Sleep. For some, it’s one of the most relaxing and peaceful times of the day. However, for many – that couldn’t be farther from the truth. According to sleephealth.org – An average of 50 to 70 million Americans with varying age, gender, and socioeconomic status will suffer from sleep-related problems. This may be in part due to demanding lifestyle choices and a lack of awareness centered around the importance of sleep.
Without adequate sleep, you’re at risk of experiencing a significant decline in learning abilities, mood, reaction times, and more. For adults, sleep deprivation is getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night. Reports also show how common poor sleep is, with 25% of the ENTIRE U.S. population saying they are suffering from poor sleep 15 out of every 30 days.
Now, if you are one of those individuals – it’s suggested to consult with your licensed, healthcare provider. Sleep issues can be stemmed from any of the following disorders:
- Hyper-somnolence Disorder
- Breathing-related sleep disorders
- Circadian Rhythm sleep-wake disorders
- Non-REM sleep arousal disorders
- Nightmare disorder
- REM sleep behavior disorder
- Restless leg syndrome
- Substance/medication induced sleep disorder
It’s important to note behaviors like if you’re on your cellphone for too long, or if you’re suffering from one of the above sleep disorders. When in doubt, see your doctor! However, there’s a few solutions worth trying, depending on your reason for poor sleep. Here’s just a few:
- Change your lifestyle habits: If you’re a coffee-lover or enjoy the occasional happy hour, try avoiding caffeine and alcohol at least 3 hours before sleeping. It’s also suggested to avoid napping for over 30 minutes and maintaining a dark and cool bedroom. There’s also the classic option of listening to soothing music or taking warm baths before bed.
- Controlled breathing: Doing a set of controlled, slow breathing can significantly decrease stress in the nervous system. Breathing exercises have been well known for preparing the brain to sleep. An example would be to count your breaths.
- Inhale at a steady pace through your nose
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this inhalation/exhalation breathing by counting UP.
- Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Method: Visit: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/stress-anxiety/breathing-three-exercises/
- Meditation and Mindfulness: this practice emphasizes focusing on the present moment, while breathing at a slow, steady pace. Mindfulness and meditation has actually been found to support those who suffer from insomnia.
How to practice:
- Concentrate on steadily inhaling and exhaling at a relaxing pace.
- Become aware of your body’s position (ideally on your bed or wherever you sleep).
- Become aware of all your body’s sensations, including the bad and good. You may notice sensations from your legs and feet. Be sure your legs are in a soft position. Your goal is to stay in the moment, while taking note of your body’s sensations. Avoid judgements and reactions and letting the body relax.
Poor sleep is a frustrating and taxing feeling to experience. There’s many online resources and professionals licensed to help.
For more online resources visit: www.sleepfoundation.org