Tips on How to Deal With Insomnia

We often face a variety of conflicts in our daily lives, but for some of us the battles we face late at night can be particularly challenging.

Sleep is vital to one’s overall physical and mental health, so difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep (insomnia) are conditions that have wide-ranging effects, and must be taken seriously.  Some people also have other types of sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and restless leg syndrome (RLS) but this article will focus on sleep hygiene and insomnia.  

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35 percent of adults in America aren’t getting enough sleep, which is defined by sleeping less than seven hours a night.

Insomnia can contribute to serious health consequences such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity. Sleep deprivation can also be caused by frequent mental stress brought on by work issues, family concerns and social life difficulties.  Stress, anger, worry, anxiousness and negative thoughts can have a dramatic effect on sleep quality.

Thankfully, there are a number of strategies you can use to increase your length and quality of sleep.

  • Do your best to go to bed at the same time each night and get out of bed at the same time each morning. Unfortunately, many of us have schedules that fluctuate based on our career circumstances and social interactions, which can create sleep inconsistencies.
  • Work on setting stressful thoughts and situations aside before going to bed. Write down the issues that are bothering you and try to come up with solutions or a course of action for each concern before attempting to sleep.

  • Turn off your television or computer screen an hour before attempting to sleep, and don’t watch television, listen to music, read books, play with your phone or eat meals while in bed. By keeping those distractions out of your bedroom, you’ll associate that space with sleep, which will help you fall sleep easier.

  • Refrain from having an alarm clock where you sleep. Continuing to check the clock when you’re having difficulty sleeping increases frustration and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Utilize your cell phone’s alarm clock and keep it away from you while sleeping.

  • Avoid napping, especially after 3 p.m. Late day naps convince the brain it already has the rest it needs which makes falling asleep at night more challenging.

  • Cut way back on caffeine intake, especially after dinner.

  • To avoid late night trips to the bathroom, limit the fluids and food you ingest before bedtime.

  • A minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise will help the body relax and give it the need to recover, which helps you go to sleep.

To learn more about dealing with sleep issues, contact your health care provider. If you do not have a primary health care provider, please call 317-880-3838. Eskenazi Health West 38th Street is our newest health center and offers primary and specialty care services.  We also have a specific sleep clinic that is available to people who have more complicated sleep issues. 

Dr. Maria Robles
Internal Medicine
Eskenazi Health West 38th Street