How to Sleep Longer
November 10 2018
Have you ever struggled with insomnia or occasionally dealt with the poor night of sleep that left you groggy and cranky the next day? Chances are that if it has happened more than once, you were left frustrated, exhausted, and maybe even anxious about the next night of sleep. Why does sleep have to be so elusive sometimes? How can you stay asleep longer?
Insomnia is extremely common – in fact, nearly 40 million Americans have some type of sleep problem. If you tend to have difficulty falling asleep, this type of insomnia is known as “sleep-onset insomnia”. It is often related to psychological disorders or medical problems such as restless leg syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea, and typically more common in children and young adults.
However, if you fall asleep without an issue and find yourself waking up what seems like a hundred times throughout the night, tossing and turning all night long, or waking up in the very early morning and not being able to fall back asleep, you likely have what is referred to as “sleep-maintenance insomnia”. This disorder is more common among middle-aged and older adults, especially women – partially due to hormonal changes, the stresses of midlife and aging, and the natural decrease in the amount of sleep required as we get older.
How can I stay asleep longer?
Nothing can be more frustrating than bad sleep, so you probably feel like you’ve tried just about everything to resolve it. That said, maybe all hope isn’t lost. Here are a few ways to find your way to a better night’s sleep:
- Stick to (or begin) a consistent sleep schedule. If you go to bed around the same time and wake up at a consistent time each day, your circadian rhythms tend to follow suit, allowing you to enjoy better sleep.
- If you tend to suffer from clock anxiety while lying awake, turn your clock facing away from you. You’ll still hear it ring when the alarm goes off in the morning, but you won’t spend hours watching the time add up.
- Avoid alcohol. Although it can help you fall asleep, it will typically cause tossing and turning later in the night when you start to metabolize the alcohol.
- Similarly, limit your caffeine intake throughout the day, and cut it off in the early afternoon (around 1 to 2 pm) to give your body enough time to metabolize it before bedtime.
- If health problems such as heartburn, restless leg syndrome, or anxiety are affecting your sleep, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
- Be sure to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle – just 30 minutes a day on most days of the week is enough to help improve your sleep.
- Limit daytime naps – if you have to take one, try to sleep no longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
- If and when you do wake up in the middle of the night, try to stay away from your iPad, phone, and other devices. The blue light emitted by these gadgets can actually keep you from falling back asleep.
- If you’re awake in the middle of the night for more than 20 minutes, consider getting up and doing something relaxing such as reading or listening to some calming music until you feel ready to go back to sleep.
- Use our natural sleep aid, which contains melatonin, magnesium, valerian root and more, to help stay asleep longer without the side effects of sedative medications.
- Make sure your bedroom and bed are comfortable, quiet and dark.
With a little bit of practice and a few new sleep habits, you’ll soon be able to stay asleep longer and enjoy higher-quality sleep, helping you to be more productive during the day and generally feel better.