INSOMNIA – healthy bedtime routine. by Caroline Garrett
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 30 percent of the population suffers from some form of insomnia.
INSOMNIA can be defined as difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, waking too early, or feeling unrested after sleep.
Insomnia can lead to fatigue, low mood, difficulty concentrating and can disrupt school or work performance. Acute insomnia usually occurs in correlation to a specific circumstance such as stress about a test, work presentation or other temporary life stressors. This type of insomnia is usually short lived and resolves without any treatment. Chronic insomnia is defined as a disrupted sleep pattern for at least three nights a week and lasts three or more months. The most common reasons a person may suffer from chronic insomnia include stress, changes in schedule such as travel or shift-work, and poor sleep habits.
There are also others causes that might need to be considered such as a medical condition, medications, mental health disorders or sleep related disorders such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. Plus, it is reported that women over the age of 60 are more likely to suffer from symptoms of insomnia. Getting a good quality night sleep is one of the most important functions of our health. On average, most persons need at least 7 hours of quality sleep to feel rested. Suffering from insomnia overtime can lead to poor memory, depressed mood, obesity and high blood pressure. If you suffer from insomnia it is important to speak with your provider regarding your current symptoms, but there are things you can do on your own to try to create a healthy bedtime routine.
Listed below are some tips you may find helpful to improve your sleep:
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night or when you get sleepy.
- Try to get up at the same time each morning, regardless of how well you slept.
- Do not nap longer than 30 minutes or anytime between 3 p.m. and bedtime.
- Go outside every day for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The natural light will help you get into a natural pattern of sleeping.
- Before bedtime, try to avoid bright, artificial light from computer screens, mobile phones, or televisions. Do not allow electronic devices in the bedroom.
- Follow a regular, relaxing routine at the same time each night when you get ready for bed.
- Go to bed only after winding down and when you are ready to sleep. Do not read in bed, listen to music, or do other activities that engage your mind and can keep you awake.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool for sleeping. Use a sleep mask or light-blocking curtains. Use earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine or app on your phone to block out sounds.
- Do not drink alcohol or caffeine or use nicotine for at least five hours before bedtime.
- Get regular physical activity during the daytime. Exercise or physical activity close to bedtime, or anytime in the five or six hours before sleeping, can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Do not eat heavy meals or drink a lot of liquids two to three hours before bed.
- If you still cannot sleep after about 15 minutes of getting into bed and turning out the light, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
As mentioned above, speak with your provider regarding your symptoms, what you have tried on your own and any concerns you may have regarding sleep related health. If I can stress one thing to my patients about fighting fatigue it’s ensuring their sleep quality is substantial.
Wishing you good health!