There is a plethora of information out there that poor sleep can lead to serious health problems: heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. These health problems are most evident in people with severe sleep apnea. Insomnia however can also lead to daytime consequences. Insomnia based on the international classification of sleep disorders is: not being able to sleep, at a proper bedtime, given the correct environment and being somehow affected by this. In this modern era, there are simple tricks and tips to help you sleep better.
- Regular sleep routine
Its important to keep a regular bedtime and wake time. People tend to suffer from something called social jetlag. Social jet lab is basically sleeping late on the weekends and then you can’t get back on your regular schedule. Go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time. Ideally, your schedule will remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week even on weekends.
2. Avoid naps if possible
In many cultures napping is a way of life. The siesta is historically common throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. It is the traditional daytime sleep of Spain and, through Spanish influence, the Philippines, and many Hispanic American countries. So many people can’t be wrong….right? Well unfortunately what happens is that naps decrease the ‘Sleep Debt.’ Yes you are even in debt with sleep. You see, we basically accumulate a sleep debt throughout the day and pay this debt every night. If you pay this debt to early, you might not be sleepy enough to sleep when you want to at night.
3. Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 20 minutes.
If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark. You body is smart! If you worry in bed your body tries to associated the bed with worrying. This makes it harder and harder to sleep in bed.
4. No electronics in bed.
The light from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light—and blue light affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength. When you watch TV or iPAD in bed, blue light is affecting you more than you think. The bed is reserved for two things – sleep and private time with your SO.
5. Cut it out with the caffeine
The half-life of caffeine (time taken for the body to eliminate one-half of the caffeine) varies widely between people, depending on factors such as age, body weight, pregnancy status, medication intake and liver health. In healthy adults, the half-life is approximately 6-8 hours. The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion. Caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep. If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon. Remember that decaf does not mean that there is no caffeine. It means there is less. Also, don’t forget that diet soft drinks usually have more caffeine than their regular counterparts.
6. Quiet, cool and dark.
Make your bedroom your cave. Make sure the cave is cool, quiet and dark. Set your bedroom thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Generally, a little cooler is better. Taking a bath at night can also help decrease your temperature which is an important trigger for sleep. A little white noise in the background is ok.