Are you struggling to sleep? Over time a lack of sleep can lead to a wide range of health conditions. That’s because while we are asleep many critical processes happen within the body. There could be many reasons why your sleep is being disturbed from anxiety to insomnia.
Whatever the reason is behind your lack of sleep, it’s important to address the underlining causes. Here are 14 ways to beat insomnia.
Control Your Diet
The first red flag here has to be the use of drugs. Rather than putting the blame on the use of drugs and medication alone, here are so many diet-related issues that you should keep in check.
Cut Back On Caffeine Or Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant. It keeps your brain active and can really disturb your sleep. Alcohol, on the other hand, will help you sleep fast. However, alcohol-induced sleep goes by so fast that you wake up feeling like you never slept at all—call it a stupor, if you will. To top it all off, caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. This means that they will definitely cause you to pee in the middle of night. Watch out for caffeine sources like chocolate, tea, pain relievers, weight loss pills, energy drinks and soda.
Nicotine has a direct effect on brain neurotransmitters that greatly influences mood and sleep. It’s a stimulant that makes it extremely difficult to fall and stay asleep. Studies even show that nicotine increases the risk of insomnia, and many other sleep disorders. Breaking your smoking habit may be difficult but with the right help, you can overcome it. It may just be the key to a good sleep.
Avoid Carbs Before Bed
Two hours before sleep is the deadline for heavy sugar or carbohydrate snacking. They don’t digest easy and can greatly disturb your sleep. If you really need to eat that late, eat small portions of food. Examples of food that encourage sleep are milk, turkey and nuts.
Avoid Drinking Too Close To Bedtime
Three hours before sleep should mark the end of heavy fluid intake. This would include anything from juice to water. Most of your liquid intake should be done during the daytime not at nighttime. Drinking too much fluid at night could disrupt your sleep. It takes longer to fall asleep again after waking up in the middle of night.
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Sure, the world is filled with stressful activities. Work is basically the biggest stress factor for any employed adult. However, there are also minute details in your lifestyle that also contribute to your stress. Here are some of them:
Remove Screens From The Bedroom
In this 21st century, we are constantly in contact with blue light. Our smartphones, tablets, computer screens, TVs, e-readers, digital clocks all emit blue light. These contribute to disruptive sleep because they put a strain on the eyes—strained eyes can induce stress on your whole person. Reduce your exposure to blue light by minimising screen time, most especially before bedtime. And if you’ve managed to cover the blue light emitters in your room, use a black out curtain to block out the ambient lights from outside.
Don’t Clock Watch
Clock-watching is a problem many workers suffer from. The reason you may be experiencing sleep disorders may be because you stare at the clock often. Constantly watching the seconds, minutes and hours of the day pass by increases your anxiety which then puts a strain on your mind. Eventually you’re stressed, and when bedtime comes, you’re unable to sleep. Rather than watch the clock, take up a hobby of reading or doing some light chores, or taking some warm milk to help you fall asleep. Anything eventful you can do to pass the time will help you sleep better.
Keep Noise Volumes Down
Your bedroom needs to be as quiet as possible if you’re trying to overcome your insomnia and get some good sleep. Sounds from outside your home like traffic, animal sounds, car honks, and bell tolls can be very distracting. You can bypass these sounds by wearing earplugs at night. You can also play calming music to mask external sounds. Studies back that white noise—i.e. familiar sounds—can greatly mask unwanted sounds and ease sleep.
Exercise & Meditation
Regular exercise can reduces risk of insomnia. It also helps you get some good sleep. Aerobic activity done daily can greatly improve sleep by enhancing your respiration. Exercises you can do are cycling, swimming and running. Doing these exercises 3 hours before bedtime can relieve stress and help you fall asleep faster. Meditation as well does a great deal to improve sleep.
Pillows were invented for a reason, you know. Those fluffy plump things can help reduce pain-induced insomnia. So, if low back pain stops you from sleeping well at night, then prop a pillow against your back. Also ensure that your mattress is supportive enough to lessen your back pain.
Practice Good Sleep Posture
You should definitely practice good sleeping posture. Lie on your back if you have trouble breathing. If you have chronic back pain, lie on your side, and swing both legs together—don’t bend at the waist. If you suffer from neck pain, keep your neck at a neutral position. This means that your neck should be in proper alignment with the rest of your body.
Keep Your Bed Serene
Chances are your allergies may be interfering with your sleep. Keep allergy proof by washing the sheets and pillow cases. Ensure the covers are hypoallergenic at all times. If you can, keep your pets out of the bedroom so they don’t litter it with fur and dander—this could cause nasal irritation.
There may be a number of reasons why you are unable to sleep. Sometimes it can be difficult to resolve issues, especially ones connected to your waking life. In this case, speaking to a therapist may help. It can be a very beneficial way to discuss topics such as anxiety, stress management, panic attacks, weight loss, or even moving forward with your personal development. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please get in touch for a virtual or in-person consultation.