We understand that good sleep promotes good health. Sleep is the fuel of life. We require various types and depths of sleep in different amounts and at different times throughout the night. According to research, 70% of adults in America report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night. The National Institute of Health predicts that America’s sleep debt is on the rise and that by the middle of the 21stcentury, more than 100 million Americans will have difficulty falling asleep. So, you can’t sleep – now what?
Believe it or not, sleeping can take some training. If you’re too engaged at work or live a demanding lifestyle, you may push back going to bed at a normal time and deprive yourself of sleep. There are many forms of insomnia. You may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Why does this happen? There are many things that can affect your sleep. According to NPR, stress, travel, poor sleep habits , medication and even age can affect your sleep.
Tips for Falling Asleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are ways to help with each of these patterns:
- Plan at least 30 minutes of “wind-down” time before bed. Dim the lights, do something relaxing such as reading a book, for an hour or so before bed.
- Disconnect! It’s great to disconnect from the world by turning off all your electronic devices such as laptops, phones and tablets. The light from the screen of these devices alerts your brain to wake up instead of letting you fall asleep.
- Try a breathing or relaxation exercise to calm your mind.
- If you’re unable to sleep after 20 minutes of being in bed, get up and go to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity. Lying in bed awake can create an unhealthy link between you and your sleeping environment.
- Set your alarm to wake up at the same time every day. Even if you have a hard time falling asleep and feel tired in the morning, get up at the same time. This includes weekends! This helps to “train” your body’s clock and will help you fall asleep at night.
- Avoid coffee, tea, soda, or other caffeinated drinks as well as alcohol before sleep as all of these can affect your normal sleep cycles.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, stay in bed and listen to music or a book on tape with the lights off to help transition your body back to sleep. If you continue to have problems sleeping, you may need to visit your doctor .