Having problems getting shut-eye at night? Aside from causing major eyebags and accelerating the appearance of wrinkles, lack of sleep can take its toll on your body and brain, making you feel like a total zombie during the day. On the average, our bodies need 7-9 hours of sleep every night to rest and rejuvenate. Before your cranky, sleep-deprived self commits a major slip-up, here are some shut-eye tips from Dr. Keith Romeo A. Aguilera, Head of St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City’s Comprehensive Sleep Disorder Center.
Stress and Insomnia
We’re permitted to pull the occasional all-nighter when we’ve got a presentation to finish, bachelorette party to attend, or a heartbroken friend that needs a shoulder to cry on (your body will forgive you). But on ordinary days, do you often find yourself tossing and turning hours after lights out, hopelessly counting sheep, waiting for blissful slumber that never comes?
Says Dr. Aguilera, “By definition, insomnia is a condition wherein a person would have difficulty in falling asleep or maintaining sleep given adequate time and opportunity, which eventually results in daytime impairment.”
There are actually 11 types of insomnia identified by the 2nd International Classification of Sleep Disorders, and Dr. Aguilera surmises that the most common form is acute insomnia or adjustment insomnia. “This type of insomnia is associated with an identifiable stressor, which may be psychological, psychosocial, physical, interpersonal or environmental in nature.
Oftentimes this would last only for several weeks and goes away when the identifiable stressor resolves.” In short, you may be stressing out about something, and it’s temporarily throwing your body clock out of whack.
Tricks to an Earlier Bedtime
We may be presenting a brave front to the world, but our true worries subconsciously invade our sleep. Identifying the major stressor in your life and making peace with it is the first step to solving your sleep deprivation problems.
If you’re not necessarily an insomniac but suffer from bad sleeping habits, here are some tips to get a full night’s sleep to face the next day with cheerleader energy levels:
1. Instead of a drastic change, try to make small adjustments and move up your bedtime a little earlier each night. For example, if you usually hit the sack at 3 AM, aim for thirty minutes earlier each succeeding night, until you hit your ideal bedtime
2. Once you’ve reset your body clock, make sure you keep a regular rising and sleep schedule.
3. Wind down early—eat a light early dinner (no midnight snacking!), avoid heart-pumping or stressful activities close to bedtime, and shut off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime, to give your brain and body time to relax
4. Turn your bedroom into a comfort zone, decked out in soothing colors, soft sheets, just the right temperature and no distractions.
5. Try spritzing your pillow with calming scents like lavender linen sprays
6. You may love having the aircon on at full blast, but stone cold feet may be keeping you from sleeping comfortably. Keep them warm and toasty by slipping on a pair of socks!
7. Light (even the glow of computer screens) can be signaling your mind to stay awake, so make sure to dim all sources of light
8. If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, distract yourself from feeling frustrated by doing something relaxing, like reading
9. Do random thoughts and ideas bombard you just as your head hits the pillow? Keep a pen and paper on your nightstand so you can quickly jot down your to-do list without having to get out of bed
10. Stop watching the clock! It only feeds your anxiety toward sleep
11. Still worrying about the stressors in your life? Never underestimate the power of prayer to calm your mind and heart
Yes to Coffee!
While Dr. Keith recommends avoiding caffeinated beverages especially close to bedtime, he qualifies, “However, it could be helpful to insomniacs when taken during the early part of the day, to help them stay alert and awake at work.”
There are some over-the-counter remedies available for those who are desperate to get some shut-eye, although health professionals strongly advise against self-medication. “Over-the-counter drugs often taken by insomniacs are anti-allergy medications because of their sedative properties. However, if taken to frequently, they may develop tolerance to the medication. Other pills that are available include supplements like melatonin, St. John’s Wort and Valerian Root. These supplements may be helpful to some, but not all.”
When is it time to seek professional help? “If the insomnia has not improved after several weeks or if the condition is noted to be worsening with time, especially if it affects your daytime function or work,” suggests Dr. Aguilera. The good news is, there are actually sleep clinics you can visit in various hospitals around the metro.
For more information on the Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center, contact St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City at (632) 789-7700.
Source: Beauty Talk Your Guide To The Good Life