Tips For Better Sleep, From The Experts

Updated August 28, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Tonia Cassaday

You have likely heard that getting the proper amount of sleep is vital to your health and that without it, you will have a harder time functioning. You may wonder why that is and what you can do to make sure that you are getting the sleep you need. This article will explain why healthy sleep is essential and offer tips on sleeping better, so you can make sure you get all the hours you should be getting.

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Why Is Sleep Important?

Getting the right amount of sleep at night is something that will protect all aspects of your health. It is thought that the time you sleep is when the body starts repairing itself. This goes for all of the systems in your body. Sleep can positively affect you mentally and physically, and you should also have the energy to get through your day.

When you are not able to fall asleep or get the sleep you need, all of these things will suffer, which can really add up over time. For example, if you are unable to get proper sleep many nights a week, it may cause you to have issues with your health, and you may not be able to make decisions or get along with others. This is something that needs to be alleviated whenever possible.

What is causing me to not be able to get adequate sleep?

Lifestyle Issues

There may be things you are doing in your daily life that are wrecking your sleep. This can be due to a number of things going on.

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  • Long hours at work
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Prescription pills that affect how you sleep
  • Chronic pain
  • Other health problems

Sleep Disorders

One type of health problem that can interfere with you sleeping correctly is a sleep disorder.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep condition that results in a person not being able to get the sleep they need on a regular basis. Some people suffer for weeks at a time, where they won’t be able to stay asleep, fall asleep, or they will wake up too early, without being ready to go back to bed.

Sleep Apnea

This is another sleep disorder. People that have it experience times during their sleep cycle where they stop breathing. Their airways can become blocked, which can be dangerous. Treatment for this may include having to wear a mask while you sleep to ensure that you will continue to be able to breathe.

If you think that you have either of these sleep conditions, you should speak to your doctor about them, as they can be severe if they bother you often.

Tips For Better Sleep

There are multiple steps you can take to allow you to sleep better at night. Here is a look at some that you may want to institute into your routine.

  • Stick to a bedtime. It is beneficial if you can stick to the same bedtime each night. This can alert your body of what time you want to sleep, and it may be able to help you start a healthy routine as well.
  • Don’t take naps. You should stay away from naps as much as you can when you are trying to align your sleeping habits. Otherwise, you may get all the sleep you need at the wrong time of the day, which can be counterproductive.
  • Give yourself enough time to sleep. It may seem like sleep isn’t always as important as something else is, but this is not true. Since a lack of sleep can cause negative impacts on your health, you need to give yourself adequate time to sleep each night.
  • Only go to bed if you feel tired. You shouldn’t just get in bed if you don’t feel like you can sleep. It is more beneficial to lay down only when you are tired and feel you can fall asleep.
  • Limit stimulants. Any type of stimulant should be consumed in moderation. This goes for things like coffee or other caffeine sources. Keep an eye on your intake of these types of beverages and try not to drink any before bed.
  • Turn off devices. It is also important to give yourself time to wind down. You should stay away from all of your devices and your television for at least an hour before you intend to go to bed. This gives your body time to adjust to the quiet and darkness.
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  • Adopting an exercise routine is also a good way to start to take control of your sleep cycle. Exercising can help you clear your mind, and it can also give you a chance to burn off nervous energy. Just be sure that you aren’t exercising too late at night since this is something that may keep you awake.
  • Watch what you eat. Eating a balanced diet can be a good way to start a healthy sleep routine. When you are eating the right foods, you are unlikely to be up all night with heartburn or something like that.
  • Get physical health in check. There are times when physical pain can keep you from getting the sleep you need. If you are up at night with joint, back, or another type of pain, you should visit your doctor to get that sorted out. Otherwise, it may always bother you when you are trying to sleep.
  • Stay in cool environments. It is suggested that your bedroom is cool, so you aren’t sweating when you sleep. This can interrupt your sleep cycle and leave you feeling uncomfortable.
  • Relax when you can. Stress is something that can keep you up at night, especially if it is paired with worrying. It is essential to take a few minutes to relax whenever possible. Indulge with a warm bath or put your feet up on the couch and take a break from your chores.
  • Don’t just lay there. When you find yourself in bed, and you can’t fall asleep, don’t keep tossing and turning. This is probably not the solution. Instead, you might want to get up and do something to ease your body into a relaxed state, such as read a book until you feel like you are tired.

Seeking Help

If you have tried everything you can think of and have instituted changes, like the ones mentioned above, and you are still unable to find relief and get good sleep, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional. There may be something else going on.

The first thing you should do is rule out physical health issues. Once this is out of the way, it is time to consider that you may need help with your mental health. If you feel that you could benefit from this type of support, you can elect to try psychotherapy.

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There are multiple options for psychotherapy, including online services. The licensed therapists at BetterHelp are qualified and able to help you with this type of therapy, and may also be able to help you come up with better sleeping strategies. In 2019, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study that explains how shift workers were able to get relief from their insomnia and other sleep issues, by using online therapy options. The perception that online therapy is more anonymous than in-person therapy is thought to be a big part of this.

You may also opt for in-person therapy, where a therapist may begin a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach to your treatment if this is something that is applicable. There are other types of therapies that they may use as well, based on the circumstances.

Overview

If you are having trouble sleeping at night, there are multiple ways that you may be able to change this. It isn’t something that you simply have to live with. When you make sure that physical ailments are ruled out, it is then important to make sure that your mental health is positive.

Additionally, there are small changes you can make in your routine that could be able to produce the outcome you want, where you can get good sleep at night. Overall, when healthy sleep is considered a priority, it can be adequately addressed. Keep this in mind, and be patient with yourself. It may take a long time to be able to sleep soundly every night.

It might be a work in progress for you for quite a long time, but this is something that is to be expected, in some cases. Many things are going on from day to day and plenty of distractions between stuff like video games, social media sites, and distracting apps on your smartphone. Consider how much you are using these things if you become frustrated that you are not getting enough sleep, and start to monitor all of your habits. Seek out the help you need when you need it.


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