Tag Archives: Night Terrors

Air Pollution and Insomnia

The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives.

So, you have trouble sleeping?  Air pollution in your bedroom could be the reason you suffer from insomnia.  If the air in your bedroom isn’t as sparkling clean and clear as the freshest mountain breeze, it’s quite likely that you will suffer from insomnia.

The clever people in white coats tell us that people living in areas with raised nitrogen dioxide levels, (for example if you live near a busy road), were up to 60% more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation than were people living in places that had clean air.

These new findings indicate the possibility that commonly experienced levels of air pollution not only affect heart and lung disease, but also sleep quality.  ~  Dr. Martha E. Billings

Air pollution increases the risk of you having breathing problems during sleep ~ which will naturally wake you up, or at least give you poor quality sleep.  Breathing problems during sleep have also been linked to night terrors and nightmares.

So what can you do to improve the quality of the air you breathe in your home, and especially in your bedroom at night?

  • Use non toxic paints when you decorate.
  • Sanitize your telephone frequently, and never use the phone late at night, or when you’ve been drinking.  And, never, ever smoke in your bedroom.
  • Choose hard floors over carpets ~ carpets are just a jungle of muck, dirt, pet dander and dust.  If you can’t easily change your flooring vacuum at least twice a week.
  • Choose solid wood furniture over composites which will give off formaldehyde over time.
  • Turn your mattress frequently, use a washable mattress topper and wash it weekly
  • Use allergen proof pillows, and change your pillowcases every couple of days.  Change all your bed linen weekly.
  • Don’t put clothes you have worn outside on the bed.
  • Open the windows on breezy days to air your home.
  • Buy an air purifier for the bedroom.  The EPA has a guide to air cleaners in the home.
  • Have air filtering plants in your home, especially in your bedroom.  Choose low-maintenance varieties such as; Mother-in-Law’s Tongue / Snake Plant, Spider Plant, Garden Mum, (the garden mum removes formaldehyde, benzine, and trichloroethylene from the air), Boston Fern, and the Peace Lily.  Think about a nice, green, air filtering plant on your desk at work.

Our homes are not the safe haven we think they are.  Most people are adversely affecting their health just by breathing the air in their homes and offices.  You too can be affected in lots of ways when you are continually exposed to the polluted air in your own bedroom, and particularly around your own bed.  You may suffer problems such as; skin complaints, breathing difficulties, and insomnia.

Sleep disturbance is especially common in women, starting at their midlife.  As good sleep is essential for good health, it’s important that we do something to improve the quality of our rest at night.  And it behoves us to improve the quality of our sleep, starting right now.

O sleep, O gentle sleep.  Nature’s soft nurse, how I have frightened thee.  That though no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness.  ~  Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Your dirty phone may be affecting your health.

Air Purifier at Amazon

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Being Overweight

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.

These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight.  So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me.  Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.

I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to.  ~  Camryn Manheim.

You know what?  There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.

There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.

To begin with, are you overweight?  How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight?  What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.  In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure.  Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut).  Your waist should not be more than half your height.  If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you).  More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.

There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement.  In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches.  So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems.  Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.

Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9,  overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure).  There are plenty of online BMI calculators.

There are a myriad of downsides to being overweight, and even more downsides to being obese.  Some of these are;

We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health.  ~  M. Scott Peck.

The above are the worst of the medical problems.  But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you?  Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath?  Can you run for a bus?  Can you walk five miles without collapsing?  Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size?  Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities?  What’s your performance in bed like?  The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be.  Maybe you should take an online test?

It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7.  However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so.  But do you know what?  I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.

 

Adult Night Terrors

Night Sweats, Night Terrors, Nightmares, Sleep Terrors.

Night Terrors are not Nightmares ~ typically a nightmare happens when you’re in deep dream sleep, whereas night terrors wake you up, so the experience of a night terror is one of wakefulness.  Night terrors are also different from Sleep Terrors, because a night terror will wake you up, whereas with a sleep terror you will have all the symptoms of extreme fear, but you will stay asleep.  If you are awake, or partially awake, and terrified in the night, then the chances are you are suffering from night terrors, (which are a recognised psychological disorder).

Nightmares usually occur in the early morning during REM sleep when our dreams are at their most vivid.  More often than not we can remember all the cinematographic details of a long, scary nightmarish dream when we first wake.  On the other hand, night terrors usually happen during the first part of the night, aren’t part of REM sleep, and we won’t remember anything much other than waking up / being awake in a terrified state.

Typically, night terrors are caused by a previous psychological trauma, (such as an abusive childhood), or by stress, or by substance abuse, (such as drinking too much just before bedtime).  However, as one of the causes of drinking too much before bedtime is a mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is itself probably caused by a previous psychological trauma, it’s fair to say that if you suffer from night terrors you’re probably drinking too much and suffered some severe disturbance / abuse / trauma in your past.  Chances are if you’re in that situation you’re also feeling very pressured right now, and suffering from the symptoms of undue stress.  It’s an illogical Catch-22 situation.

If you suffer from night terrors it’s likely that you wake very suddenly with an intense fear of something unknown / a nameless dread.  Your heart will be beating fast, you will be breathing hard and fast, your blood pressure will be elevated, your eyes will be wide and staring, and you will be sweating.  This is different from night sweats, which is severe and excessive sweating, without the associated terror.  The common causes of night sweats are medical, and some of them are very nasty, such as cancer.  However, one other cause of night sweats is drinking too much.

What night terrors will do to you is prevent you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep that most adults need every night.  As well as making you feel tired, lethargic, and irritable, not getting enough sleep can cause lots of nasty illnesses such as; high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.

The most likely advice if you have night terrors when you get beyond your teens is that you should see a doctor.  Good luck with that one, because the only real cure for night terrors is to treat the underlying problem(s).  That will mean doing something about the effects of any psychological trauma in your past, and cutting out whatever drug you’re taking too much of late at night ~ including coffee, booze, prescription drugs, street drugs…

There are some very common-sense things you can do if you suffer from night terrors, sleep terror, nightmares, and / or night sweats ~ without resorting to medication and a long period of talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy.  None of these are easy, or likely to give you a quick fix, but you should consider;

An episode of night terror can be brought on by worry, stress, emotional tension, fatigue, conflict, and especially too much alcohol late at night, (or more likely a combination of factors, including booze).  How much is too much alcohol?  Actually, too much booze is however many drinks puts your health and well-being at risk.  For me, one drink is one too many.

After suffering night terrors you are likely to be utterly inconsolable, grown women, (and men), may cry, and the event may be so disturbing that your mind will wipe most of it from your memory.  The next morning you won’t be able to remember what terrified you.

In adults, it is most likely that night terrors, sleep terrors, and nightmares have an underlying cause of previous severe stress, trauma, mental and / or physical abuse, and subsequent mental disorders and generalised anxiety.  In fact, the underlying causes of sleep problems can be very similar to the underlying causes of addiction.

Not getting enough good quality sleep is a serious matter.  The consequences are severe, up to and including death.  If you’re suffering from night terrors, sleep terrors, nightmares, night sweats, then you really do need to take action right away.  Start with the tips I’ve given above, but if you have to, go and see your doctor.

~

jack collier

jack collier7@talktalk.net

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