Why and how to get a good night’s sleep

April 12, 2022 | by Siva Krishnan, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

Everyone has had those nights. You wake for some reason and end up lying awake in bed seemingly for hours before drifting off again.

Maybe your mind is racing through thoughts of all you have to do the next day. Maybe you listened to a frightening podcast or watched a horror movie before bed that is now giving you anxiety.

Regardless of the reason, there are different ways to quiet your mind and get the sleep you need.

Getting enough sleep is important for both kids and adults. Some of the things that can happen when you don’t get enough sleep include:

  • Your brain isn’t recharged. Without enough sleep, it’s harder to concentrate. You feel irritable, tired and forgetful.
  • You’re at a higher risk of heart disease. When you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, it increases your chances of stroke and heart disease.
  • It contributes to weight gain. Midnight snacks add up.
  • You’re more likely to get sick. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system.

If sleep is a nightly struggle, try these tips to improve your sleep:

  • Stick to your schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on weekends).
  • Work out every day. 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day will help you sleep at night. Just avoid working out a few hours before going to bed.
  • Hands off the caffeine after lunch. Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Relax. Wind down with a warm bath, reading or another relaxing routine.
  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep the room cool, and don’t watch TV or have a computer in your bedroom.
  • Sleep in the red spectrum. Just as exposure to blue light (from a smartphone, tablet or television screen) can keep you awake, red spectrum light can help you fall asleep. Install red spectrum lightbulbs in your bedroom.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t get to sleep, do something else, like reading or listening to music, until you feel tired.

If changes to your routine or environment don’t help, or if you feel unusually tired during the day, see a doctor. Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively. Learn more about our sleep centers or take our free, online SleepAware risk assessment.

Siva Krishnan, M.D. is a family medicine physician with Elmhurst Memorial Elmhurst Clinic. View her profile and schedule an appointment online.

We were there for that and we’re here for everything else. At Edward-Elmhurst Medical Groups, with providers in 30 specialties from pediatrics to orthopedics to internal medicine, we believe that better relationships lead to better care. Here, it’s personal. Because we take the time to get to know you. Find the perfect doctor.

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