While there are a multitude of reasons why one might be having trouble falling asleep, here are a few tips that just might be the right combination to alleviate those sleepless nights. Humans are creatures of habit and have been since the beginning of time. We once relied on the sun to tell us when to sleep, those days are gone. These days we have plenty of distractions in our complicated lives like stressful jobs and schools requiring us to stretch the day and work at night followed by late night television so we can "unwind." Computers, tablets, video games and friends can all work against our natural body clock. If you want the best chance to hit the pillow and drift off immediately, go to bed as early as you can, and do it consistently. Make sure the room is cool, dark, and silent, and be sure to minimize distractions. The room temperature should be no higher than 70 degrees. Make sure the alarm clock is not shining in your face, the TV needs to be off, no night light, and minimize outside lights. Speaking of habits, regularly exercising helps to set your internal clock but exercising to close to bed time will most likely keep you up so exercise in the morning. If you have the habit of consuming caffeinated products in the afternoon and evening, stop it now. Caffeine is not readily broken down by the body and its effects can be felt many hours after consumption. While alcohol can make you feel sleepy it does not allow you to fall into a deep sleep. Alcohol makes you more likely to wake easily to use the bathroom possibly prohibiting you from falling back to sleep.
One of the main signs and symptoms of stress is sleep problems. The main reason is because stress negatively affects your adrenal glands (also known as your stress glands). These little almond shaped glands sit on your kidneys and produce many hormones vital to our bodily functions. One of these functions are sleep patterns and Cortisol is the hormone responsible. If you feel stressed out, supplementing with a good adrenal support can help regulate these glands. You should be able to pick this up at your local health food store. In addition to supplementation you should avoid nicotine, caffeine, and sugar as these depress the adrenal glands.
Dr. Ryan Giel