"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Counting Sheep No More: Proven Behaviors to Help You Sleep

As humans, we spend a few third of our lives sleeping. Although science has taught us concerning the human brain's remarkable control over our every day sleep and wake patterns, tens of hundreds of thousands of Americans still don't get the sleep they need. About 20 percent of American adults report using sleep medications to assist them sleep, despite known uncomfortable side effects and health information. Really the work. Some people turn to alcohol for leisure. And many have tried all the pieces without relief.

Whether your problem is lack of quality sleep, daytime sleepiness, or not getting the seven to nine hours of sleep each night that almost all people need, first ask yourself, “How can I improve my sleep?” What habits can I modify for?”

Do you've got good sleep hygiene? In general, sleep hygiene refers to practicing behaviors that promote sleep and stopping behaviors which can be bad for sleep:

Nighttime tricks to assist you to sleep

  • Get up at the identical time every single day, even on weekends. A daily wake-up time helps set your body's natural clock (circadian rhythm) by ensuring you're not oversleeping. Sleeping an excessive amount of can affect your ability to fall and stay asleep the following night, or the night after.
  • Go to bed once you're sleepy, not only drained. Listen to your body. There are certain times of the night that your body will sleep higher than others. Sleeping before you're feeling sleepy or before your body is able to sleep will frustrate you. If you're feeling sleepy, but your mind is busy pondering, it may't shut off and go to sleep. Sitting down with a pen and paper within the evening and writing down things that hassle you, or performing some leisure techniques, similar to slow respiration or yoga, may help.
  • Put all electronics away two hours before bed. Put all electronics away two hours before bed. (Yes, it's so necessary, I'm saying it twice!) Cell phones, tablets, and all electronic devices make it hard to show off your brain, they usually also can interfere along with your body clock. If you have to use your device, use a program that reduces blue light exposure, similar to NightShift in Apple products or f.lux for Android devices.
  • Create a cushty sleep environment: A spot that's cool, dark and quiet.
  • Use your bed just for sleeping and sex. Doing other activities in bed will train your brain to think that activities apart from sleep are appropriate in bed.

Daytime Tips to Help Sleep

  • Avoid or limit caffeine. Caffeine could make you more alert through the day, but many individuals are sensitive to its effects. Even a cup or two early within the day can disrupt your sleep at night.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol. Although alcohol may help people sleep, it may result in more sleep problems at night. Alcohol also can cause more trips to the toilet in the midst of the night.
  • Create a daily schedule for eating, exercising, and other activities, as this often helps set your body's circadian rhythm. Also, exercising through the day may help improve the standard of your sleep at night.
  • Treat medical problems that will interfere with sleep, similar to chronic pain, or mental health problems, similar to depression and anxiety. If you've got any of those problems, you need to discuss them along with your doctor.
  • Do not smoke. If you're having trouble quitting, there are a lot of good resources to assist you to quit, and your doctor can assist you to here, too.

What if I work multiple jobs or shift work?

Sometimes there are aspects that affect our sleep that we cannot control. If you're employed shifts, strategies similar to taking a nap before evening shifts, and reducing light exposure and planning sleep once you leave evening shifts may help.

I've been doing all this and I still can't sleep!

This may very well be an indication that you've got a medical sleep problem, similar to an insomnia disorder or sleep apnea. If you're doing all the precise things and practicing good sleep hygiene, and also you're still having trouble falling or staying asleep, chances are you'll must see a sleep specialist. It's necessary to know that sleep hygiene may help some people sleep higher, but insomnia behavior. Very More than simply sleep hygiene; It is a proven, non-drug technique to treat insomnia. Behavioral therapy for insomnia gives each individual their very own “prescription” for changing their sleep behavior, rewiring your brain to realize healthier sleep.

Below are some reliable resources that may introduce you to behavioral treatments for insomnia:

Treatment of insomniaAmerican Association of Sleep Medicine

Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine

Dr. British will present “Understanding the Role of Nonpharmacologic Treatments in Insomnia” on the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds at Brigham & Women's Hospital on November 6, 2018 from 8-9 am. Members of the general public are welcome to attend his speech.