Are you having trouble saying good night and catching your Z’s? Read on for sleep tips that can help you get the rest you need and deserve.
In This Article:
How to Go to Sleep: 5 Tips to Help You Say Good Night With Ease
Accept the Importance of Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30% of adults in America don’t get enough sleep. In this fast-paced world, sleepless nights are often seen as a badge of honor.
This gives way to the belief that sleep is a luxury. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Before you try to improve your sleep habits, it’s important to understand that sleep is a biological need. Getting enough, high-quality sleep is vital to your overall health and functioning.
In fact, the CDC reports that long-term sleep issues are linked to a variety of serious health conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
It’s normal to lose some sleep when dealing with stressful events, and it’s essential to pay attention and address recurring sleep issues. Over time, these issues may increase your risk of more severe health problems.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to habits that promote quality nighttime sleep and, in turn, daytime alertness as well. Here are some examples of practices that may improve the quality of your sleep:
- Limit naps. If you nap during the day, try to limit it to a short 30-minute nap. Remember that it doesn’t make up for your nighttime sleep, but it may give you a mid-day performance boost.
- Minimize stimulants. Coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes can make it more difficult to wind down or sustain quality sleep. So it’s best to have a cut-off time.
- Mind your diet. Indigestion can keep you up at night, so try to avoid rich and heavy meals for dinner.
- Get a daily dose of natural light. Sunlight helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, so make sure to soak some in during the day.
- Limit screen time at night. Artificial light coming from screens may disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, so try to avoid overusing electronic devices at night.
Your activities throughout the day can have an impact on the quality of your sleep at night. So if you suddenly have trouble sleeping, you may want to think back to figure out
if you’re doing something new.
Consult a Sleep Specialist
If sleep problems persist, it might be time to consult a medical professional. Your general practitioner may not be up-to-date with the current treatment protocols, so you can request that they refer you to a good sleep specialist.
What is a sleep specialist? A sleep specialist is a medical professional that is trained to treat sleep issues and disorders. Sleep specialists don’t have to be medical doctors, but many of them are. They are usually doctors with a background in psychology, neurology, or internal medicine.
A sleep specialist can develop a treatment plan that considers your unique history. It might be difficult to meet with a sleep specialist in person these days, but there are telemedicine options you can find.
Studies show that telemedicine is an effective way to administer cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. So you can get quality treatment for your sleep issues from the comfort of your own home.
Tip: There are also online self-guided resources you can check out. These programs will require more self-discipline, but they work for some people.
Rule Out other Medical Conditions
Apart from poor sleep hygiene habits and sleep disorders, other medical conditions can have a negative impact on your sleep. Here are a few examples of medical conditions that can cause sleep disturbances:
Mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or other anxiety disorders.
Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, asthma, and nasal allergies.
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
Diseases that involve chronic pain such as fibromyalgia or cancer.
Skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.
Developmental changes, such as menopause.
Apart from these medical conditions, certain drugs may also have insomnia as a side effect. If your sleep doesn’t improve with good sleep hygiene and the sleep specialist’s treatment, it may be worthwhile to consider other underlying medical conditions.
A medical doctor can help you rule out other medical conditions. Just like with consulting a sleep specialist, you don’t need to leave your home to consult a medical doctor. With telemedicine services like StreamMD, you can talk to a doctor from wherever you are.
Be Kind to Yourself
As you work towards developing better sleep habits, it’s important to be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time you need to learn. It takes about a month or two to complete cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for insomnia.
And even after these sessions, there’s still a lot of work to do. Sleep specialists will help you throughout treatment, but you also have to figure out what strategies work for you.
For example, optimal nighttime routines will vary from person to person. So it’s best not to rush through the process.
When it comes to treating sleep issues, it’s important to remember that you’re not only learning how to fall asleep, but you’re also unlearning bad sleeping habits at the same time. It might be tempting to turn to pharmacological solutions instead, but experts don’t recommend the long term use of sleeping pills.
According to the CDC, adults should have 7 or more hours of quality sleep each night. Your body uses your sleeping hours to restore, rejuvenate, and repair itself. So if you compromise your sleep, you won’t be able to function as well in the long run.
The good news is you don’t have to settle for poor sleep. There are things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene and medical professionals who can help you catch more Z’s.
What do you do to sleep better? Please share your tips with us in the comments section below.