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HomeMedical Information Innovative MedicineSleep on It: 7 Lesser-Known Solutions for Sleeping Problems

Sleep on It: 7 Lesser-Known Solutions for Sleeping Problems

By: Medix team
Sleep on It: 7 Lesser-Known Solutions for Sleeping Problems

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night or are you waking up too early in the morning? Before seeking medical help, it’s worth familiarising yourself with new studies and developments in the field

Many of us are all-too familiar with this frustrating feeling: nighttime arrives and we can’t seem to fall asleep, or we wake up too early in the morning and can’t manage to return to sleep. What many don't know is that sleeping problems may dramatically harm our concentration, cause irritation and even impact our health. In the most severe cases, sleeping problems can cause drastic obesity, damage to the immune system and even death.

 

 There are different causes for sleeping problems. Some are directly instigated by medical conditions such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome (which forces one to move his or her legs during sleep). In other cases, sleep disorders are indirectly effected by medical conditions such as heartburn or hyperthyroidism.  On top of those, our daily routines and environmental factors (such as noise and lighting) can impact our ability enjoy quality sleep

 

A number of recent studies and advancements have sought to better characterise the problems and find effective solutions for sleeping disorders. Here are some you might not be familiar with:

  1. Stop drinking alcohol before bedtime: While alcohol helps some people fall asleep faster, the perception that it is good to get intoxicated before bed is untrue. A meta-analysis of 27 studies on the relationship between sleep and alcohol consumption revealed that alcoholic beverages can actually cause defective sleep patterns which prevent the body from reaching a state of deep sleep.

  2. Try falling asleep on the left side of your body: Sometimes, sleep problems could stem from consuming certain types of foods, such as fried or spicy items. These foods can cause heartburn or increased stomach activity, making it difficult for the body to relax before bedtime. Have you eaten spicy or fried food before bed anyway? Try falling asleep on the left side of your body. This way, gastric fluids are situated further from the esophagus in comparison to sleeping on the right side and the chance of heartburn therefore decreases.

  3. Avoid using screens roughly two hours before bedtime: LED screens which are prevalent in TVs, computers, smartphones and more, have a blue light that impairs sleep. The light disrupts the body's inner biological clock, causing confusion between daytime and nighttime and interrupting the normal sleep cycle.

    If you do take your screen to bed, in order to reduce the impact, you can install apps which filter your device’s blue light. In addition, you can purchase blue light-blocking glasses which don’t require prescription. The less the eyes strain, the easier it will be for the body to transition to sleep.

  4. Snoring? Use sound-sensor technologies: Many devices have been developed to deal with the difficulties caused by snoring and which impact both the snorer and his or her surroundings. In the past, these devices were physically worn by the snorer, making it difficult to sleep. A new product uses sound sensors to help with this phenomenon. The product is composed of three parts: a sound sensor that hangs on the wall, a small motor and a mechanical component located under the snorer’s pillow. When the sensor detects a snore, it commands the motor to operate the mechanical component, which gently shakes the snorer, causing him or her to change position. Just like that, the annoying sound ceases.

  5. Try keeping the bedroom for sleep: Our brain associates different actions with different places. The fact that some of us enjoy doing different activities in bed – such as working on a computer, writing or watching TV – makes it difficult for the brain to associate the bed with sleep. So, try to use the bed solely for its intended purpose.
  6. Ensure a stable sleeping environment: It’s advisable to create a stable and consistent bedroom environment. This way, your body will recognise these conditions as being linked to sleep - making it easier for you to fall asleep. For example, it's important to keep the bedroom dark and cool. Another method is to produce "white noise", which will make it easier for the body to enter the sleep cycle. Many apps offer a variety of white noise soundtracks that last through the night and provide a soothing backdrop for sleep. Find the sound that's right for you, whether it's waves, crickets or the muffled sound of a radio broadcaster.

  7. Use “smart” monitoring devices during sleep: Smart devices based on "Internet of Things" (IoT) technology are becoming more prevalent in analysing sleep. Apps, watches and even smart mattresses can use sensors to accompany us throughout the night: they monitor our heartbeat, keep track of our breathing and record our overnight movements. In the morning, a detailed report outlines information about every moment of the previous night’s sleep. These details sometimes help to identify problems but it’s better to use them while consulting a sleep expert.

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