Improving Your Sleep

Sleep is essential to the health of the mind and body. Many individuals struggle to get enough quality sleep due to a variety of factors. Luckily, you can start improving your sleep by implementing a few simple tips into your routine. 

The following consists of tips to help you start improving your sleep.

Know How Much Sleep You Need

Knowing how much sleep your body needs is a great place to start when looking to improve your sleep. Although individuals’ specific needs vary slightly, the CDC has established guidelines for how many hours of sleep people should be getting each night. 

Guidelines by the CDC, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Sleep Research Society recommend:

  • Teens (ages 13-18) get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 19-60) get 7 or more hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 61-64) get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 65 or older) get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to getting enough sleep each night. It can be much easier to fall asleep and wake up when you stick to a consistent schedule. Try your best to also follow this schedule, or close to it, on weekends to help your body stick to its routine.

Avoid Large Meals, Caffeine, and Alcohol Before Bed

Eating a large meal before bed can make it hard to fall asleep as your body is trying to digest what you just consumed. While most people know not to drink caffeine right before bed, it is important to realize that even caffeine consumed hours earlier can still cause sleep troubles. Many people have an alcoholic drink before bed, as it can induce drowsiness. However, alcohol often decreases the quality of peoples’ sleep. For these reasons, it is best to avoid eating large meals and drinking caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

Take Time to Relax

Taking time to relax can help you fall asleep faster and also sleep better. Before trying to sleep, take some time to put aside any stressors and allow yourself to relax. Writing a list of things you need to do or want to remember the next day can help you set stress aside for the night. After doing that, make time for a relaxing activity that you enjoy.

Enhance Your Sleeping Environment

There are many ways that you can improve your bedroom or sleeping environment. A few ways that you can do this include keeping your room dark, having comfortable bedding, and keeping the temperature cool. By creating a comfortable place to sleep in, you will likely have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep.

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

Tips for Better Sleep

Tips for Better Sleep

By bettering your sleep you can help improve your physical and mental health. It is recommended by the CDC that adults aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. However, many individuals struggle to reach this recommendation. A 2014 study by the CDC found that over 35% of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly.

For those who are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get enough sleep, there is hope. The following list consists of tips for better sleep. 

Make Your Environment Comfortable

A comfortable environment is essential to sleeping well. You can increase the comfort of your sleeping environment by using soft bedding, regulating the temperature of the room, and removing any light pollution. Everyone has their own preferences, so it is important to find what makes you most comfortable.

Get active During the Day

Physical activity during the day can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Exercise can help boost your energy during the day, and help you rest at night. It is important to note that physical activity late in the day may make it harder to fall asleep, so it is best to get your exercise in during the earlier hours of the day.

Stick to a Schedule

Try your best to stick to a sleep schedule that allows for 7 to 8 hours. By creating a routine wake up and bed time your body will get used to sleeping at those times, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up.

Make a List

Thoughts and stress can keep many up at night. Before trying to fall asleep, it can be helpful to create a list of things you want to remember for the next day. By writing these thoughts down, it can help you put them aside for the night.

Take Time to Relax

Taking time to relax before bed can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Everyone has different ways of relaxing, including meditation, reading, taking a bath, and more. Discover what activities help you relax and feel comfortable, and try to make time for them before help.

Further Help & Learn More

If you continue to have trouble sleeping, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. Together you can create a treatment plan that is right for you.

To learn more tips for better sleep, we recommend the following links:

Sleep Foundation:https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips  

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

How to Sleep Better

A good night’s sleep is important for both your physical and mental health. The CDC recommends that adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly, however, their studies found that approximately 1/3 of adults sleep less than this. Luckily, there are many things you can do to sleep better at night. By implementing simple tips into your routine, you can improve the quality of your rest. 

The following list contains a variety of suggestions on how to sleep better at night.

Stay on a Schedule

By keeping your wake-up and bed time consistent, you will likely have an easier time falling asleep. When creating a sleep schedule, create a plan that allows for 7 to 8 hours of sleep. It is best to try and remain on a schedule even on weekends. 

Be Active During the Day

Being active during the day can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Exercise can provide an energy boost during the day, and also help you rest at night. Due to the boost of energy exercise may offer, it is best to avoid being active late in the day.

Create a Comfortable Environment

It is important that your sleeping environment is comfortable. You can increase the comfort of your space by regulating the temperature, having comfortable bedding, and eliminating any light pollution. Everyone has their preferences, so it is important to find what makes you specifically most comfortable.

