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Despite there being a lot of advice out there on how to get more sleep, it isn’t easy to do. People are different. So are their sleep needs and sleep challenges.
But even though there isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix, you can get help. The first step is to figure out what’s behind your sleep issues. Then you may be able to change your routine to get the healthy sleep you need.
Sleep is the backbone of good health. Getting the right amount is key to good mental and physical health. Long term lack of sleep and untreated sleep problems are linked to many health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity and some cancers, says the National Blood, Heart and Lung Institute.
So why do so many of us not get enough sleep? There are many potential causes of short or disrupted sleep. It’s worth it to explore why you may be having trouble sleeping.
Your sleep environment and habits can impact your ability to get enough sleep. What you consume, including medicines, food and drink, and when you have them can impact your sleep. Some other common causes of sleep disruptions include:
Your daily routines can mean the difference between sound sleep and a restless night, says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Even minor changes in how you plan your days, and especially how you spend your evenings, can help.
First, it’s important to think about your habits and what may be contributing to your problem. It’s likely that you’re experiencing some of the common sleep disruptors. In many cases, you can get more sleep by making it a higher priority and changing some of your habits.
After you address any specific sleep disruptors you know you have, try these steps:
It’s better not to go to bed if you’re not sleepy. But what if you still aren’t sleepy when it’s time to go to bed? Try some of these techniques suggested by SleepFoundation.org:
You can address lifestyle choices that are disrupting your sleep on your own. But if you think you have medical issues that contribute to your sleep issues, talk to your doctor.
Sometimes sleep problems are caused by a more serious issue that you can’t fix on your own. If you can’t shake your sleep issues no matter what you try, you may need professional help, says the National Sleep Foundation.
Millions of Americans have a sleep disorder. These include sleep apnea, chronic insomnia, excessive sleepiness and narcolepsy. Some signs that you may have a sleep disorder include:
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you find out what sleep issue you have and what you can do about it. Treatment may include medications, cognitive therapy, lifestyle changes or medical intervention.
Sleep is critical to your health and ability to function. If you have signs of a sleep disorder, don’t ignore it. Get help.
Can you fall asleep easily but wake up during the night? Waking up during the night is normal. Many people wake up two or three times per night. But finding it hard to get back to sleep can be frustrating.
One in 5 people have difficulty getting back to sleep when they wake up at night. It’s called sleep maintenance insomnia, says Johns Hopkins Medicine.
When you can’t get back to sleep at night, there are better things to do than toss and turn. To get back to sleep:
It’s especially important to not just lay in bed all night if you can’t get to sleep. You don’t want your mind to link your bedroom with sleep troubles.
Get up after you feel as if you’ve been awake for more than 20 minutes, says the Cleveland Clinic. Leave your bedroom. Find something quiet and boring to do. Keep the lights low. Read a dull book or listen to relaxing music. Go back to bed when you’re drowsy.
And even if you feel tired from being awake, don’t sleep in, nap or go to bed early the next day. Follow your normal schedule.
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