Use Pillows To Ease Low Back Pain
People who suffer from low back pain often have trouble sleeping. In one study, people who had acute or chronic low back pain reported equal problems with sleep quality. The level of pain was not associated with rest disturbance. If you’re plagued with back pain, try sleeping on your side to reduce pressure on your lower back. Place a pillow between your knees to make sure your hips are in alignment to further reduce low back strain. Make sure your mattress is supportive enough and that it doesn’t aggravate your back pain. When getting into and out of bed, swing both legs together and avoid bending at the waist to protect your back.
Back Off Of Blue Light
Smart phones, e-readers, tablets, computer screens, TVs, and digital clocks emit blue light, a short frequency of light that may be harmful to the eyes and disrupt sleep. Minimize screen time for several hours before bedtime to get a good night’s rest. Wearing orange tinted glasses that block out blue light may also be helpful. Apps are available for your computer, tablet, and smartphones that prevent the screens from emitting blue light. Besides blue light exposure, it makes sense to power down several hours before bedtime to maximize your chances of getting a good night’s rest. Cover up any displays that may be visible from your bed, like a digital clock. Black out curtains can block out ambient light from outside.
When To Get Help For Insomnia
Its not unusual to experience a poor night of shuteye every once in a while. But if you notice that your sleep debt is beginning to detract from your life, you may want to see a specialist.
According to Dr. Dimitriu, you should speak with your doctor, and maybe an expert if you notice certain symptoms. They include:
- Periods of loud snoring, gasping for air, or sleep apnea
- Waking up numerous times per night
- Sleep disorders
- No benefit from non-medical treatments
- You regularly have trouble sleeping
- Serious daytime grogginess , particularly while driving
- A significant change in daytime symptoms like increased agitation, anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
Additionally, if you find that you have nasal congestion when lying down or find that you tend to breathe through your mouth at night, be sure to see an allergist or ENT doctor.
Clear nasal breathing and airflow are important to getting rest.
More Than Tired has a search tool that can help you find a specialist in your local area.
Although insomnia feels invincible, you have several options at your disposal. Solutions range from lifestyle treatments to prescription medications. The right solution for you will depend on the type of insomnia youre experiencing, its cause, and your medical history. For most patients, applying several different treatments is the most effective.
Prescription sleep medication may be helpful when stress is keeping you up at night. But not all Z drugs are created equal.
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You Should Not Be Able To Fall Asleep After About 15 To 20 Minutes
Even though it may sound counterintuitive, Dr. Plante suggests that giving up on trying to fall asleep is often the best strategy. Instead of staring at the clock and tossing around, Dr. Plante suggests getting out of bed to do something relaxing like reading in low light or doing whatever it takes to make you sleepy. Then, go back to bed and continue this process until you fall asleep. It is important to find something to distract you from anxiety.
This is supported by research. According to a 2015 Sleep Medicine study, stress-related heart rate variability was linked to sleep disturbances.
Natural sleep aids are popular options for people who need relief. Dr. Plante recommends speaking to your doctor to determine if medication might be an option. He says that for most people, changing your lifestyle can have a significant impact.
Insomnia: Restoring Restful Sleep
Nearly everyone has spent at least one night lying in bed wishing for sleep. But for many men, it’s a nightly struggle. A lucky few get relief from counting sheep, watching late-night movies, or sipping warm milk but most people with insomnia need more assistance. Fortunately, lifestyle changes and behavioral treatment can help many sufferers, and medication is available for those who need it.
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Insomnia Is Common In Older Adults
Insomnia is the most common sleep problem in adults age 60 and older. People with this condition have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia can last for days, months, and even years. Having trouble sleeping can mean you:
- Take a long time to fall asleep
- Wake up many times in the night
- Wake up early and are unable to get back to sleep
- Wake up tired
- Feel very sleepy during the day
Often, being unable to sleep becomes a habit. Some people worry about not sleeping even before they get into bed. This may make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Some older adults who have trouble sleeping may use over-the-counter sleep aids. Others may use prescription medicines to help them sleep. These medicines may help when used for a short time. But remember, medicines arent a cure for insomnia.
Developing healthy habits at bedtime may help you get a good nights sleep.
Sleep Restriction And Compression
This technique is intended to increase the drive to sleep and can temporarily increase daytime fatigue. It is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions that can be made worse by losing sleep, such as bipolar disorder and seizures.
