According to the CDC, as many as 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, including temporary and chronic insomnia. Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is important, but many people struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep. Below are some of the most effective strategies to beat insomnia and get a good night’s rest.
Get into a Groove:
Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is vital for anyone who suffers from insomnia or has trouble getting to sleep. The human body functions best when you are able to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day–staying up all night, sleeping in on the weekends, and taking long naps during the day can all interfere with your sleep patterns, making it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
Create a Comfortable Environment:
One of the simplest ways to improve your restfulness is to make your bedroom more comfortable and conducive to sleep. Make sure there aren’t any distracting sources of light, such as open blinds, television screens, or lamps. Eyeshades and blackout curtains can ensure that stray lights don’t interfere with your sleep. Try to create a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, using a fan for white noise if necessary. Finally, make sure that your mattress and pillows are comfortable. While replacing them might not be cheap, it’s better than waking up exhausted after a night of tossing and turning.
Ditch Bad Habits:
Many people don’t stop to think about how daily habits can impact sleep. Stimulants like nicotine and caffeine can make it nearly impossible to get to sleep, so try to avoid smoking or drinking caffeinated beverages after dinner. Alcohol can also cause problems by interfering with your REM sleep, preventing you from feeling alert and refreshed in the morning.
Take Time to Relax:
If you have trouble getting to sleep, try giving yourself a few minutes before bed to get into a more relaxed state. Take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, or practice meditation to clear your thoughts. When you are in bed, avoid thinking about anything stressful or worrying about going to sleep. If you lay in bed thinking about tomorrow, it makes it that much more difficult to fall asleep.
Studies show that regular exercise can have a significant positive impact on a person’s ability to go to sleep and stay asleep. Whether it’s lifting weights, doing cardio, or practicing yoga, exercise helps the body clear out stress hormones that can interfere with your body’s internal clock. Keep in mind that exercise also temporarily releases natural stimulants into your system, which means that you should try to work out at least a few hours before going to bed.
Speak with a Professional:
If nothing else seems to be working, it may be time to speak with a health care professional about your sleeping problems. In some cases, there may an underlying issue, such as a melatonin deficiency, that is to blame for your insomnia. A professional may also recommend cognitive therapy, which can help people suffering from insomnia to identify and correct behaviors that are contributing to their lack of sleep.
Insomnia and other sleep disorders can significantly interfere with you day-to-day life, leaving you feeling exhausted and irritable. By using the techniques above, it is possible to recondition your body and eliminate the sources of stress that are standing between you and a good night’s sleep.