(Chennai, India)

Sleeplessness is usually associated with emotional or mental tension, anxiety, depression, work problems, financial stress or unsatisfactory sex life.

While insomnia is not usually related to any physical illness there are exceptions. Any illness that can cause pain or discomfort may cause sleeplessness. The more mental energy you consume the more sleep you will need.

This is because when the brain works overtime it uses up blood sugar leaving you mentally exhausted. Sleep patterns also change as you age.

A sweet drink before bed increases the brains supply of the amino acid L-Tryptophan. This increases the likelihood of falling asleep more easily.

Herbs that may be of help for sleeplessness are Valerian, Skullcap, Hops and Passion Flower. Magnesium and calcium are useful minerals in relieving sleeplessness.

All of these natural approaches are not habit forming and most importantly non-toxic.

Sleeplessness Alters Metabolism. A lack of quality sleep may lead to love handles and double chins.

Doctors at the University of Chicago found that not getting enough sleep altered basic bodily functions such as regulating blood-sugar levels, storing away energy from food and the production of various hormones.

The study examined the effects of sleep deprivation on a group of 11 young men in their 20's. For one week the participants were allowed only four hours of sleep a night and were told to continue the normal routine of their lives.

After one week of four hours of sleep a night, the participants' metabolic levels and their ability to process carbohydrates were the same as those of a 65 year-old man.

The young men took 40 percent longer than normal to regulate their blood sugar levels following a high-carbohydrate meal.

Their ability to secrete insulin and to respond to insulin both decreased by about 30 percent. A similar decrease in acute insulin response is an early marker of diabetes.

Thus good quality sleep is as essential to health
as proper diet and exercise. Make it a point to get your required sleep even if you have to curtail other activities, or the lack of sleep will certainly curtail your health!

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Good Night's Sleep Assured

by Lata Vijaya Raghavan
(Bangalore, Karnataka State, India)

There are a number of people who suffer from insomnia. Try this simple step and it has worked in my case. Have an early dinner at least three hours before bedtime and ensure that you remain physically active till you go to bed and for God’s sake do not watch any disturbing show on TV and please do not smoke prior to sleeping.

Just before going to bed, have a glass of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey in it. Say a simple prayer and keep your mind entirely free from all worries before you hit the pillow. The worst enemy of a good night’s sleep is carrying a number of thoughts with you to the bed and replaying them while you sleep.

Your mind will tend to linger on some of them and sleep will become evasive. It is good to think of the day with anticipation as soon as you get up in the morning. But it is advisable to keep the mind blank when retiring for the night. Try this and you will thank me later.

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