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How To Fix All Of Your Sleep Problems With Science

by : Francesca Donovan on : 23 Jan 2017 16:38
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It seems sleep is becoming more and more elusive for all of us, with a myriad of distractions keeping us from getting that sweet shut-eye.

The perceived wisdom is that we should all be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, which thanks to the Internet, Netflix, snoring significant others and bad sleep hygiene seems practically laughable.

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But the kind people at TechInsider have tackled the most common sleep problems – from back pain to restlessness – with a little help from science and medicine.

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Sleep – even if you’re getting enough of the stuff – can come with aches and pains that make you feel like your 83-year-old grandma upon waking.

Hours of stillness in one position might leave you feeling stiff and sore the next day.

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For shoulder pain, the Mayo Clinic recommends sleeping on your back and hugging a pillow, for both moral and anatomical support, presumably.

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The Journal of Pain Research suggests you should replace your pillow at least every two years, which might sound extreme to you if you have had the same yellowing mass of synthetic feathers since the dawn of time.

But if you’re suffering from neck pain, your pillow could be the source of your problems.

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Back pain is the most common complaint in the aches and pains department of Sleep Town’s NHS Walk-in Centre.

Again, those pesky pillows and their position could greatly alleviate any strains to you back, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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While that’s all great advice, it’s a bit useless if you can’t drop off in the first place.

Many of us claim to have insomnia every night we don’t fall asleep within ten minutes, but actually sleep deprivation in some form is thought to affect up to half the people in Britain.

According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, sleep hygiene is key to catching those Z’s, so avoid exercise in the late evening and switch your phone off; YouTube videos of pandas will still be there in the morning.

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Restless nights spent tossing and turning can really cast a dark spell over your physical well-being and your mood the next day.

There is actually an optimum temperature at which the human body can go into sleep mode: between 20 and 21.7 degrees Celsius.

So, avoid alcohol – which can play havoc with your body – up to an hour before bed. The scientists at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have found that late night self-medicating with a tiny tipple to get you off to sleep could actually be damaging in the long-run.

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For those of us who suffer from sleep deprivation, we long for the weekends when we can hit snooze and catch up on much-needed sleep.

Sadly, that might be affecting our ability to wake up on midweek mornings and get to work on time.

It’s a phenomenon scientists have dubbed ‘social jet lag’ and it can be prevented by waking up at the same time every day and getting into a good wakeful routine, according to Chronobiology International.

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Harvard Medical School have offered some helpful tips to stop snoring – for you or your nasal partner.

One effective treatment is saline solution just before bed, which you can buy at pharmacists.

If the snoring persists, it could be an indicator of Sleep apnea or other sleep problems so do seek medical help.

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According to Tech Insider – in collaboration with Healthline – about 7 million Americans have acid reflux disease. Medication and sleeping elevated on your left side can help, but again this is an ailment for which you should seek a doctor’s opinion.

Finally, while scientists aren’t sure what causes night time leg cramps, the Mayo Clinic state it’s probably related to muscle fatigue and nerve damage. Stretching and massage can help.

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With the help of science, perhaps those suffering with the debilitating stress of sleep deprivation can combat the distractions of the modern world that damage our sleep hygiene.

Happy snoozing, folks.

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Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Health

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TechInsider
  1. TechInsider

    How to fix all of your sleep problems with science