People often complain of not being able to sleep when they come to my office. More often than not, I find habits that are less than optimal.
Many patients tend to drink caffeine throughout the day which makes it difficult for the mind to rest. Even though the body is tired, the mind does not want to rest.
I did this to myself the other day when I drank some bubble tea in the evening. I couldn’t sleep until 4am! So, stop your caffeine intake after 12 pm.
People also tend to exercise late in the day. If you are exercising 7 or 8pm at night and are trying to go to sleep at 10pm, you will find it very difficult for your body to wind down. Try to exercise right after work or in the morning. Exercise is important and will help you sleep, but timing is everything.
Don’t forget to turn off the TV! You may say that it helps you fall asleep; however, the light emitted from the screen tells your brain and mind to stay on.
In 2012 after superstorm Sandy, all the lights were out. My insomniac patients started to fall asleep at 8 or 9pm instead of 3 or 4am. Screen time also includes your phone and tablets. Turn those things off 2 hours before bedtime.
One of the biggest things that you can do when you can’t fall sleep is to get out of bed. Don’t just sit there and start thinking about stuff if you can’t fall sleep! Go to another room and read a book or listen to some light music.
Don’t work, eat, or do other activities. Repeat the process until you can fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes. This is not easy to do, but this will help you over time.
Interesting to Note:
Did you know that light that is on in your room could be getting you a step closer to Diabetes?
At the 32nd Annual Meeting of Associated Professional Sleep Societies, researchers found that healthy adults who were exposed to overhead lights had higher insulin levels in the morning.
This suggests that the use of artificial light at night could be a contributing factor to insulin resistance.
Bottom Line: Turn off the light at night including your phone and tablets!