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Thu, Sep 18, 2014

DR. KESTNER: Time to take a ‘sleepcation’ at home

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While preparing for this article, I thought for a while I had created a new word.

As it turns out, there are already other people trying sleepcations. It seems that lack of sleep is a widespread problem.

For some people, a sleepcation can be a physical escape to a resort or perhaps just a quiet local hotel to just sleep and rest.

They turn their cell phones off, let key people know how to reach them if there is a true emergency, then just hibernate for a few days.

They sleep all day if they want.

Maybe if they get ambitious they get up and relocate to the pool for a nap.

For many people, taking a physical trip is not practical due to expense or obligations that cannot be disregarded. In situations like this, an alternative home-based sleepcation may be helpful.

To take a sleepcation at home, determine the best way for you to increase the number of hours that you sleep.

Depending upon your circumstances, this may mean altering your morning schedule to allow you to sleep in a little or you may accomplish this best by going to bed an hour (or more) earlier each night.

At first, many people find it difficult to actually increase their sleep, even though they are physically in bed.

Kids, habits, distractions, noises, temperature variances, light sources or other factors may prevent sleep.

If that is the case, it may be necessary to stick to the new schedule for several weeks until you adjust your routine and learn how to avoid the distractions. Some distractions may be difficult to avoid, and creativity and persistence may be required.

If you have trouble sleeping during the extra time, don’t fret.

It may take a few nights to allow your body and mind to relax enough to sleep.

It is important to resist the urge to turn on the TV, radio, or use your smart phone, e-reader, notebook computer or tablet.

Avoiding the light stimulation as well as the mental stimulation is essential to better rest. Quiet soothing sounds such as ocean, falling rain, white noise or similar background sounds can be helpful.

Even if you don’t fall asleep right away, resting quietly in bed helps soothe a frazzled nervous system that has been overworked.

To avoid worry and other mental distractions, some people have learned to focus their attention on their breathing.

Scents can occasionally be helpful to promote sleep. Using essential oils to add pleasing relaxing scents to the room can promote sleep.

Instead of taking over-the-counter or prescription medications to sleep, try natural melatonin, herbal kava kava, or a product called Natural Calm to enhance relaxation.

Unlike a getaway sleepcation, a home-based sleepcation may last for two to three weeks.

Since you are still in your normal environment and still must attend to the majority of your normal obligations and responsibilities, the amount and quality of your sleep may be limited at home.

You might find that the benefits of going to bed an hour earlier may be so helpful that you decide to adjust your schedule indefinitely.

For many people, finding a way to get more rest may be the most beneficial step they can take to improving their health.

Sleep deprivation can be very challenging to good health even in mild conditions.

Your body needs regular sleep to accomplish a myriad of critical health maintenance processes. Physical, emotional and mental health problems begin developing after only a few weeks of inadequate sleep.

If you find that taking steps such as a sleepcation are inadequate to restore your sense of being well rested and energetic, you may be experiencing a health condition that requires consulting a doctor.

Sleep apnea and other conditions can only be diagnosed by doctors. If in doubt, consult a specialist.

For many people with sleep disturbances, acupuncture has been very helpful. In my clinical experience, acupuncture patients often report better sleep soon after beginning treatment.

For more tips for better sleep, click on the articles tab at DrKestner.com
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Dr. Kestner
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Health, Health Care, Living Well, Mark Kestner, Voices
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