Sleeping pills are not the solution for Insomnia!
We spend twenty-five to thirty percent of our life sleeping when we close our eyes and go to bed to relax, rejuvenate and revitalize.
Sleep is very important for normal functioning and inadequate sleep may negatively impact our memory, mood, immunity, heart health, focus, energy, metabolism and overall quality of life.
While there are several types of sleep disturbances, we will focus on insomnia which is the most common sleep disorder. There are several causes of insomnia such as genetic causes, aging, depression, anxiety, other psychiatric conditions, chronic pain, excessive alcohol use, excessive caffeine use, smoking, substance abuse, heart and lung conditions, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some medications.
Sleeping pills may have short-term benefit but are not the long-term solution for insomnia. They work like a band aid masking the problem without fixing the underlying cause. The more effective way of treating insomnia is to address the underlying cause and focus on basic sleep hygiene. For instance, a person suffering from insomnia due to anxiety should sleep better once anxiety is treated. A person drinking too much of caffeinated beverages may sleep better after cutting down on caffeine intake.
Other therapies that may help insomnia include cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, biofeedback and some experimental therapies like phototherapy.
Sleep hygiene is key to make sure we get the best quality sleep every night. Following are the sleep hygiene tactics that may help you improve your sleep:
Do not oversleep
Have consistent sleep and wake up time
Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
Avoid excessive alcohol especially close to bedtime
Do not go to bed hungry
Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and adjust bedroom light, temperature, sounds to help you relax
Avoid worrying, arguments, brainstorming before bedtime. Avoid activities that stimulate your brain.
Exercise regularly in the morning or in the evening but at least four hours before bedtime
Avoid using electronic devices like computers, tablets, phones close to bedtime as they release blue light which may activate your brain
Try these techniques and next time when you go to bed close your eyes, relax each and every muscle of your body, shut your brain down (ignore thoughts), take deep breathes in and out and go to sleep before you realize.
Good night and sleep tight!
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