sleep longerCaffeine addiction may be a symptom of a greater issue plaguing Americans: lack of sleep. Abstaining from caffeine after noon or stopping caffeine consumption three hours prior to bed is sufficient for most. A nightcap before bed may seem to help induce rest, but it actually causes interruptions in sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48 percent of Americans report occasionally experiencing insomnia — the inability to fall or stay asleep. The nonprofit foundation, based in Washington, D.C., also reports that 22 percent of Americans experience insomnia nearly every night.

Several health experts share their tips on how to fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.

As dependence on technology increases, so does insomnia.We live in a 24/7 society, so we have people that are plugged in constantly on smartphones, tablets and laptops. We have people that are not shutting down the computer and not shutting down their minds long enough to prepare their bodies for sleep, and that is creating some degree of insomnia.

The illumination of light from the modern day digital devices like phones, tablets and computers is “wake promoting,” Using these devices in bed, or just before going to bed, may make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Television watching for hours together is a leading cause for insomnia. It is thus always better to turn off all electronics 30 to 60 minutes before bed .Having the television on while you sleep can prevent you from getting into the deep REM sleep that you need to really feel better. The lights and colors, especially if they are flashing, can cause a lot of overstimulation and prevent you from falling asleep. Even if you fall asleep, it can affect the quality of sleep.

It is also important to turn off any electronic device with a glowing screen if it is kept in the bedroom, she says. If the device must remain on, the brightness should be adjusted to a low setting.

Sleeping in on the weekends after getting up early for work all week may seem refreshing, but it can make some people more tired.If you can stay in a healthy sleep pattern, and wake up at the same time, and go to bed at the same time every day, you will be less sluggish..

Many people make the mistake of trying to fall asleep when their bed partner does, even if they are not tired. This can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Taking too long a nap during the day also can impede sleep, so it is best to keep naps under 30 minutes.

The sleep environment is also important. Before going to bed, make sure the room is the appropriate temperature, and the pillows and bed are comfortable.It is important to have curtains to block out incoming and out-coming headlights.

Properly timing the last meal of the day is important. Digestion can disrupt the ability to sleep and cause tossing and turning . It is best to have dinner between 5 and 7 p.m., or roughly four hours before bed.For those who often have trouble sleeping, the solution may be to eat a lighter meal in the evening and a larger meal in the afternoon. 

Meditation, yoga, a warm bath, reading a book or listening to music can ease the body into sleep. Herbs may help promote relaxation. Chamomile and lavender teas and the herbal supplements may be tried.

Lavender essential oil is helpful and can be added to bath water or mixed with unscented massage oil and used to massage the feet or back of the neck.

People who suffer from severe insomnia, sleeping pills can be a short-term solution. Anyone who needs to use sleeping pills for more than two weeks may have a more serious sleep disorder and should seek medical attention. Menopause, restless leg syndrome and acid reflex disease can interfere with sleep and can be treated by a doctor.

Majority of the Americans could experience insomnia during their lifetime. It can be normal during periods of stress. When it is not normal is when it affects your job, work and your personal relationships. That is when you need to seek help.

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