How to Sleep
70 million Americans have real problems sleeping. 10% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, up to 35% of us experience periodic loss of sleep. There can be many causes of sleep disruption – from stress and depression to poor sleep habits – here’s a few ways to combat it.
Set a bedtime and stick to it.
By having a consistent bedtime, you can train your body to produce sleep hormones at the right time to help you be ready for bed at bedtime.
Build a routine for the hours leading up to bedtime.
Do some mild stretches, drink a glass of hot milk, soak your feet in warm water, read a book, anything really, but do something consistently every night to help signal your overactive brain it’s almost time for bed.
Shut down light-emitting devices about 60 minutes prior to bed.
Tablets and smartphones produce a bright light that tells your brain it’s daytime and time to be awake.
The human body naturally cools down when we sleep, so one of the reasons you’re not sleeping could be that your bed is too hot. Remove a few blankets, open the window, turn down the heat.
Check your sleep surface.
Is your bed lumpy and funky? Do you sleep better in hotels than you do at home? It’s probably time to invest in a new McRoskey mattress. People’s bodies change over time, so the mattress that was perfect for you ten years ago may no longer be a great fit.
Pillows, they really do matter.
If you can’t get your pillows to be comfortable, no matter how much you fluff them, it’s probably time to get some new pillows. Properly fitted pillows should support healthful alignment of the head with the spine.
Struggling with Interrupted Sleep
If you’re someone who wakes up in the night, and struggles to get back to sleep, here’s a few tips to get you ZZZZing with the best of them.
- If you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, try listening to a storytelling or science podcast to relax your mind and sooth you back to sleep. If the podcast ends and you’re still awake, try putting on another one, and lull your mind to make pictures to go along with it while breathing evenly.
- Limit consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco in the hours leading up to bed. While alcohol does tend to have a soporific effect, the sugars in alcohol can wake you up at night. Tobacco and caffeine are both stimulants and can disrupt sleep.
- Pay attention to your sleep position. Try to find the most relaxed and natural position for your body possible. Maybe how you’re sleeping is causing you to involuntarily tense up, and preventing you from sleep.