This is the second article in a two part series that lists eight techniques for getting a good night’s sleep. The list was put together by Harvard Medical School after research and study on what can affect a person’s ability to sleep. This article will share the last four of the eight techniques.
5. Eat—But Don’t Eat a Large Meal Before Bed
When you’re hungry and when you’ve eaten too much, your body might be unable to sleep. Both situations can be distractions. Ideally, avoid eating a big meal within two to three hours of bedtime. And to avoid being hungry at bedtime, eat a light snack about an hour or two before bed, such as an apple with a slice of cheese or a few whole-wheat crackers.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Sometimes, simply drinking too much caffeine during the day can lead to not being able to sleep. It is as though the caffeine’s effect stays in the body throughout the day and keeps the mind and central nervous system too awake to be able to fall asleep. Along those lines, alcohol for some people can also create a feeling of energy and aliveness which prevents being able to go to sleep, and the same is true for nicotine. Each of these drugs should be avoided before bedtime in order to facilitate getting a full night’s sleep. In fact, ideally, if you’re having trouble sleeping, these drugs should be avoided altogether. There are many factors that can contribute to an experience of insomnia, including health concerns. Ingesting these drugs can exacerbate health issues and make worse your experience of insomnia.
Many people today are anxious. Men and women with full lives including family responsibilities, work obligations and stresses, as well as tending to the needs of their children can create lives full of anxiety. When life’s responsibilities are beginning to fill up, it can get in the way of sleeping. Before bed, take time to relax with meditation, yoga, soft music, or deep breathing exercises.
8. Get Checked By Your Doctor
When you’re having trouble sleeping, bring it to your doctor. You might want to get more information about what might be preventing your ability to sleep. For instance, if you’re feeling urges to move your legs, if you’re snoring, or if you’re experiencing pain in the throat, these can be signs of a sleep disorder. If these symptoms are keeping you up at night, talk to your doctor. Doctors will use a wide variety of tools to diagnose and measure insomnia symptoms. If you’ve gone to your doctor’s office to talk about your sleep patterns, your doctor will likely have you complete a questionnaire, perform blood tests, have you do an overnight sleep study, and have you fill out a sleep log to help assess your symptoms.
You might find that you put all of these measures in place and you still have trouble sleeping. If this is the case, it’s best to see a mental health professional. Sure, you can find all sorts of remedies and treatments online, even a therapy module online may help you look at the cause of insomnia, but the safest choice is to see a mental health professional. He or she can help you assess the root cause of the insomnia and create the best treatment plan. Together those two tools – a diagnosis and treatment plan – can eventually lead to having a full and healthy night’s sleep.