Most adults experience insomnia or sleeplessness at some point in their lives—an estimated 30-50 percent of the general U.S. population has suffered from acute insomnia, and 10 percent has chronic or long-term insomnia. Our 5 Sleep Tips could help you get a better nights’ rest.
What can cause Insomnia?
Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early in the morning. The cause is varied, from psychological issues to medical conditions to environment:
- Dozens of medical conditions, especially those which include chronic pain
- Snoring spouses
- Jet lag
- Shift work
- Poor bedroom environments
- Frequent bathroom visits
- And many more
What can I do about it?
Study after study has shown how a shortage of sleep can negatively affect one’s mood, decision-making and quality of life. Yet it remains difficult for us to prioritize the appropriate amount of sleep into our routine. Here are 4 sleep tips to help in your fight for sleep, and each point corresponds with one of Dr. Cooper’s “Eight Steps to Get Cooperized.”
5 Sleep Tips to Combat Insomnia
Most of the time Insomnia is very hard to fight, but with some of our sleep tips, you might just find yourself getting a good nights’ rest.
- Exercise: According the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 poll, more than three-fourths of self-described exercisers say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good as compared to slightly more than one-half of non-exercisers. It is important to be mindful of what time of day you choose to exercise. Exercising within two hours of bedtime may stimulate you and cause trouble falling asleep. Also, consider what type of exercise you choose. While cardiovascular exercise early in the day helps sleep, activities such as yoga, tai chi and mindful relaxation have shown to improve sleep quality and decrease symptoms of insomnia and fatigue when practiced later in the day or evening.
- Diet: Avoid large meals and excessive fluids before bed. Also, avoid caffeine and alcohol approximately six hours before bedtime. Using alcohol as a sedative can be extremely misleading since the side effects of alcohol consumption are usually more detrimental to the natural sleep cycle.
- Lifestyle: Maintain a regular sleep schedule and do everything possible to stick to it. Keep a sleep log, so you can see patterns over time. Shut down electronic devices—email, texting, Facebook, as well as TV—well before bedtime, and have a routine in place to tell your body bedtime is coming. The routine might include a warm bath, listening to calming music or a relaxation tape or a bit of light reading. While there isn’t a lot of research on chamomile tea, the oils in chamomile tea are seen in Eastern medicine as supporting sleep, so you might also try a cup of warm chamomile tea as part of your bedtime routine. (Note, avoid chamomile tea if you are allergic to ragweed.)
- Visit Your Doctor: Acute or mild insomnia can often be prevented or treated by practicing good sleep habits, but if your insomnia persists or becomes severe, talk with your doctor about the problem. Your doctor will understand your individual health circumstances and is best qualified to determine what sleep aids (if any) are appropriate. Depending on what triggers your insomnia, behavior therapy may also be a suggested treatment.
- Consider Supplementation: If lifestyle changes do not alleviate your restless nights, sleep supplements may be another tool to help you get the rest you need. Two natural sleep supplements scientifically shown to have benefits are Melatonin and Magnesium. These can be great options when fighting insomnia. Read more about Sleep Supplements.