Are you waking up in the middle of the night?

Are you waking up in the middle of the night?

Do you every find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night and unable to fall back asleep?

The first thought may be to grab your smartphone, but this is one of the worst things you can do.  Light from phone screens can interfere with the body’s levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.  You should stop looking at your devices two hours prior to bedtime.

Insomnia can lead to groggy days, but research suggests setting up a healthy sleep routine can help your get a better night’s rest.

“In some instances, insomnia could be a sign of untreated sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome,” says Dr. Yelena Tumashova, a sleep medicine specialist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.

In the case where insomnia is occurring often and affecting your waking hours, individuals should ask their primary care physician about sleep studies, which can help diagnose their condition, Dr. Tumashova says.

To fall asleep and stay asleep, here are seven easy tips to follow:

  1. Eat three hours or more prior to bedtime. Avoid spicy foods and focus on incorporating protein or fiber into your meal to help maintain even blood sugar.
  2. Stop looking at screens like your smartphone, TV and tablet about two hours prior to bedtime.
  3. If noises keep you up, a white noise machine may help block out sounds.
  4. Set your room temperature to a comfortable 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Incorporate meditation or deep breathing practices to help destress before bed.
  6. Calm your mind by trying not to think about the next day. Racing thoughts can lead to you staying awake.
  7. Individuals should be mindful to not drink a lot of liquids before bed, but other at-home remedies such as a preparing a small cup of tea with chamomile, valerian root or passion flower can help you fall asleep, says Dr. Tumashova.

Learn more about your risk for sleep apnea. Take a free, quick online risk assessment by clicking here.

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About the Author

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Liz Fitzgerald

Liz Fitzgerald, health enews contributor, is an integrated marketing coordinator at Advocate Aurora Health.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication from Marquette University.  Outside of work, Liz has a goal of visiting all U.S. national parks.