Are you counting whole flocks of sheep before you fall asleep? Do you wake up in the morning feeling fatigued?
According to National Sleep Foundation polls, half of American adults experience some symptoms of insomnia at least three times a week.
The experts at the Baystate Regional Sleep Program provide some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Create a peaceful environment
- Establish a regular, relaxing pre-bedtime routine. Take a bath, do some light reading, listen to soft music, meditate.
- Make your room cool, dark, quiet and comfortable.
- Stop using your computer or electronic device at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Studies indicate that the bright light of the screen may alter the body’s biological clock and suppress the natural production of melatonin that is critical to the normal sleep-wake cycle.
- Practice repeating a positive mantra or “think lovely thoughts” as you go to bed. Whatever is on your mind when you go to sleep stays with you; if those are stressful or negative thoughts, they may delay or disrupt your sleep.
Have a healthy lifestyle
- Exercise regularly – earlier in the day, if possible, not right before bed.
- Set a regular time to go to bed and to wake up.
- For at least six hours before bed time, avoid stimulants such as energy drinks, coffee, soda, and caffeinated tea.
- Quit smoking! Nicotine is a stimulant and can make it hard to fall asleep.
What you put in your body
- Avoid excess alcohol, and don’t drink alcohol near bedtime. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is restorative and helps us feel rested. It is delayed and lasts for shorter durations after drinking.
- Avoid spicy foods which may bring on indigestion.
- Avoiding using over-the-counter sleep aids or antihistamines; they can affect your sleep stages and leave you feeling tired in the morning.
See your doctor or health care provider if you have pain, restless legs, grinding of teeth, or persistent sleep problems.
If you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder, speak to your physician and ask for a referral to the Baystate Regional Sleep Program. For more information, call 413-794-5600.
Remember, sleeping is natural – relax!