Insomnia is a problem for approximately 20% of people in America at any given time. Unfortunately, many different factors can cause poor sleep, and there are no medications that provide good
sleep benefit for more than a few weeks in the average person. Here are some
tips for good sleep hygiene which can really make a difference in tackling this difficult problem.
If you are having trouble sleeping, the first thing to do is to keep track of your sleep so you know
exactly what part is wrong. The easiest way to do this is to use a piece of lined
paper and make each line each night of sleep. Start off by marking when you go
to bed, then when you fall asleep, then any time you wake up or go to sleep in the middle of the night, and when you get up
in the morning. Track this for a few nights, then start to add pertinent information
from your day, such as any naps, exercise, medication, alcohol and caffeine. After
a few weeks, you may figure out that your sleep is great when you take a walk that day, or you always seem to wake up at 3am
if you have a late night glass of wine.
No Television or Internet!
Television and the internet overstimulate the brain so it is more difficult for you to fall asleep. Reading or engaging in crafts, however, does not.
Try to avoid watching TV or surfing the net for an hour or two before bedtime.
Even if you have been going to sleep with the TV on for 20 years, if you are having insomnia, give yourself a weeklong
trial without and see if it helps.
Have a Routine
Try to do the same thing in the same order every night before you go to bed put lotion on feet, blow
out candle, read etc. Wear similar pajamas and listen to the same music. In this way, you can actually train your brain to sleep.
Ive read differing reports on this. Deep sleep has a
lot to do with the temperature of the body once it drops a few degrees, you are getting good, refreshing sleep. Some reports suggest that taking a late night shower or exercising will raise the temperature of the body,
leading to poor sleep. Other reports suggest that a shower or sweaty exercise
will lead to moisture evaporation and body cooling, helping sleep. My advice
would be to experiment with when you shower and exercise. If a late evening walk
makes you need to nap, terrific. If a shower energizes you, take it in the morning.
Speaking of Naps
Dont take them during the day if you are having trouble sleeping at night.
No Caffeine. None.
I know. Some people fall asleep with a cup of coffee
on the nightstand. Turns out we can have varying sensitivity to caffeine throughout
our lives. Maybe it never bothered you before well, if you are having trouble
sleeping, no caffeine is the best way to go. Sometimes some people can get away
with one cup of coffee in the morning, but others cannot. Also, keep track of
any stimulating over the counter medications you are taking, such as Sudafed.
Lights at Night
Recent studies have shown that any bright light in the middle of the night can throw off your sleep
cycle. Even people who go to a bright gym at 8 or 9 pm had trouble sleeping until
they started to wear dark glasses while working out. So put a dim nightlight
in the bathroom if you tend to get up to go, and leave the pitcher of water on the counter if you like to get a glass at night
so you wont face the bright refrigerator.
Loud snoring can be a sign of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea that can lead to health
problems in the future, and it certainly has a lot of effects on mood and memory. If
the condition is suspected, you will need a sleep test in a sleep lab to diagnose the condition.