What about your caffeine intake? You might be inadvertently drinking too much caffeine. Some people are highly sensitive to caffeine and can’t tolerate it after a certain time of day. Keep track of what you eat and drink throughout the day to see if you are ingesting too much caffeine.
Do you shower right before bed? If so, you might want to change your routine. Showering right before bed increases your body temperature which can keep you up at night. Generally speaking, cooler environments are more conducive to sleep than hotter environments. You might ask your parents to turn down the temperature of the thermostat a few degrees before bed.
What types of activities are you engaged in right before sleep? New research suggests that the bright light from electronic devices, can reduce melatonin levels and make it difficult to sleep. You should avoid screens for at least one hour before bedtime.
You also mentioned that you exercise. If you are exercising too late in the evening, this could be part of the problem. Exercising during the day is better for sleep than exercising at night.
Some people watch television to fall asleep. There are several potential problems with this activity. The light from the television could be keeping you up. Big televisions can also radiate quite a bit of heat, raising the temperature of the room.
The type of programming you watch while trying to sleep could also be contributing to your insomnia. For instance, action films or television shows with commercials can be distracting when trying to fall asleep. You should either turn off your television while trying to fall asleep or watch programming with monotone dialogues. You should also avoid watching a television program that you’re interested in while trying to fall asleep. It’s too distracting.
You might try some of the various podcasts that are designed to put people to sleep. A popular choice is the Sleep With Me podcast. The host of the podcast has an unusually monotone voice. He tells long and boring stories that naturally make you want to sleep. Some people say that his podcasts have cured their insomnia.
Visit the National Sleep Foundation website for more tips about how to make your lifestyle as conducive to sleep as possible. The importance of getting enough sleep, especially for teenagers, cannot be overstated.
Finally, if you continue to struggle with insomnia, consider undergoing a sleep study. Ask your parents for their assistance. They can contact a therapist (if you do not already have one) or your primary care physician for a referral. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle