by Theresa Sirois, Social Media Coordinator
48% of America experiences occasional insomnia. 22%, however, report having insomnia every single night.* In general, insomnia is a symptom of a separate trigger like depression, anxiety, medication, or behavior. If you suffer from insomnia, here are some life-style behaviors you can check first before seeing your physician:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule. That includes weekends. By sticking to a schedule you’ll be significantly more alert than if you slept for the same total amount of time at varying hours during the week. You can map your sleep cycle with apps like this one.
2. Sleep in one continuous block. So-called “fragmented sleep” causes daytime drowsiness, compromises learning, memory, productivity, and creativity. Six hours of continuous sleep are often more restorative than eight hours of fragmented sleep.
3. Avoid caffeine after 2:00 p.m. Caffeine has a half-life of six hours, which means that six hours after your last sip, half the caffeine is still in your body.
4. Avoid alcohol three hours before bed. Alcohol may help you doze off, but it also causes you to wake up approximately every 90 minutes.
5. Keep your bedroom cool. The ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A bedroom that’s too warm can induce nightmares. One that’s too cool keeps your body from fully relaxing because it’s trying to protect its core temperature. And, of course, breathable fabrics like wool will help stabilize your body temperature throughout the night.
8. Dim the lights. Bright light wakes you up. So avoid it before you go to sleep and if you wake up during the night.
9. Eject electronics. This means no computers, TVs, iPads, iPods, or smartphones in the bedroom. They create distractions by reminding you of everything else you should be doing and can act as stressors.
10. Read for pleasure (nothing work related). Reading for 30 minutes cuts the time it takes to fall asleep in half.
What do you do at night to fall asleep?
* statistics from the National Sleep Foundation