Having problems relaxing and can’t fall asleep? Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives. Having trouble falling asleep affects an estimated 30-50% of the general population and 10% have chronic insomnia.
According to the nonprofit National Sleep Foundation :
• 70 million Americans are affected by either intermittent or chronic sleep problems
• 28 percent sleep eight or more hours a night
• 20 percent sleep less than 6 hrs a night
• Only 30 percent discuss their sleeplessness with their doctor
• 54 percent of adult drivers (110 million) have driven drowsy at least once in the past year
• 28 percent claim to have nodded of or fallen asleep while driving
Additionally, other sources claim:
• Nearly 61 percent reporting trouble sleeping were women versus about 39 percent men.
• Insomnia peaks in middle age (45-64 years old) and a second increase appears in people 85 and older.
• African Americans and Asians appear less likely to report trouble sleeping or insomnia than whites.
• Those with higher education also are less likely to report insomnia or trouble sleeping.
When you can’t fall alseep, following these tips will help make sure you are relaxed enough to fall asleep at bedtime.
Get an understanding of what insomnia is. Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or a disease. By definition, insomnia is “difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. Occasionally having trouble sleeping is normal for most people. For instance, some people only have trouble sleeping during very stressful periods at work, or when personal problems arise. These emotional traumas often prevent a healthy night sleep. It’s bad enough having trouble sleeping one night, try having months of it and you’ll know what it’s like to be an insomniac. However, because insomnia is often considered a key symptom of depression, you should consult a doctor if you a experiencing log-term sleep loss. Many people, who can’t fall asleep, feel that their symptoms and problems are ignored not just by their colleagues, friends and family, but by their doctors. Here are tips that have worked well for others in helping them sleep at night: Ideally your sleeping place would be used only for sleeping so that you are conditioned to sleep here.
Tip 1. Consider alternative drug-free methods and remedies to help induce sleep. Natural sleep remedies, like chamomile flowers, are used in alternative medicine and usually found in stores as tea.
Tip 2. Try over-the-counter sleep aids if the alternative methods don’t work. They are effective for an occasional sleepless night but the more often you take them, the less effective they become. When taking over-the-counter sleep remedies don’t drive or attempt other activities that require alertness while taking the drug.
Tip 3. Exercise regularly. Those who regularly engage in moderate exercise more like to experience fewer episodes of sleeplessness. Exercising specifically improves your sleep quality by allowing smoother and more regular transition between sleep cycles. Three or four moderate sessions of exercise each week is all it takes to help you sleep better and provide more energy. Morning or afternoon exercise sessions are alright, however, I don’t recommend exercising to close to bedtime.
Tip 4. Establish a routine bedtime. A bedtime routine should start the same every night. About an hour before you want you’re to get your head on the pillow, begin the winding down process so bedtime doesn’t come abruptly.
Tip 5. Watch your intake. Avoid stimulating you body by stopping caffeine intake 6-8 hrs prior to bedtime, this goes for high carb foods. You also need to avoid alcohol. It may help you initially get to sleep, but it won’t help you stay asleep.
Tip 6. Do relaxing tasks as part of your bedtime routine. It’s best to perform relaxing tasks before bedtime like reading or doing crossword puzzles.
Tip 7. Avoid work related tasks before going to bed. The only thing checking your work email last thing at night does is make you worry about the next day. Keep a writing pad and pen next to your bed. If something pops into your head that you just don’t want to forget the next day, write it down or your’ll spend all night worrying that you are going to forget.
Tip 8. Ensure your bedroom is comfortable, dark and quiet. Are you really comfortable in your bed. If not, it may be time for a new one. Use blackout shade to make your room nice and dark, and try using a sound or white noise machine to block out all the distracting noises. If been trying for more that 30 minutes and you still can’t fallen asleep in, get up for awhile and go back reading or relaxing somewhere other than the bedroom. When you begin to get tired again, return to bed.
If you continue to have trouble sleeping, talk to a health professional to rule out a physical or mental illness.