Insomnia is a sleep condition characterised by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. This sleeplessness can be caused by a family history of insomnia, spending too much time in bed without any reason, napping whenever you feel the urge to or having an irregular sleep schedule. Other causes include anxiety, depression, medication, changes in life, chemo or radiation therapy. It is also more common in females than males and has two types; acute and chronic. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks, but it is considered chronic if it occurs from 3 nights a week to 3 months. Here’s what emeds researched to help you out in understanding insomnia better.
How To Deal With Insomnia?
Experiencing insomnia is not easy at all. Especially when you are already going through some of the worst times of your life, and you used sleep as an escape from them. However, if you act on these tips, you may find some improvement in your sleeping conditions.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol:
Morning coffee/tea may seem essential, but caffeine contains effects that can last for around 24 hours and more. These effects act as a barrier for you to falling asleep, and if you somehow do, you may experience frequent breaks in your sleep. This should be kept in mind that caffeine is not only present in tea or coffee but also chocolate, weight loss pills, asthma inhalers, energy drinks, and some pain relievers. And if you have a sensitive metabolism, you might need to distance yourself from decaf coffee as well.
As for alcohol, it makes you feel sleepy at first, but it blocks your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, restricting you from having a constant sleep at night and waking up early the next day.
Naps can make your insomnia worse. Let your body have a fixed routine of waking up and falling asleep. It also needs to associate sleep with darkness so you can actually experience quality nighttime sleep.
Comfortable Sleeping Environment:
Your room should have a peaceful aura for you to relax and consider it your safe space. The light in your room should be dimmed as the sleeping hormone, melatonin, is not produced by artificial lights. Your room should have dark, preferably black, curtains to block out the daylight after sunrise, which disturbs your sleep. If you have a pet that sleeps with you in your room and is really loud, you should either get it trained or change its place so you can get some peace. If that may not be possible, wear earplugs. They will tune out your pet and other noises not under your control.
Get Rid Of Unnecessary Thoughts:
Find some other time to ponder over your next-day tasks. After dinner can be taken as an example. Get every thought out of your head when you lay in bed and only focus on your sleep.
Keep Work and Food Out Of Your Bedroom:
The bedroom should be a place for you to retire from everything else and sleep, not for you to bring everything there. It is better not to watch TV, listen to the radio, use a laptop or eat inside your bedroom, so you are not too stimulated to sleep. Not only this, studying or having phone calls inside your bedroom may make your mind treat it like any other place, and it will result in sleeplessness. If you have trouble summoning slumber, try to get chores done around the house and not turn to gadgets as a pass time.
Limit Screen Time
The blue light transmitted from digital clocks, phones, laptops, televisions, tablets etc., is harmful to the eyes and is known to impede sleep. Avoid looking at screens right before it is time to doze off. Replace it with a newspaper, magazine or printed book instead. There are apps available for smart devices that control the blue light to some extent. If the apps don’t help, you can wear orange glasses that block out those lights. Otherwise, try to reduce your overall screen time as much as possible.
No Food or Drinks Before Going To Bed:
Eating a proper meal or snacks right before sliding into your bed will get your body to focus on digesting the food instead of making you fall asleep. If you have frequent heartburns, you should be more careful as that can make your insomnia worse. Keep yourself away from liquids as well. Drinking water, juice, etc., will disturb your sleep because of the trips to the bathroom.
Find a physical activity which suits you the best, try to give it an hour or so, wait for at least two hours and then retire to bed to improve your sleep quality. Let it be swimming, walking/running, cycling or a moderate-intensity workout. Only 10 minutes of dedication to physical activity daily is proven to reduce insomnia and improve your sleep duration along with a peaceful mind.
Same Waking Up Time Every Day:
Sleeping extra hours on weekends is tempting and may feel compulsory when you can’t get proper sleep throughout the week, but if you experience insomnia, then, no matter what, you should wake up at the same time every day. It may seem hard, however, ‘when there’s a will, there’s a way. Your body needs to be trained to have a fixed time to start your day regularly. Try to absorb sunlight as soon as you get out of your bed to have better-sleeping patterns and let your body produce melatonin.
All of these things are easier said than done, and these tips helping you get better is only a slight possibility. However, if you consult a psychologist or a therapist regarding insomnia and restlessness, you are on the path to actually feeling the change in your sleep on a positive side.