When Insomnia Strikes: 11 Brilliant Tips To Sleep Better
If you are having issues with your sleep, you are not alone. There are an estimated 60 million people in America who suffer every year from the cunning sleep disorder known as insomnia. I have been surfing the web for years trying to find a cure-all for my own insomnia. I have tried everything from medication for meditation. Combating insomnia takes more than consuming a little magic pill. You have to be willing to make changes to your sleep habits if you ever want to find relief. I have found 11 brilliant tips that can have you sleeping better in no time. Continue reading to see what they are!
11. Keep Regular Sleep Hours
If you plan on fighting insomnia you are going to want to start by going to bed and winding down around the same time every night, followed by getting up at the same time every morning. Personally, I find this to be the most challenging thing on the list because they key is consistency. If you only follow a regular sleep schedule a few days a week, you are honestly setting yourself up for failure.
10. Eliminate or Reduce Alcohol & Stimulants
Contrary to what people believe, drinking alcohol before bed may put you to sleep but it won’t allow you to stay asleep. A person who consumes alcohol before bed is more likely to wake up frequently and have a less restful slumber. It is always better to eliminate alcohol a few hours before going to bed at night. Stimulants are also not wise to ingest before hitting the hay as well. It is recommended that you stop drinking coffee up to 6 hours before your planned bedtime.
9. Limit Naps
This one should be no surprise. The less you nap, the better you will sleep at night. Napping is shown to disrupt the quality of sleep that a person has at bedtime. Some people believe that napping is the perfect way to catch up on missed sleep. But think of it this way, if you skip out on your afternoon nap there is a higher chance of crashing and sleeping better that night. If you are going to nap, try to make it a power nap that lasts no longer than 30 minutes.
8. Get Plenty of Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly is incredibly good for your mind, body, and soul. Most of us are already aware of this. But getting some moderate exercise in on a daily basis can help you sleep better at night. Plus, it can help reduce the daily stress and tension after a hard day of work. However, exercising can backfire on you if you have your routine too close to bedtime. To avoid exercise keeping you awake at night, make sure to work out no less than three hours prior to bedtime.
7. Limit Eating & Drinking Right Before Bed
If you suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or any heart condition, eating before bedtime is a horrible idea. I have GERD and I know if I eat too late at night, I will pay for it during the middle of the night when I am stuck with horrific indigestion and bile rising up my throat. Even for the rest of the population, it is not recommended. Eating too close to bed can activate your digestive system and keep you up at night. Plus, drinking a lot of fluids right before bedtime can send your bladder into overdrive and you may find yourself waking up at 3am to tinkle.
6. Make Your Sleep Environment & Yourself Comfortable
If you want to sleep well, you are going to need the proper sleeping conditions. Make sure that your bedroom is dark at night – the darker the better. Some people invest in blackout curtains to keep the light out, especially if they work 2nd or 3rd shifts. You want to ensure that you have a comfortable mattress, otherwise there is really no point in trying to get a better nights rest if you are going to be tossing and turning all night. Make sure that your bedroom is not too cool and not too hot. Some people find that anywhere between 68°-72°F is ideal. It is also very important to make sure that the clothes you are sleeping in are comfortable and are not too form fitting.
5. Get Out Your Worries & Stress
For many of us, just because we want to go to bed does not necessarily mean that our minds are all of a sudden going to stop producing worries. Worrying and stress can keep us up for days on end. That is why it is an excellent idea to find healthy ways to get those worries out of our head before we even try lying down for some restful shut-eye. The best method I can recommend is to journal every night before going to sleep. It will help you get out all your thoughts and feelings which can allow you to fall asleep faster at night.
4. Limit Your Activities In Bed
Have you ever heard someone say that beds are meant for sleeping? In this case, if you want to create healthy sleep habits, this rings true. You want to limit the activities that you actually do in your bed to just sleeping and sex. By doing so, you are helping your mind recognize that when you are in bed you are meant to sleep. In other words, it has to do with sleep association.
3. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress in your life can be a key factor in your quality of sleep. The less stressed you are, the better you will sleep. You can practice different stress reduction techniques before going to bed such as meditating, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and so on. If you need ideas on ways you can help reduce your stress levels you can Click Here.
2. Minimize “Blue Light” Exposure
Blue light, in simple terms, comes from our favorite electronics such as our cell phones, computer monitors, tablets, and even our TV’s. Blue light can actually stimulate our minds and make it a bit more challenging to fall asleep at night. It is recommended that we limit our exposure to blue light at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Although, an hour would be optimal.
1. If You Can’t Sleep, Get Up!
Some people will continue lying in bed wide awake for hours on end. I was guilty of this myself until I learned that doing so was causing more damage than good. If you have been lying in bed for more than 20 minutes and are still unable to fall asleep, it’s time to get up. Don’t expose yourself to blue light by playing on your phone and scrolling through social media either. Instead, you should try a quiet non-stimulating activity such as reading a book – a real book and not a Kindle. You also want to make sure that your lights stay dim so you don’t overstimulate your brain. You can also try to pull out your journal and write a bit. Once you start to feel a bit drowsy, try lying down again.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.