You can’t survive on caffeine alone. Sleep is a fundamental part of our daily lives. But even though we know it’s necessary, falling and staying asleep can often be more difficult than staying awake.
Dr. Friedman has some tips to help improve your sleeping habits. He’s identified some common misconceptions regarding insomnia, mostly surrounding the fact that the condition can take two forms.
“[There is] onset insomnia, which means having trouble falling asleep. The other is called maintenance insomnia, where patients have trouble staying asleep,” Friedman says.
The two forms of insomnia affect approximately 60 million Americans.
“I see patients literally every single day with either maintenance or onset insomnia,” he says.
So what can you do to fight the two-headed insomnia monster? Read on.
1) Avoid caffeine
Receptors in your brain take in a naturally-produced chemical called Adenosine, which contributes to making you sleepy. Caffeine molecules look just like Adenosine to the brain, so when you drink that cup of coffee, the Adenosine is blocked from entering the receptors, leading to that rush of energy..
“But it’s not just coffee,” Friedman says. “Sometimes it’s green tea, chocolate and other products.”
2) Avoid alcohol
“It’s a misconception [that people] think alcohol makes them tired,” Friedman says.
It may make you sleepy at first, but you’ll often wake up in the middle of the night and ruin your sleep schedule.
3) Have a schedule
Try to set a sleep schedule that includes an exact sleep and wake-up time.
“Maintaining a set sleep schedule seven days a week is very helpful,” Friedman says.
If you sleep the same amount each day, you’ll be less likely to fall asleep to early or feel tired during the day. Your body will get used to the routine and thank you for it.
4) See a physician
Insomnia can often require treatment far beyond those first three tips. If you’re consistently having trouble falling or staying asleep, you should see your physician to get the professional help you need.
“There is so much that can be done and can be assessed,” Friedman says. “In many cases, a sleep study will help identify the problems.”
For patients in Chicago, ChicagoENT has the doctors and resources to help you get a good night’s sleep for the rest of your life. If your lack of sleep is having a severe impact on your life, call 773-296-5500 to set up an appointment.
Adapted from the Columbia Chronicle