6 reasons you’re having night sweats

At some point in life, everyone experiences night sweat. Let’s begin by differentiating between night sweats and hot flashes. You may experience the latter when you are wearing too many layers, or when the temperature is too high.  If you wear heavy clothing, use a thick comforter, or make your room hot when you sleep, it is normal to sweat at night. Unrelated to an overheated environment, actual night sweats will soak your clothes and be incredibly irritating to deal with.  They can come from a variety of different causes including:

  • Infection

  • Anxiety

  • Spicy Foods

  • Low blood sugar

  • Hormone Disorder

  • Sleep Apnea

 

If you only deal with light sweating while you sleep, try wearing some deodorant to bed. The antiperspirant on clean skin should stop the sweating as long as you’re in a cool environment.

Infection

Illnesses such as the flu, tuberculosis, and even HIV are often accompanied by night sweats. Other bacterial infections such as inflammation of the heart valves and bones will cause them as well. Once your body has rid itself of the infection, the sweats should also stop. If they continue after the infection, consider another reason.

Anxiety

If you suffer from sweating due to stress during the day, the same thing is likely to happen at night. Unfortunately, emotional problems don’t disappear when we go to sleep.  Fears and anxieties still make their presence while we are sleeping through our subconscious. Treatments for anxiety can help eliminate this type night sweat.

Spicy foods or Hot drinks

Many people will be able to self-diagnose themselves for the first two on this list. But this one is slightly less known. There is a chemical common to peppers — and other spicy foods and drinks — known as Capsaicin. This chemical activates particular receptors in your body that make it respond like it were in a hot environment. These receptors send a signal to the brain to indicate that your body is feeling a heat-related pain. Drinking a ton of water after eating a spicy food will help you stop sweating because you are neutralizing your body’s initial reaction to the chemical.

Low Blood Sugar

Also called Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar is a leading cause of night sweats. A variety of different conditions can contribute to an incident of low blood sugar. Eating or exercising differently than normal can throw your body’s blood sugar levels off. A more common cause is taking an incorrect amount of insulin. If you’re suffering,

If you’re suffering night sweats for this reason, there are a couple things you can do. First, try eating a snack — something high in protein so your blood sugar can remain stable for the next few hours while you sleep.  Second, consider taking less blood sugar medication in accordance with how much physical activity you did during the day.

Hormone Disorder

Very common in women, hormone imbalances can result in a range of different issues with even the slightest change. Sweating is only one of the many symptoms that occur from sudden fluctuations in hormones. There are a number of hormone therapies you can try to get rid of the problem, but seek additional counsel before you take that path. Talking to your doctor concerning your night sweats is the best option if it may be due to a hormone imbalance.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is essentially when your body stops breathing while you’re asleep. Scary right? The major reason it causes sweating is because — when you stop breathing — your body goes into panic mode fighting for air. The lack of oxygen makes your body aggressively struggle for air — and thus causes you to start sweating. if you’ve read this far and not found your cause for night sweats, consider the possibility you might have sleep apnea.

Hopefully, you’ve been able to diagnose the source of your night sweats. If not, the problem may be more serious and you should seek the help of a doctor ASAP.

What have you done to end your night sweats?

Sleep in easier by doing this one thing

Sleep in

I know the feeling. It’s Friday night and you fall in bed wanting nothing more than a full 12 hours of sleep. But when you wake up in the morning, it is still early and you’re even more tired than when you fell asleep. It seems impossible to sleep in!

Our society is all about the nightlife. Even after the sun goes down, our eyes are bombarded by a profusion of artificial light. Night after night, we stay up after hours to engage in the thousand different activities available — or maybe you’re part of those activities because you work the late shift at your job. Regardless, this repeated behavior has caused our body clocks to go completely haywire, resulting in fatigue at times when we need to be alert. But all hope is not lost for that much needed Saturday morning snooze.

I do want to take a moment to point out that sleeping in is not wrong. People tend to get a lot of flak these days for wanting to sleep more. In our culture, sleeping seems to be equated with laziness. This makes sense in the case of someone who sleeps all day and behaves sluggish when they are awake, but for those seeking a few extra — much needed hours of sleep, there’s nothing wrong with that. Scientists have concluded the optimum amount of sleep per night is 10 hours. The average sleep per night for an adult is only 6.8 hours. So we could all use a couple more hours here and there.

