How can I fall sleep?

Counting sheep to fall asleep.
. . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3. . . . counting sheep.  Does it sound familiar? Is this how you try to fall asleep?

Many experience this night after night.

According to a medical journal, every fifth person has some sleeping disorder—women more so than men, adults more so than youths, town dwellers more so than people in the country.

Some have difficulty in falling asleep, others wake up too early, and still others wake up many times during the night.

What can you do about it if you have such problems?

To begin with, it is good to know something about sleep.

What happens to you when you sleep?

Father and son asleep.

Sleep involves intense electrical activity in the brain.

Medical equipment can measure this.

When you sleep undisturbed for a whole night, you pass through wave patterns of different kinds of sleep.

First, you slowly sink into a “deep trough,” called delta sleep.

This is a sound sleep during which everything slows down.

Your brain, heart and muscles relax.

Your body cleanses and rebuilds itself, as evidenced by the release of growth hormone.

Then you slowly rise to the top of a “wave,” to a much lighter sleep, called rapid-eye-movement, or REM, sleep, which is quite different.

It is mostly during this period that you dream.

Researchers have found that there is as much brain activity in the REM sleep as there is when a person is fully alert, wide-awake.

This stage is not yet fully understood, but scientists theorize that this is when the brain is absorbing the events of the day, like a computer, storing them in its memory bank.

You may pass through four to six such “waves” during the night, each “wave” lasting about an hour and a half.

This sleeping rhythm is important to a person’s well-being.

It can be disturbed by alcohol, sleeping pills and sedatives, which eliminate or reduce the important REM sleep.

Some appetite-hampering drugs and cough medicines may also disturb this rhythm.

Sleeping well at night

A woman sleeping well at night.

If you have trouble in sleeping, the first thing to do is stop being overly worried about it.

Worry only hampers your sleep.

Usually there is no danger in being without sleep for a period now and then.

The Swiss psychotherapist Paul Debois likens sleep to a dove.

If you hold your hand out gently, it comes voluntarily and settles on it.

But if you try to grab it, it flies away.

Don’t compare your sleep with that of other persons.

The need for sleep varies with age and from person to person.

Babies need 18 hours of sleep.

Normally, younger people need seven to eight hours.

Some older persons need only four to seven hours.

Much of the anxiety about sleeplessness is unnecessary, as sleep requirements normally change with age.

What matters is not how many hours of sleep you get but how you feel.

Indeed, analysis of the sleep of persons who claim to suffer from sleeplessness shows that they often sleep more than they think they do.

Why you maybe having trouble sleeping?

A man having trouble sleeping.

Perhaps the problem is not you but that of your environment.

The ventilation of the bedroom may be poor, or the temperature may be too high.

Try keeping it between 59 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 17 degrees Celsius).

Rather high humidity in the bedroom is usually good.

If you take the chill off your bed before lying in it, you may fall asleep more easily, as a cool bed has a stimulating effect.

Is your bed well suited to you?

You should be able to move in it without difficulty.

Since your bed is where you spend one third of your life, get the best you can afford.

Make sure it is correctly placed in the room.

Most people prefer to sleep with their head toward the window.

Even the material in the mattress and the bedclothes may affect your sleep.

For example, a nightdress of synthetic fiber might cause discomfort.

The bedroom light may disturb you.

Some need complete darkness and even have to wear an eye mask, while others want a soft night lamp burning.

There may also be annoying sounds.

Have a new washer put in that dripping faucet.

If nothing else helps, use earplugs—although it takes some time to get used to them, and they are not a good idea for people with chronic ear problems.

Resetting your day and night rhythm

A man who is sleeping on a snooker billiard table.

Do not try to force yourself into sleep.

Some people simply cannot get sleepy until the early morning hours.

Doctors have found that it is much easier to adjust their internal clocks by advancing them than by trying to “move the hands back.”

Some lifetime insomniacs were cured by simply postponing their bedtime a few hours each day until their cycles advanced to a normal bedtime!

