your favourite game.

    Shut off the computer a couple of hours before you go to bed and the same thing with the television. Don’t watch anything that upsets or frightens you before bed. Stay away from the family gossip that might bug you when you are planning to try to get to sleep.  Avoid drinking anything alcoholic before bed because it will keep you awake - and the same goes for caffeine.

    Get your room dark - and if you don’t have a way to get the room completely dark, then put on a sleep mask. It is the same situation with noise. Get rid of the noise - and if you can’t, use a white machine or soothing music to drown out the annoying intrusion.

    If you have a habit of sleeping with a pet, boot them out of the room. Pets wake us repeatedly during the night by jumping on the bed, by growling or kicking in their sleep or by waking up and turning around.

    If you have a cat, you know how much fun it can be to wake up in the middle of the night to a cat digging claws into your blankets. Do not make it a habit to sleep with kids in the bed, either. You need your rest and so do they.

    Because your mind is going to run ninety miles an hour over what you have to take care of the next day, write it down on a list to look at in the morning. This frees your mind from worries.

    Set up a bedtime ritual. Make these simple steps that you do to prepare for bed. For example, an hour before bed, take a warm bath and then dress in comfortable pajamas. Half an hour before bed, have some warm milk or a cup of chamomile tea.

    Read a chapter in a soothing book with a soft light then head off to bed. There is also something to be said for counting sheep. The repetitive, boring counting is what quiets your mind and lulls you to sleep.

    Some people have alarm anxiety - they toss and turn when they know they have to get up early. If you are one of those people, stop placing the clock where you can see what time it is.

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