Turn Down The Lights To Get Better Sleep
Bright indoor lights inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. Put dimmer switches on indoor lights and lower the lighting level in your home for at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. If you like to read before bed, read by a light using a low wattage bulb to avoid being exposed to levels of light that will make it hard to fall asleep. Use heavy black out curtains on bedroom windows to keep light outside from sneaking in and wreaking havoc on your sleep schedule.
Talk To Your Physician
Difficulty sleeping may stem from an underlying medical condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Restless leg syndrome and bruxism can also interfere with sleep. These medical issues may cause sleep problems that worsen or cause depression.
Its important to talk to your physician about any sleep problems or depressive symptoms youre experiencing. Your physician can assess whether you have underlying health issues contributing to your conditions.
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.”
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How Can I Sleep Better
- Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol, especially in the hours before bedtime.
- Avoid heavy meals or strenuous exercise shortly before going to bed.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Regular daytime exercise helps you feel more relaxed and tired at bedtime.
This section will discuss five topics which can help to promote better sleep:
- Understanding some facts.
- Daytime exercise.
- Psychological treatments called cognitive and behavioural therapies.
In effect, these can be used in a step-wise fashion. You need only go on to the next step if the previous step is not very helpful, but each step requires a greater degree of effort.
Focus On Trying To Stay Awake
Its believed that if you go to bed and try to force yourself to fall asleep, your chances of succeeding drop dramatically.
Instead, you can try paradoxical intention. This technique involves trying to stay awake instead of forcing yourself to sleep.
Its based on the idea that the stress and anxiety produced by forcing yourself to fall asleep can prevent you from relaxing and snoozing.
Research is ultimately mixed, but some studies have showed that people who adopt this technique tend to fall asleep faster (
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Prevent Nighttime Bathroom Interruptions
IIt is not good to be dehydrated but drinking too many fluids may lead to frequent nighttime urination which may interfere with your ability to get enough sleep. If you find yourself getting up to urinate frequently throughout the night, it may be a sign of a medical problem. See your doctor for an evaluation. Limiting fluid intake for at least a couple of hours before bedtime may help reduce or eliminated nighttime trips to the bathroom. Keep a nightlight in the hallway and bathroom so you can find your way easily without tripping and turning on the lights which may throw off your sleep schedule.
How Does Sleep Relate To Mental Health
There’s a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.
“Poor sleep leads to worrying. Worrying leads to poor sleep. Worrying about sleep is like your mind trying to fight itself. That’s a horrible place to be.”
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Relieving Anxiety That Keeps You From Falling Or Staying Asleep
If sleep worries are getting in the way of your ability to unwind at night, the following strategies may help. The goal is to train your body to associate the bed with sleep and nothing elseespecially not frustration and anxiety.
Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. With many of us working from home now, it can be difficult to avoid, but if possible dont work, use your computer, or watch TV in your bedroom. The goal is to associate the bedroom with sleep alone, so that your brain and body get a strong signal that its time to nod off when you get into bed.
Move bedroom clocks out of view. Anxiously watching the minutes tick by when you cant sleepknowing that youre going to be exhausted when the alarm goes offis a surefire recipe for insomnia. You can use an alarm, but make sure you cant see the time when youre in bed.
Get out of bed when you cant sleep. Dont try to force yourself to sleep. Tossing and turning only amps up your anxiety. Get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing, such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath. When youre sleepy, go back to bed.
Help Your Loved One Find Ways To Reduce Stress
Stress can be a big contributor to all sleep disorders. You can be helpful and show support by encouraging your loved one to find ways to reduce their stress not only before bed but throughout the day.
Reading more or practicing yoga may be helpful. You might also encourage your loved one to talk to their employer if theyre dealing with work stress and find ways to manage those feelings better. Maybe youll identify ways you can reduce your loved ones stress, such as taking on more of the household chores.
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How Can I Tell If My Teen Has Insomnia
Because teens are biologically inclined to stay up later than adults, it can be difficult for parents to identify when insomnia has set in. There are, however, behavioral signs that parents can look out for, including mood swings, irritability, lethargy, and extreme difficulty waking. Parents who see these signs should ask their teen about their sleep habits and/or seek professional help.
How To Cope With Insomnia
This article was co-authored by Jeremy Bartz, PhD. Dr. Jeremy Bartz is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice based in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Bartz specializes in treating depression, anxiety, OCD, mind-body syndromes, chronic pain, insomnia, relationship difficulties, attachment trauma, and resolving the effects of narcissistic trauma. He received a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Brigham Young University and completed a fellowship In Pain Psychology at Stanford’s premier pain management clinic.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 171,190 times.
You may see many articles on trying to get rid of insomnia, but for some people, living with it is the only option. Maximizing your diet to give you energy, trying to energize your body in other ways, and aiming to optimize what sleep you do get are some of the ways you can cope when you live with insomnia.
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What To Do When Insomnia Wakes You Up In The Middle Of The Night
Many people with insomnia are able to fall asleep at bedtime, but then wake up in the middle of the night. They then struggle to get back to sleep, often lying awake for hours. If this describes you, the following tips may help.
Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall back to sleep, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, Ahhh. Take another breath and repeat.
Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back to sleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even though its not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your mind and body.
Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If youve been awake for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens so as not to cue your body that its time to wake up.
Relaxation techniques that can help you get back to sleep
Mindfulness meditation. Sit or lie quietly and focus on your natural breathing and how your body feels in the moment. Allow thoughts and emotions to come and go without judgment, always returning to focus on breath and your body.
Are Natural Sleep Remedies Safe For Pregnant People
Certain natural sleep remedies like yoga, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques are great for pregnant people to maintain a healthy, relaxed body and mind. If these techniques also aid in sleep during pregnancy, that is even better. However, some supplements, aromatherapies, herbs, and teas may not be safe to use while pregnant, and you should consult with your physician before trying any of these methods.
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Reduce The Stress Level
Anxiety is directly associated with sleep. When you are stressed, you sleep badly and lack of sleep increases the levels of stress even more.
Fortunately, there are lots of methods to combat this vicious cycle. One effective way is making sure to include foods rich in omega-3 on your diet, like poultry fish or linseed. You may also try listening to music.
There are three common responses to stress, none of them are good for your health nor to your sleep either:
- Overthinking a difficulty
- Overreacting to a problem
- Grow emotionally unstable over a problem
When someone finds what works for them in diffusing stress, the preferred coping mechanism becomes a natural response where they can easily fall into it with regular practice.
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Spend Time Outside During The Day
Spending time in natural light during the day can help regulate your circadian rhythm. The internal biological clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle is influenced by light when theres less light at night, your body releases melatonin.
In the morning, the sun cues your brain and body to wake up. If youre spending all your time indoors in the dark, you might suffer from sleep problems. Regular exercise can also help with sleep issues, as well as depression, provided its not done immediately before bed.
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Can You Be Sleep Deprived And Not Know It
Yes. Someone who is chronically sleep-deprived may adapt to feeling tired and may not realize the consequences of their insufficient sleep. Similarly, someone with a disorder like sleep apnea may feel as if theyâre sleeping soundlyâbut in reality, the sleep theyâre getting is unrestful and may cause daytime symptoms like fatigue, cognitive slowness, or irritability.
Cure For Chronic Insomnia
If your chronic insomnia is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as acid reflux or pain, treating the condition may cure your insomnia.
Chronic health conditions that cause insomnia can be managed with changes in treatment, in turn managing or preventing insomnia. Talk to your doctor about changing medications or treatment plans if a drug youre taking is causing insomnia.
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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.
Keep Noise To A Minimum
Keep the bedroom as quiet as possible to help you nod off at night. Some noise is unavoidable. Traffic outside, a barking dog, and dripping faucets can be distracting. Wear earplugs at night to drown out ambient noise. You can use a fan or a white noise machine to mask sounds. Fix leaky faucets, squeaking doors, and other noisy distractions around the house. Ask family members to keep the noise down after hours and respect your bedtime routine.
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Are Women More Likely To Have Trouble Sleeping
Insomnia is more common in women than it is in men. Higher rates of insomnia are due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause women become increasingly more at risk of insomnia as age increases. However, other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, appear to be more common in men than in women.
Keep Pets Off The Bed
Many people sleep with pet cats or dogs on their bed, but pets may keep you from getting much sleep. If they wake up, move, or make noise at night, it may wake you up. If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time falling asleep if you wake up at night, it makes more sense to keep pets out of the bedroom. There are other reasons to make your bedroom off limits to pets. If you have allergies or asthma, pet fur and dander could provoke your symptoms. Pets who go outdoors also track pollen into the house. You can teach your pet to sleep in his or her own bed in another room.
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Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies To Help You Sleep
Are you having trouble drifting into a peaceful, nourishing slumber? Yourenot sitting up at night alone:More than 60 million Americanssuffer from poor sleep quality.
Disturbed sleep is more than an inconvenience that leaves you dragging the next day: it can affect your emotional and physical health. It negatively affects your memory, concentration and mood, and it boosts your risk for depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Its not always necessary to get a prescription for a sleep aid, she says. There are natural ways to make adjustments to your sleeping habits.
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You Have To Try Calming Your Mind At Bedtime
You might not realize this, but insomnia actually causes anxiety for a lot of us. That wound-up, tight-chested feeling makes relaxing into a deep sleep totally impossible. This spiral starts us thinking that were going to spend yet another night staring at the ceiling, and it only makes that anxiety worse. Insomnia is something we feel constantlynot only at bedtimeso the telltale wide-awake energy we have at 9 p.m. makes calm feel way off in the distance.
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The Four Key Elements To Cultivating Relaxation
For thousands of years, relaxation has been a central focus of spiritual and cultural practices, enabling a sense of calm and connection with oneself and the surrounding world.
Only in recent decades, though, have meditative practices for relaxation become a focus of scientific research, which has come to identify four key elements for fostering the relaxation response.
All of the following methods are ways of achieving these core elements so that you can calmly fall asleep. Keeping these basics in mind empowers you to adjust these methods to suit your preferences.
Keep Sleep In Perspective
People who suffer from insomnia are normally frustrated or annoyed by it. Paradoxically, this emotional state contributes to keeping them awake, starting a vicious cycle. It helps to stop expecting a set amount of sleep every night. Having less sleep than youd like doesnt cause any harm. Allow yourself to fall short of the ideal without getting anxious about it.
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