American comedian and writer W.C. Fields once offered the advice that “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” However, as anyone who really suffers from insomnia can confirm, sometimes getting a lot of sleep is easier said than done! And the statement doesn’t just hold true for insomnia. It holds true for a host of other problems as well.
A Good Night’s Sleep? Unthinkable!
There are so many reasons why we have trouble falling asleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that during a Sleeping Smart campaign, a survey revealed that when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep, the top three reasons why people can’t do this are based on something emotional.
Mood or mental well-being came in as the number one reason that kept people from falling asleep or staying asleep, with more than 70% of the people surveyed being affected. More than 60% cited mental distractions such as attention and concentration as the second most common reason. And more than 40% of people relayed that family relationships affected their sleeping habits. (www.sleepfoundation.org)
Help for Common Sleep Problems
While emotional and mental distractions are the most frequent causes for not getting a good night’s sleep, there are some physical problems that contribute to the problem as well. Here is a short list of some of the most common problems for not being able to sleep and some suggestions on how to fix them.
- INSOMNIA – Insomnia can wreak havoc on a good night’s sleep, but emotional disturbances aren’t the only cause. Drinking beverages with caffeine too close to bedtime, smoking, and the side effects of medication are other things that cause us to suffer from insomnia as well. Some solutions are to avoid nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants before bedtime. Do not eat heavy meals late at night. Some people find success by practicing yoga an hour or so before bedtime and then using a sound machine to create a relaxing sleep environment.
- INTERNAL CLOCK – Everyone has an internal clock that creates something called a circadian rhythm inside our bodies. Have you ever noticed that despite daylight saving’s time throwing the world off by an hour, then your body feels tired at the same time? That is caused by the circadian rhythm. Two other examples of things that can throw off our internal clocks and make it difficult to sleep are jet lag and moving to a new time zone. One solution for resetting our internal clocks is to sleep in a room with blackout curtains.
- RESTLESS LEGS – Have you ever tried to share a bed with someone who jiggles their leg all night long? Unfortunately people who suffer from restless leg syndrome do not have the option of getting up and sleeping in another room to escape the problem. If you suffer from this condition, ask your doctor about nutritional supplements which contain vitamins and minerals that you can add to your daily dietary needs to help find relief. For example, some patients find that taking calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, or even folic acid calm the movements of their legs at night so that they get a better night’s sleep.
- SLEEP APNEA – Those who suffer from sleep apnea snore so loudly that, like restless leg syndrome sufferers, they often disturb those who share their bed. The worst part is, they have no idea they are waking themselves or their partner up all through the night. They just know that in the morning they are as tired as when they went to bed the night before. Losing weight, taking decongestants during allergy season, and certain types of preventative snoring products to help reduce or even eliminate snoring altogether can help solve this problem. However, as with any medical treatment nothing should be attempted without approval from your family physician.
- BACK PAIN – Sleeping on the wrong type of mattress or in the wrong position at night can cause you to wake up feeling stiff and in pain. If your mattress needs replaced and you cannot afford to pay for an expensive set, search out your local retailers as they often offer organic, eco-friendly, and pillow-top style bedding that can help ensure your good night’s sleep. You can also try consulting with a chiropractor for even more tips and advice.
- HYGIENE – Crawling into bed when you need a shower or trying to sleep on sheets that could use a good washing makes it hard to get to sleep at all. But good sleep hygiene also includes keeping your mind clear as well. Wash your bedding in hot water to eliminate dust mites. If you have no aversion to smells, use a calming scent like vanilla or lavender to help add to the clean, calming atmosphere inside your bedroom. Get a hot shower or bath and do something calming like trim your nails so that there is very little on your mind as you lie down for a good night’s sleep.
Sleep problems are common, and if you suffer from a disorder or situation that prevents you from getting enough sleep then you certainly aren’t alone. The best place for advice is from your family doctor or your local hospital’s sleep study center. They can not only make a correct diagnosis of what’s keeping you from getting enough sleep, but also help you resolve the problem.
About the Author:
As parents of young children, both freelance author Melissa Cameron and her husband Dave enjoy catching up on sleep whenever life presents an opportunity. Thanks to information they found at www.best-mattress-reviews.com they can enjoy a 15 minute nap as much as they can a full night of sleep on their new organic mattress. Whenever she isn’t writing or looking up reviews on eco-friendly products, Melissa enjoys knitting, yoga, and walking the family dog.