Insomnia is defined as having difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep that leads to a negative impact on the next day. It is a condition that touches the lives of approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. According to the National Institutes of Health, the best amount of sleep for most adults appears to be 7-8 hours per night.
Symptoms of Insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Difficulty returning to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
Common factors associated with insomnia include:
- Physical illness
- Anxiety or stress
- Poor sleeping environment such as excessive noise or light
- Alcohol or other drugs
- Use of certain medications
- Heavy smoking
- Physical discomfort
Tips for Developing Good Sleep Habits:
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
- Try not to take naps during the day, because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause you to wake in the night. It also interferes with sleep quality.
- Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime, because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. It is recommended not to exercise for three hours before the time you go to sleep.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime may help you sleep.
- Make your sleeping place comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a “white noise” machine to cover up the sounds.
- Follow a routine to help relax and wind down before sleep, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath.
- Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
- If you can’t fall asleep and don’t feel drowsy, get up and read (or do something that is not overly stimulating) until you feel sleepy.
- If you tend to lie awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to “let go” of those worries overnight