We address common sleep problems, and how to feel rested again
Endless nights of tossing and turning can take their toll — both mentally and physically. If you’ve had problems sleeping, you’re not alone. While the National Institutes of Health recommends that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night, more than 30 percent of Americans report getting less than that each night.
In order to achieve quality sleep, you need to take a close, hard look at your sleep habits. Many people are sabotaging a good night’s rest without even realizing it. Are you one of them? Here are five of the most common reasons people have difficulty sleeping.
While your intentions may have been to lose weight and improve your health, cutting calories can interrupt your sleep. If you aren’t taking in enough food, a grumbling stomach can wake you up. Choose protein-rich foods for dinner along with complex carbohydrates, which can help you keep calorie counts within the weight-loss range while still keeping you full. Cutting too many calories too quickly will wreak havoc on your sleep, which can actually make you hungrier and more likely to grab junk food. Alternatively, consuming heavy, fatty meals too close to bedtime is a surefire way to stave off sleep.
Stress is hard to avoid — but ongoing anxiety can impact your health and rest. Find regular, healthy ways to decrease your anxiety throughout the day. Talk to a friend about your worries rather than keep them bottled inside. If the issues causing you to worry persist, consider finding a professional counselor who can provide more strategies to decrease the health impacts of your stress.
Catching up on Facebook right before bedtime? While you think it may make you drowsy, the blue light that your phone emits sends a signal to your brain that it’s not actually nighttime and can keep you awake. Choose a book or magazine instead and limit your screen at least 30 minutes before bed.
Many people think that a glass of wine before bedtime is the perfect way to wind down — but it can actually interrupt REM sleep hours after your last sip. Limit alcohol intake two hours before you hit the hay to avoid sleep interruptions.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to the right sleep environment. Choose blankets and sheets that provide breathability, and pajamas that are suitable for the season. Pay attention to what is waking you — and try a fan to keep air circulating in your bedroom.
If you think there is something more serious happening with your sleep, contact the OhioHealth sleep disorder team.