Insomnia affects nearly one out of every four Americans. Losing a night of sleep can have a significant impact on a person’s health, mood, and functionality — and the consequences compound for people who struggle with insomnia frequently.
If you have many restless nights, Dr. Lynne Ahn, a board-certified gastroenterologist, shares some of her most useful suggestions for overcoming insomnia so that you can get six to eight hours of quality sleep:
Watch Your Caffeine Intake: Coffee may help you to overcome morning drowsiness, but it can also keep you up at night if you don’t stop drinking it by a reasonable hour. It can take caffeine up to 10 hours to leave your bloodstream, so adjust your habits accordingly. Dr. Ahn recommends drinking caffeinated beverages in the morning hours only, and drinking herbal teas, seltzers, or decaffeinated beverages in the afternoon if you desire.
Exercise: Studies find that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day dramatically reduces rates of insomnia by helping you to fall asleep quicker and stay in “deep” sleep for longer.
Sleep in a Dark Room: Light delays production of melatonin, a hormone that helps your body to fall asleep. Blackout curtains can help to prevent sunlight from entering your room in the early morning.
Avoid Screens: Don’t forget that blue light is also emitted from screens, delaying melatonin production. Keep all screens — your phone, TV, computer — out of your bedroom to maintain darkness.
Avoid Alcohol at Night: Although it is true that drinking booze at night helps you to fall asleep quicker, alcohol is known to disrupt your sleep cycle, meaning you are more likely to wake up frequently and get less hours of quality sleep.
Manage Your Stress: Anxiety can plague your mind at night, making it difficult to fall asleep. By taking time to relieve stress during the day, you can reduce your likelihood of tossing and turning.
Skip Naps: You may be tempted to get sleep whenever you can, but daytime naps can make it much harder to fall asleep at night when you are most likely to achieve deep sleep.
If Your Insomnia Persists, Help Is Available
While these tips are helpful to many, improving your sleep habits is not guaranteed to resolve insomnia. That is why Dr. Ahn is happy to work with patients struggling with this issue. After assessing your quality of sleep and your medical history, she may recommend medication, supplements, or certain sleep appliances to ensure you get a full night of sleep. To develop a customized treatment plan with Dr. Ahn in Wellesley, please call Ahn Point Wellness at (781) 237-1600.