Sleep restriction begins by calculating the total time spent asleep on a typical night using a sleep diary. Time in bed is then adjusted to reflect this amount, plus 30 minutes.
For example, if a person is trying to sleep 8 hours a night but only getting 5 hours, they start by adjusting their bedtime to spend 5 hours and 30 minutes in bed. Once a person spends the majority of their time in bed sleeping, they can begin gradually increasing their time in bed.
Sleep compression is a slightly different, and more gentle approach, often used with older people. Instead of immediately reducing time in bed to the amount of sleep they get on a typical night, time in bed is gradually reduced until it is reasonably close to the time they spend actually sleeping.
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Dietary Supplements For Insomnia
There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. Although they may be described as natural, be aware that sleep remedies can still have side effects and interfere with other medications or vitamins youre taking. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Writing An Insomniac Character In The First Person
Ill go ahead and admit that I love writing insomniac characters. A lot of my stories deal with mental health and the different ways people respond to difficult situations. Insomnia is a fascinating way to delve into a characters deeper psyche, their fears, and their truly unique perspective. And, it can be a fun way to utilize a technique known as stream of consciousness, which is one of my absolute favorite ways to write.
So, what does stream of consciousness mean?
A stream of consciousness is a method of writing that disregards descriptions, settings, and actions, to focus on an uninterrupted exploration of a characters thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Rather than describing what is happening, you narrate what the character is thinking, giving context to the situation or setting based solely around how that character responds to it. It is a lot like a soliloquy in a play, since it reveals the inner reflections of the character to your audience. This gives readers the sense of being inside the characters mind, and having unique insight into their understanding of the world. This is also a great way of exploring flashbacks, memories, dreams, fears, and anything that your character could possibly be thinking of as they try to sleep.
Best of luck, writers!
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How To Relieve Insomnia Without Medication: Part 1
Feeling sleepy? Youre 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. And as we age, sleep can become even more elusive, so developing good sleep habits when youre younger can pay off later in life.
How Do Binaural Beats Work For Better Sleep
Our brain waves increase and decrease according to our state of excitement and level of mental stimulation. Delta waves are associated with deep sleep , and correlate with maximized cellular regeneration and the loss of bodily awareness. Theta waves, 4-8 Hz, are associated with dream state. Theta waves range from “dream state , deep meditation , intuitive awareness,” according to Sixstepstosleep.com.
Binaural beats can be used for waking states and may help to lower anxiety or create a sense of euphoria, but when it comes to sleep, we want to prime the brain for deep sleep and relaxation. Here’s how to benefit from binaural beats:
- Consider using theta waves or high delta waves several hours before bedtime.
- Transition to delta waves as you start your evening sleep routine .
I find binaural beats to be soothing and quite effective. Avoid technical tasks while listening to sleep-inducing binaural beats.
Essential oils have a long history of being effective for coaxing the brain and body into relaxed states.
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What Are The Types Of Insomnia
Insomnia can be acute or chronic . Acute insomnia is common. Common causes include stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. It usually lasts for days or weeks.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary. This means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem, such as certain medical conditions, medicines, and other sleep disorders. Substances such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can also be a cause.
Sometimes chronic insomnia is the primary problem. This means that it is not caused by something else. Its cause is not well understood, but long-lasting stress, emotional upset, travel and shift work can be factors. Primary insomnia usually lasts more than one month.
What Other Problems Can Insomnia Cause
Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and a lack of energy. It also can make you feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. You may have trouble focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning, and remembering. Insomnia also can cause other serious problems. For example, it could make you may feel drowsy while driving. This could cause you get into a car accident.
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Quit Smoking And Alcohol
Quitting smoking also increases the chances of healthy sleep. Recent studies from Baltimore University Hospital show that 25% of smokers have insomnia, while only 5% of nonsmokers have sleep problems.
The initial phase of sleep in smokers is especially restless, which is explained by the large amount of nicotine accumulated in the blood at this particular time. A glass of alcohol at night also plays into the hands of insomnia. The intoxicating effect of alcohol is short-lived, you may fall asleep faster, but it is quite likely that you will wake up in 3-4 hours.
Thus, you need to give up alcoholism. You can get help from a rehab center for this matter. Do not worry about how much rehab costs as there are several insurance coverage options that will take off this problem.
How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better
If youre struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, it could be that treating the anxiety will help solve your insomnia and lack of sleep as well. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a licensed therapist or medical professional, and these professionals can also help you find treatment regimens as well as, potentially, medications to control the condition. You should not try to self-medicate for anxiety disorders, and should only medicate per the medical advice and supervision of a psychiatrist.
One of the most common and effective treatments for anxiety disorders is continued and guided therapy with a professional counselor or therapist.
The branch of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for many people, as it helps patients suffering from anxiety disorders create new, positive thought pathways that can help when in anxious situations. There are three different types of CBT, each with an individualized approach in treatment, including interpersonal therapy, thought records, and modern exposure therapy.
Another form of therapy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT. This form of therapy is more focused on mindfulness training and taking action based on personal values, and is unique in that it is not focused on symptom reduction.
Shifting Your Perspective
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The Body’s Internal Clock
The sleep-wake cycle is controlled by the body’s internal clock. Many other bodily functions also wax and wane cyclically in response to the 24-hour circadian rhythm. For example, normal body temperature is lowest at about 5 a.m., when it averages 97° F, and highest at about 5 p.m., when it averages 99.4° F. Similarly, sodium excretion and urine output are normally higher during the day than at night. Hormone levels also fluctuate cortisol secretion is highest during the morning. Testosterone production peaks in the morning, growth hormone at night. Melatonin, the “dark hormone,” is produced by the brain’s pineal gland during the night.
The daily cycles of light and darkness help set the body’s internal clock. Disturbances in the normal coordination of light and darkness with wakefulness and sleep account for the temporary sleep disturbance of jet lag or the chronic disorders experienced by many shift workers. Travel is a common cause of disturbed sleep today, but similar disturbances originated long before the jet age Robert Burton got it right way back in 1628 when he said, “Our body is like a clock, if one wheel is amiss, all the rest are disordered… with such admirable art and harmony is a man composed.”
A Consistent Bed Routine With A Warm Shower
We make our children have a bedtime routine, so why dont we? Going to bed and waking at the same time every day sets our clocks. Combine this with a nice, hot shower, and youll be out in no time. There are actual health benefits to getting a warm shower, such as cleansing the skin , relieving stiff muscles, and hot showers are a natural sedative. Not only do our bodies crave consistency, but a daily rhythm is essential to functioning.
If you have insomnia, what tricks have you used to help yourself fall asleep?
Here are some items that may help you get a better nights rest, when youve been having insomnia:
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Exercise Improves Sleep Quality
Regular physical activity reduces the risk of insomnia and helps you get a restful night’s sleep. Studies have shown that getting as little as 10 minutes of aerobic activity per day is enough to significantly improve sleep quality. Cycling, running, and swimming are good options. To make exercise as conducive to sleep as possible, avoid working out within 3 to 4 hours of your bedtime. Mind-body exercises like yoga and tai chi are relaxing to do in the afternoon or evening. They are great for relieving stress and set the stage for you to get good deep sleep.
Avoid Napping During The Day
Taking naps during the daytime, particularly those that last longer than 2 hours, can also disrupt the circadian rhythm.
One study found that college students who napped at least three times per week and those who napped for longer than 2 hours each time had lower sleep quality than their peers who did not.
After a poor nights sleep, it is tempting to take a long nap. However, try to avoid this, as it can adversely affect a healthful sleep cycle.
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Establish A Relaxing Nighttime Routine
It is an especially good idea to avoid stress and do relaxing activities in the evening. Do not work at night. Avoid emotionally upsetting conversations, scary movies, and thrilling novels. If you are a worrier, scribble your thoughts and feelings down in a journal to help get them off your mind. Wind down before bed by taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or reading a soothing book. Meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day benefits both body and mind.
Up In The Middle Of The Night How To Get Back To Sleep
Waking up in the middle of the night is normal. Most of us experiencemini-awakenings without even noticing themup to 20 times per hour. When itcomes to observable wake-ups, most people have about two or three pernight. But up to one in five Americans have difficulty getting back tosleepa frustrating, sleep-robbing problem that experts call sleepmaintenance insomnia.
While we tend to stare at the clock, toss and turn for hours, or flip on the light and watch TV when sleep eludes us, there are much better ways to cope and help ourselves get back to sleep, says Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M. Instead, try these six sleeping tips. They can help you get back to sleep tonight and pave the way for sound sleep tomorrow night and beyond.
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