Wake Up! The Truth About Sleep… (Part 2)

By Jon P. Frieda, VP Marketing and Sales for Neels Pharmacy

One of the fastest growing segments of the pharmaceutical industry is the prescription sleep medication market. Recent statistics indicate that in the last decade, prescription sleep medication use nearly doubled for the 20-44 year old age group, and rose nearly 85% for children aged 10-19 years old. While these prescription sleep aid medications are effective and can be helpful over the short term, there are side effects. Also, the alarming rate at which the long term use of these prescriptions has increased is curious and noteworthy. Often, evening and late night electronic device use, like television and computers will play prescription sleep aid commercials, a clear indicator that these medications are a profitable endeavor for the pharmaceutical industry. And yet these electronic devices put out approximately three times more blue light than a clear sunny sky during the noon hour, shutting down our own body’s circadian clock by reducing melatonin production. In short, we are watching commercials about sleep and sleep medications while in front of our electronic stimulants during the time that we should be settling into bed in our dark bedrooms.

Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by our brain and is known as our circadian rhythm. Present in humans and animals, circadian rhythm is generated by an internal clock that is synchronized by dark-light cycles and other factors, such as environmental stimulants or pacifiers. This internal clock accounts for falling asleep and waking up around the same time every day even without an alarm clock.

With this in mind, the cure to sleep difficulties and eliminating feeling fatigued, brain fogged, and run down during the daytime can often be found in your daily routine. Your sleep habits, bedtime habits, and day to day lifestyle choices are of enormous importance in determining the quality and duration of your nightly slumber. So, the key to getting a good night’s sleep is consistency. But, consistency can be easier said than done.

One of the easiest ways to fall asleep is to train your mind to drift into the alpha-state and trigger the brain to begin producing and releasing melatonin. The alpha-state is a condition of relaxed, peaceful wakefulness devoid of concentration and sensory stimulation. Various methods of meditation can be used to achieve the alpha state, many of which are simple, enjoyable, and can work consistently and effectively night after night. The first step is to make sure that your bedroom is absolutely as dark as possible.

Once you are in your bedroom, in complete darkness, lay down in your bed, on your back, with your head on the pillow and your arms either at your sides or crossed comfortably over your abdomen. Then close your eyes and imagine a rainbow.

The colors of the rainbow are what make up natural sunlight and this is where your transition into the alpha-state will begin. Memorize the colors of the rainbow, even right them down if you have to until you have them set in your mind. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, these are the colors of the rainbow. Step two, begin with the first color, red, and visualize it in your mind. Associate each color with an object that shares the same color. Tell yourself that as you go through the colors in your mind you will relax and calm yourself more and more and that by the time you reach the last color you will be in the alpha-state and ready to fall asleep.

For example, for red, imagine a strawberry, tomato, or sliced open watermelon. Once you can see that image in your mind, let it turn into a red mist and dematerialize away. Go to the next color, orange, imagine an orange, tangerine or apricot, see that image in your mind, and let it turn into an orange mist and dematerialize away. Next, yellow, imagine an unpeeled banana or a lemon, visualize that image in your mind, let it turn into a yellow mist and float away as you go to the next color, green. Imagine a field of green grass as far as the eye can see, then let it mist away as you go on to the next colors blue and indigo. Imagine vibrantly rich, cool blue ocean water, the kind that you would see in the Caribbean. Let the cool blue surround your body and feel the calm that it brings over you as it mists away, finally leaving you with the color of violet. As you begin to visualize violet in your mind, imagine that you are lovingly surrounded by a soft, velvet, violet blanket. Feel the comfort that it offers, sense the calm and security that it provides. By systematically visualizing and eliminating the colors of the rainbow, you are left with darkness instead of light, and a sedated as opposed to an active state of mind. I’ve used this technique often ever since I was a child, sometimes I only get through the first few colors and I’m asleep. This is my favorite, no cost, sleep technique; but for additional useful tools, call me at the pharmacy and request a copy of this newsletter in full to explore other natural sleep aids that may be beneficial for you.

You can contact Neels Pharmacy at 314-849-3123 or visit them at #8 Crestwood Executive Center, Crestwood MO 63126.