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How to Say “Good Night” to Insomnia

Here are some alarming statistics that may keep you up at night…

35% of American adults and 69% of high school students don’t get adequate sleep. It’s estimated that as many as 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping and the problem is progressively getting worse with the proliferation of gadgets and bad habits.

Another unsettling fact is that sleep problems increase your risk of developing psychiatric disorders. People who suffer from insomnia are four times more likely to develop major depression compared to those with healthy sleeping patterns. Sleep problems lead to anxiety disorders over 25% of the time and depression over 67% of the time.

Skimping on sleep can affect your health in more ways than you might imagine. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night has been associated with lower overall brain activity, which affects productivity, physical safety, and maintaining a healthy weight. When you miss out on sleep, your brain pays the price.

Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling and staying asleep and is linked to concentration and memory issues, excessive tiredness, irritability, stress and other health risks.

Insomnia can be caused by:

• Environmental factors (light, noise, temperature, etc.)
• Stress (home, work, school, etc.)
• Emotional distress (financial, occupational, familial, etc.)
• Physical discomfort (Restless Legs Syndrome, chronic pain, etc.)
• Medications
• Irregular sleep schedule (shift work, jet lag, etc.)

If you are tired of being tired, here are ten practical ways you can prevent the harmful effects of insomnia:

Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule

Regardless of how much sleep you got the night before, go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning—even on weekends.

Create a Restful Environment

Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Adjust the temperature so that your room isn’t too hot or cold. Also, keep your room as dark as possible while sleeping.

Don’t Take Naps

Taking naps is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you experience insomnia. Daytime naps will disrupt your nighttime sleep cycle.

Use Sound Therapy

Soothing nature sounds, soft music, wind chimes, white noise makers or even a fan can induce a peaceful mood and lull you to sleep.

Technology-Free Bedroom

Remove all electronics from your bedroom and turn off all devices an hour before bedtime to allow enough time for your brain to unwind. Create a relaxing environment, free from the distractions of the outside world.

Don’t Eat Before Bedtime

Food is fuel, so don’t eat for at least two hours before going to bed. Late night snacking is unhealthy and prepares your body to stay up rather than shut down for the night.

Get Regular Exercise

This is very beneficial for insomnia. However, don’t exercise within four hours of the time you go to bed—vigorous exercise late in the evening may energize you and keep you awake.

Beware of Stimulants

Don’t drink any caffeinated beverages and avoid chocolate, nicotine, and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.

Move Your Clock

If you wake up in the middle of the night, refrain from looking at the clock. Checking the time can make you feel anxious, which will only make it harder to go back to sleep.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Though often associated with cleanliness, hygiene also applies to behavioral practices designed to sustain optimal health. Sleep hygiene is extremely important for a person’s brain health, physical health, and overall well-being. Follow these proven strategies to improve your sleep hygiene.

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or if you’re not feeling refreshed after sleeping, Amen Clinics can help. Our goal is to help you achieve and maintain peaceful sleep without the use of sleeping pills or sedatives. One of the best ways we can improve the quality of your sleep is with brain SPECT imaging.

SPECT can specifically help people with insomnia or sleep disorders by:

• Discovering if there are co-occurring or underlying conditions that need treatment
• Identifying areas of low activity and blood flow
• Helping patients gain a better understanding of their brain through visuals
• Determining if existing treatments are working properly

Insomnia is hazardous to your health. We can help improve the quality of your sleep. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.

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COMMENTS

  1. Sonja Boyce says:

    You did not mention “age related” insomnia which is a significant and the reason “older” people need to nap in order to function.

  2. Terry Kopish says:

    I wonder if there’s been any research on the effects of cortisol increasing blood pressure, especially due to prolonged stress. Thanks

  3. H M Turner says:

    Is there help for REM sleep disorder? The nightmares are awful and regular…

  4. Cindy says:

    I’ve battled insomnia for over 10 years. Just beginning to have more quality sleep. Previously Drs prescribed antidepressant Meds. Often I did not feel rested even though I did sleep well. What’s your opinion in re: to antidepressant Meds used as sleep enhancers?

  5. PAM SIMKINS says:

    I had a head injury 3 months ago when I fell from a ladder and broke my back as well as hit my head on a concrete floor. I am now experiencing chronic hypnic jerks. In and hour I usually experience approximately 30 episodes of violent jerking in my head just as I begin to fall asleep. I’ve been to a neurologist who said I had restless leg syndrome, a chiropractor, as well as my family doctor. No one is aware of why I’m having this problem. Have you seen anything like this in your head trauma patients? I don’t know what to do!

    • JoJo says:

      Watch those chiropractors, I had one paralyze me from the waist down for about 1-2 very long minutes, at 25 years old after a middle back adjustment. I won’t go ever again. I was screaming that I cannot feel my legs. It was a very scary experience.

  6. JoJo says:

    I’ve been an insomniac since around 9 years old. Recently I was gifted an iWatch. My two sleep analysis apps both show that I get zero REM sleep, and show I am “awake” which means moving around in my sleep, and it’s almost 75% of my sleep. I think my insomnia was caused by anxiety from physical abuse as a child. I wonder if that can cause it because I think it did along with my thoughts that my OCD was also learned behavior from abuse. I was an alcoholic by 13 and smoking a pack a day; also marijuana since 14. I had a fall on my head off my changing table as a baby but since my mother was one of the sources of abuse; and a liar, I can’t confirm that. I did have a tree fall on my head 8 year s ago. I’m losing my already bad memory very fast now at 45. It’s too bad I can’t afford this medical facility. Both my daughter and I could really use the help offered; besides it certainly can’t make us worse. Maybe if I ever get my disability! Also, I have to wonder if my DDD and back conditions play a part in my brain function. My sciatic nerve had been compressed since I am 17 and in various parts of my spine. It’s “maddening” pain. I abuse Advil because of it. From looking at all the brain scans I am diagnosed with, it appears that there would never be a “full” recovery from my 45 years of screwing up my head.

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