As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, many of us had to change our daily routines. All of this uncertainty has pushed people to feel anxious, and simple things like getting the right amount of sleep can become a nightmare.
If you have insomnia, you’re not alone: about 1 in 3 healthy adults suffer from it. Insomnia can wear you out, both mentally and physically. In fact, if you are missing out on quality sleep on a regular basis, you could be setting yourself up for a variety of health issues, including weight gain, increased risk of accidents, irregular heart rhythm, and even a higher risk of diabetes and stroke.
So, what’s causing your insomnia?
We have some tips that can help you go back to a regular sleeping schedule. Read on and don’t lose any more sleep!
Common Causes of Insomnia
There's a variety of reasons why you might have insomnia and recognizing what’s causing yours is the first step. Even in the best of times, these factors are all too common, and current events have made these feelings more intense for many people.
On a positive note, many of these common causes of insomnia have simple fixes. We’ve grouped them into two categories, which can help you figure out where to go for a solution.
⦁ An illness or condition (e.g., asthma or sleep apnea) that may be interrupting your sleep
⦁ Chronic pain
⦁ Certain medications, including common medications for depression, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease
For health and medication-related issues, work with your doctor to learn if there are solutions that can help you.
⦁ Alcohol consumption
⦁ Smoking or vaping
⦁ Poor or unbalanced diet
⦁ Too much caffeine through the day
⦁ Uncontrolled stress levels
⦁ Poor sleep hygiene (not going to bed at the same time every night, having a noisy bedroom, checking your cell phone in bed, being too hot or too cold)
If you believe your lifestyle or your environment could be to blame for your insomnia, keep reading to learn what to do to get back to sleep.
Getting Back to Sleep
Before you go to bed tonight, try at least one or two of these tips. They’re all great additions to a healthy lifestyle!
⦁ Create a comfortable sleep environment: make sure your room is relaxing, quiet, and comfortable. Small things like temperature can affect your sleep, so it’s best if your room is not too hot or cold.
⦁ No more screens: stop using electronics an hour before going to bed. The blue light from devices such as a phone, tablet, or TV can keep you active and disrupt your sleep.
⦁ Manage your stress: try not to engage in difficult conversations or work right before going to bed. If you find yourself frequently stressed out during the day, trying meditation techniques, deep breathing, or yoga to help you relax and make it easier for you to sleep.
⦁ No more naps: it can be tempting to take a short nap, especially if you are working from home, but taking a nap during the day can make it difficult to go to sleep at night.
⦁ Keep yourself on a schedule: because of COVID-19, many of us had to change our home schedules radically, and sometimes it’s tempting to sleep late or go to bed at different hours. Try to keep yourself on a routine that supports your biological clock. Wake up at the same hour every morning and go to sleep at a specific time as well.
⦁ Don’t drink or have a huge meal before bedtime: having a late dinner before going to bed is going to activate your digestive system. Certain foods can cause reflux and heartburn that could keep you up all night. When it comes to drinks, having lots of fluids before bedtime can make you go to the bathroom during the night, interrupting your sleep.
⦁ Stay active: regular workouts can improve the quality of your sleep. However, working out too close to bedtime can get your heart racing, so plan your physical activities for at least four hours before going to bed.
We hope these simple suggestions help you recover your good night’s sleep. If you think your insomnia may be a symptom of another condition, talk to a doctor. AltaMed is open, and we are also offering telehealth visits, by phone or video, to help keep you safe and healthy at home. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to make an appointment.