Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? If so, it can lead to fatigue, mood disturbance, daytime drowsiness, low energy, decreased performance levels at work, decreased concentration, etc. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep, while some may need less and still feel refreshed. But do not worry. There is help available. Behavioral therapy or prescription medication or a combination of both can help you.
In majority of the cases it is related to anxiety, stress, depression, lack of exercise, chronic illness, worry, grief, certain medications, etc. It can also occur due to medical ailments like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, pain, etc.
Make changes to your behavior and lifestyle and experience the benefits. Here are some tips-
* Wake up at the same time each day. Even if you have gone to sleep late or it’s the weekend, get up at the same time in order to train your body.
* Make the sleeping environment comfortable, taking care to control the temperature, light and noise levels. Use a comfortable mattress and pillow. Wear loose fitting sleeping clothes.
* Limit your daytime naps as it will affect your sleep cycle.
* Exercise regularly-this will improve sleep quality and duration. But do not work out too late in the day, finish it at least 2-3 hours before your normal sleep time.
* Use bed only for what its meant to be-sleep and sex. Avoid watching television, working on a computer or mobile while in bed.
* Finish your meals at least 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Avoid sugary snacks and heavy meals in the night.
* Mineral magnesium is considered to be a natural sedative. Include magnesium rich foods in your diet like dark leafy green vegetables, almonds, cashew, whole grains, legumes, etc.
* Restrict your fluid intake for at least 2 hours prior to sleep time. A full bladder will wake you up frequently in the night hours.
* Avoid alcohol and stimulants like nicotine and caffeine, specially after twilight, as their effect lasts for several hours after consumption.
* Go to bed with a relaxed mind, eliminating all kinds of stress. Take help of deep breathing techniques, meditation, listen to light relaxing music, take a warm bath, get a massage, etc. Set aside some time before bed to reflect on your day’s activities, review your stress and strain and problems. Try to work out solutions and plan next day’s activities. This will help clear your mind and you can keep all these botherations aside when going to sleep.
* Drinking warm milk with honey, herbal tea, before bedtime are some of the home remedies that you may try. Lavender essential oil is known to improve mood and promote sleep- put few drops on your hand and sniff it.
* If not feeling sleepy, do not waste your time in bed. Get out of it, read a magazine, do some light work. When you feel drowsy, then only go to bed. Remember that with increasing age, duration of sleep required decreases.
* If you are taking any medication, check with your doctor as it may be interfering with your sleep.
When none of these measures help you, consult a doctor. Do not take Sleeping pills without consulting a doctor. These are habit forming and should be avoided as far as possible.
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