How do you sleep at night? Do you wake up too early or have a hard time waking up at all? If you wake up too early and can’t get back to sleep what can you do? You need to keep your room as dark as possible. Getting up to use the bathroom and trying to go back to sleep after you’ve turned on the light interrupts your sleep/wake cycle. Keep a night light on so you can find your way there. The best solutions for this problem is too eliminate or reduce the amount of liquids you consume at night. If this issue is persistent you might talk to your doctor. You could be suffering from overactive bladder. He may recommend physical therapy to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Watch out for other liquids like soup or fruit and vegetables that are mostly water; celery, watermelon or cucumbers to name a few.
When you try to go back to sleep do you think of all the things you have to do tomorrow? Worry and anxiety are the number one reason why people can’t fall to sleep easy. To get your to-do-list off your mind write down what needs to be done before your go to bed then you don’t have to wonder if you’ve remembered everything you have to do the next day.
Around 60% of the people that wake up early wake up due to aches and pains. Even mild pain is enough to wake you up. My father used to suffer from back pain and had a hard time falling asleep. If this is the case, take an over-the-counter pain medication before going to bed and keep some on your night stand with a glass of water for easy access if you wake up. This avoids a trip to the kitchen. If can’t get your mind off your pain you might use a distraction. Listen to music, white noise or try self-hypnotic relaxation techniques.
Listening to white noise, sleep music or even a fan can reduce or eliminate external stimuli that can cause us to have microarousals. Noisy neighbors, dogs barking and traffic can put our body on alert and disrupt our sleep, especially those that are light sleepers. Other external stimuli that cause us to wake up too early are light and temperature. As I mentioned before exposure to light triggers our serotonin levels to rise making our mind and body think it is time to get up. Keeping our room as dark as possible both in our room and outside can keep our serotonin levels down so we can fall back to sleep. Good blinds or black out curtains can block streetlights or oncoming traffic. Shutting down computers, TV’s, phone and even covering your alarm clock will help. Keeping your room cool during the night is essential for sleeping well all night. I find it difficult to sleep if the room is too hot. I am always waking to kick off the covers. The best temperature is between 65-68 degrees.
Do you wake up too early due to heartburn or acid reflux? Gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause you to wake up. If you wake up occasionally to GERDs you might want to eat your larger meal at lunch and a smaller meal for dinner or eat smaller more frequent meals during the day and try to eat at least 3 hours before retiring so your food will be digested. Like hot spicy foods? Reserve these for lunchtime along with fatty foods that put pressure on the valve at the end of your esophagus. Taking calcium after meals can strengthen the valve and stomach. Keep an antacid next to your bed for middle of the night heartburn attacks.
If you feel you suffer from chronic acid reflux please contact your primary care taker. Reflux may cause symptoms of heartburn. It may also damage the lining of the esophagus. The esophagus lining then changes in appearance and looks like the stomach lining (Barrett’s esophagus). Barrett’s esophagus occurs more often in men than women. You are more likely to have this condition if you have had GERD for a long time. Patients with Barrett’s esophagus may develop more changes in the esophagus called dysplasia. When dysplasia is present, the risk of getting cancer of the esophagus increases.
Laying on your back increases the chances for acid reflux if your stomach is upset. Try sleeping on your left side to ease the pressure on you esophagus.
For those that can’t seem to wake up in the morning other than having cold water thrown in your face or your mothers screaming your name (this is what I remember) and no way you’d wake up without an alarm…. there is a secret to waking up in the morning without having to hit the snooze button 10 times! It can be done and you have recognized the people that do it, they are annoying happy morning people. Why do you think they are happy? They think they have something to wake up for. Just like a little kid on Christmas morning. So why do most of us sleep in? We associate waking up with things we don’t want to do. The easiest and most important part to waking up in the morning is put your attention on something you want to do the next day like going for a run/walk in the morning, going out to dinner, buying a new coffee maker or coffee or even just relaxing and talking about a long term goal or working on a hobby. If you make time for yourself doing something you love it’s the adult comparison to Christmas morning.
Also doing something for yourself every day, even if it’s just a ½ hour, helps to ease your worry and anxiety. This will allow you to relax at night, so you can fall asleep and possibly to stay asleep without waking up. Even just looking forward to a little thing like reading a good book, going on a date or playing a video game will turn negative feeling towards waking up into a positive one.
Make your sleep schedule a habit so you will find it easier to get up in the morning. Do you wake up naturally with 6, 7 or 9 hours of sleep? Finding how much sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning without an alarm is key and then go to bed accordingly. Making bed time a habit and thinking about positive things you can do for yourself you will find that you will become one of those annoying happy morning people!
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