Sleep is critical for health, but some have trouble falling asleep.
As many as 164 million Americans report that they have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, or over half of our country’s population. Americans spent $41 billion dollars last year on sleep aids in 2015, a number that is expected to jump to $52 billion by 2020. The CDC estimates that 9 million Americans take sleeping pills.
In short, many of us are having a hard time getting to sleep.
There is no question that sleeping problems are prevalent, but the natural question to follow is, why? There are range of theories about this. Many Americans work more than 60 hours a week––which naturally leads to more stress, which can affect sleep. Many experts speculate that the wide range of electronic devices that suck our attention, such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and good old fashioned television, are partly responsible for our inability to relax or fall asleep. For others, factors such as prescription drugs, or overuse of caffeine, or certain poor lifestyle habits are to blame.
Likely, there is no single answer as to why we all sleep so poorly. What we do know is that there are health implications to regularly getting a poor night’s sleep.
Getting good quality sleep is crucial to health; being deprived of this can influence our stress levels, immunity and other factors in a negative way. Simply put, if we are to maintain proper, vibrant health, getting a good night’s sleep is important.
For many, the problem ultimately leads to the use of pharmaceutical sleep aides, which come with their own share of side effects, including next-day fatigue, and for some, sleep walking. Many of these also come with the danger of developing dependency or accidentally overdosing.
Sleeping is important, but in the best case scenario, trying to get a good night’s sleep should not come with the risk of death. For some though, ultimately prescription sleep aides might be the answer, particularly if we are to commit to getting a good night’s sleep. If, however, you would like to try something more natural, there some things you should certainly try before resulting to sleeping pills.
Where You Sleep Is Important
Research shows that sleeping in a completely dark and cool room can assist in one achieving a good night’s sleep. Even small lights can be a distraction, so try removing any and all light from the room you sleep in. Some people prefer the noise of a fan, or a white noise generator, which may be a good thing to experiment with. Making sure your mattress, pillows, and bedding material are all comfortable should be a priority, too.
Ditch the Gadgets
Most backlit screens emit light on the blue end of the spectrum, which is thought to prohibit proper levels of melatonin––the hormone which is responsible for helping us get to sleep––from being produced. Even though some devices have a night time function that eliminates the blue light emitted from the screen, the stimulation to the brain these gadgets provide can still prohibit some people from getting to a place where they can easily fall asleep. Try turning off your phone, laptop, or television at least an hour before sleeping.
Do You Drink Caffeine?
This should go without saying, but if you are drinking too much caffeine throughout the day, caffeine can certainly influence your ability to go to sleep. For those on the Kaufmann Diet, you are likely giving up caffeine all together, at least in the short term. For those not on the diet, it might be beneficial limit caffeine consumption to before lunchtime during the day, or try eliminating it completely for a period of time.
How Is Your Diet?
Diet plays a role in numerous aspects of our health, many of which we likely do not even realize. If you are having trouble sleeping, it may be beneficial to eliminate foods like sugar. If you have not tried The Kaufmann Diet and you are having trouble getting to sleep, give it a try.
The Right Supplements
Certain supplements, though not as powerful as prescription sleep aides, can assist one in getting to sleep. Some supplements like, L tryptophan, melatonin, valerian root tea, or magnesium teas like Naturally Calm, may all give you the extra edge in slipping into a deep, restful sleep at night.
Clear Mind, Healthy Body
Many underestimate the power of the mind to influence the body, but stress can certainly play a role in sleeplessness. Mitigation of stress––whether through meditation, prayer, quiet time, or other methods of calming the mind––may play a critical role not just in your ability to sleep, but for overall health, as well.