Sleep. It is such a natural thing. Then why do so many have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? 70 million American suffer from insomnia, so you are not alone.
While there are many reasons someone might have trouble sleeping, depression and anxiety are two of the most common. Perhaps you have not considered those as possibilities.
Below are some signs your sleep problems might be related to depression or anxiety:
- Trouble falling asleep because you cannot "turn off your brain."
- Waking up much earlier than intended, followed by trouble getting back to sleep.
- Feeling tired and sluggish all day long.
- Loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy.
- Waking up at night with a racing heart and difficulty breathing that passes within 10-15 minutes. You might even think you are having a heart attack.
- Difficulty concentrating during the day.
- Having lots of nervous energy.
- Sleeping much more than usual; not wanting to get out of bed.
- Missing work/school/important functions in your life because you are sleeping or too tired to attend.
- Relying on alcohol or sleeping pills to get to sleep.
Top 10 things you can do tonight to improve your sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up each day at the same time, including on weekends.
- Create a relaxing daily routine to signal your transition from wakefulness to sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Declare your bedroom off limits to everything but sleeping and sex.
- Do not eat within two hours of going to bed.
- Exercise regularly, but finish at least two hours before bed.
- Avoid caffeine (colas, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.) within three hours of bedtime. It's best to avoid caffeine altogether.
- Avoid nicotine close to bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It leads to waking up in the middle of the night.
For more information, visit the National Sleep Foundation on the Web.