By Genevieve and Gabrielle Knight
We all have those moments where we go to bed at night and end up staring at the ceiling for hours, unable to fall asleep. This is normal once or twice a week. However, if this happens to you about three times a week or more, you most likely have a sleeping disorder called insomnia. Experts generally apply the 30-30 rule to detect insomnia: it’s insomnia if it takes you thirty minutes or more to fall asleep, or if you’re awake thirty minutes during the night, at least 3 times a week. Insomnia is a common problem that takes a toll on your health, mood, and the ability to function during the day. If you have insomnia, or have problems sleeping at night, here are a few simple tips that can help.
Sleep on a regular schedule: Choose a regular bedtime that allows you enough time for a full night’s sleep. A regular sleep schedule can boost your daytime alertness and will help your body adjust to your sleep/wake cycle.
Exercise: Exercise regularly to promote better sleep. Do not exercise three hours before bedtime. (late afternoon is best).
Avoid caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and can make sleeping difficult. Stay away from caffeinated beverages including coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolates, and specific medicines that contain caffeine. Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep cycle and does not improve your sleep quality.
Keep your room dark: At night keep your room as dark as possible. When its dark, you body releases melatonin, causing us to feel sleepy. Darkening your room can also help prevent jet lag when traveling.
Go to bed when you feel tired: Don’t stay in bed hoping to fall asleep. When you find yourself staring at the clock waiting for sleep to come, get out of bed and do something relaxing. Such as listening to soothing music or reading.
Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among Americans. Not only is it annoying, but it can be frustrating and hard to cure. If you think you have insomnia, talk to your doctor for more information and talk about any symptoms you’re having.