“During treatment I felt like a zombie [a walking dead person],”
admits one cured patient, but the final results were good.

Some people who complain about poor night sleep actually rob themselves by sleeping during the day.

So, if you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, try to avoid that nap after lunch.

‘But I get so drowsy!’ some will say.

Well, at those times why not do something else that may be refreshing, like taking a quick walk?

Think of your sleep as money in the bank.

If you “spend” it in naps, you won’t have it at night when you really need it.

The “do’s” and “don’ts”

A woman exercising during a sunset.

Vigorous physical exercise is a good remedy for sleeplessness.

Have you considered getting off the bus one or two stops earlier on your way home from work and walking briskly the rest of the way?

It may help you to sleep better.

On the other hand, too much exercise just before bedtime is not advisable.

Nor is eating a heavy meal before bedtime.

Both activities will get your body all “fired up” and may chase sleep away for hours.

Even a light meal before bedtime may activate you if it contains sugar.

Did you know that smokers generally have more problems with their sleep than do nonsmokers?

Sleep habits of smokers who suddenly quit improve dramatically, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

In fact, heavy smokers who abruptly stopped reportedly spent 45 percent less time awake during the first three nights after quitting.

Avoid stimulants before bedtime.

Coffee, tea and cola drinks contain caffeine, the stimulating effect of which usually does not culminate until between two and four hours after you have consumed the drink.

Even cocoa is somewhat stimulating.

Some persons cannot drink such stimulants as coffee or tea after four o’clock in the afternoon if they want a good night’s sleep.

Other sleep-hampering stimuli may be late TV watching and exciting reading.

Milk, cheese, nuts and liver contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which makes a person sleepy.

Preliminary results show that persons taking a dose of L-tryptophan before going to bed fall asleep more quickly and sleep longer.

A warm bath, or at least a warm footbath, before bedtime has a soothing effect.

Other suggested remedies for insomnia include such herbs as hops, heather, chamomile, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and peppermint used in the evening tea.

In some cases doctors may prescribe sleeping pills for a limited time, but, as Family Health put it, sleep experts “are categorically against the use of any sleeping pill for an extended period of time.”

If you suffer from sleeplessness, why not try the simple ideas found in this article?

If they don’t work, see your doctor.

It may be that your insomnia is caused by a chronic physical problem of which you are unaware.

While it may be true that sleeplessness never killed anybody, it is equally true that, as a haggard victim of insomnia said:

“It can make you wish you were dead!”

So want to sleep better?

● Avoid sleeping pills.

● Sleep at regular times.

● Get physical exercise, and avoid sleeping during the daytime.

● Quit smoking.

● Avoid coffee, tea, cola drinks, cocoa, TV watching and exciting reading before bedtime.

● Take a warm bath, or at least a foot bath, before going to bed.

● Have a cup of soothing herb tea.

● Keep your bedroom well ventilated, with low temperature and rather high humidity.

● Don’t take your problems to bed with you. If you couldn’t solve them today, let them wait until tomorrow.

Read more…

What responsibilities of being a parent really mean?

A happy family.

A blessing.” “A gift from God.” “A real joy.” “A delight to our hearts.” How heartwarming to hear such expressions from various parents"
Particularly in view of the fact that not all parents consider their children a blessing.

But the question is:

How do you feel about your children?

Do you delight in the many facets of your role as a parent?

Do you constantly assure your children of your love and gratefulness for having them?

When last have you taken them in your arms and expressed your affection for them?

Assuredly, being a parent is not an easy task.

It is hard, demanding work and oftentimes frustrating.

Nevertheless, it can be extremely rewarding.

And the good results achieved far outnumber the problems encountered along the way.

Many parents feel that way.

Do you?

Of course, there are dissenting views.

Not all parents approach their roles with joy.

To some, their children may represent a loss of privacy or freedom, since the children may have interrupted some planned pursuit.

