Solving four common sleep complaints
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night. That’s a problem, since insufficient sleep increases your risk of heart disease, depression and other health problems. Consider some simple fixes that can help you get your rest.
You don’t feel tired
Avoid chemical or electronic stimulants
Ban backlit screens smart phones, tablets and televisions from the bedroom. Research shows that illuminated screens can inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that gets you ready for sleep. Also, if you like a calming cup of tea before bed, make sure it’s decaffeinated. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the stimulant effects of caffeine can last for up to six hours.
It takes forever to fall asleep
Give yourself bedtime cues
Sleep experts recommend practicing good sleep hygiene practices that will help you get to sleep and stay that way through the night. They include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, keeping the TV out of the bedroom, avoiding heavy or spicy foods just before bedtime and limiting alcohol intake. Following a regular bedtime routine gives your body and mind cues that its time to shut down operations for the night.
You feel jittery, even without caffeine
Check your medication
Some medications including certain antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and cold remedies can disrupt normal sleep patterns. If you’ve recently started taking a new prescription or over-the-counter drug, talk to your pharmacist. You can learn if the medication could be behind your insomnia and possibly find an alternative medication or a different way to take it.
You’re sore, hot, cold or uncomfortable in bed
A better mattress
A mattress with pressure points, poor spinal support, little airflow or cheap construction can cause you to swelter, wake with pain or toss and turn. Consider shopping for a high-quality mattress with temperature-controlling materials such as wool, latex, goose down or memory foam, some of which are also antimicrobial. It should also offer a support system that prevents pressure points and quality construction that holds up over time and allows your spine to maintain a neutral shape. Visit the Better Sleep Councils Mattress Buying Guide at bettersleep.org for guidance.
Adults need seven to eight hours of restful sleep per night.
Sleep enhances memory. The National Sleep Foundation says that getting enough sleep which can include short naps improves both memory and motor skills.
Sleep increases alertness and immunity. According to a Belgian study, longer sleep periods and midday naps both improve mental alertness and help restore impaired immune function to normal levels.
Sleep improves insulin sensitivity. Multiple studies have shown that sleep deprivation may increase the body’s resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance is a common precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
Sleep may combat depression. Research reveals a strong connection between insomnia and the occurrence of clinical depression. This suggests that getting enough sleep may reduce the risk of depression.