Make a List and Put Stressors aside

For many, it can be hard to fall asleep due to a busy mind. Try to eliminate these stressful thoughts before bed by creating a list of things you want to do or remember the next day. This will help you set aside these thoughts for the night, but also ensure that you will remember them the next day.

Make Time for Relaxing

Create time in your schedule to relax before bed. Relaxing activities may include meditation, reading, taking a bath, and more. Discover what makes you relax and feel ready for bed. 

Further Help & Learn More

If you continue to have trouble sleeping, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. Persistent sleep troubles may be a sign of a sleep disorder.

To learn more about how to sleep better, we recommend the following links:

Sleep Foundation:https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips  

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

Sleeping Better at Night

Sleeping Better at Night

Sleeping better at night can help improve your physical and mental health. The CDC recommends that adults aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly. However, many struggle to meet this goal. In 2014, a study by the CDC found that over 35% of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly.

Luckily for those who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, there is hope. The following list contains a variety of self care tips to help you start sleeping better at night.

Make Your Environment Comfortable

Try to make your sleep environment as comfortable as possible. This can be done by having a fan or heater to regulate the temperature, using soft bedding, and more. It is important to find what makes you comfortable. In addition, try to eliminate any light pollution that your room may have. A dark and comfortable room is ideal for sleep.

Stick to a Schedule

Try to stick to a routine wake-up and bed time that allows for 7 to 8 hours of sleep. By staying on a schedule you will likely find yourself feeling more well rested. 

Be active During the Day

Exercise during the day can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Being active may provide you a boost during the day, but in turn help you rest at night. However, try to avoid physical activity late in the day so that the boost of energy it may cause won’t keep you up.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine at Night

Both alcohol and caffeine can have stimulating effects which can interfere with sleep. Try to avoid these beverages late in the day in order to improve your sleep at night.

Make a List

Oftentimes people are kept awake at night by thoughts of what they need to do, upcoming events, and more. Before going to bed make a list of the things you want to remember for the next day. This will allow you to set aside the thoughts for the night, but not forget them. 

Take Time to Relax

As you winddown at night, take time to relax before getting in bed. For many reading, meditation, taking a bath, and more can help them relax. Find what makes you relax, feel comfortable, and ready for bed.

Further Help & Learn More

If you continue to have trouble sleeping, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. Together, you can create a treatment plan that is right for you.

To learn more about sleeping better at night, we recommend the following links:

Sleep Foundation:https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips  

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders

There is a strong connection between sleep disorders and mental health. Disruptions in sleep patterns may be caused by mental health conditions, such as depression. In addition, the symptoms of many physical and mental illnesses can also be worsened by a lack of sleep.

Sleep disorders are very common. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in the United States 1 in 3 people experience trouble sleeping at least once a week. Sleep disorders can cause difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early.

Causes

There is no one cause for insomnia or other sleep disorders. Oftentimes there are many contributing factors causing the interferences with sleep. However, NAMI reported that roughly 50% of insomnia cases are related to depression, anxiety, and/or stress. 

 

 

EFFECTS

Not getting enough sleep can cause many negative effects for an individual’s health. Many studies have shown the relationship between sleep and mental health. A lack of sleep can make mental illnesses worse or decrease the effectiveness of treatment. The negative effects that come along with sleep troubles illustrate the importance of improving your health by getting a goodnight’s rest.

 

 

Self Care

There are many ways that you can improve your ability to fall asleep and have quality rest. Although different methods of self care, self care practices that have been found to improve sleep disorders include:

  • Sticking to a consistent schedule
  • Prioritizing and making goals
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Increasing activity levels during the daytime
  • Making your bedroom comfortable and ideal for sleep

 

 

Treatment

If your troubles sleeping persist, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider. Together, you can create a plan for treatment that is right for you. Treatment commonly includes:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which aims to help individuals control negative thoughts that may be preventing them from being able to sleep.
  • Medication is used at times to treat sleep disorders. However, many doctors agree that medications used for sleep should not be taken long term.

 

 

Learn More

To learn more about sleep disorder and how to improve your sleep, we recommend the following resources:

National Sleep Foundation: https://www.thensf.org/

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

NAMI: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Sleep-Disorders

Sleep Awareness Week

Sleep Awareness Week

Sleep Awareness Week aims to promote healthy sleep habits. The theme for 2022 is “be your best slept self.”

There are many factors that may interfere with one’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. However, there are steps you can take to help better your sleep. By improving your quality and length of sleep, you are improving your overall health.

The following are recommendations on how you can get a better night’s sleep:

Stick to a Schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to sleep. We recommend sticking to a sleep schedule. Try to maintain consistent wake up and bed times, even on weekends. According to the CDC, adults should aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Make sure you go to bed at a time that allows for you to get enough sleep.

