Sleep is crucial to good health and wellbeing. Sleeping rejuvenates our bodies and is vital to grow muscles, repair tissues, and synthesize hormones. Sleep helps us process information and consolidate memories. Sleep is as necessary to our lives as food, water, and sunshine.
Falling asleep should be a wonderful part of the day when senses are turned off and you get to rest. How soothing it is to close your eyes and drift off into a peaceful slumber, and to wake revitalized the next day. But for some people getting to sleep is not that easy. Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, is a problem for millions. The causes are many and the repercussions are vast.
Sleeplessness has been linked to many physical problems, mental disorders, and illnesses. Irritation and mistakes at home or work can be caused by a lack of sleep. Many accidents are also the result of too little sleep. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that each year 100,000 reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue.
If you suffer from the inability to fall asleep easily, have reoccurring disturbances in your sleep patterns, experience sleep apnea or other sleep issues, it is imperative that you research the causes and find answers. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem.
The causes of sleep disorders are many and specific for each person:
- Weight gain
- Stress at work or home
- Anxiety and worry
- Excessive use of stimulants like coffee and energy drinks
- Allergies and respiratory problems
- Chronic pain that just won’t let you rest
While insomnia is not a disease, it can affect virtually every aspect of your life. Luckily, there are many ways to address this imbalance and find the rest and rejuvenation you need.
1. Lose Weight to Sleep Better
The first thing you can do is to lose some weight. Extra fat around the belly is associated with many physical ailments like diabetes, heart problems, and some cancers. It also disturbs your sleep by obstructing your breathing and contributes to a general feeling of discomfort that can cause you to wake at night. Read here about the correlation between excess weight and sleep disturbances.
Regular exercise may be a helpful remedy for your sleeplessness. Often when we try to fall asleep our minds are going a mile a minute and our bodies can’t settle down. If you exercise during the day and tire your body out, it may allow sleep to come more readily. It is worth a try.
2. Herbs and Oils
There are also many natural sleep aids on the market. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone extracted from plants. Taking a melatonin tablet can help you drift off to sleep without any side effects or morning grogginess. Other herbs and essential oils have also been known to aid a good night’s sleep.
3. Proper Bedding and Bedroom Environment
Organize your bedroom to support your efforts. Limit TV and computer use before bed. If you can eliminate them from your bedroom altogether. Address noise and light distractions. Darken your room with blackout curtains or wear a sleep mask. Try using a white noise machine or listening to soothing music or guided imagery recordings while falling asleep.
Another way to achieve restful sleep is to make sure your bed is the right size and firm. Consider anti-snoring pillows. These pillows can align your head and neck to open airways and help reduce snoring and sleep apnea.
Anxiety, worry, depression, and other mental health issues can be symptoms of an overactive mind that will not allow you to sleep. Explore meditation as a helpful antidote to a mind that won’t turn off.
Do not accept poor sleep as a way of life. Use these tips to start doing something about it. You could also speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist for help. You owe it to yourself, your family and your co-workers to be rested, calm, and able to do your best each and every day. Sufficient, restful sleep is essential to a happy, healthy, and productive life.