1. Recognize Sleep Deprivation – Sleep deprivation can rear it’s ugly head in several forms, and you may not even know it. Of course, there are the times you pull an all-nighter or travel through time zones, which can lead to sleep deprivation, but there are less common causes too. Partial Sleep Deprivation occurs when someone repeatedly gets insufficient sleep over several days, creating a “sleep debt.” Thirdly, people who have disrupted sleep suffer not from the quantity of sleep they are getting, but the quality. Read Dr. Blaivas’ post on sleep deprivation for more info.
2. Eat foods that promote sleep – Most of the foods we eat contain hormones that induce sleep, namely the amino acid tryptophan. This hormone occurs naturally in food, and especially foods high in carbohydrates tend to increase the levels. Foods high in protein actually decrease the level of tryptophan in the body. Therefore, when planning meals for the day, try to eat complex carbohydrates closer to evening. To read more, check out Florence Cardinal’s post here. To see more about healthy bedtime snacks click here.
3. Find a happy medium – Studies show that lack of sleep is linked to Alzheimer’s, as disrupted sleep could contribute to the disease process. In addition, a study found that people who increased sleep from seven hours to eight or more hours a night were at higher risk of developing dementia. Seven hours, rather than eight, may be the happy medium to a healthy productive life. Read more from this post.
4. Get a referral to a sleep lab for tests – It could be that you are getting poor sleep because you have an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. Not only is sleep apnea a sleep disorder, but it is also a leading cause of death from heart attacks, strokes, and even individuals thought to be healthy. If you think you might have sleep apnea, ask for a referral to a sleep lab for test. Read more here.
5. Don’t be afraid to nap – Other cultures have woven naps into daily life, and research suggests the urge to nap is a natural phenomenon. Athletes are another group unapologetically taking to naps. So, give in and get some sleep! Read more here.
6. Exercise regularly -- Exercise in the morning will help you get a good night’s sleep. If you exercise at night, it can act as a stimulant, causing sleep problems. Read more in this post.
7. Try yoga – Another way to relax and promote healthy sleep is yoga. Try this pose 15 minutes before bed to get a good night’s sleep.
8. Dispel nocturia – Nocturia mostly affects people over the age of 55, and can make restful sleep especially difficult. Nocturia is classified as having to get up to go to the bathroom four or five times during the night. Cutting back on fluids in the evening and staying away from caffeine drinks are ways to cope, but there also could be an underlying medical problem. Talk to your doctor to see if there might be a problem causing the condition. Read more in Florence Cardinal’s post here.
9. Get the right mattress for you – Though a certain mattress won’t cure sleep disorders, the wrong mattress can certainly exacerbate those problems. Finding out what kind of mattress works for you in this post.
10. Try acupuncture for insomnia – According to this Florence Cardinal post, acupuncture has a 90 percent success rate when it comes to insomnia. Acupuncture is said to work by putting pressure on certain points of the body that encourage an increase of the hormone serotonin.
Published On: January 11, 2010