Learn How to Fight Insomnia Effectively
Having a good day begins with having enjoyed a night of good and restful sleep. Insomnia affects many people and it can be frustrating and problematic. If we don’t get any sleep during the night, we will probably try to “recover” that sleep during the day. With a nap, for example. This might make us continue suffering from insomnia, perpetuating the vicious cycle.
Our lifestyle and habits are tremendously important for our bodies. It is important to take care of our health by doing everything within our reach. Practicing healthy habits right before going to bed is one of them. This is called sleep hygiene. It can provide us with better and more long lasting sleep.
We are used to hearing that it’s a must to sleep at least 8 hours per day. But to be realistic, with the kind of lifestyle most of us have nowadays, almost no one achieves this objective. On many occasions, our workload is very heavy and all we want to do is to enjoy our free time. That’s why we dedicate our free hours to activities, watching television… And then we try to go to sleep with the same speed that we go from one daily activity to the next. But the truth is that a good night’s sleep needs previous preparation.
Here is some advice from experts in the matter, so you can get better rest at night and learn how to fight insomnia:
1. Establish a sleep-wake schedule
Setting guidelines is very helpful for sleep regulation. Going to sleep and waking up at the same hour every day creates a habit. This can make it easier to fall asleep when it the usual time to go to bed comes along. Besides, it’s important that if one day we don’t get enough sleep at night, we still wake up at our usual hour. This will help us fall asleep later that night.
2. Avoid alcohol consumption before bedtime
Although alcohol is a depressor of the central nervous system and causes sleepiness, it does not provide restful sleep. Alcohol gives us low quality sleep caused by sleep interruptions and less time in the REM phase. If the amount of consumed alcohol was great, in addition to fragmented sleep there might also be excessive sweating and vivid dreams.
3. Sleep in a dark room and with a proper temperature
There must not be any light distractions in the room, like pilot lights or any other type of lights that might stimulate our senses. It is also counterproductive to have digital clocks near for us to constantly look at while we can’t sleep. Temperature is also an important factor to take into consideration in this issue. The room must have a comfortable temperature, not too cold nor too hot.
4. Exercise every day, but not right before bedtime
Working out is beneficial for almost every aspect of our health. But, it’s recommended to have at least 3 hours between the end of a workout and the moment we start preparing for sleep. If we train late at night we will take our energy to bed. And, this will make it even more difficult for us to sleep.
5. Don’t use electronic devices in bed
Your bed is a place for resting. It is not a place for leisure. It is best to avoid using tablets, cellphones or watching television in bed. At first sight it might seem like a good idea to read the news or watch television to help facilitate sleep. But the truth is that this can actually delay it. Paying attention to the screen might take your sleepiness away. And, on top of that, we could stop associating our bed with sleep.
6. Don’t stay awake in bed for more than 30 minutes
There are days when sleeping simply seems impossible for us. Days when we can’t stop tossing and turning all night. Give yourself 30 minutes to try to sleep. If you do not manage it, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity. It is important to not spend too much time in bed without being able to sleep. The only thing you will get out of this is frustrating yourself.
7. Relaxation techniques before bedtime
It is advisable to do a few relaxation exercises before going to bed. For example, we can try breathing techniques, light stretching, listening to relaxing music or taking a warm bath. All of these activities make us relax. They also help us set our worries aside.
8. Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon
Logically, drinking coffee before bedtime is not beneficial for our sleep. But even drinking it in the afternoon could have a negative impact. We must keep in mind that caffeine remains in our bodies for 4 to 9 hours. Since caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, it can interfere in a direct way with sleep. Coffee is not the only stimulant. Other drinks like tea or soft drinks or even food like chocolate can also keep us awake.
9. Wake up to sunlight
Some experts recommend waking up to the sunlight. This could help us with the regulation of our circadian rhythms. It helps with the production of melatonin in our body in a natural way. Melatonin is a neuro-hormone secreted by the pineal gland, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
10. Avoid thinking about important issues in bed
This is not an easy piece of advice to follow. When something worrisome circles our mind, bedtime is one of the most susceptible moments to think about it. Although we try to keep our minds blank, the concerning thought flows into it anyway. That is why we should try to resolve our issues before going to bed. For example, making a list of the things we need to get done the next day could help.
11. Be careful with taking naps
It is not about eliminating naps. There are people who obtain great benefits from taking naps. As well as people who need them in order to recharge their batteries. But, it is important to be careful. It is not advisable to take a nap which lasts more than 30 minutes. Also, napping cannot be used to compensate lack of sleep. If we are not used to taking naps, and we do it because we have suffered from insomnia, that could lead us to suffering from insomnia again that night.
It’s not simply about sleeping 8 hours a day. These 8 hours must be of good quality sleep. The objective of maintaining good sleep hygiene is having energy during the day and feeling well. Applying these habits in our daily life is a good way of taking care of our health and fighting insomnia in an easy and effective way.