Do you toss and turn a lot at night? Good, sound sleep is very beneficial for your health and well-being. It can provide increased energy and productivity during the day. Good sleep can improve your mood and improve your heart and immune system. Many conditions cause difficulty sleeping. The following information explains reasons for the lack of sleep with recommendations to improve your sleep.
Talk to your physician: Your physician can assess you for the reasons you are not sleeping well, such as if it is due to snoring and the reason you are snoring. Your doctor may order tests to diagnose sleep difficulties, such as a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea. Your doctor may review your medications and make changes to those meds that might cause insomnia.
Stop Snoring: Snoring can cause restless sleep. Snoring is a result of a blockage of the airway during sleep. The blockage can be from nasal congestion, enlarged tissues of the airway, and the tongue or mandible falling back into the airway. Snoring frequently is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing due to blocked airway passages during sleep). The following are ways to help reduce snoring:
1. Clear nasal passages. Take a shower and use saline nose spray before going to bed. Take a nasal decongestant.
2. Reduce the size of the tissues that are blocking the airway. Lose weight. Surgery may be necessary, such as for enlarged tonsils.
3. Prevent the tongue or mandible from blocking the airway. Try sleeping on your side instead of your back. Use a dental appliance. These devices help to hold your tongue forward or to hold your mandible forward.
Have a Regular Sleep Schedule: It is best to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, whether it is the weekend, holiday, or your day off. Having a regular sleep schedule strengthens your body’s biological sleep-wake cycle, which promotes better sleep at night.
Exercise Regularly: Exercise promotes falling asleep faster and boosts deep sleep. Nevertheless, do not exercise within four hours of bedtime. Exercise energizes you, inhibiting sleep. However, when you cool down and rest, it initiates your brain to discharge sleep-inducing melatonin.
Stop Smoking: Nicotine is a stimulant, which can cause difficulty falling asleep. In addition, you could be having nicotine withdrawal symptoms during the night causing restless sleep. Furthermore, smoking frequently causes breathing disorders, which can interfere with sleep.
Limit alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol is sedating. It may help you fall asleep, but it decreases the quality of your sleep. Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant. Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, etc…) can prevent you from falling asleep and from going into deep sleep. Caffeine effects last up to eight hours so stop using caffeine about 1: 00pm – 2: 00pm.
Snack on Foods that Increase Serotonin Levels: About an hour before bedtime, eat a snack of carbohydrate with either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan. These ingredients cause an increase in serotonin levels, which help to keep us calm. Snacks may include:
1. A single piece of whole grain toast with a slice of cheese or turkey
2. A banana with peanut butter
3. A bowl of whole grain cereal and skim milk
4. Low-fat yogurt with fruit
Relax Before Bedtime: Have a bedtime ritual each night to tell your body it is time to relax and wind down. Suggestions for relaxing include taking a warm bath or shower, dimming the lights, listening to soothing music, or reading a book. Relaxation can promote better sleep by easing the change from wakefulness and drowsiness.
Sleep in a Comfortable, Calming Environment: The temperature, noise, and brightness of your sleeping area can make a big difference on how well you sleep. It is best to have your room cool, dark and quiet. Consider using a fan. Fans help circulate the air making it cooler and they have a pleasant light hum that may drown out other noises in your household. You might want to use room-darkening shades and earplugs. In addition, make sure your mattress, pillows, and bedding are comfortable.
As described above, there are many reasons that can cause sleepless nights. With these reasons, there are counter measures to improve your sleep. If insomnia continues to be a problem, it is crucial to talk to your physician.
Get a good night’s sleep people!