Five Strategies to Help You Fall Asleep

A woman sleeps comfortably in her bed at night.

Not getting enough sleep is painful. Not only does it leave you feeling tired, but sleep loss also amplifies pain-sensing regions while blocking pain control regions in the brain. If you’re not getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep at night, you’re building a sleep deficit, which not only amplifies your aches and pains, but also affects your daily life in the following ways:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Reduced attention span
  • Worsened memory
  • Poor decision-making
  • Lack of energy
  • Increased feelings of stress, anxiety, or irritability

Chronic insufficient sleep cycles can also be dangerous. According to the Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes every year. Moreover, people struggling with insomnia are 7 times more likely to have work-related accidents than those who are getting good quality sleep on a regular basis.

How to help yourself fall asleep

Whether you have trouble falling asleep or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try these five tips to help you get better quality sleep:

  1. Minimize light and sound
    The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off electronic devices, like cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other blue light-emitting devices, approximately 1 hour prior to bedtime. Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, a hormone that causes drowsiness. It’s also important to protect your sleep environment against unwanted noises while you sleep. Noise can prevent you from falling asleep and lead to difficulty staying asleep during the night. Nighttime noise may also cause extra production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as well as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, all of which can inhibit sleep.
  2. Stay cool
    If your room is too warm, you might have a difficult time falling asleep. Drowsiness and sleep are triggered by a lowering of your core body temperature, a natural function of the body that helps you fall asleep. Try keeping your space between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit to help you fall asleep more quickly, ward off insomnia, improve sleep quality, and boost melatonin production (the body’s natural sleep hormone).
  3. Set a sleep schedule
    Waking up at the same time every day builds a desire to sleep throughout the day, which often leads to a regular bedtime and better sleep quality at night. Once you get used to going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, your body’s internal clock can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily. Sleep schedules can also improve libido, immune response, and concentration.
  4. Exercise in the morning
    Physical activity first thing in the morning is beneficial for a restful night’s sleep. Exercise can not only increase the duration and quality of your sleep, but it can also boost the production of serotonin in the brain. Your body uses serotonin to synthesize (or create) melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle.
  5. Limit caffeine
    Caffeine is a well-known stimulate, which is why coffee is such a popular morning beverage. However, caffeine can also be found in chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks. While the lingering effect of caffeine varies from person to person, the Premier Family Medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers recommend refraining from consuming any caffeine products at least 6 hours before bedtime. Instead, try drinking a soothing tea like chamomile, passionflower, or magnolia, as they’ve shown to promote sleep and relaxation.

Are you tossing and turning every night before falling asleep? Do you wake up repeatedly throughout the night? Stop struggling with poor sleep quality and get the support you need to sleep better, feel better, and have more energy throughout the day.

Visit Pomona Valley Health Centers for specialized, personalized care for your sleep disorder. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment.

National Nurse Practitioner Awareness Week

A female nurse sits next to an older female patient. She holds the patient's right hand with both of her hands in to comfort her.

National Nurse Practitioners Week is held each year from November 7 to 13 to celebrate all the exceptional men and women who use their unique combination of medical and nursing skills to diagnose and treat everything from acute to chronic conditions and everything in between.

The first nurse practitioners’ program was founded in 1965 and began as a certificate program for pediatrics. Today, nurse practitioners are highly educated, skilled medical professionals performing many of the same job duties as physicians in specialties such as:

  • Women’s primary care
  • Family primary care
  • Pediatric primary care
  • Neonatal care
  • Acute care
  • Gerontology
  • Occupational health
  • Psychiatric or mental health

Why are nurse practitioners important?

Nurse practitioners are licensed to provide primary and specialty healthcare to patients across the lifespan including managing health care, performing minor procedures, prescribing medications, diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries, providing specialist referrals, and ordering tests.

According to a recent report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States is facing a primary care physician shortage. Nurse practitioners serve a vital role in helping to not only address this shortage but also help lower healthcare costs and improve patient satisfaction. Many have also advocated for policy changes that would improve access to healthcare, particularly for children, low-income individuals, and other marginalized groups.

Benefits of seeing a nurse practitioner

Both nurse practitioners and physicians provide invaluable care, but there are a few notable differences you should consider before scheduling an appointment. Many people are used to requesting a “doctor” when scheduling an appointment, but nurse practitioners are equally skilled and knowledgeable in their field. Here are a few things to consider the next time you need to schedule a medical appointment. Nurse practitioners:

  • Are highly educated and skilled healthcare professionals
  • Are often more affordable
  • Have high levels of patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes
  • Offer improved access to health care for at-risk populations
  • Offer reduced wait times for appointments

Celebrating the PVHC nurse practitioners

This week we’re celebrating our PVHC nurse practitioners and the immense value they bring to our centers. Over the last 19 months, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged their strength, courage, and resolve in ways no one could have ever anticipated, yet they continue to rise to the occasion—day after day—and provide exemplary care to people in need.

On behalf of our Premier Family Medicine physicians, medical staff, and administration, we want to thank each one of our nurse practitioners for their unwavering compassionate care and service.

Join Pomona Valley Health Centers in celebrating our nurse practitioners for their hard work and dedication to patient-centered care throughout the year. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment today.