Each year, approximately 1 in 3 Americans suffer from insomnia. If you’ve ever been one of them, you know that insomnia can compromise your ability to concentrate, disturb your mood and degrade your general sense of well-being during the day. But you may not be aware that insomnia can lead to more serious health issues such as increased risk of developing high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. So getting a good night’s sleep is a top health priority!
Faced with the frustration of inexplicable sleeplessness, many patients turn to over-the-counter or prescription sleep medications. These can be effective for short-term use but frequently lead to undesirable side effects such as daytime sleepiness, dry mouth and in some cases, even psychological or physical dependence.The first step in managing insomnia is to look for signs of treatable causes (e.g. medical conditions like hyperthyroidism), but this search often turns up empty. In truth, with most cases of insomnia, no specific cause can be identified.
A much better approach is to use behavior therapy, which has been proven to produce long-lasting benefits without appreciable side effects.
Here are the basics of good sleep habits:
- Limit or Eliminate Stimulants
- Exercise Daily
- Avoid Large Meals Before Bed
- Maintain a Sleep Schedule
- Keep Your Bedroom Calm