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Insomnia – Tips for Better Sleep

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: By Khader Abounasr, MD, Medical Director of the Adult and Children's Sleep Disorders Center at the Pomona Valley Health Center - Claremont
Insomnia – Tips for Better Sleep

The pandemic has changed our sleep habits for better and for worse. For some, working remotely has allowed for longer and better quality of sleep, but for a majority of us, sleep quality has declined.

In our community alone, we’ve seen a more than 20 percent increase in individuals seeking treatment for insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. This has in part been caused by anxiety and depression exacerbated by the pandemic.

In our fast-paced, 24/7 environment, it can be a challenge to slow down and get a restful night of sleep. But it’s important to remember that sleep plays a vital role in our health, including in the prevention of many chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

If you or a loved one are experiencing insomnia, here are some tips to help you get better sleep:

Develop good sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene means that you have good habits in place to promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Some examples of good sleep habits include:

  • Avoiding daytime naps.
  • Limiting caffeine after noon.
  • Reducing light exposure at night to preserve your circadian rhythm – yes, that means no Netflix or Instagram scrolling for at least one hour before bed.
  • And setting your alarm at the same time every morning. You’ll lessen anxiety if you’re not worried about waking up late and have a consistent wake up time every morning.

Next - don’t think.

Racing thoughts or thinking about sleep will prevent you from actually falling asleep. Try to quiet your mind before bed.

I recommend practicing breathing techniques, meditating or moving to another room and reading an uninteresting book – that usually helps the sleepiness to settle in.

Still can’t sleep? See your doctor.

When you’ve exhausted these measures and sleep feels hopeless, consider seeking help. It’s never too early to see a doctor about poor sleep. The earlier you seek help, the less likely it is that your insomnia will become chronic, and the easier it is to address.

Your doctor may refer you to a Sleep Disorders Center, like ours, to conduct a thorough history and physical examination. This will help experts to best diagnose and provide therapeutic strategies for good sleep.

As you navigate your better sleep journey, know that you are not alone and to remember that help is always available.