I am bothered by the fact that we all want “quick fixes” – me included. I’ve been eating much better (meaning far less sugar and carbs in general) for 3 weeks. I’ve lost 2-3 pounds depending on the day and that was weight that I considered “water weight”. I was really hoping to have at least 1 more pound off by now – real weight loss. I see this phenomenon of wanting instant help for health issues every day that I work in the medical office. People call constantly wanting a medication to make them feel better, NOW! (or at least by tomorrow) There is an astounding number of people taking anti-anxiety, anti-depressants and sleep aides. Just that fact alone speaks to me. People are upset. They are stressed. I believe they are rushing around with absolutely no time to relax. Consumer Reports magazine, “On Health” Volume 24 Number 4 from April 2012 (yeah I just got it Monday) says this, “Prescriptions for newer sleeping pills jumped substantially between 1997 and 2007.” Their graph indicates from approximately 2 million in 1997 to 16 million in 2007. That’s CRAZY!
When people are sleep deprived, which means they do not get the proper quantity or quality of sleep, they have difficulty concentrating. That can effect every area of their life. I know when I don’t get enough sleep I am way more emotional. What do we need to do? Treat the cause, not mask the symptoms. Do you get up in the night to go to the bathroom? Don’t drink much in the 2-3 hours prior to going to bed. Do you have heartburn? Don’t eat just prior to going to bed. (amongst many other helpful possible changes. See your doctor for more suggestions.) Will your mind not “shut off?” Try shutting off the TV an hour before you want to go to sleep and reading a book just for pleasure or taking a warm bath. Develop a calming routine for going to bed and stick to it as much as possible. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool to encourage more restful sleeping.
Remember our bodies are very connected and fluid. We are not robots. We cannot program ourselves to go 100 mph all day and then in 5 minutes expect to fall asleep with no bridge between the two. Give yourself the gift of good rest by taking some time to slow down before you try to go to sleep. I am not saying that sleeping pills are never appropriate. What I am saying is that there is a trend to ask for a pill to fix our problems without investigating what might be the real source first. What helps you get to sleep?