Others may not have been emotionally ready for the complex roles involved in parenthood.

Still others may have resented the sacrifices for which their roles called.

But whatever the reason, it is, nevertheless, sad.

Especially since such negative attitudes will undoubtedly affect how these parents will regard and treat their children.

Why, some parents even refer to their own children as “brats” or “devils.”

It is little wonder, then, that certain children are unmanageable.

They feel unwanted and unloved, and in various ways they seek to strike back.

Positive aspects of being a parent

Picture of mother and child.

But what about those parents who do love and cherish their children?

Can we learn anything from them?

Can their view of their children give us some insight to help us to evaluate our own feelings?

Indeed they can.

The positive way they feel about their children is evident in the fruitage they bear: children who respond with love and obedience to the training and care they receive and who grow up into responsible and loving adults.

Then they, in turn, eventually pass on to their own children the principles and fine training they received while young.

And is that not what parenting is all about?

But what about your children?

Are they responsive, obedient, respectful?

If not, do not despair.

You are not unreasonable to expect such reaction to your training.

Why do we say this?

To be successful requires hard work.

As one widowed mother of five boys declared:

I spent time training them and now I see benefits coming from them—their conduct, their attitudes. They’re not wild; but tame and respectful."

The boys now say:

Well, mother, you’ve been around longer than we have—you should know.’ To me that’s a blessing.”

How many mothers would not want to hear such expressions from their children?

On the other hand, if the children are to be responsive, the parents must be really interested in what their children are doing.

It is not enough for the parents to set up rules and regulations to be followed.

They must do all they can to keep the lines of communication open with their children.

Those who keep up with their children’s hobbies and interests have little trouble communicating with them.

The mother of an 11-year-old boy attested to this fact:

I’m learning things from him that I wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in. For instance, I thought it would be good for him to care for something besides himself and so I got him some tropical fish. Well, not only did it work for him; it worked for me as well. Now I get so much pleasure in seeing those fish respond to me. As his interests expand, I find myself growing with him and it’s drawn us closer together.”

Is that true in your case?

In recent times, some fathers have become more involved in the emotional aspects of caring for their children.

They have long been regarded as the disciplinarians in the family.

But recent trends have projected them into areas of planning and caring for them as babies.

One father said:

I firmly believe that fathers should have an active part in their children’s birth if at all possible. So I was in the delivery room when our first daughter was born. Well, I can’t describe in words the beautiful feeling I had when the doctor put her in my arms for the first time right after her birth. ”

Can all children be viewed as a blessing?

Picture of disabled child.

What about children who are not born normal and healthy? 

Can they also be viewed as a blessing?

And can their parents also find joy in fulfilling their roles?

Let us have the parents of a retarded child with a bad heart condition answer these questions.

First the father: 

The doctors told us that we could give her up since she was going to die anyway. I asked them what could be done for her and they seemed surprised that we wanted to keep her. They said nothing could be done and they let us take her home to die.”

The mother continued:

From the start they encouraged us to institutionalize her but we wouldn’t hear of it. We never thought for a moment of not loving her. Why, she was our long-hoped-for daughter (after 4 boys) and we just wanted her with us. Now the doctors are amazed at her improvement. She is now 14 months old, although they said she couldn’t live past three months. She knows she’s loved and this has blossomed her development despite her retardation and serious heart condition. And she’s the most loving child I’ve ever seen. Of course, I love her because I’m her mother.”

Admittedly, it is much harder financially and especially emotionally on the parents whose children are afflicted in some way.

But such children require even more love and attention than normal children.

And when the parental love is there, the child will usually respond in a positive way.

How to cope with parental problems?

A parent saddened by her child's action.

Nevertheless, problems do arise and the question is: What can parents do to cope with them?

Little is accomplished by merely barking out orders to be obeyed.

If children with problems are not allowed to communicate with their parents, resentment can develop and disrespect will naturally follow.

