We all know that a good night’s sleep is vital for a healthy mind and body. Adequate sleep improves your memory, creativity, attention span, and weight loss. It also reduces stress, depression, and may even help you to live longer. Experts agree that we need at least seven hours of sleep a night to reap its benefits. However, one in three people do not get enough sleep, according to the Center for Disease Control. The blame is often put on our fast-paced lifestyles, our addiction to electronic devices, and our need to always do more – send one more email, reply to one more text. We live in a society that views getting by on four hours of sleep as a badge of honor.
But what happens when you do go to sleep on time but have trouble staying asleep? What can you do when you have to use the bathroom once, twice, or three times a night? One in three adults over the age of 30 experiences nocturia, the frequent need to urinate during the night, says the Urology Care Foundation. Researchers agree that this loss of sleep leads to decreased health and sense of well being, contributing to fatigue, increased risk of heart disease, memory loss, and depression. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to reduce and/or eliminate those nocturnal trips.
Limit beverages. Stop drinking any liquid two to four hours before bedtime. Limit alcohol and caffeine, which are known to stimulate the bladder, all day long.
Keep a diary. The Cleveland Clinic suggests beginning with a voiding diary. Keep a record of your drinking and how often you urinate. Pay special attention to how much you go during the day and night. By monitoring your habits you may be able to find a pattern you can then modify. You may also discover potential problems. They say “If you’re urinating more than eight times in 24 hours, that’s too much.”
Tighten that pelvic floor. Yes, here is another area where strong pelvic muscles can benefit by improving bladder control. Kegel exercises, yoga, and following the exercises on the Carin App are all excellent ways to strengthen these all-important muscles.
Check for sleep apnea. Our bodies produce an anti-diuretic hormone during deep sleep, that allows us to retain more fluid overnight, says the Cleveland Clinic. Because people with sleep apnea don’t reach that level of deep sleep, their bodies can’t make enough of this hormone. Oxygen levels also drop during apnea episodes causing the kidneys to excrete more water.
Talk to your doctor. If you’ve tried changing your lifestyle with little success, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Frequent bathroom trips during the night could be more than just a nuisance. They could signify underlying health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, liver failure, and Parkinson’s.
Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep
Still having trouble sleeping? There could be other issues involved. In her book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, Arianna Huffington offers several ways to get a good night’s sleep. Following these tips won’t only help you initially fall asleep faster, but they will also help you go back to sleep if you wake up during the night.
Turn off the e-readers and keep all electronic devices out of the bedroom. “That blue light,” says Huffington, “the sort given off by our ubiquitous electronic devices, is especially good at suppressing melatonin – which makes it especially bad for our sleep.” If you must read before bed, choose a real book and a bedside lamp with a soft light.
Keep your bedroom cool and have a window open. The ideal temperature is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18 degrees Celsius). “We know that a cool bedroom environment is key to getting a good night’s sleep,” says Natalie Dautovich from the National Sleep Foundation, and a small drop in body temperature can prompt sleep signals to our brain.
Be sure to exercise and maintain a healthy diet. Daily exercise, even as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day, helps calm our minds when it’s time to sleep. When it comes to diet what not to eat is more important than what you do eat. Stay away from big, heavy meals near bedtime.
Stop worrying about endless to-do lists. That’s easier said then done, but practicing meditation and yoga does wonders to calm your mind. Huffington uses a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson to help quiet her mind as she tries to sleep. He said, “Finish every day, and be done with it…You have done what you could – some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as fast as you can, tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sleep through the night, wake up refreshed, and be ready to tackle the day? With a little planning and work it is possible. Do you have other remedies for getting a good night’s sleep? Please share them in the comments. We would love to hear from you. For now I wish you all a good night.