How to get better sleep, according to experts

CHICAGO – Too much work, too much stress and not enough sleep: it sounds normal to many people.

According to the National Library of Medicine for Biotechnology Information, between 30% and 48% of adults experience some form of insomnia.

But there are ways you can get a better, more restful night’s sleep in the New Year, reports NewsNation Now.

Many people have trouble turning off their brains at night. Dr. Michael Breus, aka the sleep doctor, said the #1 question patients ask him is, “How do I turn off my brain at night?”

“It’s very common, especially in times like the pandemic, when we’re under unusually high levels of stress. So not only do we have our everyday life stresses, but we now have health stressors as well. We worry about our health, other people’s health and things like that. So we saw a very big increase,” Breus explained.

“In fact, the number of sleeping pills prescribed has increased by almost 20% since the start of COVID, so we’re not joking here. People definitely have trouble sleeping,” Breus continued.

If you have trouble turning your brain off at night, Breus says there are several things to think about when you wake up in the middle of the night, and one of them is lowering your heart rate.

“So the easiest way to go back to sleep and turn off your brain is to focus on something else. One of my favorite techniques is called four-seven-eight breathing. Here you breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and breathe out for a count of eight,” Breus explained.

Breus explained that this method helps lower your heart rate, and when you’re trying to fall asleep you want a heart rate of 60 or below to get you into a state of unconsciousness.

“So, whether you’re doing distracting things, believe it or not, yeah I’m the only sleep doctor who says it’s okay to fall asleep with the TV on as long as you set the timer,” Breus said.

Breus also recommends counting backwards from 300 in threes because it’s so mathematically complicated you can’t think of anything else and it’s boring.

Breus said if you feel like your sleep is being disrupted more than three times in any given seven-day period, it’s probably a good time to talk to your doctor from an insomnia perspective.

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