Trouble Sleeping? Things you can do TODAY to help get rid of your insomnia.

Am sleepless I alone?

If you are suffering from insomnia, don’t despair.  Sleep problems are quite prevalent.  You’re not alone.  More than 50% of the US population is affected by some type of sleeping disorders at some point during their lifetime.  Insomnia costs the US and Canada over $100 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity.  Insomnia also increases the risk of automobile accidents causing as many accidents as drunk driving by some expert estimates.  Sleep deprivation can be dangerous in the work environment as well.  Insomnia is a serious problem with serious consequences but there are many things within ones reach that can decrease difficulty sleeping.

Aren’t there medications to help me sleep?

It’s easy to think that pharmacological route is best in alleviating sleep problem.  Over the counter sleeping pills as well as prescription sleeping pills are readily available for use in the US as “insomnia cures”.  However, they do come with their own side effects and risks and some sleeping pills are addictive and most are habit forming.  Almost one in 10 adults report misuse of sedatives in their lifetime which attests to some of the aspects of the issues in taking the use of sedatives to alleviate trouble falling asleep lightly.

How to sleep better.

So what are some of the non-pharmacologic remedies to help with difficulty sleeping?

The following are 7 habits to help you sleep better. They may sound almost too simple but there are lot of things you can remind yourself if you have trouble sleeping.

1) Keep a regular sleep schedule.

It is important to keep a structured schedule even on the weekends. We are creatures of habit. The more your body is ready to sleep at a certain time the easier it will be for you to go to sleep. You can help train your body and mind to be ready to sleep around a certain time by repetition. However, if on some night you are having trouble sleeping at the regular time; don’t go to bed until you are. Building frustration will only make it more difficult to sleep. If you cant sleep, give it a rest. If you cant sleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get up and go to another room to read or do something relaxing. Come back to bed only if you feel drowsy.

2) Exercise regularly.

When your body has had a chance to utilize the energy it has produced throughout the day, it will be less likely that it will break the day-to-night shift. It is helpful not to exercise too close to bedtime as exercise naturally increases adrenaline release. Increased adrenaline close to bedtime is not exactly an answer to “how to sleep better”.

3) Put your worries away when you go to bed.

Some believe in writing a journal to organize and put away the thoughts of the day. Some people believe in writing the troubles of the day on a piece of paper then crumpling up the paper tossing it. Whatever method works for you to put away the troubles of the day, will help you sleep better.

4) Do something relaxing and enjoyable before bedtime.

Maybe it’s meditation. Maybe you might read your favorite book for a few minutes. What you find relaxing and enjoyable will help to prep you sleep better.

5) Your bedroom should be a sanctuary.

Make your bedroom a comfortable and inviting place. It should be quiet and the mood should be calm in your bedroom. Remove the clock from eyesight. Do not read or watch TV in bed. The bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sexual activity only.

5) We are what we eat but it turns out it says something about how we sleep.

Do not sabotage yourself by eating a large meal just before bedtime. This is something that might not just help you sleep but improve your waistline. Reduce alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine use.

6) Naps are the enemy of great sleep.

Do not nap during the day. If on occasion you feel that you must nap, limits the time to about 30 minutes and make it happen in the early afternoon. If you take a 2 hours nap at 5pm, it’s not likely it will help you sleep better at night.

7) Employ caution in using sleeping pills.

Avoid using sedatives if you can. Some nights you may feel that you need to use sleeping pills. Avoid using sleeping pills too often. They have nasty side effects like rebound insomnia and daytime drowsiness or nervousness sometimes and the more often and long-term you use them, the more likely you will face problems stemming from sedative use.

Sleep better by taking charge.

Remind yourself of the importance of routine and habits and you will increase your chances on the road to better sleep.  It may be trying at the beginning and even ongoing sometimes, but by employing the above 7 habits to better sleep, you can take control and help yourself sleep better.

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