Most adults suffer from sleep disorders at some point in their life. Sleeping problems are often the product of stress or depression. Other times, they are the result of something much simpler.
You can fight insomnia by practicing good sleep hygiene. Getting into a good system will help you sleep soundly and be well rested to take on each day.
1. Try to sleep during the same hours each day
Going to sleep or waking up at different times every day throws your body completely out of whack. Your brain is hardwired to a 24-hour schedule. When you go to sleep during the same hours each day, you set your circadian rhythms. When you change your sleep patterns, you confuse your body. You’ll be more likely to wake up during inopportune times and it will be harder for you to get to sleep. Be as consistent as possible. Even changing your schedule for a couple of days can throw you off for as much as a week.
2. Keep your body free of toxins
Many substances need to be taken in moderation, if at all. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and sugar can all lead to insomnia. If you consume any of these substances, do not do so within a few hours of going to bed. Some people find drinking coffee keeps them awake, even if they consume it early in the morning. Get to know your own body. If you seem to have an issue with stimulants, you may want to remove them from your life completely.
3. Don’t become dependent on sleeping pills
Many people turn to sleeping pills as a quick solution to insomnia. Sleeping pills often work well for a brief period of time. But after you have taken them for a while, you build a tolerance to them. They cease to be effective unless you take larger doses. When someone has to go without sleeping pills, they often don’t know how to cope. They probably don’t need pills at all, but the chemical or psychological dependence has tricked them into thinking they can’t sleep without them. Worse, pills can have dangerous side effects if you use them consistently. Develop good sleep practices and there should be no reason to become dependent on pills.
4. Give yourself some downtime before going to sleep
Some people get caught up with working long into the night. This is especially a problem for college students who need to cram for exams. You will have a hard time sleeping if you’re burdening your mind before bed. Take a few hours to relax before going to sleep.
Exercising is a good way to get your body tired and release a lot of the stress you are dealing with every day. A good 30-45 minute workout in the morning or afternoon can help you sleep much more effectively at night. Another option is to exercise three hours before going to sleep. This will help to trigger alpha brainwaves so that you will drift off more easily when you lie down. Be careful not to workout just before sleeping though. Your body will become stimulated, making sleep more difficult.
6. Avoid unnecessary naps
Napping during the day may be necessary when there’s a serious sleep debt you need to pay off. However, unnecessary napping can throw your sleep cycle off, making it harder to fall asleep again later that night. If you need to take a nap, do so at least 8 hours before you plan on going to sleep in the evening.
7. Only use your bed for sleep and sex
You need to condition your brain to see your bed as a special place where you only go to sleep. Avoid eating, reading and watching TV while lying in bed.