 

Blue light

The percentage of sleep disorders and sleep studies has exploded since the early 2000’s. The problem has a lot to do with what they call ‘blue light’. It’s the culprit who steals your sleep right out from under you. It’s your phone, laptop, and TV which you use to entertain you at all hours of the day. This kind of artificial light reduces your melatonin levels to the point where, even if you’re tired, you won’t be able to fall asleep. Studies show that blue light can cause damage to your eyes over time.

blue

Timers

Our bodies are timers. They use a range of chemicals and hormones to tell us when to get up, go to sleep, eat, poop etc. The name for our body clock that informs us when to go to sleep and wake up is called the circadian clock. When our bodies become tired, it is because our melatonin levels have risen — which usually starts a few hours before sleep —  and our body begins to feel sleepy. Waking up is even more of a process for our body. About an hour before we wake up, our body temperature begins to drop and we begin to gain consciousness — gradually. Eventually, our body ‘s becomes fully alert and we wake up. If this happens to you early on a Saturday morning, it is pretty much too late. Of course, you might be able to fall back asleep but it will require not alerting your body further. You can’t make any noise (or hear it), move anything, or have any light shining in your eyes. I’m sure you’ve tried this — as I have — and noticed how ineffective it is. I wish there was a way to reset my body clock so that I can sleep when I’m tired, and be alert when I’m awake. Thankfully, there is a way.

 

Circadian Clock

The Circadian Clock is just one aspect of a vastly complex biological clock inside all of us. For a person’s body clock to be healthy, their melatonin levels need to rise enough to induce sleep, stay that way during the night, then decrease when the morning comes. Our clocks aren’t functioning properly if we are tired during the day and completely alert at night.  These circadian timers are highly influenced by both sunlight and artificial light — this certainly includes blue light. However, our body rhythm is also affected just as equally by our genes. 15 of them to be exact. This explains why some people are night owls and others are early birds.

Reset your clock

There are a number of different methods used for re-dialing an out of rhythm circadian clock. Among these are light boxes and hormone supplements such as melatonin. Unfortunately, these approaches don’t address the underlying problem. There is a quite obvious solution, although it is widely unpopular. If we woke up and went to sleep with the sun, our body clock would readjust themselves accordingly. The artificial light we expose our eyes to at night — and during the day as well — are to blame for our ‘out of whack’ circadian clocks. Research done at the University of Colorado suggests the solution is simply a weekend camping trip. In their study, the people who had gone camping fell asleep 1.8 hours earlier than those who had not. For a week after they returned, the participants continued to fall asleep up to 1.4 hours earlier. Although the results do fade away over time, the principal of this short term solution gives way for a more long term answer. What is the principal? The people on the camping trip rose and rested with the sun, and did not use phones or any artificial light!

Conclusion

For those who already enjoy camping, this solution will be welcomed. If you’re thinking about it, I urge you to give it a try. Go on a little weekend camping trip somewhere and just enjoy the outdoors. It may not be attractive for some, but I would venture to say that — based on these results — restraining ourselves from blue light will do wonders for our sleep. Even if we only lose our electronics for half the day — or a few hours at dusk — major revisions in our body’s circadian clock are sure to happen.

Try this out for yourself and tell me how it works for you!

Use this sleep position for a better nights rest

I bet those of you who have trouble sleeping have scowered and tested every possible sleep position, in order to fall asleep easier at night.  It’s so tough to find that perfectly comfortable position to sleep because, as we lay there unable to sleep, it becomes uncomfortable again. Today, I want to through the best position to fall asleep easier. I aim for this exact position every time I go to bed because it has worked so well for me.

 

Don’t lie on your back

Especially if you suffer from neck pain or trouble breathing when you sleep, don’t fall asleep on your back. Unless you own a pillow that perfectly forms to your neck, this can be a bad idea as you will put a strain on your neck and wake up in the middle of the night. Additionally, lying on your back causes your soft palete to collapse into the back wall of your throat — causing snoring.

The Side

The best way to sleep seems to be on your side — with a few modifications. Side sleeping is known to be good for overall health. It is a good position if you suffer from neck and back pain or sleep apnea. It is much easier to breathe if you are laying on your side because there is no pressure on your lungs. You might not notice this unless you’re experiencing some sort of breathing problem due to a sickness or existing condition. When I am sick with the flu or a cold, I’ll experience an increase in trouble breathing due to the phlegm build up in my chest. This is exaggerated when I lay on my back, especially for longer amounts of time.

Sleeping on your side keeps your body in a regular position — similar to if you were standing up — and keeps your spine stretched out. This position avoids any unnecessary strains in your body and will help you fall asleep quicker and stay that way through the night.

Some will say sleeping on you back with a slight incline is the best for acid reflux, but in my experience, sleeping on the side has practically the same effectiveness.

