Sleep Basics

What can help me fall asleep at night?

A Answers (4)

  • A , Family Medicine, answered
    For the occasional sleepless night, go ahead and use a sleep medicine if you'd like, either prescription or over-the-counter.  But if you're taking a sedative every night and stimulants every morning, recognize the habits that are aggravating your chronic insomnia and make some healthy changes.
    Here are a few ideas that might help you get to sleep at night:
    • Start your day with exercise. Even a quick 15 minutes of brisk walking will release adrenaline and help decrease your need for caffeine. Did you know exercising 30 minutes daily yields the same amount of mood enhancement as a low dose of an antidepressant? (Don't exercise just before bed, though, because that adrenaline release will keep you up!)
    • Create a bedtime routine. If you have children, you know how important this is, and it works for adults as well. Take a warm bath or shower, appeal to your senses with relaxing aromatic bath soaps or gels, and then go to bed. This means no stopping to unload the dishwasher, fold clothes, check e-mail, or watch television. If you want to read or watch TV, do it before your shower. Get in bed, close your eyes, and consider some form of relaxing breathing or meditation.
    • Cover your alarm clock. Check it three times before you cover it if you need to, but if it's covered, you'll break that habit of waking up at exactly 2:17 a.m. each night. Yes, you might still wake up, but if you're not seeing the clock, it's easier for your brain to go back to sleep because you're not gearing up all the emotions that come with seeing that dreaded early morning time.
    • Consider an underlying medical issue. Medical causes of chronic insomnia include  underlying issues such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, thyroid disease, anemia, or depression. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss it.

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  • A answered
    PJs on? Check. Teeth brushed? Yep. Curled up in bed? Oh, yeah. But what about sleeping tips when falling asleep or staying asleep is a real challenge? Answer: Consult YOU: Staying Young, the live-longer book by RealAge experts Mehmet Oz, MD, and Michael Roizen, MD. They have three clever sleeping tips for alleviating some of the most common slumber stealers and ways to fall asleep fast.
    • Don't fight it. Tossing and turning works for salads, not sleep problems. If you can't get to sleep within 15 minutes, get out of bed and do some light activity, like a yoga pose or a short walk. Getting your mind off sleep resets and reboots your system. Then, once back in bed, fall asleep fast to some soft music or meditation.
    • Use the night. Dim your lights several hours before bed to avoid the stimulation caused by artificial-light pollution -- that stuff that emanates all around us thanks to TVs, computers and indoor lighting.
    • Treat your nose. Allergies can prevent and disrupt sleep, thanks to all the congestion they cause. Consider over-the-counter nasal strips or a nasal saline or antihistamine spray for a stuffy or runny nose to fall asleep fast.
  • A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    The inability to fall or stay asleep can take a serious emotional toll and wreak havoc on your overall health. Here are 4 easy-to-follow tips:

    • Tip #1: Place a Dinner Curfew: No Eating 2 Hours Before Bedtime Eat dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime since a late meal will keep your body busy digesting, making it harder to fall asleep. Also, avoid highly acidic and processed foods that can lead to indigestion or reflux and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
    • Tip #2: Limit Time Spent on Your Cell Phone Electromagnetic radiation from cell phones has been shown to make it harder to enter a deep sleep. Try using a landline in the bedroom if you like to talk to friends or family before you fall asleep, and also keep the phone at least 5 feet away from your bed.
    • Tip #3: Turn Down the Temperature and Put on Socks A cool environment will help you sleep better, so turn down the thermostat to about 68 degrees. Also wear socks to bed, which will trick your body into thinking it's hot, which forces your body's core temperature to go down so you can sleep better.
    • Tip #4: Soak in a Salt and Soda Bath A hot bath reduces muscle tension to help you sleep better. To create the perfect sleep-inducing bath, add 1 cup of Epsom salts, rich in muscle-soothing magnesium, and 1 cup of baking soda, which has alkaline-balancing effects to soothe the skin.

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  • Falling asleep at night can be a problem for some, especially during high stress days.

    A warm bath or shower before bed is awesome. As stated previously the relaxation of muscles can really destress the mind as the whole body gets warm and prepared for rest. 

    Secondly, listening to music with natural sounds from nature such as classical music set to waves, birds, rain, or streams flowing have a very soothing effect on the brain. 

    Thirdly, try breathing exercises where each breath is brought in slow, held for a few moments and then slowing exhaled out. 

    Lastly, try setting a time limit to the computer before bed as this also adds to the brain being unable to shut down before bed. Instead read a novel or fun type of book for the entertainment of it. Try and stay clear of books related to work or bills and other topics that will be there in the morning which may cause you stress. Give your body and mind the opportunity to relax. You will be better prepared the next day to handle the stresses that fight to keep you awake if you allow yourself the chance to shut everything down and give yourself a break. After all you probably deserve it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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