Sleep is meant to recharge your batteries so that you’re fully energized and prepared to take on life’s daily challenges. Unfortunately, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), almost half of us report having insomnia issues, either intermittently or permanently.
Insomnia is a catch-call word that has come to have the meaning of “can’t fall asleep” and/or “can’t stay asleep.”
What causes insomnia? For most of us, our life-styles and “get ahead and/or survive at any cost” attitudes work against our nighttime rejuvenation. Work and stress stemming from work (and life pursuits) often cause us difficulty in getting the proper rest we need. Maybe we should all take a cue from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who told the Green Bay fans, “R-E-L-A-X,” when things didn’t appear to be going right.
Easier said than done, right? However, we can take small, everyday steps to aid in our getting a good night’s sleep. This is what is commonly referred to as good sleep hygiene, like thoroughly washing your hands after going to the bathroom but these are steps you take in advance of going to bed.
For instance, turn off the television and all electronic devices well before hitting the sack. Instead, try reading a book or listening to soothing music. Don’t bring your work home with you either; finish what you have to do in the office or out in the field and forget obligations for payday at night.
Don’t eat, drink or smoke close to bedtime either. Some small snacks containing tryptophan may help, but avoid large meals, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine at least four hours before hitting the hay.
Remember, our bodies haven’t changed since caveman days, so it takes total darkness to trigger our circadian rhythm and its production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Modern conveniences and 24/7 electricity are sometimes our worst enemies when it comes to insomnia.
If, after trying your best at good sleep hygiene, you still have problems sleeping, then it’s time to seek out professional help. You may have a sleep disorder that can be easily treated through painless, non-invasive office procedures. Remember, good sleep leads to even better daytimes.