Neck Curve

In our battle to get comfortable for the night, many times we compromise our posture in order to fall asleep. We will straighten up too much or maybe curve our neck too severely. It is important to maintain a healthy curve in the neck. Doing so won’t only help you sleep at night, but also improve your posture for during the day. For sleeping on your side, try to find a short pillow — without a lot of bulge — that will form slightly to the shape of your neck. By doing so, you avoid the tightening of your neck muscles throughout the night; if your neck is tight for the entire time you’re in bed, you will likely have a stiff neck or feel sore when you wake up.

Quite obviously, this pain can easily disrupt sleep. If you suffer from back pain when you lay on your side, you might want to put some support under that side to alleviate it. Whatever slight modifications you can make that will help minimize your individual pain will help you sleep better. Many people, including myself, roll around everywhere while sleeping. If you’re one of these people, but you suffer from neck pain, consider a neck pillow to keep your neck supported no matter the position you are in. A healthy C shaped curve in the neck will help curb that neck pain.

Back curve

It’s natural for a good side position to easily turn into a fetal position without much thought. But a fetal position is basically only good if you have intestinal problems. You want to keep your back relatively straight while you sleep. Doing so will keep your spine elongated, your back straight, and your neck and head in a better position.

The more you sleep like you’re a fetus, the more you’re going to be hunching as you walk around during the day. A good posture when you sleep is crucial for a good day time posture. Particularly if you suffer from scoliosis, keep your spine straight and your head aligned with your body to decrease pain and allow for good air flow. I often want to move my legs around to get more comfortable, however, it’s best to keep the pelvis in a straight line to prevent abnormal twisting. Research has discovered a number of sleep benefits for hammocks, so act as though you are laying in a hammock when you go to sleep. That is, get into a position on your side where your body is curved equally around.

Other benefits of side sleeping

Sleeping on one’s side has also been found to improve waste clearance from the brain. It’s possible that our bodies have adapted to a lateral position as the best one in clearing out metabolic products that build up as we go about our day. Better clearing of this waste as we sleep can also help reduce the likelihood of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Research has shown how sleeping on your left side can help reduce acid reflux while sleeping on your right aggravates symptoms. Whether you struggle with heartburn or not, choose your side accordingly. Also, sleeping on your side — particularly the left side — can increase blood flow to and from your heart and aid digestion.

If you are trying to get the best sleep possible, the best place to start is your sleeping position. Don’t accept a bad sleeping position just to get to sleep faster because musculoskeletal pain may begin to develop. Once you start experiencing pain, sleeping will become exponentially more difficult. Lack of sleep then is linked to hundreds of different detrimental health issues.

It never hurt to get more sleep. I hope these tips gave you a good idea of what to do and what to look for as you doze off tonight. 🙂

5 Snacks to Stay Asleep

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry? You could get up and grab a snack, but you don’t want to cheat on that diet you’ve been so faithful to. So here are 5 foods that will help you stay asleep during the night without jeopardizing your diet plan.

Learn to fall asleep in 100 seconds or less here

1. Turkey

If you’ve had a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you know how ready for a nap you are afterward. Turkey is very filling and also has tons of tryptophan — an amino acid that helps you fall asleep by triggering production of melatonin. You don’t need to fill up on turkey ever night to sleep though. A couple other foods that are high in tryptophan include eggs, salmon, and pineapples.

 

2. Tart Cherry Juice

The science on this one is mostly the same. Eating tart cherries(or tart cherry juice) boosts your melatonin levels to help you sleep. In a study done involving tart cherries, the researchers found that those who consumed them twice a day stayed asleep and took fewer naps. If staying up in those hump hours of the day are a problem for you, maybe try a cup of tart cherry juice in the morning.

 

3. Almonds

If trail mix is one of your favorite snacks, you will love this one.  Almonds contain a ton of magnesium, a chemical that regulates reactions in your body that help you sleep. It will help improve the quality of your sleep and keep you from waking up in the middle of the night. However, be careful because taking too much magnesium can cause a reaction with some medications.

Fall asleep easier using this sleep position

4. Raisin Bread

Never mind regular bread — raisin bread is where it’s at.  Not only does it taste better but it can also help you sleep. Raisin bread is very filling but also safe to eat because it’s filled with plenty of healthy fats and carbs. Since you are less hungry, you won’t wake up as much during the night. The raisins also help lower orexin levels. Orexin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that causes you to get up and get more food. By taking that out of the equation, you will be able to stay asleep longer.

