It's likely that the majority of adults don't get enough sleep as they ought to. In reality, around 30% of the population suffers from regular insomnia, which is a major cause of insomnia.
Insomnia can not only drain your energy and can affect your mood, it could affect your health, performance at work and general quality of life into a downward spiral.
"The most common symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, waking up too early, daytime tiredness, difficulty focusing, irritability, depression and anxiety," explains Joyce Epelboim, MD, FACP, a doctor in the Penn Sleep Center. The lack of sleep has been connected to obesity, diabetes as well as heart diseases.
Although this issue is more likely to be more prevalent in women than men, all people could benefit from changing their sleeping routines. Small changes in your life and routines can make a huge difference to help you get the best quality and quantity of rest you require.
7 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep - And Stay Asleep
Create a schedule for your sleep and adhere to it
Get up and go to sleep at the same time throughout the day, even on weekends. This will help your body settle into a routine and make it easier to go to sleep at night and wake up refreshed and rejuvenated when you wake up in the morning. If you stick to a routine as well, you'll be more alert than if you were sleeping for the exact amount of time, but at different times throughout the week.
"It's also impossible to 'catch up' on sleep, so sleeping extra hours on the weekends will only make it more difficult to get back into your routine come Monday morning," Explains Epelboim. Epelboim.
Avoid drinking after 2 pm.
If you're in need of an afternoon boost to get through the day Experts suggest that drinking extra cups of coffee, or energy drink to help you get through your post-lunch slump can affect your ability to sleep late in the night.
"Caffeine has a half-life of six hours, meaning that six hours after your last sip of soda, coffee or tea, half the caffeine is still in your body," says the doctor. Epelboim.
Caffeine also can trigger a vicious cycle. After an unsatisfactory night's rest it's possible to depend on coffee more to get through your day. And, once it's time to go to sleep, the caffeine can make it hard to get back to sleep.
If you want a natural way to boost your mood, try eating more whole grains and protein, drinking plenty of fluids, or taking a short walk.
Do not drink alcohol for three hours prior to going to bed
Drinking alcohol can make you feel tired and get to sleep quicker. But, it also blocks REM sleep that is believed to be the most restorative form of sleep. When you're not getting enough REM sleep it is more likely that you will awake feeling tired and disoriented.
"Dr. Epelboim adds, "Alcohol causes your whole body to relax, including the muscles in your throat - which makes you more prone to snoring and sleep apnea."
It also acts as a diuretic which makes you more likely to use the bathroom and makes you wake awake earlier each morning.
Make sure you are taking your medication
The key to a better night's rest could be in your medicine cabinet. A variety of common prescription and over-the counter drugs can affect your sleeping.
"For example, some medications, like those used to treat high blood pressure and asthma, can cause insomnia," says Dr. Epelboim.
Other medications, such as cold and pain relief are often laced with some form of caffeine as well as other stimulants. This makes the process of falling asleep harder.
Consult your primary healthcare provider If you suspect any of these could affect your sleep. Your doctor will help you determine whether you should modify your dosage or make modifications to your treatment.
Get moving earlier in the morning
Being active throughout the day can reduce those stress-related hormones which frequently make us stay awake in the night. Regular exercise can also help promote better, more peaceful sleep.
While it's crucial to exercise, make certain to finish your workout a minimum three hours prior to the time you go to bed. This will give your body time to relax and allows your heart rate as well as body temperature, and levels of adrenaline to fall.
Make sure you have a bedroom reserved for sleeping and sexual activity
The bedroom being used for activities that aren't sleep or sex can make sleep more difficult especially if you have a hard time getting enough sleep.
Working using your laptop, or watching tv at night aren't good bed practices. These types of activities can cause the brain to make a connection between our bed and other activities that are not related to sleeping which means that your brain will be less geared for rest and relaxation once you lay your head on the pillow.
"This means you should keep your computers, iPods and cell phones out of your bedroom too - they create distractions and act as stressors at the end of the day," says Dr. Epelboim.
Researchers have also observed that using smartphones, tablets as well as other electronic devices prior to the bedtime routine disrupts the body's internal clock and blocks production of hormone that reduces sleep, Melatonin.
Create a routine for bedtime
A relaxing routine every evening can signal your body and mind that it's the time to unwind and get ready for bed. Bathing or listening to soothing music and meditative exercises can help to relax before going to bed.
Spending 30 minutes reading each night can offer you huge advantages - a study showed it is associated with lower heart rate and blood pressure and significant decreases in stress. Researchers have also discovered that reading books for as little as six minutes prior to going to bed helped reduce stress by a staggering 78.
If you find that neither of the strategies aid in improving your sleep, you could be suffering from a bigger problem. Talk to your primary care doctor or visit Penn Sleep Center for more information. Penn Sleep Center to learn more about our sleep programs.
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