Some 60 million Americans suffer with sleeplessness. Women and people over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer from it than others. It is a serious issue that can affect our day-to-day lives and our physical and mental well-being.
Insomnia can cause fatigue, trouble focusing and irritability during the day. Continued insomnia can cause sleep deprivation, which is even more severe. It can lead to depression and it can even increase your likelihood of developing diabetes.
Some people have a hard time falling asleep, while others can easily fall asleep only to wake up a few hours later. There are a number of factors that can cause us to have a poor night’s sleep and cause us to wake up in the early hours, unable to drift back off into slumber.
Getting up to pee a lot during the night can actually be a condition called nocturia. There are many causes for nocturia, but you can reduce your likelihood of nighttime urination by drinking less fluids before bed.
While a nightcap may help you fall asleep, it’s not great for helping you stay asleep. As the effects of the alcohol begin to wear off, your become restless and are unable to fall into a deep sleep. You shouldn’t drink too much alcohol before bed, but if you must, try to do it at least three hours before you hit the sack.
Just like drinking too late at night can cause interrupted sleep, so can eating too late. Eating a large meal shortly before bed can lead to indigestion and acid reflux, which will cause you to have restless sleep. It’s also not great for your weight to eat so close to bed time. Try to avoid eating large fatty meals before bed.
Again, sleeplessness tends to affect women more than men. Hormones can play a big part in insomnia for women. A woman’s menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause all cause major hormonal shifts. If you think hormones are the major culprit in your poor sleep cycle, you may want to consider hormonal replacement therapy.
You may think a nice and cozy warm bed is the ideal sleeping environment, but it may be too hot. An ideal sleeping temperature is between 55 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people find the upper 60s to be the most comfortable temperature. So, you may want to avoid turning on your heat so much during those winter nights. You’ll get a better night’s sleep, and also save some money on your bills.
You also shouldn’t exercise too close to bed time. Exercise energizes the mind and body. It also warms the body, and we’ve already stated that it’s difficult to stay asleep when you’re overheated. The best time to exercise is in the morning, or around six hours before bedtime.
Stress and anxiety are the number one causes as to why you may not be able to stay asleep. An overactive mind can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about some problem. It’s also a vicious cycle. Stress causes you to get less sleep, but less sleep also makes you more stressed. If you see that stress is causing you to get a poor night’s sleep, you may want to practice some relaxation exercises or seek professional help.
Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for a short period of time, or have shallow breathing while asleep. It affects men more than women, and can lead to a poor night’s sleep because your body will try to wake you up when it senses it’s not getting enough oxygen. You can get a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to help you breathe regularly throughout the night.
You should also try to avoid caffeine before bedtime. Even if you had a coffee around lunch, caffeine can take up to 12 hours to leave your system. Caffeine is also found in soda and tea, as well as over-the-counter medications.
Try to unplug yourself from technology right before bed. The light from your phone, tablet or computer can mimic daylight and trick your brain into thinking it’s much earlier. Also, watching a lot of TV before bed can overstimulate the mind. Just try to read a book or maybe just listen to some music.
If you want some help falling asleep and staying asleep, you can try to dietary supplement melatonin. Melatonin occurs naturally in the human body and is released about six hours before bedtime. You can take a small dose of 200 to 500 micrograms to help you get on a better sleep schedule.