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Overcoming Insomnia: 5 Tips to Help You Sleep Better
Many Americans struggle with falling or staying asleep, which is known as insomnia. This chronic condition affects millions of people, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 study, which found that over a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep daily.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to various health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize getting enough sleep regularly for optimal health and longevity.
To help combat insomnia, here are five tips that you can incorporate into your routine to promote better sleep.
1. Limit Your Activities in Bed
Limit the activities you do in your bed to only two things: sex and sleep. By primarily using your bed for sleeping, your mind and body will associate it with rest and comfort, leading to better sleep quality.
2. Exercise Regularly
Incorporating regular exercise into your routine (following the recommended guidelines of thirty minutes per day, five days per week) can improve your sleep quality. After exercising, your body temperature tends to decrease, which may promote falling asleep, and overall, exercise helps reduce arousal and anxiety, leading to a decrease in insomnia.
3. Avoid Naps, Caffeine, & Alcohol
While short naps can be beneficial for some people, they may interfere with others’ ability to fall asleep at night. If you struggle with insomnia, it’s best to avoid daytime naps. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that can keep you awake for longer than you might realize, so it may be necessary to cut it out of your diet altogether if it affects your ability to fall asleep. Although alcohol is a sedative, it can disrupt your sleep, especially if you have difficulty staying asleep, so it’s best to avoid it.
4. No Screens Before Bedtime
Using electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and televisions before bedtime can prevent you from falling asleep due to the cognitive stimulation they provide. Additionally, the blue light emitted by these devices can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin, which signals your brain that it’s time to sleep. To prepare your body for sleep, it’s best to avoid screen time for at least two hours before bedtime.
5. Have a Nighttime Routine
Establishing a consistent nighttime routine can assist your body in unwinding and preparing for sleep. Consider establishing a routine that you can perform an hour or two before going to bed. For example, you could have a glass of warm milk, brush your teeth, change into your pajamas, and read a book every night. It’s also important to go to bed at around the same time every night, even on weekends, to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Changing long-standing habits and developing new routines can be challenging, but with perseverance, it becomes easier to adopt new practices. Soon, you’ll develop a new set of healthy habits, and you’ll be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
If you’re having difficulty managing insomnia and maintaining good sleep habits, consider seeking help from a licensed professional. Please call my office to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns.
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