It’s 4 a.m., and you’re wide awake in bed again. Actually, this is the third time you’ve had trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep this week. You’ve been meditating, drinking bedtime tea, and even pulled out some tried-and-true sheep counting, but nothing seems to work. You can’t remember the last time you’ve had a quality night’s sleep.
Less Sleep = More Problems
All of these sleepless nights are starting to add up and impact other aspects of your life. At work, your creativity is zapped and you are having trouble staying focused and being productive. At home, you are so drained you don’t have the energy to do any of the chores that are piling up… or give your loved ones the presence they deserve.
The old adage “You snooze, you lose” simply doesn’t ring true anymore. In these modern age, when you snooze, you WIN!
Our Brains Don’t Come With An ‘Off’ Switch
Unfortunately, our brains don’t clock in for normal business hours. Sometimes all of the stress you carry at the office follows you home and resurfaces as soon as your head hits the pillow. If racing thoughts and “what-if” scenarios keep you up into the wee hours of the morning, your sleep disturbance could be caused by an underlying (and untreated) disorder.
Sleep disorders are often caused by underlying health problems like anxiety, stress, ruminating thoughts, and generalized worry,” said Mottsin Thomas, a bonmente psychiatrist. “If you experience nightmares, sleep talking, or sleepwalking, your sleep suffers. Lifestyle factors, like drugs and alcohol use or rotating work shifts, can also lead to sleep disorders.”
100 Different Sleep Disorders Are Lurking Out There
That’s 100 different disorders that can get in the way of finding a good night’s sleep! It can be challenging to identify a single cause of sleep disorders because many conditions and diseases affect sleep. From the more common sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome to disorders such as narcolepsy and chronic sleep deprivation, you need a proper diagnosis!
Some things to look out for that may indicate a sleep disorder include:
- trouble falling or remaining asleep
- difficulty staying awake during the day
- circadian rhythm imbalances that disturb normal sleep schedules
For some people, it’s the concern from a loved one that signals a symptom of sleep disorders. Maybe a concerned spouse notes periods of apnea or excessive movement during the night. Maybe a family member hears someone wandering through the house or talking, only to discover a sleep disorder in real-time. Symptoms may not be blatantly obvious, so even subtle ones shouldn’t be ignored.
Sleep hygiene means making sleep as much of a priority as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. It is so easy to cut 15 minutes out of sleep time to get those dishes done or watch a little bit more of that show, but sleep should not be sacrificed. Here are some tips to get good sleep hygiene.
1. Set an alarm… to go to bed.
A sleep alarm may be just the reminder you need that sleep is important and whatever you’re doing can wait until tomorrow. The good thing about an alarm is that it alerts people around you as well, so they can support you in your sleep hygiene efforts instead of tempt you into bad habits.
2. Create a sleep routine.
A sleep routine helps your mind to shift its focus to getting sleep. Take some time to do things that help you relax. Brush your teeth, wash your face, go to the bathroom, put on pajamas, fluff your pillows just how you like them. Maybe crawl into bed and read a book or journal for a few minutes. These actions will send cues to your brain that sleep is coming and help it get ready to chill out and rest.
3. Stay off the screens.
If you haven’t heard, screens are sleep’s kryptonite. The light they put out actually tricks your brain into thinking it’s still day time, delaying release of natural sleep chemicals like melatonin. Plus, when’s the last time scrolling TikTok really made you sleepy instead of wanting to dance or play with a puppy? Leave the screens face down when it’s time for your head to hit the pillow.
4. Address underlying issues.
Grinding your teeth? Restless leg syndrome kicking you awake after just a few minutes? Maybe snoring or sleep apnea is not just affecting your sleep anymore. Your doctor can make specific recommendations depending on the underlying issue, but simple things like a dental guard, nasal strips, or herbal supplements may do the trick. If you need a CPAP or other breathing device, your doctor can help you find a style that will work with your sleep instead of against it.
Remember, sleep disorders are often caused by underlying conditions that contribute to poor sleep. So it’s essential to address these conditions first.
Get sweet dreams. Talk to a pro.
Sleep disorders can take a while to develop, and they don’t go away overnight. It’s easy to get frustrated when you can’t get the sleep you need, but with the help of a bonmente mental health professional, a good night’s sleep is closer than you think.
If you or someone you love is looking for sleep disorder treatment in Los Angeles, give our team a call!