We all need sleep. You and many of the people you know may have struggled with sleep in New York City. Though you’re not alone in experiencing restless nights, poor or insufficient sleep can lead to many physical or mental health problems. Not being able to get a good night’s sleep is called insomnia.
Getting a good night’s sleep in New York City can also improve your well-being and productivity level. High quality sleep is good for your body and mind. It can have a profound impact on your relationships, work, health, and happiness. In this post, I will describe insomnia and how to get a better night’s sleep. I will provide many things that you can do right away to feel well-rested and more energized.
What Does it Mean to Get Your Best Night’s Sleep in New York City?
A good night’s sleep is a night where you can fall asleep easily, stay asleep and wake up feeling rested. This is the opposite of insomnia. Insomnia is not being able to fall asleep, waking up too early, not being able to stay asleep, or not being able to fall back to sleep during the night.
Insomnia challenges approximately 10% of the world’s population. This percentage is 30 – 40% for the general population in the United States. Insomnia is also more common in women than men.
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Why is Insomnia So Common in NYC?
As you may have heard, New York City is the city that never sleeps. That sentence is meant to celebrate New York City, but all of the awake time in NYC is one reason why you can have a hard time sleeping.
New York is a very goal-driven, working city. If you are here in New York, you are surrounded by busy people. The busy environment that you live in can affect your sleeping patterns. This is because at bedtime your mind may focus on whatever you are busy with, instead of resting.
At night, whatever you are dealing with during the day can magnify into pressure on your mind. But your mind needs a break and to rest. You can help your mind take a break. You can do this by giving your mind and body signals when it is time to sleep.
These signals tell your body that it is bedtime instead of awake time. The signals you give your mind tell it to rest instead of work.
What is Good Sleep Hygiene?
Habits and routines that combat insomnia are called good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene improves your sleep. It is similar to good dental hygiene.
Just as good dental hygiene can reduce your dental problems, good sleep hygiene helps prevent insomnia. One of the reasons for this is that good sleep hygiene encourages the natural release of your sleep hormone, called melatonin, into your body during sleep.
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4 Ways to Get Your Best Night’s Sleep in NYC
Create the Right Environment
- Dim the lights at least ½ hour – 1 hour before bedtime.
- Eliminate your screen time (TV, computer, phone exposure) at least ½ hour before you get in bed.
- Use your bed mainly for sleep. In New York City, you may not have much space but try to do your work, reading, talking on the phone, and watching TV in a different place than where you sleep. If you are in tight quarters, then designate one side of your bed exclusively for sleeping.
- Relax ½ hour before bedtime.
- Reduce noise and use white sound and/or earplugs if necessary.
Learn and Practice Relaxation
- Resolve your conflicts. Thinking about unresolved issues can keep you up at night. It is a good idea to deal with conflict early enough for it to be resolved well before bedtime.
- Write your feelings, goals, stories, or gratitude in a journal.
- Stretch, do deep breathing, and/or meditate.
- Get as much sunlight as you can each day. Sit in a window or go outside in the sunshine. This is because our bodies take cues from light and energy that affect our sleep cycle. Working a night shift or traveling to a different time zone can also interfere with this sleep cycle.
Plan Ahead for Good Sleep
- Don’t assume that you can just get into bed and fall asleep. By changing the way you spend your evening, the middle of your night can be filled with sleep time, instead of awake time.
- Set a gentle reminder or alarm, an hour before bedtime. This can signal when to start your nightly sleep hygiene.
- Go to sleep at the same time each night. Try to do this on the weekends too.
- Reduce discomfort or pain as much as possible.
- Change any middle-of-the-night disturbances. This could be anything that uncomfortably crowds your sleeping space. Adjust the situation if your dog is waking you up.
- Even if you are certain that your friends and family know what good sleep hygiene is, let them know you are doing it.
Limit What You Take In
- Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
- Get rid of gassy food and too much liquid at bedtime.
- Don’t allow negativity to ruin your sleep. Everything around you will affect your sleep. This includes the light, the messages, the energy, attitudes, priorities, behavior, and other people’s habits.
Start Sleeping Well Today
You can improve your well-being with better sleep. I have listed many things you can do to banish insomnia. Approach your sleep care honestly and if you cannot do all the things listed here, then perhaps you can try one at a time.
If you’re struggling to start, it can also be helpful to meet with an NYC therapist who is trained in insomnia treatment. Many of New York Behavioral Health’s therapists have expertise in helping people find the restful sleep they seek. Please feel free to reach out to us today.
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