having trouble sleeping? here’s what you can do

February 22, 2021

Insomnia and other sleep disorders disrupt more than 40 million Americans’ sleep habits each year. But finding the right relaxation technique can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

How Relaxation Combats Sleeplessness

Common causes of sleeplessness include mental health disorders, anxiety, depression, alcohol and caffeine use, and certain medications. It may also be caused by physical conditions like:

  • Acid reflux
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Hormonal changes

However, stress is one of the leading causes of insomnia and can have long-term effects on your physical and mental health. That’s why relaxation is a crucial part of falling asleep. There are four components:

  1. Environment: A quiet space doesn’t have to be silent, but it should be free of disruptive or jarring sounds.
  2. Attention: Center your mind by concentrating on a word, phrase, mental image, or breathing technique.
  3. Attitude: Your mind is still likely to wander even while you’re unwinding. Accepting that without becoming frustrated will help you relax.
  4. Position: Whether you’re lounging on the couch or lying in bed, getting into a comfortable position is a sure way to kickstart relaxation.

Techniques to Promote a Good Night’s Sleep

Meals and drinking: It’s best not to eat large meals before bed. Don’t consume any caffeine or alcohol at least four hours before you go to sleep.

Maintain a sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help your body regulate its sleep-wake cycle.

Prep for sleep: Give yourself at least 30 minutes to unwind before bed. Quiet activities like reading, taking a bath, or stretching will get you in a calm mindset.

Create a sleep-friendly environment: Dim the lights, close the curtains and turn down the thermostat as all these things promote better sleep.

Reduce screen time: That includes phones, laptops, tablets, and televisions. Exposure to blue light stimulates your brain and disrupts the production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

Try controlled breathing: This technique is great for beginners looking for a simple way to unwind. Breath in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth as you count each breath. Or practice the 4-7-8 rule: inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds.

Mindfulness: There are countless ways to practice mindfulness, including yoga, guided meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and imagery techniques. The goal is to control your breathing and focus your mind on the present moment to reduce stress and anxiety. Teaching yourself to be present allows you to check your worries at the door before you fall asleep.

At Embassy Healthcare, we strive to ensure each resident gets the sleep they need as a part of our comprehensive care approach. Contact us to learn more about our clinical services.