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Restful sleep: what really helps with sleep disorders

Restful sleep: what really helps with sleep disorders


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Sleep disorders: How you can finally calm down at night

More and more people in Germany have problems falling asleep and staying asleep. Sleep problems can not only result in fatigue and poor concentration, but also serious health problems. Health experts explain how to really relax at night.

Serious health problems

Millions of people in Germany suffer from sleep disorders. Not enough sleep not only ensures that those affected are usually tired during the day, it also jeopardizes their health. According to doctors, sleep disorders increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke, mental illnesses such as depression and they weaken the immune system. Unfortunately, many sufferers prematurely resort to self-medication and use sleeping pills without a prescription. But that need not be. Health experts explain how to rest at night.

Different symptoms

There are very different forms of sleep disorders, the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit explains on its website.

Some sufferers lie awake in bed in the evening, even though they are trying desperately to fall asleep.

Others find themselves sleeping fairly quickly, but often wake up at night and are unable to fall asleep for a long time.

Others wake up many hours in the morning before the alarm clock rings, are tired but cannot fall asleep again.

And some people experience a mix of all of these symptoms.

According to the DAK, the official medical definition of sleep disorders is: At least three times a week for a period of one to three months, there are problems sleeping and / or staying asleep or waking up early in the morning.

Different causes

But how does a sleep disorder develop? Stress is a common cause of sleep disorders - both in the professional and private spheres.

Worries, fears of failure and excessive demands prevent many people from falling asleep and staying asleep.

Often, sleep disorders are also heralds or accompanying symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders.

Nocturnal breathing disorders, which are often expressed by snoring or breathing interruptions, the so-called sleep apnea, can also significantly disrupt sleep and cause those affected to feel as if they have been wheeled the next morning.

And in rare cases, organic diseases such as thyroid malfunctions are behind sleep disorders. External circumstances such as noise, brightness, medication or alcohol consumption can also significantly disrupt sleep.

Changes in the daily routine

Sleep disorders can often be remedied by changes in the daily routine: Yoga or autogenic training are good ways to reduce stress and ensure more balance.

In addition, DAK-Gesundheit advises adequate exercise - at least half an hour a day.

Caffeine after 5 p.m. as well as cigarettes and alcohol should be avoided before going to bed, as these stimulants have a stimulating effect and disrupt deep sleep.

If changes in everyday life do not lead to getting rid of the sleep disorders, you should talk to your family doctor about it.

After an in-depth conversation and a physical examination, possible organic or mental causes of a sleep disorder can be diagnosed and treated.

Behavioral therapy has proven to be very effective for psychologically induced sleep disorders.

If the doctor finds neither mental nor physical causes, he can prescribe a sleeping pill. But be careful: The intake should only take place for a short time and always under medical supervision, since a habit and addiction effect quickly occurs.

For mild sleep disorders, the doctor can recommend herbal sedatives or home remedies such as valerian or hops. These do not make you dependent - but should also not be taken without medical advice.

Prevention measures

To prevent a sleep disorder from developing at all, the following measures can help:

Go to bed at the same time each evening if possible and always get up at the same time.

Make sure that the bedroom is adequately darkened - for example with special roller shutters or coated curtains. Pay attention to the right temperature in the bedroom - 17 degrees is ideal.

If possible, stop watching TV one hour before bedtime - the flickering light stimuli keep you awake unnecessarily.

Electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones and tablets have no place in bed - if you still can't leave them, switch to "night mode" (blue light filter). The special, warm light prevents the production of watch hormones from being stimulated.

If necessary, keep your feet warm with thick socks or a hot water bottle - this is the only way the body can come to rest.

Go outside as often as possible during the day, as this boosts sleep hormone production in the evening.

Don't do sports too late in the evening - at least 1.5 hours before bedtime you should come down slowly.

More tips for a good night's sleep

The DAK has other tips to help improve sleep quality:

  • Drink a glass of sour cherry before going to bed - the juice contains the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Do not read a book that is too exciting, because it will keep you going longer.
  • Do not put yourself under pressure - this will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
  • Get up when you cannot sleep and do a quiet activity such as reading or ironing.
  • Keep your bedroom tidy - chaos overwhelms our brains and does not let us switch off.
  • Go for an easily digestible meal in the evening: cooked vegetables with lean poultry are better than roasts or raw food.
  • Take a short nap, if any, for 30 minutes. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Doctor, I Have Insomnia. What Can I Do? - Alon Avidan, MD. UCLA Health Sleep Center (July 2022).


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