My Tenth blog “Top 10 Causes of Poor Sleep” – in this blog I will discuss 10 common causes of poor sleep and natural remedies you can try to help improve sleep quality.
I have had several people in my family suffer from sleep insomnia. They just couldn’t go to sleep or they woke up frequently not being able to stay asleep. And as a result, became extremely frustrated and almost became mentally unstable as they knew the wrath they would suffer if they didn’t obtain good quality sleep. Back in the 1980’s there really wasn’t an easy way to look up remedies to this problem. Or to figure out what was causing it so you could get a better nights rest. But nowadays everything is at your fingertips. And after you understand some causes of poor sleep you can easily implement steps to fix the problem. We all have suffered through this at some point in our life. But there are some of us that have encountered it way more than we would like to admit.
So what causes poor quality sleep?
1 Pets in the bed, how to fix this is obvious, move the pet to another location.
2 Kids in the bed, how to fix this is obvious, move them back to their bed.
3 Alcohol affects the rhythm of sleep, first it acts as a sedative, but then a few hours later when blood alcohol level drops, it will wake you up again. To prevent this stop drinking 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
4 Acid reflux, in my opinion acid reflux can be reduced by removing the food that is causing the problem. To pinpoint what it is – start keeping a food diary and write down your symptoms after you eat. Eventually you will figure out what the culprit is. Here are some foods that can cause acid reflux/heartburn:
Alcohol, particularly red wine
Black pepper, garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods
Citrus fruits and products, such as oranges and orange juice
Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
Fried foods or foods high in fat
5 Pain, I will be the first to admit this one was a problem for me for a long time. Until I went off of gluten and diet soda, all the pain in my hips, legs and back disappeared! If you are suffering from pain, try switching out your soda with water and going on a gluten free diet – I bet you will see your pain reduced or maybe even go away altogether!
6 Vitamins, I will also admit I occasionally pop a few B12’s to give me a quick burst of energy, especially when I get home late from work and realized I need to do some homework for class. B6 and B12 should be taken in the am hours; they can cause some to have very vivid dreams that can wake you up in the night.
7 Eating right before you go to bed or in the middle of the night is a recipe for poor quality sleep. Why? There are two chemicals in your brain that are needed to go to sleep. Serotonin (not available as a supplement) and Melatonin (available as a supplement) a lot of Serotonin is needed to break down foods, especially foods high in carbohydrates. It takes your body 2 to 3 hours to remake the serotonin to put back what it used. This is the reason why you should stop eating 2 to 3 hours before bed. (you will see more about Melatonin in #1 in the next section)
8 Stress, this obviously can cause sleeping problems. Especially if you are a worrier. Yoga is a great way to unwind. Another great way to reduce your stress, leave work at work. Don’t take it home with you!
9 Medications can have side effects. If you take a control substance for ADD or ADHD (this will definitely keep you up if you take it too late in the day) make sure you read the side-affects before taking any medication your doctor prescribes. Or better yet, ask your doctor if the medication that he/she is prescribing will affect sleep? Don’t be surprised if he/she doesn’t know the answer. They often prescribe pills without warning you of the risks that comes with taking it!
10 Sleep Apnea, if you suffer from this try losing some weight, sometimes sleep apnea is brought on by weight sitting on your diaphragm. Remove the weight and you will likely improve this issue.
If you are open to taking vitamins to add to your quality of sleep, here is a list of the ones that I have found that help aid better sleep in my household. They may also help you to understand what natural remedies are out there and what you might be deficient in.
1 Melatonin (which is both a hormone and an antioxidant) it is also a chemical in your brain that helps you fall asleep. This can be found at the health food store or online.
2 5-HTP is a compound created in the body which is used to regulate serotonin levels in brain and central nervous system. This can also be found at the health food store or online.
3 Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness. You can request your Doctor to check your vitamin D levels. As we age this becomes a more common problem. The sun and a tanning bed (although you don’t want to “over expose”) are ways to get your Vitamin D.
4 Magnesium deficiency can cause insomnia. I take a Magnesium Malate supplement daily.
5 Lack of Potassium can lead to difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. If you are having leg cramps on a regular basis you could be low in potassium or it could be caused by consumption of gluten.
6 Adding a good Probiotic to your diet will help aid in the digestive process. Nothing worse than a bowl of popcorn lying in your gut for days! If you are absent a gall bladder like me I would highly recommend a good probiotic.
“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”
In this blog I summarize my research on corn and why corn yields have increased 6x in the US without planting any more crops and how I feel about the consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup!
In my valiant effort to learn more about what I am sticking in my mouth, I decided to do some research on CORN. Born and raised in Indiana I have always been a big supporter of corn. Some of my favorite memories are running through the corn fields when I was a kid and attending the annual Popcorn Festival in Valparaiso, IN. I love popcorn and corn on the cob, yum! I learned a lot I didn’t know and thought it would be great to share on a blog. As everyone should be, at a minimum, on CORN alert!
Around 80 million acres of corn is planted and harvested in the US. If you ever fly over the Midwest, you will likely see the majority of it. Corn is the primary US feed grain, accounting for more than 90% of total feed grain production and use. Corn is also used in industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. (www.ers.usda.gov)
Here is a statistic for you: based on the www.ers.usda.gov website, the US is planting around the same number of acres of corn as we did in 1926; however, we are yielding 6x more corn. Humm…..how can that be? The short answer is: seed varieties, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and new machinery. This all sounds great, but has anyone thought how these changes might affect us as humans?
I truly believe anything reasonable in moderation can’t possibly kill you. However, how can the American people eat corn in moderation when it is in now in everything you eat? How is the introduction of High Fructose Corn Syrup into our diets affecting us? I found a bunch of arguments to support both sides. Here is one thing I found that has pushed me to believing that high fructose corn syrup might be something I should avoid: corn processing goes through two processing types:
- Wet millers process corn into high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), glucose and dextrose, starch, corn oil, beverage alcohol, industrial alcohol and fuel ethanol.
- Dry millers process corn into flakes for cereal, corn flour, corn grits, corn meal, and brewer’s grits for beer production.
When you read the above two process categories which one sounds safer for you to consume? If you picked Dry Millers process, so did I. I am not sure I want to eat corn that is used in the same process to fuel cars.
The majority of sugared soft drinks are now made primarily with High-Fructose corn syrup (HFCS); most American’s who consume these beverages increase their consumption of HFCS from zero to 60 pounds per person per year. http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/05/13/5-reasons-high-fructose-corn-syrup-will-kill-you/ During the time of introduction of HFCS, obesity rates have more than tripled in the US and diabetes incidence has increases more than 7 fold. Is this just a coincidence? Although, I have not eliminated “corn” from my diet I am making a valiant effort to avoid foods that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Below is a list of foods that I have noticed now contain High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Sugared soda and other sugar beverages
- Your child’s Juice boxes (that are not 100% fruit juice)
- Breakfast cereals and Breakfast Bars
- Salad Dressings and condiments (like Ketchup)
- Breads and Baked Goods
- Nutritional Bars (seriously??)
- Pancake syrup (when it is not true maple syrup)
- And may other processed snacks