Getting A Good Night's Sleep
The trend in industrialized nations over the last hundred years suggests that people are increasingly sleep deprived. In the busy world of today, we need to remember that sleep is as important as diet and exercise. In order to charge through your day, you need to recharge at night.
Why is Sleep Important?
Sleep is a building, healing and rejuvenating time essential for the normal, healthy functioning of the human body. Sleep affects our physical and mental health and our immune system's ability to fight disease or endure sickness. Sleep is also related to many health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Sleep enhances alertness, energy, mood, memory, reaction time, productivity, performance, communication skills, safety, and longevity. Most adults need the proverbial 8 hours of “good” uninterrupted sleep every night! Children, even teens, should get 9 or more hours a night.
Why Can't I Sleep?
Regular daily exercise and a routine bedtime are one recommendation to keep you on track. There are many factors that can affect your quality of sleep regardless of your efforts to get to bed on time and fall to sleep once you're there.
Your Sleeping Environment
For some people, it's all about where they are sleeping. Quick fixes could include purchasing a new bed, installing blackout window coverings, ensuring your room is calm, cool and quiet. Even listening to soothing music or background noise such as the ocean can help you to relax and drift off.
Changes occurring in your life such as a new baby or moving are disruptive, but often temporary. If you work shifts or travel frequently your body could be having trouble adjusting. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine can make falling asleep difficult.
Drug Side Effects
Medications can make it difficult to sleep. A few examples: antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, decongestants and muscle relaxants.
Conditions such as asthma or allergies, chronic pain, stress, anxiety, or depression can keep you from getting a good sleep. And even the medications to treat these problems can hamper your efforts to get a good night's sleep. You may find that a warm bath and reading a book before bed is relaxing enough to ease your body and take your mind off your day.
There are over 70 sleep disorders! Some of the more common include insomnia, narcolepsy, parasomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea.