Experts Reveal Surprising Causes of Insomnia and How to Get More Sleep

Experts say you should aim for six to eight hours of quality sleep a night, but that’s often easier said than done.

An estimated 50 to 70 million people in the US have ongoing sleep disorders, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

And not getting a good sleep can have serious consequences.

“[Extreme] sleep deprivation [can] be detrimental to your health,” Dr. Neomi Shah, director of the sleep medicine program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told The Post. “We worry about accidents, car accidents, work accidents or home accidents if you are sleep deprived.”

Some patients turn to over-the-counter medications, such as melatonin, CBD, or NyQuil, but experts caution that they should only be used as a temporary solution.

Getting to the root of the sleep problem is key to beating it.

Here, experts outline four common sleep problems and how to combat them.

I can not sleep

Establishing a steady evening routine can help you sleep, experts say.
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The problem: You have the best intention of getting through a long night of Zs, but you just can’t turn it off.

The solution: Sometimes this problem is simply going to bed too early.

“Humans have a ‘very basic’ system in the brain that regulates when we sleep and wake up,” said Dr. Emmanuel Durante, an associate professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The best habit is really going to bed when you’re sleepy.”

Trying to force yourself to sleep can also cause anxiety and make things worse.

Durante recommends creating a relaxation routine that you follow every night to unwind and prepare for Zs. Dim the lights and put down your phone.

“We have to be in a state of relaxation,” he said. “No activity [and] no deliberate thought on any matter related to our life.”

Cognitive behavioral therapy, a popular type of psychological treatment that focuses on interventions to deal with negative thoughts and actions, may also be helpful.

Some might also consider taking over-the-counter melatonin, but Dr. Mandana Mahmoudi, clinical director of sleep medicine at NYU Langone Health, said it’s important to note that while it’s a natural medicine, it should still be considered taking a pill. for sleeping.

Proceed with caution.

I wake up too early or in the middle of the night.

Woman awake lying in bed looking at alarm clock
Some sleep problems can be signs of anxiety or depression.
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The problem: You aim for eight hours, but your eyes open after half past five or you’re always up at night.

The solution: You may be depressed and could benefit from talk therapy.

Spicy and heavy meals before bed can also interfere with sleep, so be careful what you eat for dinner.

In the moment, take a short period of time to go back to sleep. If it doesn’t work, get up.

“If you’re awake for more than 20 minutes, you want to get out of the room, go outside and maybe do something calming, like a crossword puzzle, or read a book that might not be very exciting,” said Thea Gallagher, a clinical assistant. professor in the department of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. She added that the healthiest habit is to use the bedroom only for sleeping.

If it’s already morning, you might want to get an early start on things.

“Start your day and maybe be productive with your day,” Gallagher said, noting that doing so can help you get back on track the next night.

I sleep eight hours a night but I’m still exhausted

Man and woman lying in bed, the woman has her hands over her ears why the man sleeps with his mouth open.
Snoring is sometimes a symptom of sleep apnea.
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The problem: You rest all night, but you feel like you haven’t slept a wink. Her mouth is dry and she may wake up gasping for breath.

The solution: See a doctor about being tested for sleep apnea, a common but serious disorder in which breathing stops and starts during sleep.

Fortunately, the condition is easily treatable, and patients use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, though the device can be cumbersome and may take some getting used to.

Other treatment options include specialized mouth guards or surgery.

i have jet lag

Man lying in hotel bed looking exhausted in clothes with suitcase next to him.
Jet lag is a painful part of traveling, but experts say you can try to minimize it.
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The problem: You travel to a new time zone, but your sleep schedule is delayed.

The solution: After landing, try to stay awake to get to the local time.

“As long as it hasn’t been too long [say 24 hours] since you last slept, it’s reasonable to move on,” Shah said, noting that coffee and keeping busy can help.

She advises against using sleep aids like melatonin if you haven’t done it before.

“If you’ve never taken a medication, you almost never want to take a medication for the first time. [traveling].”

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