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Having Trouble Sleeping? Coffee’s Not the Only Culprit

One in three Americans suffer from insomnia, according to the National Institute of Health.

Sleepless nights not only create cranky, sluggish, coffee-craving humans, it can wreak havoc on mental, emotional, and physical health as well.

Anxiety, weight-gain, lowered immune function, and generally decreased energy and attention have all been associated with not getting enough regular zzz’s.

Coffee and stress are easy targets, but not the only places to look, say the researchers at the Harvard Sleep Disorders Research Center.

Here are some tips to help you sleep through the night:

  • Sift out hidden caffeine. Even decaf coffee and chocolate harbor small amounts of caffeine, and some folks are sensitive to even these small doses. Try cutting caffeine sources for just a couple of weeks. If the time you spend staring at the ceiling at nights suddenly tapers off, think about cutting down on all your sources of caffeine permanently.
  • Stamp out stomach irritants. Consider avoiding spicy or hard-to-digest foods for din din. You won’t be sleeping soundly with a rumbly tummy. And, try not to eat too much or eat too fast before you go to sleep.
  • Don’t drink and doze. Too much alcohol or a habit of nightcaps may interrupt REM sleep. This means it’s likely you’ll wake up during the night and that the sleep you do get won’t provide as much bang for your buck in terms of rest.
  • Don’t go hungry. If you’re an early-dinner diner and tend to be on the verge of hunger on your way to bed, try a pre-bedtime light snack (emphasis on “light!”). A growling stomach can keep you tossing and turning or waking up too early (or worse, raiding the fridge in the wee hours of the morning!).

And, pssst…you may consider trying Melatonin, too. Melatonin helps regulate most sleep-related body processes, and seniors in particular are prone to a deficiency of this vital hormone.