Recently there was an article that stated that 9 million people are receiving prescriptions for sleeping pills. This statistic outlines the underlying problem with healthcare where the majority want instant gratification with little to no effort. We also do not consider that medication does not give us the same type of sleep natural sleep gives the body.
We must first instead look at why we are needing a sleeping pill. While many do have a medical reason for taking a sleeping pill, it should not be the first choice to treat poor sleep and fatigue. Some physicians treat disease and disorders instead of also promoting wellness. It is most likely that your doctor is as tired and has as poor sleep habits and is walking around as fatigued as their patients.
The first step is to decide if you have a sleep disorder. If you have an answer to the STOP-BANG survey of greater than three than you need to talk to your doctor:
- Do you SNORE loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors)?
- Do you often feel TIRED, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?
- Has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing during your sleep?
- Do you have or are you being treated for high blood PRESSURE?
- BMI of more than 35?
- AGE over 50 years old?
- NECK circumference > 15.75 inches?
- Male GENDER?
The next step is to look at your sleep routine. Our brains are computers in that they need a routine to slow down and allow our body to release the hormones that promote sleep. A routine shouldn’t be to just put on pajamas and go to bed. It should be 20-45 minutes before going to bed. It also should generally occur seven days a week at the same time each night. Our brain does not know weekdays, and weekends; it just knows the 24 hours of the day. Choose a specific bedtime. Do the same activities each night for 45 minutes before going to sleep. These should be activities that will help you to unwind. Ten minutes of yoga often helps people to relax and allows for concentration on breathing so the mind will stop racing with ideas. Create a routine that works for you that does not include television or computers.
Electronics are the new biggest problem when trying to improve sleep. Cell phones need to be away from the bed. The light prevents the brain from being stimulated to release Melatonin. For our brains to transition from wake to sleep, we need exposure to dark. Cell phones prevent that. When we check our cell phones during the night, we again stimulate the brain; confusing it as to whether it is supposed to be awake or asleep.
Exercise is another factor in helping sleep. Studies show that exercise over the long term helps to increase sleep and its quality. That means that if you work out in the morning, it might not help with that particular night’s sleep but that if you work out three days a week for a month, your sleep will start to improve. You have to decide what exercise you can fit into your life. There is no right or wrong; it is about increased movement.
There are many other ways to help you improve your sleep without turning to a pill as your first resource. It is important for you to do your research and to understand how important it is for you to make an informed decision about healthy sleep and how you can achieve it. Once some of the initial options are exhausted, then sometimes a sleeping pill can help.
Book a FREE Discovery Call for more information.