You need seven to eight hours of sleep to help lower stress, help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of disease. If you have poor sleep habits, you could develop insomnia. This is a condition that occurs when you have regular trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. It’s very common, and it can affect the quality of your life.
Poor sleeping habits, such as watching TV in bed can cause insomnia. You might start to worry about falling asleep, which makes the problem worse. Poor sleeping habits and insomnia can also be caused by:
- Health problems
- Lack of exercise
- Tobacco and alcohol
People with insomnia may have different symptoms, ranging from anxiety to waking up too early in the morning. If you’re concerned about insomnia, your doctor can help. If you have insomnia, treatment focuses on finding out why you don't sleep well. Then it continues with taking steps to help treat the underlying problem.
The body clock
The body has what’s called a biological clock, which is a 24-hour cycle. It’s also known as the circadian rhythm. This 24-hour internal clock controls:
- Sleeping and waking
- Body temperature
- Balance of body fluids
- Other body functions, such as when you feel hungry
Light and darkness affect our body’s clock operations because the body makes a hormone called melatonin at night. This hormone helps to manage sleep. When you have sleep problems, it’s because you do not have enough melatonin. If you are in artificial light at night, your body could make less melatonin than it needs.
How to rest well
Certain habits such as naps, eating before bed and watching TV in bed can affect your body clock. The following tips will help you fall asleep more easily:
- Don’t eat before bed. Food gives you energy and keeps you up.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks and tobacco—they keep you awake.
- Shut off lights and noise.
- Establish a regular bedtime to get your mind trained to go to sleep.
- Exercise regularly, but not three to four hours before bedtime.
- Don’t take naps.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Keep your bedroom for sleeping, and read and watch TV in other rooms.