PHOENIX - Millions of Americans have trouble falling asleep at night. According to the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute, 1 in 3 adults has occasional insomnia.
One in 10 have a chronic form.
“I lay there with my eyes open, because my head just doesn't stop thinking, “ said Abri Cerny of Mesa.
Cerny has suffered from insomnia for the past two years.
Three to four times a week, she said she can’t sleep more than 20 to 30 minutes without waking.
“I think about the things I have to do the next day,” she said.
Cerny said she used to take NyQuil to fall asleep.
But, now that she’s pregnant, that’s not an option.
“I know it’s not healthy, so I’m looking for a solution,” she said.
And, there are solutions that don’t require medication.
Patricia Day is a sleep technologist and direct of patient services at Valley Sleep Center.
She recommends making sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark.
“Light stimulates wake; while dark stimulates sleep,” said Day.
Eating a light snack before bedtime can also help.
“Eat foods that are rich in magnesium," advises Day. "Magnesium is a natural sedative as well."
Those foods include walnuts, cherries, bananas and whole grain crackers.
Yoga and mediation will also induce sleep.
You can even find relaxation apps, such as Deep Sleep, on your cell phone
“What's great about this is it actually goes through the stages of taking deep breaths and relaxing the muscles from the head to the toe," said Day. "It's got soothing music, it's about 20 minutes and it will turn off on its own.”
But, don’t play on your cell phone or lap top or watch TV while in bed.
“These have such a bright light," Day said. "They are so stimulating, that it's definitely going to keep you awake.”
Try to get some exercise each day.
But, make sure you’re done at least three hours before bedtime.
“We tend to eat more and exercise less, which definitely affects our sleep,” Day said.
If you’ve tried all of these recommendations, and still have trouble sleeping, visit a sleep specialist and consider undergoing a sleep study.
Day points out you could have a breathing disorder, such as sleep apnea, which mimics insomnia.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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