 

 

Avoid Large Meals, Alcohol, and Caffeine Before Bed

Eating large meals before bed can make it hard for you to sleep due to discomfort. Caffeine consumption can be stimulating and also make it hard to fall asleep. In addition, even though alcohol makes some individuals feel tired, it can cause problems falling asleep or staying asleep.

 

 

GEt Physical

Exercise, even in small amounts, can help you sleep better at night. However, try to avoid exercising at night because it may be too energizing and create difficulties sleeping.  

Avoid Electronics Before Bed

As you get ready for bed, try to avoid watching TV, scrolling on your phone, or staring at other screens. The blue light emitted from electronic screens may make it hard to fall asleep.

Manage Worries

Worries and stressors can often make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Before you try to go to bed, we suggest making a list of things you need to do the next day or week. By writing down the tasks that are on your mind, you can set them aside for tomorrow.

Limit Naps

Taking naps during the daytime can make it hard for many to fall asleep at night. Try to avoid napping, or at least long naps.

Make Your BEdroom COmfortable

An important step towards quality sleep is having a comfortable bedroom. Try to keep your room dark, quiet, and at a temperature that you like. Being comfortable will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

 

 

Contact Your Doctor

If you continue to experience difficulties sleeping, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider. They can help you create a sleep plan tailored to your individual needs.

 

 

Learn More

To learn more about Sleep Awareness Week and how to improve your sleep, we recommend the following resources:

National Sleep Foundation: https://www.thensf.org/sleep-awareness-week/

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

NAMI:https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Sleep-Disorders

Improving Your Sleep

Improving Your Sleep

By improving your sleep, you are improving your overall health. For those who struggle getting a goodnight’s rest there is hope. Although you may not be able to control every factor that impacts your sleep, there are many factors that you can control. By recognizing and implementing these steps into your routine, you are on your way to getting quality sleep.

The following tips are evidence backed ways found to improve your sleep.

Stick to a Schedule

Try your best to maintain consistent times for when you wakeup and go to sleep. Limiting the difference in your sleep schedule between weekdays and weekends can help reinforce your body’s sleep cycle. In addition, the CDC suggests adults try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Because of this, we suggest that you make sure your new sleep schedule allows you this much time to sleep or more.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Make sure that your room is ideal for sleeping. This can mean keeping the temperature to your liking, limiting light exposure, and maintaining a quiet environment. To better reach these goals, you may consider turning on a fan while you sleep or using earplugs. Use trial and error to find what kind of environment allows you to relax and get a goodnight’s sleep.

Limit Naps

Naps, especially long ones, can interfere with nighttime sleep. Try to avoid taking naps during the day. If you really need to rest, try to keep the nap short and not too late in the day.

GEt Physical

Physical activity during the day can help you sleep better at night. It is best to exercise earlier in the day rather than in the evening. Discover what activities you are capable of and enjoy. Even in small amounts, getting active can help improve your sleep.

Be Mindful of What you Eat and Drink

Trying to avoid or limit your caffeine and alcohol intake can help you sleep better. Also we suggest avoiding heavy meals that leave you feeling too full. If you are feeling discomfort from overeating this can make it hard to fall asleep, so it is best to avoid that.

Take Time to Relax

Stress and worries can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try to set aside these worries before bedtime. Take time to relax by reading a book, taking a bath, or engaging in any other activity that brings you peace of mind.

contact Your Doctor

Sleep is a vital aspect of maintaining overall health. If you continue to struggle falling asleep or staying asleep, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider. They can help you create a personalized plan to better your sleep.

Learn More

For more information about improving your sleep we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider.

To read more, the following resources are suggested:

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

NAMI CA: https://namica.org/blog/better-sleep-to-maintain-mental-health/

Overview of Insomnia

Overview of Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes individuals unable to get the amount of sleep needed to function efficiently during the daytime. Those with insomnia experience trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Insomnia is usually a symptom of another mental or physical illness, but other times it can be caused by one’s lifestyle or work.

