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Anyone not getting 8 to 9 hours of good, healthy sleep you are endangering their health and well-being!

Healthy Sleep

A consistent, healthy sleep pattern of 8 to 9 hours a night is unheard of for more and more adults and children. Part of the issue is our culture and part of the issue is not recognizing the importance of sleep. The results from longitudinal epidemiological studies are now beginning to suggest that it is likely we can reduce the risk or severity of a host of diseases with better sleep.

These studies have shown that sleep is essential for normal immune system function and to maintain the ability to fight disease and sickness. Sleep also is vital for your nervous system to function normally, and for people to have the ability to function normally physically and mentally. On top of that, sleep is essential for learning and for normal, healthy cell growth.

Wilt Chambelain once claimed to get only about 4 hours a sleep a night, yet he died young. We can't say the lack of sleep was the cause, but again the research is beginning to support the idea that it contributes to ill-health.

Sleep Disorders

There are generally considered three categories of sleep disorders and a total of over 70 such disorders. The first category would be excessive sleep. The next is disturbed sleep. The final category is lack of sleep.

For our purposes we are more intersted in a discussion on lack of sleep. A lack of sleep affects large numbers of people and has a grave impact on health and learning.

There are numerous causes and solutions for sleep problems such as insomnia. What we want to focus on here would be some behavior causes and there solutions. These are simply discussions about basic sleep problems, the impact of the problems, and strategies to minimize the problems. You most certainly should consult your doctor and have a discussion with your doctor.

In the discussion with your doctor we would recommend you talk to him or her about non drug related strategies to try first. Medication does have its place.

Influence of Television and Visual media

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year. Another 20 million people suffer from occasional insomnia.

Teachers are noticing that more and more of their students are exhibiting sleep related problems. Our culture makes it challenging to get that healthy sleep. We watch television late into the night and do not learn how to truly let our minds relax.

Television nor video games relax the mind. Besides cutting out the stimulus before going to bed or while trying to go to sleep, we can make some other changes that could greatly improve the quality of your sleep.

An article published in Pediatrics in 2007 covers the findings of a research study. The goal of the study was to investigate the effects of excessive television and computer game consumption on sleep patterns and memory performance of children.

There had been other studies done that indicated excessive television viewing and computer game playing were associated with emotional and behavioral issues, sleep complaints, attention problems, and family interaction problems. The researchers, however, stated that "there is insufficient knowledge about the relationship between singular excessive media consumption on sleep patterns and linked implications on children."

The conclusions of the researchers were that the results suggested that television and computer game exposure do affect children’s sleep as well as negatively impact their verbal cognitive performance. They argue the results support the hypothesis that this exposure negatively impacts children's sleep, learning, and memory.

It is becoming widely accepted that video game playing and television have a negative impact on the sleep of teenagers. There is an article published in Kidshealth.org that explains the problem.

While we are not stating ther is any scientific studies to show correlation we see that over the past forty years video gaming and television watching have increased dramatically while test scores have been declining.

Music and other cultural influences

An article in eMedExpert discusses the positive impact music has on health and well-being, including sleep. Relaxing classical music is safe, cheap and easy way to beat insomnia. Many people who suffer from insomnia find that Bach music helps them. Researchers have shown that just 45 minutes of relaxing music before bedtime can make for a restful night.

Listening to slow, quiet classical music, is proven to reduce stress. Countless studies have shown that music's relaxing effects can be seen on anyone at any age. The key point here is the type of music they are referring too.

Listening to heavy metal or hard rock may or may not lead to behavioral problems, but listening to that music as you fall asleep or try to fall asleep is NOT a prescription for getting a restful sleep.

Keys to healthy sleep

One of the first things you can do to get healthy sleep is invest in a good mattress. Selecting the right mattress is a matter of preference as well as research. A good mattress must properly support you body. Tempurpedic and Select Comfort are two very popular and excellent mattresses.

As we have already mentioned learning to relax before going to sleep by finding a quiet place and simply listening to good, soft music can be amazingly affective. Stop watching television at least 30 minutes before trying to go to sleep and put on some soft music and just relax.

Learning self-hypnosis, visualization, or other psychological techniques can be incredibly valuable to help you release stress and change your thought patterns. Many Christians swear by spending that time in prayer. It is important to just be able to let go of things and television IS NOT the answer for relaxing in order to get healthy sleep.

Another important healthy sleep hab it that will improve your ability to get healthy sleep is to have a healthy diet and proper exercise. Being physically active on a regular basis is incredibly important. While many people use gyms to work out and build their body as well as get cardiovascular exercise getting outdoors for physical, recreational activities is invaluable.

The benefits of fresh air and sunshine over the stale air of gyms should not be dismissed lightly. So, finding time to take an evening walk even if you have already worked out will serve you well. That coupled with simple eating practices like not overeating, be warying of the combinations of foods, as well as your intake of sugar and caffeine before bedtime will help you get healthy sleep.

After a good mattress, proper nutrition and exercise, and listening to soft music just before sleep, another healthy sleep habit would be the use of aroma therapy. While there is not conclusive research regarding medicinal value of essential oils, there is plenty of research on the power aroma as on the mind and the influence the mind has on your ability to get healthy sleep.

Essential oils allow the aroma of plants to put you at ease and help you relax. If there are medicinal benefits all the better. Another product that could be of great benefit for getting healthy sleep is the use of biomagnets.

There are many forms of energy that can exert an influence on humans. The energy comes from a variety of sources. Magnetism, for example, is a part of the natural environment for all living things. Modern civilization have diminished our contact with the Earth’s magnetic field, and enhanced contact with electrical fields. Magnetic technology is designed to help counterbalance this effect.

One of the leading biomagnetic companies in the world, Nikken, calls this Magnetic Equalizing Technology, as an aligning or normalizing factor to help produce conditions that more closely correspond to nature. Use of biomagnetic technology gives incredible results in sleep and pain management. If you want to get consisten healthy sleep you may want to investigate this technology.

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