If changing the clocks disrupts your sleep, you are not alone. Fortunately for most people, the adjustment period is short, but for others such a sleep disturbance can turn into chronic insomnia characterized by difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and having difficulty falling back to sleep, or waking up too early. Insomnia is more than a mere nuisance. Untreated, it can also cause cognitive impairment, compromised immune function, high blood pressure, dependence on sleep medication, and injuries. Luckily, insomnia is a treatable condition.
To help yourself end insomnia and restore healthy sleep, try these five simple tips:
1. Use your bed for intimate activities and sleep only. Avoid associating your bed and bedroom with other activities.
2. Only go to bed when you are sleepy. Going to bed when you are not sleepy could lead to frustration, which could add to your sleeplessness.
3. Try not to spend too much time in bed. Limit time in bed to just time to sleep.
4. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep relatively quickly, instead of tossing about, get out of bed and engage in light activity until you are sleepy, and then get back into bed.
5. Get up at the same time each day – 365 days a year. Trying to catch up on sleep over the weekends can disrupt your natural sleep rhythms.
By Dr. Sheila Forman