Dr. Svetlana Kogan says ‘SAY NO’ to sleeping pills

By Svetlana Kogan, M.D. Board-Certified Internal

A whopping 50-70 million Americans have some sort of sleep disorder. Most of these folks have taken prescription medications for sleep as needed or on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, prescription sleep drugs are habit-forming and have a long list of side effects.

There are many reasons for widespread insomnia. For younger working people, it is their overstimulated central  nervous system due to heavy cell phone, TV, and computer use. For middle aged working parents, it is all of the above stimulation, minus the video games and parties, plus the stress of having to balance family, children and a career. Sleep disorder in people over 50 years young is exacerbated by the perimenopause and andropause.  Additional health issues, like urinary incontinence or pain syndromes can and do contribute to awakening at night as well.

Here are some holistic tips, which are sure to help anyone get a better night of sleep:

1) Bedroom is for sleep only. Do not use it for engaging in exciting activities or reading a book. When you learn to associate the bedroom exclusively with sleep –then, when you walk into your bedroom, you should have a knee jerk physiologic sensation of sleepiness come over you.

2) Do not overdo alcohol and/or caffeine – and be certain to finish partying 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. This is especially true for Naples, where many happy retirees go out and consume substantial amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. You want to make sure that you have had time to process and eliminate all the stimulants which
tend to keep you wired.

3) Take a nice walk after dinner. Naples is truly a green oasis, and coupled with a proximity to the ocean, there is plenty of opportunity to get ample oxygen exposure – it helps to calm and soothe our central nervous system.

4) Take a relaxing bath or shower about 30 minutes before going to bed. Using lavender, chamomile, or bergamot aromatherapy oils helps to quell the restless mind.

5) Sleep naked or if uncomfortable, use loose cotton pajamas, which allow skin cells to breathe and will not skid against the sheets. Make sure the mattress is pleasantly firm. The pillow should help you maintain the natural S-shaped curvature of the neck, and organic cotton pillowcases will help avoid the electrostatic which can be so annoying when you are in bed.

6) Have an electronic curfew. Stop using electronic devices, TV and all mind-stimulating gadgets about one hour prior to going to bed.

7) Do not drink or eat anything within 1-2 hours of bedtime. Our urinary bladders are tiny when they are empty and all it takes is just a few ounces of liquid to wake you up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. So, allow your digestive and urinary systems to rest and restore at night, and visit the restroom immediately prior to  bedtime to empty the bladder.

8) Play soothing music about half an hour before bedtime. The healing and soothing effects of calming music are astounding and scientifically based. You can watch the episode I have recorded with CBS on this subject by visiting the media page on my website CustomLongevity.com

9) There is a plethora of supplements (such as magnesium, L-Theanine, Glycine, GABA, Melatonin, and many others), which claim to help with sleep. We will abstain from discussing them here because it is a huge topic in and of itself. However, I would strongly advise against using any and all over the counter supplements without discussing them with your doctor. Just because something is “natural” – does not mean that it is safe for everyone,  especially if you are already taking other supplements and prescription medications which tend to react with other compounds.

10) Write down positive affirmations just 15 minutes before going to bed and say them out loud. As you are winding down, you are entering an almost hypnotic state, in which writing down words feeds the associated thoughts and emotions back to the body and mind. Additionally, spending 30-45 minutes meditating in a chair before going to bed works wonders, as it helps to prime your nervous system for a healing and restorative night of sleep.

720 Fifth Ave S, Unit 209, Naples, FL 34102 | (239) 676-6883    www.customlongevity.com

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