Dozing off shouldn’t be that difficult, yet most of us are always struggling to get a good night’s rest.

Many of us know this scenario all too well: your head hits the pillow, and you look forward to a good night’s sleep. However, instead of drifting off into a deep slumber, you lie awake in bed as your mind races through situations, mistakes and to-do lists of the day.

For those suffering from poor sleep, or those wishing they could get more, help is within reach. No longer do you have to be part of the 40 million people in the nation who suffer from sleep disorders. Discovering what elements impact sleep and how you can combat them is a huge step into getting the sleep you’re yearning for … and need.

According to Sleep Center Hawaii, not getting enough sleep is linked to heart disease, heart failure, stroke, diabetes and cancer, and fatigue or sleepiness is believed to cause thousands of motor vehicle accidents per month.

YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY…

Hypnosis is an amazing form of relaxation, and it can help prevent the circus within your mind as your head hits the pillow. In fact, it’s a relaxation like most people have never experienced. Being able to train your body and mind to relax is crucial to getting more (and better) sleep. But more than that, it’s a great way to address issues that keep you awake at night. Tossing and turning caused by anxious thoughts can add more frustration to an already irksome situation.

Avoiding replaying everything from the day and focusing on all the things that stress you out are keys to getting good sleep, which is something your body adamantly demands.

“You actually go into a hypnotic state before you fall asleep and before you wake up,” explains Randy Hampton of Hawaii Hypnosis Center. “If your brain is having trouble, if your mind is racing, making that transition [in brain waves] makes it difficult to get into deep sleep.”

sleep_20150401_07

Picture 2 of 8

Badger's lavender and bergamot Sleep Balm is a calming cult favorite (photo courtesy Badger).

Don’t ignore the symptoms. Your other half’s snoring could appear to simply be an annoyance, but it could also be a symptom of a potentially serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, morning headaches, just to name a few.

But there’s good news. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Diagnosis involves measuring brain waves, muscle tone, snoring, blood oxygen, heartbeat and breathing patterns in a non-invasive procedure called a Polysomnogram.

Sleeping disorders often to untreated, and as we all know sleep is important. It’s much more than the eight hours between work and life. It’s critical to everything we as humans do.

And as we all know, sleep is so important. It’s much more than the eight hours between work and life. It’s critical to everything we as humans do.

“We don’t learn when we don’t sleep well,” Hampton adds. “We don’t heal when we don’t sleep, we don’t burn calories in the right way, we don’t burn fat when we don’t sleep well. Th e mind wants to go to sleep.”

FOR A BETTER SLUMBER…

Thankfully, there are number of quick tips to help you sleep better. If you are unable to sleep, get up and do something else. Attempting to fall asleep leads to frustration, which makes it harder to drift off. Another tip is creating a routine one hour prior to bed. Take a shower, engage in light exercise or just relax quietly.

Sleep Center Hawaii shares that one huge culprit in sleep prevention is mental stimulation. Finishing last-minute office work or going through family finances is a huge stressor that can prevent sleep.

Avoiding naps during the day can aid in falling asleep at night, and regular exercise also can be used to the same effect as it releases energy and mental tensions. Do note, however, that it’s better to not engage in strenuous exercise right before bed.

Also, avoiding caffeinated beverages before bed can help. But a light bite could be beneficial—try tart cherry juice, chamomile or lavender tea, or a small snack.

Logging your activities before bed can help pinpoint the factor (or factors) preventing you from falling asleep. Unconsciously, you might fall into a routine of engaging in a smart phone game, or you might find that you tend to play fetch with your dog in the living room before hitting the sack. Maybe you find yourself in the brightness of the refrigerator light hoping to chomp down on one last slice of pizza before heading to bed.

Articulating what actions could be keeping you awake is the first step in creating new habits that assist you in your quest for some ZZZs. And remember, while sleep meds can be prescribed for those in need, natural sleep is always best.