This is a guest post by Carol Carter.
Knowing the causes of your sleep troubles are the first step to getting relief. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder which affects anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of adults. Twice as many women as men suffer from insomnia. People who can’t fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, or wake up too early can be characterized as having this sleep disorder.
Insomnia is not a minor problem. It should be dealt with as a serious medical condition because impaired sleep can lead to many other long-term health problems. Read on to learn the most common causes and how you can fix this common malaise.
The most common reason for being unable to sleep at night is stress. Being concerned about work, children, school, or other issues can keep your mind racing at night. Major life changes dealing with family, divorce, or losing a job can also be big contributors to sleeplessness. Relaxation techniques such as meditation can offer huge amounts of relief. Managing productivity also helps keep stress levels at bay. Many people are not mindful of stress levels, but it’s something to start keeping track of if you are dealing with insomnia.
Bad Sleep Habits
Do you lack a bedtime? Do you get distracted with work and sleep whenever it comes to you? Having irregular sleeping habits can wreak havoc on your body’s internal clock. While our highly amped society encourages around-the-clock activity, this is simply not healthy. Having a regular bedtime and routine are the best ways to reduce sleep disorders such as insomnia. It’s also not a bad idea to start a before-bed routine like reading a book or relaxing and watching television while getting ready for bed.
Other Drugs and Medications
If you regularly take drugs or other medications these may be interfering with your body’s natural system to regulate sleep. The side effect of many drugs is sleeplessness and should be discussed with a doctor if sleep difficulty is common for you. Keep in mind that caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other commonly-abused substances are also drugs. Try to avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine-containing drinks at least four hours prior to sleep.
Some drugs may cause drowsiness but that doesn’t necessarily translate to good quality sleep. Eliminate or substitute unnatural substances as well after consulting a doctor. There may be another medication you can try or a natural remedy that will not have side effects.
Eating Too Late In the Day
At night our bodies undergo many energy-intensive processes to get us ready for the next day. Our brains release hormones and other chemicals while dreams work out nerve connections. All of this important work can be interrupted by eating before bedtime which takes away blood used in our brains to be used by our digestive system. Make sure your body is able to devote all of its energy toward sleep by not eating at least several hours before bed. Light snacks are fine, but try to limit their size. Foods that are high in protein and fat obviously take longer to digest than normal.
It is important to be present in our daily lives and recognize habits we keep that may not serve us. Consciously aiming toward a higher quality of sleep is an important first step. It may take some time to put these new habits into place so don’t get discouraged.
Remember, what we take into our bodies, whether food, stimulants such as cigarettes, or medication all contribute to our sleep health. Having a routine that manages work and life responsibilities is also very important. Make the necessary changes for your health today.
Author Bio: Carol Carter is a freelance writer and often writes about sleep study. She also loves to cook, read and at times go for a walk with her pet dog at the beach.