5. Yogurt and Strawberries

Yogurt is known to contain a load of calcium. Disturbances in sleep have been closely associated with calcium deficiency. Research has shown that calcium levels are higher in deeper stages of sleep. Most berries —including strawberries —  contain the vitamin B6. A deficiency in B6 has been found hinder the production of melatonin, causing lower quality sleep. To stay asleep and get much-needed rest, eat some yogurt with strawberries mixed in sometime during the day.

Check this out for more on Calcium and Magnesium: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163169.php

If you know any other foods that aid sleep, make sure to list them in the comments below!

Also, check out this other post on how to sleep in easier on Saturday morning!

How does caffeine affects dreams?

For all of those avid coffee drinkers out there, this question has probably come up. What effect, if any, does caffeine have on my dreams?

A good majority of coffee drinkers will tell you that caffeine produces no detrimental sleep problems; they have built up a tolerance to caffeine which allows them to drink it whenever they want, and still fall asleep without much trouble. But if we look deeper we will find some underlying effects.

Caffeine is known to increase the production of a hormone called cortisol. It’s often created by the body in high-risk situations because it enhances alertness/awareness. A person not in a stressful situation when producing extra cortisol will experience negative effects like stress and anxiety. Of course, the most popular example of a low-stress situation that we engage in all the time is sleeping. For a person attempting to sleep with high levels of cortisol, the best case scenario would be a very light sleep while the worst case would be the development of insomnia.

Studies show a decrease in the quality of sleep for those who drink coffee regularly —which is definitely the case for most.  But it doesn’t always mean they don’t sleep through the night. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can abstain your body from entering deeper stages of sleep. For example, a coffee drinker could fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night, but they might only be in a very light stage of sleep. So naturally, their 8 hours of rest might only feel like 5, and their body will feel extra tired during the day in order to revert back to normal sleep patterns.

 

But what does this have to do with dreams? Well, there is a stage of sleep where you are most likely to have dreams — especially ones you recall. This stage is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and, naturally, it’s the deepest stage of sleep. Coffee drinkers — and particularly those who drink coffee right before bed — have not given their bodies a chance to get rid of the stimulant which causes their body to stay in light stages of sleep. If the body can’t enter stage 3/Delta sleep, then it won’t be able to enter REM, thus causing dreams to be prevented.

For those who take a break from coffee for a few days, vivid dreams could occur because there is no longer a stimulant blocking their passageway into REM sleep.
Has coffee effected the way that you dream in any way?

What is a dream?

Ever wondered what a dream is? What is my mind doing as my body spends hours in bed? Where does this nightly plunge into the realm of our inner unknown really take us? We’ve all experienced a heap of crazy, scary, or enjoyable dreams. These dreams give some flavor to the otherwise quiet and boring hours where your body is completely inactive. Or is it?

By definition, dreams are thoughts, images, sequences and sensations experienced during sleep. They could include a wide range of activities, from eating cereal to going skydiving, and may mirror people or events in your real life. Some believe dreams to be a direct or indirect indicator of what’s going on in our unconscious mind, as did Sigmund Freud who called dreams the “royal road” to the unconscious.

 Inside the brain

Our dreams are electronic impulses being detected and deciphered by the cortex of our brain. These impulses could be memories of something in the past days, weeks, or years, even something as simple and mundane as eating breakfast. When our brain receives these electronic signals, it attempts to make sense of them, organizing them into a kind of story. These stories(or dreams) are usually random sequences and don’t make any sense to us — and are really not supposed to.
SMLXL

At several intervals in a night, we enter what is called REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep. In this stage, we experience more bodily movement (including rapid eye movements duh), faster breathing, and we are in our most likely state to have a dream. While this stage only lasts for a short time, it is the most important stage when it comes to dreaming.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, and you feel so tired that you easily fall back asleep after a few seconds? This is because you were in REM sleep when you were awoken. When we are asleep and dreaming, our brain ceases the production of several chemicals that tell our body to move, so that we don’t act out our dreams. This is referred to as REM A-topia.If the body does not achieve REM A-topia, the body could wake up and start moving around without the person being aware of it. This is why people can sleep walk around and not remember anything when they eventually wake up.
Another phenomenon that’s possible while in REM sleep is called lucid dreaming. You’ve probably heard of it. Simply put, a lucid dreamer is a person who is dreaming and knows they are dreaming. They are awake all while they are dreaming, and thus able to make conscious decisions inside the dream.
Cool, right?
But there are still so many unanswered questions about how dreams are made, what causes them, and what their contents mean. Although new scientific discoveries are being made all the time regarding dreams, we still have a long way to go before we have a comprehensive understanding of this phenomena.
Tell me what you think about dreaming. Do you enjoy it? Think it’s weird or scary?