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Sleeplessness driving you crazy?

There's more to staying healthy than just eating well and getting enough exercise. Sleep is another important component of staying in good health. Many of the disadvantages of sleep deprivation are familiar to everyone. Irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating are all common side effects many battle on a regular basis. While none of these examples are lethal, sleepiness can be deadly. Drowsy drivers have been found responsible for an estimated 21 percent of fatal accidents. Not getting enough sleep also has the potential to wreak havoc from the inside. Not only does it take years off your life, but sleeplessness also compromises your immune system, going as far as to put you at a higher risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.   What do you do if you're not getting enough sleep? Often times sleep problems can be solved with lifestyle changes. Here are some examples of what you can change to get better rest.

Exercise has been found to be extremely beneficial to the quality and duration of sleep. Reportedly, over seventy-five percent of those who exercise say their sleep quality was very good to fairly good over the period of 2 weeks, while the same was true only for a bit more than half of those who do not exercise. If you're not physically active and are having trouble sleeping, this may be the change you need. Make physical activity a regular part of your routine. If going to the gym or jogging around the block isn't for you, try finding another physical activity you enjoy. Alternatives like hiking, sports, dancing, or biking are a good start. If you already exercise and still have trouble sleeping, experiment with the time at which you do your physical activity.

A common culprit for lack of sleep in today's digital world: electronics. With ninety percent of people reporting technology use in the hour before bed, it's no surprise it's disrupting our sleep. We all know how easy it can be for time to slip away as we scroll, but the effects of technology on your sleep goes even deeper than that. Aside from your phone buzzing at all hours, or that new show that's got you pushing your bedtime further and further back, screens can even affect your brain chemicals. Using your cell phone or looking at a TV screen exposes you to blue light and reduces your brain's production of melatonin; the hormone responsible for your sleep cycle. Not only that but using your devices keeps your brain active and makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Start setting a regular blackout time. Once it's within one hour of your bedtime, turn off the TV, cell phone and any other technological temptations that may be around. If you use your phone for an alarm, set it to airplane mode or even consider going with a good old fashioned alarm clock instead. Replace web surfing or watching TV with a good winding down activity that relaxes you, such as reading a book, listening to calming music, or meditation.

These are just a couple examples of what could be keeping you awake. Other triggers include caffeine, stress or too much light in your sleeping area. Trouble sleeping can also be caused by some mental and physical illnesses. If you're having consistent sleeping troubles, it's important that you speak with a health care provider. They can help you uncover the underlying problems and help you make a plan to get better sleep and live a healthier life. If you live in the Reno-Tahoe area and suffer from insomnia,  contact us to receive personalized care and professional advice about your health.