Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
3 Factors That Could Be Keeping You Awake:
Back pain, headaches, and TMJ (problems with the jaw muscles) are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss. Try taking control of your thoughts before bed, or during the night if you awake. If you lie in bed worrying about how you will be able to function in the morning or cope with increased symptoms and pain in the day, or if you become anxious before trying to sleep, both of these reactions can lead to increased insomnia.
Another tip is to go to bed and get up at the same time each day – yes, that means weekends and vacations too. This helps to maintain a regular sleep cycle in your brain.
Some stop caffeine after about 2pm, others can have a cup at 4pm and still manage to sleep. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Try to spend the last hour before sleep doing entirely passive, non-stimulating activity. So for example, reading by a low light is ideal.
Meditation is a wonderful way to wind-down and relax before sleep. Often simply changing the habits that are reinforcing, or indeed worsening your already challenging situation may be enough to lessen your insomnia, even when pain is high. It may take a few days for your body to adjust but you will sleep better when it does.
Insomnia is both a symptom and a cause of depression and anxiety. Since the brain uses the same neurotransmitters for sleep and mood, it's often hard to know which starts first. Stressful situations or events, such as money or marital problems, often kick off insomnia that can become a long-term problem.
Shortly before bedtime, try a relaxation strategy that incorporates mindfulness, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation, all of which boost sleep time and quality.
Sip Chamomile Tea. This herb can help lower anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
Take a Hot Bath or Shower. A pre-bedtime soak is relaxing. Plus, going from warm water into a cooler bedroom will cause your body temperature to drop, naturally making you feel sleepy.
Worry Earlier in the Day. When your mind is racing with concerns while you’re trying to fall asleep, that can make it nearly impossible to drift off. Instead, dedicate 15 minutes during the day to process these thoughts. Writing a to-do list or thinking about solutions can be a healthy way to deal with stress and prevent it from interfering with sleep later.
An estimated 30% to 50% of Americans snore, most without consequence. But in some cases snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. There are several factors that facilitate snoring:
First, the normal aging process leads to the relaxation of the throat muscles, thus resulting in snoring. Anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or deviated nasal septum cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring. Functional abnormalities (e.g. inflammation of the nose and/or throat as may occur during respiratory infection or during allergy season) will result in snoring. Sleep position, such as sleeping on your back, may lead to snoring in some people.
If your snoring is keeping you awake at night (or keeping your spouse awake!) then talk with your doctor so that they can help you find the right solution to this common but also treatable condition.