One father of four boys shows the results of following such admonition:

I try my best to listen to them; to find out what’s on their minds. Only then can I really help them.”

Another great help in coping with problems is being available.

When children have problems, that is when they need their parents the most.

One mother expressed herself this way:

We are always available. We let them know they can come to us with anything. Even when the problem may be small to us, it’s often very big to them; and that’s what matters at the time. Because they know we care, they come to us with everything.”

How fine it would be if all children were free to approach their parents with any problem without first being condemned or criticized!

Is that true in your case?

Do you encourage your children to talk freely to you while you quietly listen?

Keeping your word is another important thing for you parents to remember.

It seems that children can take a lot of things, but they cannot take disappointments or changes well.

As one mother pointed out:

Making promises I can’t keep only creates frustrations in the children. They depend a lot on my word. So once I give it, I try to stick to it. Then if I can’t do something, I explain why and say I’m sorry. That lets them know that I fall short too at times and that has created a bond between us.”

When last have you expressed sorrow to your children for not being able to keep your word?

Read more…

Importance of women's housework chores

Wive overloaded with housework chores.

“I hate housework!!!! And what’s more, I don’t do a very good job of it. It is a thankless, dull task.”

That was the responds two of fifty thousand housewives recently polled in an international survey.

Yet, on the other hand, many fit the description of Julie, who is up every morning at dawn to begin a daily ritual of housecleaning.

Everything in her house gleams.

All her friends envy the way it looks.

Sometimes, Julie feels she should have more outside interests, but she sighs:

“I’m a homemaker first, and we must have a clean house.”

She strives for perfection.

Quite a difference of attitude from those who ‘hated’ housework!

Does either viewpoint prevail in your home?

Is either correct?

Right attitude towards women's housework

Certainly your attitude, or that of your mate, toward housework can have a direct bearing on your own comfort and happiness.

But what is a realistic view of that which some consider a “curse” and others say is one of the “highest of feminine virtues”?

A husband, just returning from a weekend business trip, could hardly believe his eyes.

The kitchen looked like a disaster area—the stove covered with scorched pots and pans, the sink bulging with dirty dishes, the floor covered with grime and food waste.

Messy kitchen looking like a disaster zone.

Beyond the kitchen, he saw the living room cluttered with newspapers, bottles and toys.

His two little children were wrestling on top of a large pile of soiled laundry.

And in the midst of all this chaos was his wife, calmly sitting in an easy chair, with her feet up on a table, leisurely reading.

She said:

“I thought the best way to let you see what on earth I do all day was not to do it.”

Yes, housework is important!

Who of us does not enjoy coming into a clean, calm, orderly home?

On the other hand, dirt and grime can irritate.

They repel.

But really, isn’t it more important to be a companion to your husband and to keep up with what’s going on in the world than to spend your life as a ‘lowly house cleaner’?

After all, to expect someone with brains to spend all her time doing housework is just not fair, others may think.

You may feel the same way.

However, to prevent housework from becoming a boring task that consumes all your time requires skill and initiative—no small requirement in this age of mental laziness.

As one authority states:

The woman who feels the importance of keeping her family comfortable, with a pleasant well-kept house and good food, is apt to snap right into her tasks and do them quickly and efficiently. And thereby finds more time to be a companion to her husband and children.”

Some homemakers are able to think about other things while doing certain parts of their housework that may require little concentration.

For instance, some mentally plan future meals, organize their day’s schedule or reflect on family vacation plans.

Why do some women consider housework an important, dignified service?

One homemaker with 21 years of experience explains:

It’s personal, l am doing something personal to benefit someone else. We live in a world in which so many things are impersonal. You don’t see the immediate good of your work. However, housework affects another in a very personal way, and the satisfaction is immediate.”

Many diligent housewives agree.

They view their housework as a “labor of love” for their family.

Also, there is contentment in seeing a job well done.

