Health and Wisdom

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How to Stay Asleep Through the Night

sleeping dog

Being unable to stay asleep is unfortunately a very common problem and has a lot to do with the abundance of stress in our everyday life. I'm going to give you some extremely helpful sleep tips to combat this issue also known as sleep maintenance insomnia:

  • First of all, we should all exercise and watch our diet. One of the more common issues people have during the night is problems with their blood sugar levels crashing. Up to 1/3 of Americans have pre-diabetes and are unaware . People with these problems usually just compensate by eating small meals throughout the day to keep their blood sugar levels regulated. This leads the body to expect food every three or four hours, causing you to wake up. This can be controlled with a restricted diet.
  • One major problem a lot people have is not being able to stop having an anxiety issue when lying in bed. You are going to need to have a clear mind in order to first fall asleep, but to stay asleep. If you fall asleep thinking about some issue, more than likely you will wake yourself during the night worrying about it. This sometimes manifests in the dreaded work dream. The trick is separating your bedroom from any work/personal issues. A routine helps here.
  • Having a bedtime routine is very important. Establish a night time routine and stick with it. Do the same routine at the same time in the same order every night. For example shower, reading then calm soothing music then off to never never land. This will condition your body to stay asleep until it needs to wake. To find out when you should plan on falling asleep us a sleep calculator such as the one at WHEN TO SLEEP. It calculates the time you should actually be in bed falling asleep, so add in some time for your routine.
  • All electronics should be off and out of sight. The blue light from electronics confuses your mind into thinking it is still daytime. While your clock may not emit blue wavelengths, clock watching is a good way to never go to sleep.
  • Comfortable room temperature is important. A cooler room temperature will help you from waking due to your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
  • Contrary to some, I believe naps are beneficial if they are only the short cat nap variety for stress relief and reducing heart rate (make sure your are lying flat to experience any benefits). If you need a restorative nap you must to take the full 90 minutes of the initial sleep cycle or you are going to feel worse than when fell asleep.
  • Several hours before bedtime, abstain from caffeine and alcohol. A common misconception is that alcohol helps you sleep but this is not the case. Alcohol, while it might make you sleepy, will keep you getting REM sleep restricting any restoration that normally would occur. Alcohol also causes dehydration which will awaken you through the night.

If these steps still aren't helping, you may have a health problem that may be causing you to be unable to stay asleep. Treatment for an underlying condition may be your only solution for your insomnia. These conditions may include sleep apnea, chronic pain, RLS (restless leg syndrome) but there are others that can interfere with sleep. Mental health disorders, including depression, can also play a role in insomnia. Please consult your doctor if you think you may have any of health issues that is keeping you from getting the proper amount of sleep.

Managing a Relationship

Managing any relationship can be a difficult proposition. I am not talking just about romantic relationships either. Each relationship is different, just as there are many different types of relationships, so keep that in mind when trying to integrate any information from any source into your life. Taking and following advice, can have consequences not all bad, but you don't want to burn any bridges or sever any ties.

managing relationships

The secret to managing any relationship comes down to understanding the underlying power dynamic between the people involved and from there understanding the expectations that is party is supposed to meet for the relationship to proceed successfully. The dynamic between two or more people, including groups of people most always involve power differentials between the parties. The word power is not necessarily bad in the sense some people have of the word. Often times upon hearing the word people think of oppression by some evil overlord and that all people are created equal therefore if there is a power difference, it is always bad (unless it benefits the listener). Power in the relationship sense, comes down to social status between the parties, the nature of the dynamic, and who needs whom more.

Relationship types:

  • romantic
  • parent-child
  • sibling or other blood relative
  • friend or acquaintance
  • business - boss/employee, employee/employee or a relationship from employee/client
  • stranger or new person
  • transactional

Looking over the above list with what we know about status and power of the people involved, things are starting to become clear about who is in more control of how the relationship evolves. Since most relationships are either personal or business relationships, we will cover the topics in a general way, since we can apply our understanding of one dynamic to another quite easily. Just looking at the list we can also separate each dynamic into two groups, chosen relationship and non-chosen. We can choose are friends and lovers, but we can't choose who are family members are (outside of marriage of course). We can choose whether to accept or stay at a job, but unless we are the one running the show, we don't choose our boss or people we work with. Our interactions with strangers are often not of our choosing unless we are the initiator and are often transactional and of little consequence to our life for any length of time.

Identifying the power dynamic and expectations

Once we understand the fact that we don't always control who is involved in our lives, family, social, or work, things become a little more easy to identify. Identifying who is the more powerful person in the relationship is actually quite easy. All animals, especially primates, organize their social hierarchy based on status. The person with more status, usually has more power in the relationship dynamic. Looking at our list of basic relationship types, it is quite easy to identify the more powerful party just using tradition and general information. The easiest power dynamics to identify are the ones where it is obvious one party has more status than the other. It all comes down to who needs who more. In family dynamics, children need the parents to survive, at the workplace, the employee needs the boss more because of the dependence on a wage. Other relationships, have even power dynamics, or are of a less obvious lopsided nature. Friendships and romantic entanglements are this way. The power dynamics are less obvious in most of these relationships and misidentifying your position in them can cost you.

This is where managing expectations comes in to play. Each party in a relationship is supposed to fill some roll in the relationship and meet some requirement or need of the other party. Most of the time in our social dynamics it is simply spending time with the other party and sharing some aspect of your true self with them. Sharing your inner life if you will. Thoughts, desires and needs are communicated and reciprocated. In work environments, it is accomplishing goals and tasks set by the superior. Once we identify what the other person requires or needs us to do for them, the easier it is to manage the relationship in a healthy way. It is also necessary to communicate your needs for the relationship to the other party. This communication can be subtle or overt but it needs to be expressed if needs are going to be met, humans can't read minds after all!

Managing a relationship isn't easy but it is fairly simple and straightforward. Understand the power dynamic involved between you and the other party. Once, the nature of the relationship is identified, you can determine the expectations that the other person has of you in the relationship and you can convey your expectations. After that is just comes down to meeting and enforcing those expectations.

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