Do you often find yourself struggling to fall asleep night after night after night? Well, you are not alone. In fact, research now shows that 25% of Americans struggle with falling asleep (1). The good news is that of that 25% who struggle to fall asleep, 75% will not develop chronic sleep issues - phew, right?. However, this doesn't mean that we won't all struggle a little with falling asleep from time to time.
So what can make it more difficult to fall asleep? Anyone with any type of insomnia knows common reasons can include stress, ruminating/racing thoughts, pain, less-than-ideal sleeping situation, swing/shift work, many chronic health conditions, and a plethora of other factors can play into your staring at the ceiling. While we can't dive into treatment for the few items previously listed that might negatively impact your ability to fall asleep, we can and will dive into some simple sleep hygiene that can help you fall asleep easily, consistently.
What we're going to talk about is probably something you've heard of previously and has been deemed "sleep hygiene" and includes implementing these four changes:
1. DARK - make sure your room is as dark as continue. This helps to not only increase your melatonin production but to keep it high through the night so you can also stay asleep! If you are struggling with blocking out ambient light, it might be time for some wonderful black-out curtains.
2. CALM - to get the "calm" factor I would recommend making sure your bed and bedding is insanely comfortable. This could include updating a mattress if it is overdue and is in the budget, or even just getting a mattress topper and potentially updating the bedding to very soft, plush and cooling materials (think silk or cotton).
3. QUIET - this one can be a little more difficult to achieve but sound-proofing barriers under doors as well as earplugs (if you feel safe wearing these while sleeping; wouldn't recommend if you're sleeping on your own) can work wonders to at least minimize sound getting into your sleeping space. If you can't block out ambient sounds, consider a sound machine.
4. COOL - set your bedroom temperature to be between 60-67 deg F (the best temp is 65 deg F). Just as your bedding is supposed to be comfortable, making sure it is also a little cooling or at least a little wicking is important as well so that you don't get too overheated in the middle of the night and wake.
Check back in soon for tips on how to potentially "upgrade/update" your nighttime routine so as to REALLY increase your ability to fall asleep as soon as your head hits that wonderful pillow!
*DISCLAIMER: This document is not intended to treat or diagnose disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols be sure to consult with a licensed physician. The author has nothing to disclose in regards to supplements or products mentioned within this document and the author does not receive any monetary or any other incentive to mention the recommended supplements or products.