SLEEP STEALERS:
CATCH THEM IF YOU CAN.

Your sleep habits are whacked

TV binges, social media and a routine of late nights will steal your sleep. If you want to be productive, healthy and function at your best, you’re going to need to make some changes.

Try this:

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You need a solid bedtime routine.

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Choose a bedtime that gives you eight hours of sleep before you have to get up.

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Keep your bedroom cool, dark and comfortable.

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Read a real book or listen to an audio book until you feel tired.

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If you can’t fall asleep within 15 mins, get up and leave the bedroom.

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Do something QUIET for 15 mins until you feel sleepy.

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If battling to sleep for weeks on end, it’s time to talk to your doc.

You’re stressed out

Unpaid bills, hard choices and difficult problems won’t go away overnight, but sleep will give you the time to recharge your brain and refuel your energy levels.

Try this:

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Choose a relaxing activity (not social media or anything with a screen) – talk to your partner or a friend, read a real book or listen to an audio meditation.

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Sleeping with your smartphone next to the bed is a NO.

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The day is done. Give yourself the chance to escape the stress. You’ll deal with it tomorrow when you feel stronger.

You could be depressed

Depression is a common sleep stealer. It’s more common in women than men. And while women who are depressed may sleep more than usual, their sleep isn’t restful. Some antidepressants can also interfere with sleep.

Try this:

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Ask your doc, psychologist or psychiatrist for help.

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If your antidepressant is keeping you awake, request to switch to another drug.

Restless leg syndrome

Got that creepy, crawly feeling in your legs? It’s called Restless Leg Syndrome. It’s often more common in women and can be linked to hormonal changes early in life and during pregnancy but it can also continue as you get older.

Try this:

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Try simple interventions first – Exercise every day, take a hot bath before bed, massage your legs and cut back on things that make you jittery like coffee, tobacco and alcohol.

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If these don’t work, you need to ask your doc for help.

You don’t exercise

Exercise and sleep are soulmates.

Try this:

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Exercise every day if you can, preferably in the morning.

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Doing any high energy routine too close to bedtime could wake you up and make it harder to sleep.

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Yoga before bedtime works and will help you relax.

You’re in pain

Pain of any kind can keep you awake. And a lack of sleep can increase your pain.

Try this:

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Exercise every day if you can, preferably in the morning.

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In addition to the medication and advice your doc recommends, try using a heated pad to soothe achy joints or muscles.

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Take a hot bath before getting into bed.

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Lying against a body pillow can help make you more comfortable and ease some of the pain.

You’re eating badly

What you eat in the day can affect how you sleep at night. Spicy food can give you heartburn, big meals can leave you uncomfortable, too much caffeine is a sleep killer and alcohol won’t allow you to sleep deeply.

Try this:

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Eat dinner a couple of hours before you go to bed and keep dinner light.

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Avoid spicy, fatty meals

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Leave coffee for the morning

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Don’t overdo the alcohol

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Drinking too much of anything can mean bathroom visits which will steal your sleep.

You could have sleep apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when oxygen is blocked from reaching your lungs and the rest of your body. This can happen if you snore, have a narrow jaw or have a change in muscle tone.

Try this:

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See a sleep expert. You’ll need to make some lifestyle adjustments like sleeping on your side or losing weight.

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Ask your doc for advice. You could get the aid of a CPAP machine that will blow air into your airways to keep them open at night.

Source: Harvard Sleep Academy