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Sleep Disorders Can Make or Break Your Health

Sleep disorders: A good night's sleep is one of the blessings of life. Even a night or two of broken sleep can alert you to the gritty, stretched stumble that becomes your day without sound, refreshing sleep.

But for those of us who endure much more than the occasional night when the gates to the Land of Nod are locked, chained and sealed shut, prolonged sleep deprivation can severely impact on mood, lifestyle, performance and relationships. Sleep deprivation and reaction time slowdown go hand in hand.

And it doesn't help when well-meaning friends brightly chirp 'Come around to my place and I'll set you to work so you'll be so tired you'll fall asleep without trying!"

The fact is, the human body and mind are extremely complex. Most of the time they get things right, but when they get them wrong, the consequences can be far-reaching and remedies difficult.

So it was with my sleep patterns. At different times I'd have trouble getting to sleep; at other times, I'd drop off quickly then wake an hour and a half later and be unable to go back to sleep... until about half an hour before I was due to get up!

Yes, sleep disorders suck! In fact, I've read that 1 out of 10 visits to the family doctor is due to chronic tiredness. So, what to do about it?

Sleeping pills are a false hope. Sure, they might work for a little while and help to break a pattern, but bottom line is they don't really allow you to get into the deepes stages of sleep when recovery takes place.

I've done a lot of reading and experimenting on ways to interrupt sleep disorders, and it seems you can often train yourself to regain healthy natural sleep patterns.

There are some pretty obvious lifestyle reviews - 'sleep hygiene' - the experts call it. Just figure out whether you're doing anything obvious that interferes with sleeping.

But the keys for me were:

  • decide that bed meant sleep - tell myself as soon as I lie down that it's time to relax and rest. Cut off any other thoughts. That's a big one.
  • go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends, and make that bedtime as late  as you can while allowing at least five hours for sleeping. You can always extend it after your pattern improves.

Do that for perhaps 6 weeks (yes, it does seem forever!) and if you mirror my experience, your sleep disorders - and your life - could improve immensely!