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Ask Brandon: What’s Wrong With My Sleep Cycle?

Ask Brandon

Thank you all for continuing to send in your questions about sleep! It is a huge passion of mine to share everything I know to help others reap the benefits of sleep. These questions were superb!

Q: Hey, Brandon. Sometimes, I go without sleeping for two days – sometimes three – in a row. My wife says that, if I keep doing that, I could die. Any truth to that?

A: Yes, there is some truth to that. The body will shut itself completely off when it becomes seriously sleep-deprived. It is highly unlikely that such a shutdown will occur, but it does affect your motor skills and cognitive abilities, and some reports say that at around 96 hours of uninterrupted unconsciousness the body may shut itself off as a defense mechanism or you may experience bouts of black outs. I would also mention that if this is naturally (without drugs) that is quite a feat, if this is a side effect of stimulant drug usage, please keep in mind that the extended usage of such substances can lead to stimulant psychosis and other harmful effects to your body and brain. Thanks for your question! Have a great day!

I am traveling to Japan from the US. What’s the best way to reset my internal sleeping clock with the 14 hour time difference? It’s going to feel like 3am when its noon there. Any suggestions to get through it?

A: Yes, absolutely! Make sure to bring goody bag filled with sleep tools on the plane ride, including: a sleep mask (the black mask that goes over your eyes), some moisturizer for your hands, decompression socks (the long, tight, tall socks that help blood circulation), comfortable shoes you can easily remove and some over the counter sleep medication, such as Melatonin or Tylenol PM. I would encourage you to try to physically switch your sleep cycle over to the one you will be abiding by while in Japan. Best of luck and have a great trip!

Q: I find it extremely hard to sleep at night. I am tired all day, and could easily fall asleep for an afternoon nap if I wanted to. Then I am wide awake and tossing and turning most of the night. I should be exhausted by nighttime after being up all day and most of the previous night. How is this possible?

A: I’m sorry to hear that. It sounds like you have insomnia and you are sleep- deprived. The afternoon nap is easier because your body is ready to catch up on sleep. Not being able to fall sleep and not being able to stay asleep are both signs of insomnia. I’m not saying that as a negative thing, as I am an insomniac. I have a hard time going to sleep, possibly due to having an over active mind. I try not to advocate sleeping medications to people, but  I do take prescribed sleeping medication (Ro-Azepam) to help myself get to sleep. I can definitely say that I have more restful sleep because of it. I went from sleeping basically 2-3 hours a night to now sleeping 8-10 every night. I would advise consulting with your general physician about insomnia first, and then reapproach the process. Melatonin is also a non-prescription medicine that can be helpful. I do not suggest taking Melatonin every night, as it can be addictive. Up to 30 minutes of meditation or prayer can also be very useful. It helps to calm the mind enough to where you are able to fall asleep. Thank you for asking!

Make sure that you are getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early or you simply don’t feel well-rested upon waking up, please consult with your physician about insomnia today!

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