Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. For instance, you may find yourself frequently waking up and being unable to fall back asleep. Because sleep is crucial to human functioning, it is important to take the proper steps to get the sleep you need. There are different degrees of insomnia, but here are a few quick and easy reminders that might help.
- Set a sleep schedule. Go to bed the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Our bodies are made to function on a 24-hour cycle, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm or “body clock.” Sleeping and waking at different times each day will disrupt the body’s rhythm, which can cause physical, mental, and behavioral changes.
- Set up the right environment. Some people are more sensitive than others when it comes to falling asleep. If light bothers you, minimize the light in your room or utilize an eye mask. If noise bothers you, consider earplugs. Make sure your room is the right temperature. Creating the perfect sleep environment for yourself is the first step to falling asleep and getting a good rest.
- Watch when you exercise. Exercising is great, but exercising too close to bed time may cause extra stimulation and adrenaline, which can keep you from falling asleep.
- Watch when and what you eat. Don’t eat a heavy or spicy meal close to bedtime. Consider a light snack instead. Dairy products are also shown to increase the amino acid tryptophan, which can lower the time people need to fall asleep.
- Get up instead of tossing and turning. If you find that you can’t fall asleep, it is better to get up than to roll around thinking about how you can’t sleep. Get up, read a book, watch TV, or listen to music until you feel tired.
If you still are having trouble sleeping, your insomnia may be caused by something on a deeper level—for example, excessive stress or anxiety. In this case, you should consider seeking professional help. A lack of sleep can significantly impact your daily routine and cause you to function less than optimality.
If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and are suffering from sleep-deprivation or insomnia, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.
Written by Kassandra C.