Sleep (Poor sleep/Insomnia)

Learn about popular natural & medical treatments for poor sleep.

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Sleep (Poor sleep/Insomnia) News

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When we turn out the lights, we don’t necessarily think about the type of sleep we’ll get that night — nor do we think about our sleep cycles very much. But just because we don’t consciously think about them, doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

Our bodies move through several sleep cycles each night that last anywhere from several minutes to several hours. In fact, we go through five sleep cycles in total each night. Stages one and two are light sleep, stages three through four are deep sleep, and stage five is called REM — or rapid eye movement — which is the restorative sleep that everyone needs to function throughout the day. 

Quality Vs. Quantity

Most doctors recommend getting around eight hours of shut-eye each night. Depending on your personal sleep needs, that number might be higher or lower. Teenagers need more sleep — and their sleep cycles start later. That’s why your teen might be inclined to go to sleep between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. and not want to wake up until later in the morning.

Our bodies generally tell us when they want to sleep and for how long. Yet, we don’t always listen to them. Overcaffination, overstimulation, poor eating habits, and environmental factors can all lead to poor sleep and prevention of entering those deep sleep stages.

Causes of Sleep Disorders

Our modern lives aren’t necessarily conducive to good sleep patterns. Some of the top causes of sleep disorders (including insomnia) include:

  • Too much caffeine
  • Stress
  • Strenuous activity late in the day
  • Overstimulation late in the day 
  • Seasonal changes
  • Not sleeping when tired/trying to sleep when not tired
  • Waking up too early or too late
  • Failing to pay attention to your body’s sleep and wake cycles
  • Depression
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Acid reflux/heartburn
  • Environmental distractions 
  • Sleep apnea

To add insult to injury, sleep disorders can cause other problems in the body. It can lead to more anxiety, more depression, and more chronic pain. It’s a catch 22. Luckily, there are ways you can prevent sleep disorders and heal your body.

How to Prevent Sleep Disorders

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to ensure you can get a few extra minutes of shut-eye each night. The best ways to get a good night’s sleep include:

  • Stay hydrated during the day (but don’t drink too much water before bed)
  • Go to bed at the same time each night (your body will wake up at the same time each morning)
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room
  • Reduce stress and anxiety through meditation, mindfulness practices, and talk therapy
  • Schedule an annual appointment with your primary care provider
  • Eat foods that support your hormones
  • Listen to your body by sleeping when you feel tired (yes, that includes naps!)
  • Get plenty of exercise each day
  • Take vitamins and supplements to support your overall health
  • Avoid drinking too much caffeine (especially late in the day)
  • Avoid exercising too late in the day
  • Try to relax a few hours before bed; avoid hot conversation topics, reading the news, or watching violent movies
  • Turn off your electric devices a few hours before bed
  • Dim the lights about an hour before bed
  • Use a white noise machine to help block out disturbances
  • Turn down the thermostat or purchase a cooling 

Medical Treatments for Sleep Disorders

It’s challenging to get a good night’s sleep if you’re constantly anxious and worried that you won’t fall asleep. Just some of the treatments that can take the edge off and help you get a better night’s sleep  include:

  • Prescription sleep medications
  • CBD oil
  • Acupuncture
  • Counseling/talk therapy
  • Meditation and mindfulness health apps
  • Massage therapy
  • Antidepressants like Prozac
  • Antacid medicine
  • Sleep apnea machines or devices

We also recommend getting a fitness band that can help track your sleep habits throughout the night. You’ll be able to see all your sleep data in the morning and talk to your doctor about possible lifestyle or environment changes that will help you get the best quality sleep possible.