Insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep, plagues millions of Americans every night. The reasons for this vary from person to person. However, common reasons for this might be stress, anxiety or the inability to turn off the mind when it comes time for bed. Long-term insomnia might be a sign of something more serious and might require a talk with your doctor. If you find yourself occasionally struggling with insomnia, here are a few sleep tips.
1. Set a Sleep Schedule
We human beings were designed with an internal clock that lets our minds and body’s know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. This is called the circadian rhythm and it governs more than sleep. The circadian rhythm is also behind each stage of sleep, ranging from non-rapid eye movement (NREM) to rapid eye movement (REM), which is the deepest stage of sleep. We each have our sleep schedule, that’s why some people are morning people and some people are night owls. Whatever the individual case, our circadian rhythms can also adjust to the times we regularly go to sleep.
Staying consistent with the times you go to bed and when you wake up will help significantly with insomnia. It’s important to stick to this schedule even on weekends or if you’re off from work the next day.
2. Beware of Blue Light
Getting plenty of sunlight during the day can indeed help you rest better at night. However, it’s also important not to get too much light during the evening and night hours. This can confuse your body’s natural sleep cycle and keep you up at night. Dimming the lights in your bedroom about an hour before bedtime is good; staying away from your television, computer or phone for the same amount of time before bed is even better.
Studies have shown that the blue wavelength of light can confuse the body into thinking it’s daytime and interfere with circadian sleep cycles. Any kind of light, even sunlight, causes the body to produce less melatonin, the hormone that’s naturally produced once your body senses it’s nighttime.
3. Choose The Right Mattress
Image Source: Unsplash
Another factor that can affect your sleep is your mattress. You can easily get back pain, sore neck, and aches from sleeping in a poor mattress. Sleep disorders such as sciatica directly affecting your sleep. Hence, it is critical for you to pay attention to your sleep accessories as it is one of the most important factors affecting your health.
But we get it, with thousands of options it can feel a little bit overwhelming when choosing a mattress. That’s why we have put together this ultimate mattress buying guide to help you choose the best mattress according to your body types, sleeping positions, and budget.
4. Don’t Nap During the Day
Taking a nap can be a healthy way of refreshing yourself, especially if it helps you cope with your job or schoolwork. The only problem is that napping, especially for more than thirty minutes or so, can interfere with your sleep at night. The later in the day and the longer you nap, the more you’re likely to face sleeping problems that night. If you feel tired later in the day, go for a walk or do some other form of light exercise. The feeling of sleepiness should pass after a few minutes.
5. Get Plenty of Exercises
Getting plenty of regular exercises helps you sleep well at night, but only if you’ve been doing it for long enough. Studies have proven that, although exercise dramatically improves the duration and quality of sleep, it’s not a quick fix. Regular exercise needs to be a part of your daily lifestyle for you to benefit from it. Working out first thing in the morning is the better option for a deeper sleep. It’s also easier to stay consistent if you do it first thing in the morning. So, don’t waste any more time; get moving right away!
6. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
A couple of cups of coffee is fine in the morning, but avoid it during the later hours of the day. Caffeine, especially in the form of coffee, can make it hard to sleep or stay asleep. Try hard to drink your last caffeinated beverage at least four to six hours before bedtime. It takes that long for the effects of caffeine to wear off, even if you might not still feel a caffeine rush. Too much caffeine in the morning hours can interfere with your sleep later on in the evening. Try to limit yourself to two eight-ounce cups and strictly in the early morning hours.
7. Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
If you like having a drink at the end of the day to help you wind down and fall asleep, you might want to rethink this behavior. Similar to caffeine, the tiniest presence of alcohol in the body can make you wake up in the middle of the night, even if you initially fell asleep easily. Alcohol acts as a sedative on the nervous system, so too much of it will definitely cause you to pass out. However, this isn’t the restorative sleep that you need and you won’t feel well when you get up.
When it’s getting close to bedtime, do something relaxing to put yourself in the mood for a good night’s sleep. Take a warm bath or shower, read an interesting book or do some light stretching exercises. Any sleep tips that you can practice for the sake of a good night’s rest are well worth it!