Insomnia tips… do any of them really work?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, close to 60% of American adults complain of insomnia. The number jumps to more than 66% among women and the elderly. We are clearly a sleep-deprived nation. If you have occasional bouts of sleeplessness, there are many tips to follow… but do they really work? Over the next week, I will discuss some of these tips and how they may impact your quality of sleep, and ultimately your quality of life.
Tip #1 – Cut back on alcohol
A study in Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine reports that alcohol is probably the substance used most often for sleep. I was kind of surprised when I first read this. But given the fact that alcohol is a main ingredient in many over-the-counter cold medications, I should have guessed this. The trouble is that when you fall asleep under the influence, both the quantity and quality of your sleep are adversely affected. Even small to moderate intakes of alcohol can suppress melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep), interfere with sleep cycles, and prevent dreaming.
If you like to have that glass of wine with dinner (it is good for your health in moderation!), it is hard to think about totally cutting alcohol out of your life. But you should really think twice if you are just using alcohol to get to sleep. You may “pass out” when your head hits the pillow, but you are surely going to awake in the middle of the night as the alcohol is metabolized and your body basically goes through withdrawal effects from the alcohol clearing. So, as you always hear, drink in moderation… for you health and your sleep. Drink earlier in the evening and then switch to water later in the night when it is closer to bedtime. And the extra water will help maintain hydration, which is important for your health as well!