What the heck is going on these days? No matter where I turn I have a patient walking in my door who just can't sleep soundly. Certainly daylight savings time can throw a wrench into normal sleeping patterns, but this should clear up after a few nights. If it's persisting there might be something else going on.
I'm here to remind that you it's not normal to not sleep. Sleep is a vital to life as food and water.
I'm sure you know most of the reasons why sleep is so crucial, from better energy to better hormone balance to better weight control and more. So let's investigate a few ways to improve your sleep hygiene (which means preparing for sleep):
- Turn off the Technology. The backlighting from your screen (whether it be iPad, computer or TV) messes with your brains understanding of night time. It won't produce as much melatonin, which means you won't stay asleep.
- Turn off the Lights. For the same reasons as above, it's best to turn off all lights, even the ones flashing from your alarm clock, and turn down the blinds. Things like black-out screens or eye masks can be helpful in brightly lit cities.
- Turn off your Brain. Yet another reason to turn off the TV, computer and iPad is to avoid reading stressful things like news headlines before bed. Put yourself in a better state of mind with a light read.
- Turn Down your Temperature. Turn down the temperature of your room to a cool 68 degrees Celsius, and change duvets according to summer and winter temperatures. These will all help to encourage a restful sleep.
- Turn Up the Mood. Prepare for sleep with a restful routine including calming teas, proper supplements and even hydrotherapy treatments like Warming Socks. Botanicals like Chamomile, Hops, Oats, and Valerian can all be helpful, as can supplements like melatonin, 5HTP, GABA, and magnesium glycinate, but it's best to speak to your physician about the best options and doses for you. Even meditations, like this one from Andrew Johnson, can be helpful for preparing for sleeping.
In my opinion, the bedroom should undergo a name change to the S-room. Only Sleeping, Sex and Snuggling should happen in this room. Nothing else!
If things aren't getting better, it's time to consider visiting your physician. Things like waking up withs pains in the night, persistent night sweats, constant night terrors, and persistent insomnia all require a visit to the doctor to figure out what else could be going on.