Another mother candidly states:

“I don’t know anyone who finds housework absorbing, fulfilling, challenging. However, like death and taxes, there it is,”.

Yet she admitted:

“But, you know, when the copper gleams and the tables glow and the house smells fresh and the fire in the fireplace reflects the polished floor, I do get a smug feeling of accomplishment.”

Coupled with the “feeling of accomplishment” is a clear conscience, not always having to apologize for the condition of the home, and a sense of self-respect.

All of these are fine reasons why housework should not be viewed as a “thankless, dull task.”

But what about persons like Julie, who must have a perfectly immaculate home?

Who said people have to eat off the floor?

Eating off the floor next to a clean table.

Two American professors complain about some advertisers:

Relentlessly over the years, we have been threatened that if we don’t have a ‘whiter’ wash, squeaky-clean hair, a spotless floor, a glistening car, we are not keeping up to the proper standards.”

These experts assert that “cleanliness as a status symbol” has caused the huge demand for products that pollute our environment and has driven many women “to almost fanatical lengths to keep their families, home and themselves clean.”

Additionally, some women have been raised to view housework as one of the highest feminine virtues.

These are obsessed with keeping an immaculate home—regardless of how much time it takes.

The book How to Run Your House states:

There is no better way to make your family and yourself miserable than to have the house so spotless that everyone is afraid to sit down on a chair or touch a table or walk across the room with his shoes on.”

Naturally this comment should not be taken as a reason to excuse a housewife from being diligent to keep her home clean, but never forget why you do it—to make your family comfortable.

So do not steal their peacefulness by being overly fussy.

First, set your priorities.

Which should come first—the house or those who live in it?

Are your own standards so high that others feel uncomfortable?

One homemaker concluded:

Provide the family with simple, nourishing food; clean beds; clean clothes; and a house clean enough for comfort. Everything else is optional.”

You will never get all the housework done.

There is always something to do.

So decide how much time you will devote to it.

Then diligently do as much as your own pace allows.

Reportedly, some women spend on the average as little as an hour a day straightening up their homes.

Others may spend longer, depending on their family’s living habits, their own abilities, strength and circumstances.

Recognize your own limitations.

As one experienced homemaker said:

As with money, so with our time and strength, we can’t overspend. If we try, we end up paying for it sooner or later. We can only do so much.”

However, some other homemakers struggle against another real weakness in the human makeup—laziness.

This can color one’s attitude about housework.

The excuses of a lazy person are well known.

Help for working women

Husband helping wife with housework chores.

One wife explains:

Financially I need to work, but I would love to stay home with my child, It is very hard trying to be wife, mother and homemaker after working eight hours.”
She echoes the plight of an increasing number of women.

However, when the wife works outside the home a number of hours similar to the workday of the husband, there is a real need for understanding and help from the rest of the family.

One young housewife with a full-time job boasts:

I am very fortunate in having a husband who believes that one adult should not have to clean up after another adult, and that housework should be shared.” 

The children also can, and should, help.

Especially so if theirs is a single parent who must work full time.

If others in the family are not over demanding, but instead join in doing the work together, it can almost be fun, as one homemaker wrote:

Every day my husband scours the bathtub after his shower. After dinner, he cleans and scrapes the dishes, while I wash the stove, counters and put away leftovers. . . . Three nights ago my husband ironed while I prepared the dinner. We were able to talk about our day while we completed these tasks. . . . We often share cooking and make it fun—drink a glass of wine and talk. If I had to do housework alone, I’m sure I would consider it drudgery.
An experienced wife concludes:

It’s balance that’s needed, your attitude can’t be too meticulous, or it’s uncomfortable. Or if you’re too sloppy there’s irritation on both sides. You’re irritated because of guilt for not doing it, and then the family is irritated because the dirt must be endured another day.”

Proper balance creates a clean-as-I-can-make-it home, but with a relaxed atmosphere prevailing inside.

So keep housework in its proper place—not first, and not last either.

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