Did you have trouble sleeping last night? If you didn’t, your spouse probably did. At least according to statistics that show nearly one of every two people has at least periodic sleep problems. For people 65 and older, the figure swells to over 50 percent.
Makes you wonder why there is such a problem with something as seemingly simple as sleep. There are a number of reasons actually, and one or more of them may be contributing to your situation. In this fast paced world, people lose sleep for a myriad of reasons.
Causes of Insomnia
Stress is a major culprit. The tension that results from daily worry, demanding work and hectic schedules can eat away at the body and cause real physical symptoms such as insomnia. When your emotions are twisted into a knot, it’s easy to see how it would be difficult – at best – to relax mind and body enough to doze off.
Caffeine and alcohol consumption can also cause sleeping problems. Caffeine can stay in the blood stream long after the stimulating effects wear off. It’s best to refrain from drinking any caffeinated beverages or eating foods with caffeine – such as chocolate – in the afternoon or evening hours. Alcohol should also be limited during evening hours as it can result in restless sleep.
Smoking also acts as a stimulant and can contribute to erratic sleep cycles. Some doctors believe the body begins to withdraw from nicotine soon after the last consumption. That means your body becomes restless during the night as cravings for the next smoke grow.
Medications are frequently cited in efforts to uncover the cause of a case of insomnia. If you are on medications – especially multiple treatments of varying drugs – and are having trouble sleeping, check with your doctor to see if the problem may be a side effect. It could be that your dosage or medication needs to be changed.
What You Can Do
First of all, analyze your caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and medication intake to see if there are adjustments that need to be made. Stress can also frequently be relieved by prioritizing what is really important in your daily life and letting go of as much of the rest as possible. The bottom line is to make a concerted effort to cut out those things that are damaging your overall well-being.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at specified times each day. Your body will adjust to the routine and adapt accordingly.
Get comfortable with a new bed and surroundings. Are your bedroom accommodations conducive to sleep? If you have an innerspring bed, consider upgrading to a memory foam mattress. The therapeutic qualities of memory foam improve circulation and eliminate pressure points that can lead to soreness and insomnia.
Turn off all electronics. Televisions, iPhones, computers and similar distractions can impede proper sleep. Make your bedroom an electronics free zone to encourage your body to relax and sleep.