Good, quality sleep is critical for a healthy body, sharp mind, and balanced emotions. But, sometimes, no matter how tired you are, it can feel out of reach.
Approximately 1 in 3 people live with insomnia. While some of these cases are mild, even a few sleepless nights can still interfere with your mood, performance, relationships, and quality of life. But, whether you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, there are ways to make sure you get enough zzzs.
At Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston, our team provides integrated psychiatric and family medicine services. This unique approach gives us a deeper, whole-body understanding of our patients’ physical and mental health.
If you’re having problems sleeping, here are a few things that could be to blame.
Poor sleep habits
Unfortunately, people who struggle with insomnia often engage in poor sleep habits. Two of the worst offenders include staying up too late and engaging in activities that stimulate the brain — such as spending time on smartphones and computers.
To improve your sleep hygiene, set a schedule to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. You should also keep your bedroom dark, cool, and comfortable. And, even though it can be tempting to reach for your cellphone when you can’t sleep, only use your bed for sleep and sex. If you can’t sleep within 15 minutes, leave your bedroom and try reading quietly in another area until you get sleepy.
What you eat can have a big impact on how you sleep at night. Large meals can cause discomfort before bed, and spicy foods can trigger painful heartburn. And think twice before you reach for another cup of coffee.
Caffeine kicks in quickly to activate your central nervous system, but it can take hours to leave your system. In fact, when you consume an 8 ounce cup of coffee for breakfast — or 95-165 milligrams of caffeine — half of the caffeine will still be in your system five hours later.
Instead, eat a light dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid spicy, fatty foods that can cause indigestion. Also, watch your caffeine to avoid having high levels in your system when it’s time to call it a day.
Stress, anxiety, or depression
Mental or emotional issues are common causes of insomnia, especially depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, being unable to sleep can also worsen the symptoms. Other emotional and psychological factors that can also lead to insomnia, include worry, anger, grief, trauma, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. Fortunately, our team specializes in treating all of these disorders, so they don’t have to keep you awake any longer.
We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t insomnia a sleep disorder? Yes, but it's also a symptom of other sleep disorders, such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
- Disrupted circadian rhythms from late-night shift work or jet lag
We can offer solutions if you have a sleep disorder that’s contributing to your insomnia.
Health problems and medications
Sometimes, insomnia surfaces because of illness or chronic pain. Common medical conditions and diseases associated with insomnia include:
- Acid reflux
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
On top of that, many over-the-counter and prescription drugs that treat these issues can also sabotage your sleep. After identifying what’s to blame for your sleepless nights, we can make personalized recommendations to help.
Are you ready to get a good night’s sleep again? To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.