Causes of Sleep Problems Many people have sleep difficulties at some time in their life, and others have on-going sleep problems. There are a number of factors that can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to get good quality sleep. Stress is one common culprit to transient sleep troubles and often warrants examining issues in our life that may be preoccupying our mind and preventing us from quickly drifting off to sleep. It should also be noted that alcohol and other drug use can disrupt a person’s regular sleep cycle. Some people with chronic sleep issues may have a medical condition that impairs their sleep, such as sleep apnea. Additionally, some people who start to have sleep problems start to worry about their sleep, which in turns compounds their sleep troubles. A vicious cycle starts where a person worries about their lack of sleep and not being able to fall asleep and that in turn makes it that much more difficult to fall asleep. Many have thoughts such as, “Will I get enough sleep tonight so I won’t be tired at work tomorrow?” or “If I can’t fall asleep soon, I’ll never get to sleep tonight.” These types of thoughts increase our physical arousal and prevent us from being able to fall asleep. What is Sleeplessness? Sleeplessness can take several forms, but what follows are the three most common: read more
Problems with sleep is one of the number one symptoms and complaints we hear in therapy. Below are some tips to help you work into a good sleep routine.
- Taking a hot bath or shower before bed will increase your body’s core temperature and help you relax.
- Avoid caffeine after 10:00 am. If you need to have coffee or soda try to confine it to early morning giving time for the stimulating effects to wear off before bed. Try to avoid foods that have caffeine such as apples and chocolate.
- Avoid naps during the day. Even though they feel good at the time, this will catch up with you when you crawl into bed and find yourself awake and refreshed from your nap earlier.
- Use relaxation strategies. There are countless books and tapes that teach a variety of methods from breathing exercises, to metal exercises, to progressive relaxation. Find one that works for you and use it before and while getting into bed.
- Carbohydrates can be helpful for sleep. Having some toast, cereal, or popcorn before bed can help promote sleep.
- Avoid nicotine. If you smoke, try not to have any cigarettes 2-3 hours before bed. Nicotine feel psychologically relaxing to many people, but it is actually physically stimulating and causes veins and arteries to constrict, making your heart and body work even harder; i.e., arou