Millions of Americans have problems getting a good night’s rest. In fact, there’s actually a day dedicated to raising awareness about insomnia. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, at least 30 percent of adults will experience brief symptoms of insomnia (the inability to sleep), while 10 percent have had a chronic insomnia disorder which can last for at least three months.
For those who are having problems sleeping, incorporating a few regular habits into the daily schedule can increase the likelihood of a good night’s rest. However, for chronic insomnia problems, a physician should be consulted.
Here are 5 ways to ensure that sleep will come more easily.
1. Exercise regularly. Vigorously exercising during the day — no later than three hours before bedtime — can relieve stressors, allowing a person to more readily sleep at night.
2. Wind down. Shut down the computer, the TV, and the work before heading to bed. Engaging in these type of activities can cause anxiety and stress, making it difficult to relax enough to fall asleep.
3. Avoid alcohol, large meals and caffeine. These all can make it difficult to sleep. Large meals can cause digestion issues, while caffeine and alcohol can act as stimulants that prevent people from falling asleep.
4. Add melatonin to the diet. According to the National Sleep Foundation, melatonin is a natural hormone that is released into the blood later at night, causing a person to feel less alert and more likely to sleep. While research results are varied, some indicate that sleep is improved when the supplement is taken for jet lag and shift work at the appropriate time, the foundation states. Other studies show that it can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep.
5. Prep your room. Creating an environment that is more conducive to sleep can include lowering the temperatures to about 60 to 70 degrees, installing blackout curtains, using white noise machines and investing in a comfortable mattress.
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