Need sleep? You go to bed tired and wake up tired. One of these culprits may be to blame! Learn how to outwit these secret sleep thieves:
What is the Problem?
Jet Lag Visiting relatives on the other side of the country? Taking a business trip? Jet lag is more than just exhaustion from the trekking, says Helene Emsellem, M.D., director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, MD, and author of Snooze or Lose! it is a disruption of your underlying sleep-wake cycle, your internal body clock. And the more time zones you cross, the longer it takes to adjust back.
What is the Fix: Adjust to avoid sleep problems.
Before your trip, gradually adjust sleeping and eating hours to those of your destination. Because dehydration makes it tougher for the body to adapt, drink plenty of fluids on the plane.
Follow the schedule of your new destination right away to anticipate potential sleep problems. Bright light will help you reset your circadian rhythms. If it is still light outside, head outdoors for 30 minutes of solitude, peace and quiet and you will generally begin to feel sleepy.
Exercise so you raise your endorphin levels and feel better.
What is the Problem: Stress can cause sleep problems.
Things you did not have time to think about during the day come into consciousness the minute your head hits the pillow.
What is the Fix:
Make a list. Before bed, sit in a quiet place with pen and paper. Let your mind wander just as it does in the middle of the night, says Peter Hauri, Ph.D., director emeritus of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Then spend 10 or 15 minutes writing down everything you need to do. Once it is written down, let it go, says Hauri.
What is the Problem: Being away from home can cause sleep problems.
Are you a city person visiting the country (or vice versa)? You might find nodding off a challenge. Each of us has a sleep environment we have adapted to, and, for some people, any change even if it is quieter can make it difficult to fall asleep, says Dr. Emsellem.
What is The Fix: Take Control.
To block out noise, wear earplugs; Too quiet? Tune the radio between stations to create white noise. In a hotel, ask for a room far from busy spots such as elevators, stairways, and vending and ice machines.
Stretch out your bedtime routine so it feels like home, suggests Hauri.
Now that you know some of the culprits that may be to blame for your sleep problems, you can outwit these secret sleep thieves and get a really good night’s sleep.