By Brooke Strickland
It is 2am, you’re wide awake, and there is no sleep in sight. You know you have to get up in a couple of hours for work, so you’re desperately trying to fall asleep. You’ve tried counting sheep. Now you’re awake watching old re-runs of Seinfeld.
You’re not alone. Millions of Americans struggle with insomnia every single night.
Researchers surveyed 7,428 working individuals throughout the United States. The survey showed that 23% had some kind of insomnia and that these sleep issues carried over into their employment. () The individuals suffering with regular insomnia were less alert and consistently tired, which costs their employers an equivalent of 7.8 days a year of lost productivity. This can amount to about $2,280 in salary per person, thus costing the economy more than $63 billion each year. Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., said “Most study participants did not physically miss work due to insomnia. More often, they showed up too tired to effectively do their job (a phenomenon known as ‘presenteeism’).” He went on to say “You can't stay home every day if you’re chronically sleep deprived, so these people get in the habit of going to work and then not performing.”
If you’re one that deals with regular insomnia, here are some tips that might help you get the restorative, restful sleep that will keep you alert and living well.
Keep a regular bedtime routine: You don’t have to become a kid again with a set bedtime every night, but it’s helpful to keep a regular night time rhythm. Try going to bed around the same time each night and maintain a similar routine. Maybe a cup of tea before bed, a hot shower, and reading the paper is your way to relax. Find a way that suits you to unwind, and go to bed when you’re tired.
Eat well and exercise: It’s the obvious answer, but if you’re sitting down all day, not staying active, and eating fatty, sugary food, your mind and body simply won’t shut down for rest as easily as it would if you were eating well and exercising regularly. Also, cut down your caffeine intake, avoid alcohol before bed, and stay away from big, rich meals close to bed time.
Check your stress & anxiety levels: For many of us, stress is soaring during your work day and anxiety levels are high. If you’re feeling overly burdened in this way, it will significantly impact your sleep life. Find a way to visualize peace – make relaxation your goal, breathe deep, and relax your muscles.
If your sleep patterns seem to getting worse and you’re lacking energy, try to find the reasons why. If you think you’ve tried everything you know, consult your doctor about possible medical conditions and other recommended remedies.
 MacMilian, Amanda. Insomnia costs U.S. $63 billion annually in lost productivity. September 1, 2011.