How to Obtain the Much-Needed Sleep That Has Been Eluding You
By Space Coast Daily // May 12, 2021
It is a disturbing fact that up to 30 percent of all adults suffer from some form of insomnia on a regular basis.
While a lack of sleep is undeniably annoying, the associated long-term effects are even more disturbing.
These include (but are not limited to) weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, cognitive difficulties, and increased risks of a heart attack. This is why obtaining a sound night of rest is critical if you hope to maintain your health and well-being. What are some expert recommendations to keep in mind and when should you make it a point to speak with a professional sleep specialist?
A Plethora of Sleep-Inducing Options
Many of us endure a great deal of stress on a daily basis. The main problem here is that it can be tricky to alleviate this stress before heading off to bed. As a result, we remain awake for hours at a time; mulling over the events of the day or worrying about what the future may have in store. Reducing this stress is essential, so try to “decompress” each night by performing a relaxing activity. Examples include reading a book, burning incense, practicing yoga, or meditating.
Bad habits are also a factor for many of us and these can be just as challenging to break. A handful of examples include:
■ Drinking coffee late in the evening.
■ Relying upon alcohol for a “nightcap”.
■ Watching television late into the evening.
■ Becoming distracted by electronic devices.
■ Erratic sleep schedules.
We can now see that identifying these habits is the first step if you hope to solve your sleeping problem. Make it a point to go to sleep at the same time every evening.
Turn off all electronic devices. Avoid coffee for at least four hours before you plan on retiring. Create a dark and comfortable sleeping environment that is devoid of common distractions.
This is also when some unique sleeping aids can come in quite handy. One interesting example is the use of a weighted blanket. Studies have shown that resting under this type of blanket can provide numerous health benefits.
These include increasing the levels of a relaxing hormone known as serotonin, reducing the presence of a stress-related hormone called cortisol and helping to limit perceived levels of anxiety.
While many individuals enjoy beneficial results through the use of sleep aids and by modifying their evening routines, there are still other times when a bit of professional advice can go a long way.
When it is Time to Talk with an Expert
When might it be time to consult with a doctor or sleep specialist? Most experts recommend that anyone who suffers from insomnia for more than two months should schedule an appointment.
It is also prudent if you feel that a lack of sleep is impacting your physical, mental or emotional health. If all of the suggestions mentioned in the previous section do not seem to help, a doctor may recommend that you participate in a sleep study.
Performed under laboratory settings, this study will analyse important variables such as your heart rate, how frequently you dream and the levels of oxygen within your blood. This is the best way to identify any potential abnormalities.
Many of those who find it difficult to sleep may be suffering from a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea is associated with a narrowing of the airways. As your body is unable to obtain the required amount of oxygen, you may suddenly awake throughout the night.
Other symptoms include coughing, choking and loud snoring. Thankfully, sleep apnea can be treated through lifestyle changes as well as with the help of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It is still wise to speak with a professional if you suspect that you might have OSA.
Sleeping should never be considered a luxury. As we all lead busier lives than ever before, obtaining between seven and eight hours of rest every night is critical if you hope to avoid future health issues.
The good news is that there are numerous solutions to choose from, so do not hesitate seeking professional help.