Quality of sleep at night affects our ability to perform the next day. Mood and overall health are also tied to the quality of sleep we get each night.
We all have nights when we can't fall asleep. Life stresses, medical conditions, or maybe a noisy party next door. Whether you have short-term or chronic
insomnia, there are steps you can take to sleep easier.
We love to be comfortable, warm, and cozy. Going to bed at night should give you the same feeling. Look at your surroundings and see if you can make changes in the bedroom. Here are some options to think about: Make sure you have a comfortable, supportive mattress and
foundation.Your bedroom should be very dark. Invest in shades and curtains that keep out
the maximum of light.Try sleep masks.If noise keeps you awake, try earplugs or white noise (a machine that uses static noise to drown out disturbing
noise).Be sure that the temperature of the room is cool.Avoid any distractions like TVs, computers, or cell phones in the bedroom. Noises and lights are distracting.
Consider taking a short walk outside during the day. Sunlight or bright light may help you relax at night.
Your body learns to respond to what you do out of habit. If you think about it, you have sleep habits too. Some of the things you may be doing make it hard for your body and mind to relax and unwind. A nightly routine will help make your body ready for sleep. Remember new habits take some time, so be patient and keep trying new things.
Use the daytime hours to get ready for sleep at night: Avoid stimulants such as caffeine (coffee, tea, cola,
or chocolate) in the evening. The time will vary depending on your tolerance. Set aside some time for
worrying and dealing with upsetting situations.Exercise regularly, but not within 3 hours of
bedtime.Try not to nap during the day, but especially not after 3 pm.
There are also some changes you can make to your evening routine: Don't stay up too late. Make sleep a priority.Go to bed at the same time each night, even on your days off.Use your bed for sleep and sex only.Take a warm bath to relax before going to bed.
Have a light snack about a few hours
before bed, but avoid spicy foods or large meals which can cause
Avoid drinking a lot of water before bedtime or you may need to
urinate frequently during the night.Check ingredients on cold medicines to see if they contain caffeine or other stimulants.
Keep in mind that nicotine and alcohol contribute to sleeplessness. Avoid excessive alcohol within 6 hours of bedtime and smoking within 2 hours of bedtime. If do you smoke,
talk to your doctor about how to successfully quit. Smokers have more disrupted sleep than
Of course, everything will not always work all the time. If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something, then try again when you feel drowsy.
Sleep is essential. Keep in mind there may be underlying medical issues affecting your ability to sleep, like
snoring, or pain. If you have long-term troubles with not sleeping, contact your doctor see if other treatments may help.
Healthy sleep. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthy_sleep_atglance.pdf. Updated August 2009. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Healthy sleep tips. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at:
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Insomnia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 8, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Yang CM, Spielman AJ, Huang YS. Insomnia.
Current Treatment Options in Neurology.
Last reviewed November 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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