JCC Pittsburgh on June 18, 2015
There are many factors that can cause sleep problems, and even more potential solutions. The steps you take to improve your sleeping patterns will be individual, based on the cause of your insomnia and the treatment plan laid out by your health care provider. In addition to the many lifestyle changes that can help you sleep better, the following tips may also help improve the quality and quantity of your shut-eye:
- Stop eating at least 2 hours before your regular bedtime. If your body is trying to digest food, you won’t be able to fully relax, fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol may help you fall asleep quickly, but it can disrupt your normal sleep patterns and leave you feeling un-rested the next morning.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and foods during the afternoon and evening. Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate that can delay your sleep or cause you to wake up during the night. You may want to eliminate caffeine entirely and see if your sleep improves.
- Limit your intake of fried and fatty foods, refined carbohydrates ( such as white rice, breads, pasta, and sugars) and spicy foods which can cause heartburn especially before bedtime. These foods can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
- Enjoy a light snack approximately 2 hours before your bedtime. A healthy snack can help take the edge off of your hunger and help you sleep through the night. Your snack should contain mostly carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. This combination may help increase the availability of tryptophan (an amino acid that helps induce sleep) to your brain. A few nighttime snack ideas include: a small bowl of oatmeal, cereal with low-fat milk, half a bagel with peanut butter, and a sliced apple with an ounce of cheese.