Cause and Effect

  • 50% of insomnia cases are related to depression, anxiety, or psychological stress according to NAMI
  • Waking up earlier than desired and having low energy are often insomnia symptoms related to depression
  • Many anxiety disorders are associated with poor sleeping
  • Not getting sleeping poorly and/or not getting enough sleep can also worsen other symptoms of many mental health disorders

Treatment

 When treating insomnia, it is important to consider any underlying conditions that may creating or worsening insomnia symptoms. For many, the first-line of treatment is creating and sticking to good sleeping habits. In addition, other treatment options are available. Treatment may vary but plans commonly include:

  • Good sleeping habits is the first step for many and can include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding energizing activities in the evening, and creating a comfortable sleeping environment.
  • Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and mindfulness can help an individual calm down and feel more in touch with their body.
  • Exercise during the day can help many sleep better at night. We suggest speaking with your health care provider to see what type of exercise might be right for you.
  • Herbal remedies including melatonin and valerian root are available “over-the-counter” and have been found to be beneficial to many. The effectiveness of these treatments has not been proven, however, and neither treatment has been approved by the FDA.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to treat insomnia as it can help you control and/or eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep you from sleeping. 
  • Medication may be used in the treatment of an individual’s insomnia, but only some medications are recommended by healthcare professionals for long-term use.

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

  • To learn more about insomnia, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read a further overview of insomnia, the following resources are suggested:

Treating Insomnia

Treating Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which individuals struggle to get the amount of sleep needed to function efficiently. Even when in the right environment and having time to sleep, individuals with insomnia may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good quality sleep. Short-term insomnia is very common and can be caused by stress, travel, and more. Long-term insomnia lasts for more than three weeks, and those experiencing it should speak with their health care provider for further help. Treating insomnia can help get individuals back to normal sleeping habits, which can lead to many improvements in day to day life. 

SYMPTOMS

For those with insomnia, common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Lying awake for extended periods of time before being able to fall asleep
  • Having poor quality sleep that leaves you feeling unrested or sleepy after waking up
  • Waking up earlier than desired and not being able to fall back asleep
  • Sleeping for only short periods and being awake for most of the night

Complications

Sleep is vital to a healthy mind and body. Chronic insomnia can affect how your brain, heart, and other parts of your body function. These conditions are serious and include:

  • Heart problems such as high blood pressure, arrhythmia, or coronary heart disease
  • Breathing problems such as asthma
  • Metabolism problems as sleep can change the levels of hormones that control hunger and help break down food
  • Immune system problems which can make it harder for your body to fight off germs and sickness
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression

Treatment

Treatment and therapies may vary but treatment plans commonly include:

  • Stick to a schedule with a consistent wake up and sleep time
  • Make your bedroom “sleep friendly” meaning keep sleeping environment comfortable and free from artificial light or bothersome sound
  • Avoid naps in the daytime, especially the late afternoon as this can make it harder to sleep at night
  • Eat meals on a regular schedule and avoid eating late dinners
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before sleep
  • Relax and find stress management techniques that will help you wind down before bedtime
  • Medications or over-the-counter remedies such as melatonin and valerian root, but before taking these we suggest speaking with your healthcare provider
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to treat insomnia as it helps teach individuals how to fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

Treating Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it hard for one to fall asleep, stay asleep, and/or get good quality sleep. These symptoms persist even when individuals with insomnia have the time and right environment for good sleep. When insomnia is left untreated, it can interfere with daily activities as one may feel tired and unrested throughout their day. The following are methods for treating insomnia that have been proven to help many.

Creating Healthy Sleep Habits

  • Make your bedroom as “sleep friendly” as possible
    • Do your best to keep your room quiet and at a comfortable temperature
  • Create a timely routine of when to wake up and when to go to sleep
    • Try to maintain consist sleep times even on weekends
  • Try to get in physical activity during your day
    • Exercise can help make it easier for one to sleep at night, but it is best to avoid exercising too close to your bedtime
  • Learn new ways to manage stress
    • Finding a way to relax and lower stress levels can help one wind down and sleep better a night

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

  • Cognitive therapy
    • Can help one feel less nervous and think more positively
  • Relaxation and Meditation Therapy
    • Helps teach individuals how to relax and fall asleep faster
  • Sleep Restriction Therapy
    • This type of therapy gives you a specific amount of time to spend in bed, whether or not you sleep during that time. This method overtime has been found to help improve one’s ability to fall asleep and quality of sleep

Medications

  • Prescription medications
    • Benzodiazepines can be helpful for getting a better night’s rest, but they are habit forming and should not be taken for more than a few weeks
    • Benzodiazepine receptors agonists, such as zolpidemzaleplon, and eszopiclone
    • Melatonin receptor agonists, such as ramelteon
    • Orexin receptor antagonists, such as suvorexant
  • Over-the-counter medicine or supplements
    • Melatonin supplements are lab-made versions of the sleep hormone, melatonin
    • Other over-the-counter medications may be used as sleep aids

More information and RESOURCES

  • To learn more about insomnia and treatment, we suggest the following link: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/insomnia
  • We recommend talking to your healthcare provider before attempting to treat insomnia or with any additional questions you may have