We all have trouble sleeping at times. Noise, physical discomfort, worry, or excitement can be extremely effective at keeping us awake. But, while it’s frustrating to feel tired after a sleepless night, there’s no need to worry about the occasional night of insomnia.
If sleepless nights are starting to become a trend, though, it’s important to make a decent effort toward improved sleep habits if we can. Sleepiness can make us grumpy, of course, and no one likes that. It also slows our thought processes at school or work, can lead to poor health, and put us into dangerous situations. Did you know that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers the following tips for healthy sleep habits.
- Manage your diet.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- No large meals before bedtime, only a small snack if necessary.
- Reduce fluid intake before bedtime.
- Create a relaxing routine before bedtime.
- Turn off all electronics.
- Dim the lights.
- Take a warm bath.
- Read a book. (Not an ebook!)
- Be consistent with your sleep schedule.
- Go to sleep at the same time every day.
- Wake at the same time every day.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly.
When to Seek Medical Attention for Sleep Troubles
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that 50% of insomnia cases are related to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress, and others. Poor sleep can be a troublesome side effect of a medical or mental health issue, but it also can have the potential to exacerbate symptoms of existing issues and reduce the benefits of some treatments. If you experience sleeplessness for more than three weeks in a row, it’s important to visit your doctor and/or a sleep specialist so you can find a solution.
What About Your Mattress?
Sometimes sleep issues are caused simply by a bad mattress. Tossing and turning all night—even if you never completely wake up—can leave you feeling just as tired as if you were awake all night. Your body may be restless sleeping on mattress that’s sagging, releasing allergens (like dust, mold, or mildew), or just not providing the right kind of support for your body. If your mattress is worn out, don’t hesitate to shop for a replacement! A new mattress is an easy fix that will be worth its weight in gold every time you drift off to Never-Never Land and stay there all night long.
Sleep is an important time of rest for your brain and your body! Do everything you can to make sure you’re getting recharged overnight.