New York, NY – Evidence shows that a good night’s sleep is essential to maintaining proper health — both physically and mentally. Sleep helps our body and brain function properly.
We spend approximately a third of our lives asleep. Adults between the ages of 18-64 should aim for seven to nine hours of nightly sleep, which is great if you can get it. However, life happens. Many of us struggle with common sleep disorders.
Statistics show insomnia impacts approximately 33-50% of adults — an estimated 10-15% suffer some level of impairment due to chronic insomnia.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Sleepless nights lead to daytime sleepiness and can impair judgment. Our memory and our ability to enjoy a greater quality of life also suffers. Insomnia impacts our personal and professional relationships, often leading to moodiness and conflict, as well as elevated stress levels which further degrades our sleep schedules. Chronic sleep deprivation can cause even more serious issues including, obesity, depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure and stroke. It can also weaken our immune system and lower sex drive.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep problem that can either make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause people to wake up too early and not fall back asleep. This is why insomnia disorders are broken down into three types. There is sleep-onset insomnia, which means a person has trouble falling asleep. Then, there’s sleep maintenance when people have trouble staying asleep or sleeping through the night and waking up too early. Lastly, there is mixed insomnia. This is when people have trouble both falling and staying asleep.
How can you overcome bouts of insomnia?
Since sleep deprivation is common, it is clear that many people arrive at their daily workstations tired and unrested. High stress levels and tired work days are tough to live through. Not to mention the added stressors of bills, the price of gas at the pump, social media influences, politics, the news, and other sources of anxiety can make sleeping a difficult task.
Over-the-counter remedies include melatonin, magnesium, tryptofan, glycine, ginkgo biloba and ashwagandha — a shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Ashwagandha can help calm the brain, reduce swelling and lower blood pressure.
Other ways to promote good sleep include limiting stimulants before bed, avoiding caffeine and creating a comfortable sleeping environment. Some suggest limiting all eating or drinking before going to bed. You could also try to limit naps and exercising regularly. Try to gain better light exposure during the daytime, too. Or set a sleep schedule and practice more relaxing routines before going to bed. Other studies suggest cleaning linens regularly and limiting screen time before bed. And lastly, meditation and other mental health practices can also promote restful sleep.
Sleep is important. But rested or not, we still have a race to run. We have a life to live, and work to do. Therefore, find the remedies that suit you best. Seek professional help if stress keeps you awake at night and be mindful of your daily influences. Remember — self-care is an essential part of teamwork — and without teamwork there is no unity to keep us Union Strong!
Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Wellbeing and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org