It’s 3 a.m. and You’re Wide Awake. Is it Insomnia or Something Else?

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Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Yet, experts estimate as many as 68 percent of adults experience insomnia, which means they either can’t get to sleep, can’t stay asleep, or the quality of their sleep is poor.

Excess stress and lack of exercise are two common contributors to insomnia, so finding effective methods to manage stress and get more exercise are often key to reducing insomnia. Other tips to help you get a better night’s sleep include:

1. Go to bed at a consistent time every night, even on weekends, and avoid day-time naps.
2. Practice simple relaxation-inducing stretches shortly before bedtime.
3. Take a hot bath or shower 30 minutes before bed.
1. Practice prayer or meditation.
2. Eat foods that have a calming and cooling effect, such as chamomile tea, peppermint, pears, and watermelon.
3. Check with your doctor to make sure you are getting enough vitamins D, B12 and iron. Insufficient amounts of these nutrients are associated with poor sleep.

For convenience, many people turn to sleep medications. But sleeping pills can have side effects that may be just as bad as insomnia. Therefore, over the long term you may find it much more effective to change your lifestyle habits than to turn to medications.

If you are suffering from insomnia and think it may be related to a common and treatable mental health disorder such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder, you can take a free and anonymous mental health self-assessment at http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.

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