One of the most common sleep disorders is insomnia.
It includes waking up too early along with some associated daytime impairment, waking often during the night, and having difficulty getting much-needed sleep. According to a report from the University of Pennsylvania, one in four Americans develops this condition each year.
A person experiencing chronic insomnia should get in touch with a sleep specialist. There are therapies available for these people, including prescription sleeping pills and cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you are experiencing occasional insomnia, however, you can get your sleep back on track by taking note of the following tips:
1. Make Your Sleeping Environment Comfortable
Make your bedroom conducive to falling and staying asleep by regulating noise, lighting, and temperature. Your bed should be comfortable to sleep in. Use an under sheet bed fan to get relief from stuffy bedrooms.
Also, if your pet likes to sleep in the room with you, consider having them sleep in another area of the house if they tend to make noise at night.
2. Eat Light Meals
If you’re going to have dinner late in the evening, keep your meal as light as possible. Refrain from eating heavy and fatty fast food, as this can prevent you from getting the quality sleep you need.
3. Have a Consistent Wake Time
An established wake time will allow your biological clock to develop a routine. Waking up at the same time every morning, including weekends, is more than important than hitting the hay at the same time each night.
Retiring at the same time every night won’t be of much help if you’re lying there and hoping that will eventually fall asleep.
4. Avoid Stimulants Like Alcohol and Caffeine
Caffeine can last for several hours, which can affect your chances of enjoying a good night’s sleep. This stimulant can also cause difficulty initiating sleep and frequent awakenings. So, avoid drinking sodas and other beverages that contain this stimulant.
Besides caffeine, make sure that you do not drink alcohol. Although alcohol may have a sedative effect for the first few hours after drinking it, you could experience a non-restful night’s sleep and frequent arousals.
If you are taking medications containing stimulants, such as asthma inhalers and decongestants, consult with your doctor. Find out the best times to take these medicines to help reduce negative effects on sleep.
5. Limit Your Activities in Bed
Your bed serves only two purposes: getting a good night’s rest and making love. If you suffer from occasional insomnia, avoid using the bed for activities that will raise your alertness and prevent you from falling asleep. A few examples include the following:
- Making phone calls
- Studying for an exam
- Balancing your checkbook
- Eating snacks
- Doing last-minute work
6. Minimize Stress
Stress, for obvious reasons, can keep you awake at night. If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, use relaxation therapies to relax your body and mind before hitting the hay.
Examples include biofeedback, meditation, deep breathing techniques, and progressive muscle relaxation.
7. Avoid Bringing Your Worries to Bed
If you find yourself in bed thinking about what you didn’t do today and what you plan to do tomorrow, consider allocating time to review the day and make plans for the following day.
You could do this shortly after dinner. Your goal is to refrain from worrying about stuff while trying to fall asleep.
Another suggestion you can follow is to come up with a list of work-related tasks for the next day before leaving for the office. You can do this immediately after getting breakfast in the morning.
This can at least eliminate one set of concerns.
8. Refrain from Taking Naps
Afternoon naps can be tempting, especially when your body is telling you to close your eyes and fall asleep.
These naps, however, make falling asleep at night a lot harder. If you find yourself sleepy in the afternoon, stand up and do some light stretching. You could also walk around to shake off any sluggishness that you’re feeling.
Note: naps include getting additional hours of sleep on weekends. These can throw off your regular sleep schedule.
9. Relax Before Jumping Into Bed
Unwinding after a long, hard day is important. This is how you tell your body that it’s time to hit the hay. If your mind is still racing right before your bedtime, you’ll likely be unable to shut it off to fall asleep.
So, give yourself some downtime before going to bed. You could read a book, listen to calming music, or take a bath to prep your body for sleep.
Don’t allow insomnia to give you restless nights. Get the quality sleep you need and beat insomnia by taking note of these suggestions.