Americans are plagued by insomnia.
There are too many bills to pay and not enough income. Too many job seekers and not enough jobs. Too many mouths to feed and not enough food in the fridge.
Essentially, our lives can feel completely out of whack at times and the first thing to go to waste is our sleep patterns.
Without healthy sleep habits it’s almost impossible to lead a healthy overall life. If you find yourself laying awake at night, here are a few tips to help you catch the Zzz’s you need and get your health back on track.
Many of us have a hard time falling asleep at night because we’re just too worked up from whatever happened during the day. Both positive and negative excitement can make your heart race, and a heightened heart rate is not at all conducive to falling asleep at night.
Before you climb into bed at night, sit down in your favorite chair in the living room and take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes and try to focus on your breathing and nothing else.
Clearing out your mind for a few moments won’t make all the stressors go away, but it will calm the physiological effects they can have on you, making it easier to drift off.
That bowl of ice cream an hour before bed might be the culprit of your insomnia. If your stomach is full when you lay down to sleep, your body has to expend energy digesting the food in your belly. That exertion can keep your system in awake mode; so, even if your brain is ready to rest, your body is too busy to shut down.
Similarly, try to stop drinking water at least two hours before you go to sleep. Waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night completely derails your REM sleep—the deep, restorative sleep your body needs to feel rejuvenated when you wake up.
Caffeine? Cut it Out
Reviews on Beyond Diet Program (a particular healthy eating plan) pinpoint a diet high in energy-producing foods as the best way to stay healthy; and staying healthy means sleeping well. So, it would follow that coffee—which gives you energy—keeps you healthy, too. Right?
Coffee is the wrong kind of energy. It’s a stimulant, so it essentially tells your brain to “GO GO GO!” and your body to keep up as best it can.
If you’re sluggish in the morning, have a handful of almonds or a fruit smoothie to pick you up. Caffeine—and alcohol—disrupt sleep patterns by giving you “fake” awake, confusing your mind and body to the point that they just can’t shut down when it’s time to rest.
Get Some Help
If you eat well, exercise regularly, don’t drink and haven’t had a cup of coffee since finals week in college and your sleep patterns are still a mess, you might need to see a doctor.
Sometimes, sleep schedules get so out of sync with a person’s lifestyle that temporary chemical intervention is the only way to get yourself back to the restful sleep you need.
It’s important that you don’t try to use sleep aids on your own for more than a night, and avoid them altogether if you can. Without the supervision of a doctor you could end up with a whole slew of nasty side effects from misuse of sleep aids.
Remind Yourself That Life is Good
A lot of the time when I can’t sleep, it’s because I’m too focused on the bad or stressful things in my life.
The truth is, there will always be stressors in life. It doesn’t matter how successful you are or aren’t, there will be plenty to keep you up and night if you let it.
So don’t let it. If I’m having trouble falling asleep, I close my eyes and go through a mental checklist of all the things I’m grateful for—my wife, my health, my home, just to name a few.
Sometimes, if that doesn’t work, I’ll even get out a journal and write down all the things that make me happy; from strawberry/protien smoothies, to a great shower after a walk on the beach.
If your brain is going a million miles an hour, you may just need to remind it to take a break.
About the author: Dr. Mike Tremba is a perpetual student of human health and well-being. Through his website at www.NaturalWeightLossTruth.com, he has been fortunate to help many lose weight, get healthy, and live the abundant life they’ve hoped for. Dr. Mike’s hobbies include crossfit, any activity involving the beach, and yes, a good night of sleep.