Feeling sleepy? You’re not alone. According to the CDC, on any given day, as many as one in five adults suffers from an insufficient amount of sleep! Insomnia affects adolescents, adults and the elderly. As we age, sleep can become even more elusive.
Clinically defined, insomnia is a complaint of a difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or non-restorative sleep that has daytime consequences. Being trapped in the vicious cycle of insomnia could be likened to an endless battle of tug and war, whereby the harder you pull, the more severe insomnia becomes.
#1 WELCOME THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS Fearful thoughts or strong sensation such as anxiety at night can keep you more awake. Learning to change your relationship with them getting to know them when they arrive will reduce arousal levels and lessen upon your sleep struggle.
#2 EXERCISE It doesn’t have to be a lot. 30 minutes of walking is a good start, especially if you’re not very active. Try to exercise right after dinner, or earlier.
#3 PLAN YOUR BEDTIME Create a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed at the same time every night. You can wake up when you wake up. But lie down at the same time, no matter what.
#4 LIMIT CAFFEINE AND SUGAR INTAKE No coffee, tea, soda, chocolate or sweets after 1pm. Period. If you need a pick me up, get a B-complex vitamin supplement.
#5 DARKEN YOUR SLEEPING ROOM Close the door. Turn off all the lights. Reduce all light in the room to zero when you lie down for sleep. Even a digital alarm clock display is too much light. Just flip the clock so the face points down. Light is the enemy when you’re trying to sleep.
#6 CHECK YOUR BED AND PILLOWS Make sure they aren’t what is keeping you awake. Spending some money on new pillows and even a new mattress is worth it, of it gets you more restful sleep.
#7 SIP SOMETHING Making up a nightly drink to help you fall asleep has the double benefits of the drink itself lulling you off to Dreamland, and the ritual of drinking it which tells your brain and body “Okay, it’s time to relax.” Doing something like reading while you drink your night time beverage adds a nice dimension to this habit.
#8 KNOW WHEN TO KNOW YOUR DOCTOR Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying cause can help you get the better sleep you deserve.