How to fix common sleep problems
- Sleep is essential for physical and mental health.
- Multiple factors can affect the length and quality of sleep.
- A consistent timetable and balanced diet may help to normalize sleep.
- A comfortable sleeping environment matters.
- Melatonin supplements are a quick and easy way to promote a good night’s sleep.
Sleep plays an important role in our physical and mental health. Getting enough sleep is essential for healthy brain function and emotional wellbeing. It also contributes to healing and recovery, modulation of immune responses and much more. However, the statistics on sleep issues in our society are truly shocking. According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. At the same time, 37-40% of adults report short sleep duration, and getting less than 7 hours of sleep when the norm for an adult is 7-9 hours.
If we want to improve the quality and length of our sleep, it’s important to understand what can affect it. There are many factors that can result in sleep deficiency, among which are: caffeinated drinks, some antidepressants, nicotine, obesity, stress, alcohol and drugs. On top of that, busy people tend to sacrifice their sleep for other things that they consider more important. However, if you don’t get enough sleep, you are less productive, not as sharp and can’t get things done anyway. To get out of this vicious circle, you can:
- Try to follow a realistic timetable and stick to it 7 days a week, even on the weekends. You can allow an hour difference, but not more than that. If you follow a schedule on the weekdays and disregard it on the weekends, this disrupts your circadian rhythm and confuses your internal clock. It might be a little challenging to stick to the same schedule for the first week, just don’t give up and keep doing it.
- Try to minimize caffeine during the day and if that’s not possible, then at least avoid having it 4-6 hours before bed time.
- Avoid heavy meals and alcohol at least a couple of before sleep.
- If you smoke, try not to do that right before sleep and especially if you get up at night. Nicotine keeps you in a light sleep phase, which means you may not get enough deep sleep. This could cause you to feel groggy and weak in the morning.
- Avoid midday naps. If that’s not possible, make sure that you wake up no later than 3 p.m.
- Try not to watch TV, use your laptop, tablet or phone in your bedroom. Let that be a place for sleep and rest only.
- Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom. It should not be too cold or too hot as these factors might keep you up for a long time while your body is trying to adjust.
- Make sure that you have a comfortable sleep environment. Try to choose a comfortable mattress, pillow and bed cloth.
- Try to have a quiet hour before sleep. Have a bath, read a book and have a cup of warm water.
- Make sure that there’s no bright light in your bedroom. If you can’t sleep in the dark, the dim light is okay. Sleeping in the dark is very important as melatonin (a natural hormone that plays a role in your sleep-wake cycle) is only released in response to darkness and is suppressed by the light.
Try to follow these tips consistently for a better quality of sleep. If your sleeping problems do not seem to be resolved, there are some medications that are safe to take if prescribed by your physician. You might also consider supplements that contain melatonin. These come in a form of pills and gummies. Melatonin gummies are way more pleasant to take, they taste nice like your regular gummies, and may be just what you need for a good night’s sleep.