I Hope This Blog Post Makes You Fall Asleep!

We are excited to welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers – Marcus Newman - along with Dr. Gary Schaffel. They offer insight on how to get a better night’s sleep.

Lately, many of my friends and acquaintances have been telling me that they are having trouble sleeping.  Some cannot fall asleep, some cannot stay asleep, and others wander around all night eating whatever they can get their hands on.

Sleep disruption can be caused by so many things, fear, stress, and depression are among some of the possible causes. When sleep disruption is pervasive one might be suffering from insomnia.

Insomnia is a very common condition resulting in a loss of sleep.  It can be the result of physical, social, or emotional stressors.  Most often insomnia resolves with resolution of the stressor, but poor sleep patterns can become habitual and chronic.  The impact of persistent insomnia can be dramatic on quality of life.  The largest issue being chronic fatigue.  fatigue can have a dramatic effect on daily functioning in terms of motivation to complete tasks, fighting through sleepiness, and increased errors causing potential for accidents.  Poor concentration in work or school diminishes productivity.  Social functioning is affected by irritability and aggressive behavior.  Mood changes can cause impulsivity creating bad habits like overeating, or if more severe, can lead to anxiety or depression.  Finally, fear of not falling asleep can create negative behavioral patterns and be an ongoing cause of stress.

Here are 5 things a person can do to improve their sleep.

  1. Create a bedtime ritual.

Typically, our minds and bodies are active all day. It is no surprise that it can be quite a challenge to turn off or wind down and free the mind in preparation to end the day with much-needed rest. Developing a bedtime ritual that you perform every evening about an hour before your head hits the pillow can help.

  1. Watch what you eat and drink.

Eat a breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. If you follow these words of wisdom, you will not only have energy to give your day a jolt of unbridled energy, but also you will be able to sleep like a baby.

  1. Limit caffeine intake late in the day.

Many people know the benefit of a jolt of java first thing in the morning. It often is the kick in the pants needed to get your day started. But as the hours of the day move toward evening, it is advisable to cut back on caffeine-infused beverages.

  1. Improving your overall body and mind with exercise.

Consistent exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. People who walk or perform any other form of physical activity tend to fall asleep faster and reap the benefits of deeper sleep.  It is important to not exercise intensely three to four hours before putting your head down on the pillow.

  1. Keep pets in the bedroom but off the bed.

According to a Mayo Clinic research report, people who allowed one pet in their bedroom slept fine. However, better sleep can be achieved when pets are not sharing the bed. No matter if the four-legged family member is a dog or cat, pets can move around at night, which prevents a good night of sleep from occurring.

Not being able to sleep is a big deal.  As you can see, lack of sleep can have far reaching effects on your work life, and it can affect your personal life also.  Before you give up, before you go see a doctor, try these things … you may be surprised at how quickly you can get your sleep back in order.


Dr. Gary Schaffel is the founder of Forward Focus Medicine in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Marcus Newman, RHU is your insurance broker and a Registered Health Underwriter with GCG an Alera Group