Many Americans struggle with getting a good night's rest. Some of these people don't get enough sleep, while others suffer from poor quality of sleep. If you are someone who struggles with sleep, there are some things you can do about it.
Here are a few good tips to improve sleep.
Establish a Sleep Routine
Did you know that what you do before you go to bed affects how well you sleep? For this reason, many sleep medicine experts recommend establishing a good routine before going to sleep. Doing the same things each night helps your brain and body recognize that it's time to go to sleep. The first thing you need to do when establishing a sleep routine is shut off all of your electronic devices.
After that, you should focus on relaxing. You can do this by drinking herbal tea, taking a warm bath, or reading a book. It's important to find the relaxation technique that works for you. Other things you might need to do to establish a sleep routine are darkening your room, wearing a sleep mask, and sleeping in the quietest room possible. Finding the most comfortable mattress and going to bed at the same time every night can also help improve your quality of sleep.
See a Sleep Medicine Specialist
If you have established a good sleep routine, but you still aren't sleeping well, it might be time to see a sleep medicine specialist. This type of specialist can determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder. Along with taking your personal history and examining you, a sleep medicine specialist may have you do a sleep study. A sleep medicine specialist will then be able to determine whether you have a sleep disorder.
Some of the most common sleep disorders include:
- Insomnia. This disorder makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Sleep apnea. This disorder is characterized by disruptions in breathing during sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome. This disorder causes the legs to become restless, which prevents or disrupts sleep.
- Parasomnias. This disorder involves sleepwalking, nightmares, talking in one's sleep, or other abnormalities that disrupt sleep.
If you are diagnosed with one of the above sleep disorders, a sleep medicine specialist will prescribe the appropriate treatment. If you have sleep apnea, you may need to wear a CPAP machine at night.
Other types of sleep disorders may require sleep medicine, such as prescription sleeping pills. Other kinds of treatment used to treat sleep disorders include over-the-counter sleep aids, avoiding caffeine, light therapy, or cognitive behavior therapy. Some people benefit from taking certain supplements, such as melatonin, valerian root, magnesium, or glycine.