Have you had trouble falling asleep lately? Or perhaps you fall asleep rather easily, only to wake up again an hour or two later. There are many possible reasons why you may be struggling to sleep, and they do not all require medical treatment. To get to the bottom of the issue and hopefully achieve better sleep, follow these four steps.
1. Eliminate Caffeine
You may think you need it to "wake up" in the morning after a not-so-restful night. But caffeine might be the very thing keeping you awake at night. Although it should be mostly out of your system within a few hours, it affects some people more seriously than others. Even a cup in the morning could keep you from falling asleep later. Switch to decaf or herbal tea.
2. Clean Up Your Sleep Hygiene
Poor sleep hygiene disrupts so many people's quality of sleep. Stop looking at screens at least an hour before you go to bed. The light can interrupt your body's natural clock, keeping you from drifting off. Also, turn the temperature down to around 65 degrees F, as this is the temperature most people sleep best at. Dress in loose, comfortable clothing, make sure you have a pillow you love, and play some soothing music or nature sounds to help you drift off.
3. Schedule Your Bedtime
If you start going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, your body will come to expect falling asleep at your bedtime. Setting a bedtime may be tough at first. You may have to forgo some activities in the evening or work a little harder in the daytime to get things done early. Make sure you stick to your bedtime on the weekends, too. Most people have an easier time falling asleep within a week or two of setting a specific bedtime.
4. See Your Family Doctor
If you try all three of the steps above and are still having trouble sleeping, pay a visit to your family doctor. They may do bloodwork and run a few other tests to see whether hormonal disruptions are contributing to your sleep problems. You may also be referred to a sleep clinic for further observation and testing. Rest assured that there are many safe, effective medications that your doctor can prescribe to aid with sleep. You may only need to take them for a little while to get your body back into a natural rhythm. If you are looking for a quality family doctor, talk to one in your area such as Harvey Harold E II MD PLLC.