Are you one of the millions of Americans who aren’t getting your sleep each night?
Sleep problems are a very common issue in America, with studies showing that an estimated 50-70 million adults report getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. Some of the most common sleep problems reported include:
- Insomnia: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up too early
- Sleep apnea: a condition in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep, leading to poor quality sleep
- Restless leg syndrome: an uncontrollable urge to move the legs during periods of inactivity, which can disrupt sleep
- Narcolepsy: a condition in which a person experiences excessive daytime sleepiness and may fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly
- Shift work sleep disorder: a condition in which people who work irregular or overnight shifts have difficulty sleeping during the day and staying awake at night.
There are several additional factors including stress, screen time, medical conditions, medications and overall poor sleep habits.
In addition, some studies have suggested that the production of melatonin may be disrupted in people with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis due to damaged areas of the brain involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. This can result in problems with falling asleep, staying asleep, and feeling rested upon waking.
Furthermore, medications commonly used to treat MS and other ailments such as corticosteroids, may also affect the production and regulation of melatonin, further contributing to sleep problems..
If you are experiencing sleep problems, there are several strategies that may help, such as establishing a regular sleep routine, practicing good sleep hygiene, and seeking professional help if your sleep problems persist.
Setting up an evening routine isn’t just for small children, we all need one. Sleep is like setting up any other schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, with a top end goal of eight hours of sleep per night.
Impossible you say? Here are some ways to help.
- Cut out the caffeine after lunch. Caffeine is a stimulant that blocks a receptor in your body from processing the sleepy signal. It can take caffeine up to 12 hours to fully leave your body. Ditching the afternoon java, soda or black tea can help your evening routine.
- The Screens. TV, Phone, Laptop, Tablet. We are constantly exposed to blue light from our electronics, and it’s been proven to slow or even prevent the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. If you enjoy reading before bed, use an actual book made from paper.
- Evening wind-down. Take a few minutes to reflect on your day. Always end on a positive note as this will help you sleep. Whatever is running through your mind will be what is focused on while you sleep.
- Sleep aids. According to the CDC, almost 9 million American adults take prescription sleep aids. Some are mixing with over the counter sleep aids. It is important to use sleep medication only under the guidance of a healthcare provider and to be aware of the potential risks and side effects associated with their use. Some sleep medications can be habit-forming or have other negative effects, and may not address the underlying causes of sleep problems. Therefore, it is always recommended to try non-medication approaches first, and discuss the use of medication with your healthcare provider if necessary.
Take one step towards better sleep today, your future self will thank you!
Wendy Bjork, founder of HeartsofWellness.com/you is a pioneer in advocacy and mentorship. Wendy is leading a global revolution of women walking in purpose and peace as she illumines their path ahead with the light of HOPE: Harmony, Options, Peace & Empowerment.
She empowers women to step into their boldness, stand in their resilience and own their Truth. Through Wendy’s guidance, they are finally seen, heard and understood.
Wendy has authored two books and co-authored a third, “Fired Up!,” a #1 International bestseller. She is a regular contributor on the PriceofBusiness.com digital platforms and to the National MS Society’s Momentum Magazine. She is regularly invited on discussions, podcasts, interviews as she shares her story and hope to inspire others.
Follow Wendy: wendy.sololink.me