The Good Night Guide to Recognizing and Treating Insomnia
As many as 40 million Americans experience insomnia every year. Are you one of them? Sleep loss has become something of an epidemic in the US.
Millions of us toss and turn each night, unable to fall or stay asleep as our mind races in every which direction.
For some, this trouble sleeping may be insomnia. Insomnia is marked by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good-quality sleep. With insomnia, these sleeping issues get in the way of living your life. Short-term insomnia lasts a few days or weeks, while chronic insomnia occurs three or more nights a week and lasts more than three months. As many as 40 million Americans experience insomnia every year, and more than 57 percent of older adults report a decline in their quality of life and overall health due to insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Are you one of them?
If you think you have insomnia, check in with your doctor to get a better handle on what is going on with your sleep.
Keep a sleep diary before your appointment. Jot down what happens (or doesn’t happen) when your head hits the pillow at night for a few weeks and share this information with your doctor. Include what you ate or drank before bed and how recently you exercised or engaged in any stressful activities like paying bills. This information will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
If you are experiencing insomnia, many prescription medications are available to help you get more zzzs. These medications do confer their share of risks and side effects. Some may be habit-forming, and others have been linked to unintentional activities while asleep such as walking, eating, or driving.
Over-the-counter products that contain antihistamines are often sold as sleep aids, and while they may help, they also may not be the best treatment for your insomnia.
Supplements that include melatonin are widely touted for sleep problems, but melatonin is not necessarily an effective treatment for insomnia.
Your doctor will help guide you toward the treatments best suited to your situation.
There are natural, risk-free ways to help treat insomnia, including:
Practicing good sleep hygiene
This includes using your bedroom for sex and sleep only. Keep it quiet and cool and power down your devices before bed as blue light from devices can disrupt your all-important sleep-wake cycle.
Set and stick to strict bed and wake times – even on weekends, and make sure not to consume caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol too close to your bedtime. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and will keep you awake. Alcohol may make it easier for you to fall asleep but makes it harder to stay that way. Exercise can help you get better-quality sleep, but not if it’s done too close to bedtime. A good rule of thumb is to exercise daily and finish eating and drinking two to three hours before bed.
Turning stress down
Stress makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Find something that helps you relax before bedtime such as sipping herbal tea, taking a bath, or reading a novel instead of binging a suspenseful or supernatural series on Netflix, paying bills, or even checking social media and risking FOMO (fear of missing out).
Give Force of Nature’s roll-on topical natural sleep aid Sleep Well a try. Sleep Well comprises a blend of organic Valerian, Kava, and Lavender, all of which work together to help you wind down and relax before bed, so you wake feeling refreshed and relaxed.
National Sleep Foundation. “Do I Have Insomnia?” Available at: https://www.thensf.org/do-i-have-insomnia/