Sleep is something we take for granted. However, did you know that up to 6% of people in the world suffer from insomnia? Insomnia is defined as the difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep. Only those who have trouble sleeping for more than a month get an official diagnosis.
The number of those who have short term sleep issues are way higher though. Insomnia itself has many causes including stress, sinus allergies, asthma, body pain, depression and anxiety.
Certain medication, especially those taken for birth control, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression can also cause insomnia. If you have insomnia, it would be good to get to the root cause of it and treat that first. Insomnia will often go away by itself as it’s just a symptom.
If you don’t know or can’t identify the cause of your insomnia, then you can take these small steps to help ease your sleeplessness.
1.Avoid Caffeine Before Bedtime
Different people react differently to caffeine. If you’re sensitive towards caffeine, you should avoid coffee, tea, chocolates and the like at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. Preferably, none of these should be consumed after dinnertime. If you want a sweet drink, choose juice or milk instead.
Warm milk is especially calming and a warm glass of milk will actually help you sleep better. It helps your muscles relax and takes away some of the tension you may be feeling.
2. Make Your Bedroom as Quiet as Possible
Your bedroom should be the place you associate with sleep. As such, you should try as far as possible not to bring you work into your bedroom. Also try and leave all your gadgets outside, such as your tablets and smartphones. Not only will these objects distract you, they will also give off ambient light that may make your room too bright.
If you live near a highway, try and block out as much noise and light as possible by investing in heavy soundproofing curtains. The darker and quieter your bedroom, the easier it will be to fall asleep.
3. Don’t Force Yourself
If you try to go to sleep, but spend the next hour tossing and turning, it’s actually more advisable to wake up. This is because the more you agonize over your sleeplessness, the more stressed out you will feel. Instead, get up and go outside your bedroom.
Try and carry out some relaxing activity that you like. Maybe you want to read a book, or listen to classical music. Maybe you want to watch your favourite comedian online. Whatever you do, try and take your mind off your worries. When you feel sleepy again, go back for some shut eye.
4. Exercise and Managing Your Stress
It’s important to manage the various causes of stress in your life. This may include seeing a professional psychologist or a counselor. This will help you sort out your problems a lot easier, as having a listening ear means you don’t have to handle everything alone.
Another way to reduce the effects of stress is by exercising. Yoga has been shown as one of the most effective ways to relax your body after a long and straining day. Additionally, it will also give your body a good workout to keep you fit and trim.
5. Wind Down Before Bedtime
Have a ritual an hour or two before bedtime where you wind down. Don’t do any vigorous or noisy activity. Indulge instead in your favorite music and books. Remember that your main goal is to slow down. One of these relaxing activities can include a long hot soak in your bath tub, or drinking some herbal tea while watching a soothing TV series.
6. Try Some Supplements
There are some herbal supplements that can help you sleep by. Ashwaganda is one herb that can help you body balance out its hormones, including sleep hormones. Another one is Cordyceps that helps fight fatigue and lets you sleep better.
Melatonin, which is a sleep hormone, can be taken as a supplement in capsule form. Melatonin is controlled by the amount of light and is triggered by the absence of light. It is very effective in helping to regulate sleep patterns, especially in those who do shift work and have their internal clock out of whack.
7. Avoid Afternoon Naps
The most effective way to combat insomnia is to train your body to sleep at regular hours each day. This regular cycle will help your internal clock function much better. However, having long naps of more than an hour in the afternoons can throw your body clock off tangent.
Afternoon naps also make it difficult to fall asleep at night. As a result you may only fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning, resulting in less sleep and you feeling groggy the whole day.
9. Keep a Diary
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a psychological treatment method that encourages you to reflect on your inner self. One way you can practice CBT at home by yourself is to keep a diary. That way, you will be able to sort out your thought and feelings for the day.
The diary you keep will eventually allow you to know what triggers your insomnia, especially if your sleeplessness is due to emotional stress. You can then take the proper steps to manage that stress causing agent or remove it from your life completely.
10. Try Different Forms Meditation
To help your mind relax before bedtime, try meditation. There are many different types available. You may want to try meditation apps that help you sleep, as there are several of those around. These apps will play guided messages, encouraging phrases and music that will help you begin.
Mindful meditation is another technique, as well as Mantram. Mantram is the practice of repeating phrases or words until you feel calmer and counter any unhappiness you may be feeling.
If you have trouble sleeping quite frequently, don’t give up trying to find a solution. Different methods work for different people and you should find the combination that works for you. Insomnia doesn’t have to be endures silently, as there are many treatments available for it.