Sleep… Some nights it's easy to come by, and others, well, its not so easy.
I lay there in bed, and I cannot fall asleep. Or, once I do fall asleep, I wake up throughout the night. Especially at 2-3 am. I often hear similar statements from my patients. We all know that sleep is important for our health, our weight, and overall well being, but how do we make sure we get good sleep every night?
When it comes to sleep, we first need to look at sleep hygiene. Something to consider looking at is what are your doing before bed? TV, and electronic device use all emit light which will inhibit the production of melatonin. Melatonin is only produced when it is dark around us which is a good thing because if we were producing melatonin all day long then we we would want to sleep all day. In addition, If you are in an emotional state because of an argument, or something else, this will make it difficult to wind down, and to be able to get restful sleep as a result.
Another thing to consider with our sleep hygiene is our routine. Do you go to bed, and wake up at the same time? Routine is needed for sleep as our circadian rhythm is how the body functions. We should be going to bed, and waking up within 30 minutes between days. Staying up late one night, or sleeping in on the weekends can make Monday morning more difficult.
It is also important to look at your sleeping environment. Temperature, darkness, noises, and your pillow can all have an affect on your nights sleep. A spouse who snores, or a pet(s) walking around, or in and out of the room can wake us up at night. It goes without saying, that those things can also keep us awake. And don’t forget that If you are too hot, or too cold, at night it can be difficult to get comfortable. As I had stated earlier with TV’s, and electronics devices like our phones, a bright room will inhibit our production of melatonin, but this could also being coming from light outside of the room. If your room is too bright then consider blackout curtains to darken it. Some of us need a little bit of white noise to help calm the mind while I have found that some alpha and beta sleep music cell phone apps can be helpful.
Sleep, like many things in health, is a complicated thing. For some there is no issue, but for us that have issues we would give anything for a good night of sleep. Consider the above things when it comes to your sleep, and know when to ask for help from those around you in getting the sleep your body needs.