5 TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

You know how important sleep is, but are you getting enough? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 30% of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep per night even though the recommended amount is 7-9 hours. Too little sleep has been linked to motor vehicle accidents, work accidents, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression, and even all-cause mortality.
If you are setting enough time to sleep, but are suffering from excessive fatigue, it’s important to have a solid evaluation by a healthcare practitioner. Poor sleep and daytime sleepiness, and fatigue have many potential medical causes including: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), restless leg syndrome (RLS), anemia, thyroid disorders, as well as many other problems.
For many people who feel excessively tired, though, it’s a matter of not setting aside enough time for sleep, or not following proper sleep hygiene guidelines. This article will cover basic lifestyle tips for people who don’t set aside enough time for sleep or suffer from insomnia or poor quality sleep.

MEDICATION IS NOT THE ANSWER (USUALLY)

Many people think medication is the answer when they are having trouble sleeping. However, lifestyle is considered to be first line therapy for insomnia and in most cases is all that is necessary. In addition, medications used for sleep can have side effects like weight gain, constipation, dry mouth, and morning hangover. Some sleep medications can also cause dependence, and odd behaviors during sleep like walking, talking, and even driving.
Unlike other medications, I think that melatonin is worth a try for people who have trouble falling asleep. It is classified as a dietary supplement and therefore does not require a prescription to purchase it. Although the research on melatonin is mixed, it has been found to be very safe, and the weight of the research seems to show that it does help with sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep). 0.5-10mg can be experimented with, but 3mg before bed is the typical dose.

5 LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

Sleep hygiene is recommended as the first line therapy for insomnia. It includes various behavioral techniques to improve sleep. Most people will find that they are not following all of these recommendations and will benefit from implementing as many of these habits as possible into their lives.
MAINTAIN REGULAR SLEEP HABITS
I recommend going to sleep and getting up at around the same time every day including on weekends. This will train your body and mind to automatically be ready for bed at that time.
USE THE BEDROOM ONLY FOR SLEEP AND SEX
The idea here is similar to the previous tip. When you do other things in the bedroom, it conditions your body and mind to associate the bedroom with wakefulness. This makes it more difficult to fall asleep when you want to.
AVOID STIMULATING ACTIVITY BEFORE BED
This is probably the most important thing for many people in our day of non-stop use of technology. If you have trouble sleeping, I recommend turning off all screens (including your cell phone) at least one hour before bed. This will help a lot of people more than they can imagine given that most of us will never go a full hour without looking at a screen while we’re awake these days.
GET SOME EXERCISE
Regular physical exercise is helpful, provided that you don’t exercise for at least 4 hours before bed as this can be too stimulating when close to bedtime.
DIETARY CHANGES
I recommend avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the late afternoon and evenings. I also recommend avoiding heavy meals and limiting fluid intake before bed as these can interfere with sleep.
In many cases, implementing as many of these lifestyle habits is all that is needed to get a restful night of sleep. Give these a try for 2-4 weeks, and see if your sleep doesn’t improve tremendously.
EXTRA CREDIT
Many men find they can fall asleep more easily after having an orgasm.
This is likely due to activation and deactivation of various brain regions as well as the release of chemicals in the brain after orgasm that can make you sleepy. It is interesting to note, that orgasms from intercourse and orgasms from masturbation may not be the same when it comes to the chemicals released in the brain. It appears that orgasms from intercourse release chemicals that make you sleepy at a much higher rate than orgasms from masturbation.

Feel like nerding out? Here are a few links to dive deeper.


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