This is a real problem and a lot of people reach the point when they are forced to find solutions to fight insomnia.
An adult generally needs about 7-8 hours a sleep a night. However, this may vary from person to person. If you constantly feel tired when waking up, or if you’ve been sleep deprived for a while, you should increase your sleep time.
Lack of sleep has many negative effects on your health. Firstly, it makes you less productive by impairing your memory, mood and concentration. Moreover, it also weakens your immune system and increases the risk of accidents. Estimates show that about 10% to 20% of fatal car accidents are caused by driver’s fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel.
Now that we’ve scared you enough, let’s review the best 10 tips that can help you fight insomnia (sleep disorders).
1. Keep a proper environment for sleep if you want to fight insomnia
Improving your sleeping environment can help you fight insomnia and avoid interruptions. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Having a proper bed. Your bed should be large enough in order to give you plenty of space to stretch and turn. Also, keep a mattress and pillows that you feel comfortable in.
- Reduce noise. This is obvious, but noise levels should be down when sleeping. If you have no control over the noise in your room, try masking it with relaxing sounds or shut them out with ear plugs.
- Keep your bedroom dark when sleeping. Even the smallest light can disrupt your sleep, thus causing sleep problems. Close your TV or computer screen and pull down the curtains.
- Ventilation and temperature. Maintain a steady room temperature that you feel comfortable in. People usually prefer a slightly cooler and airy room.
2. Maintain a good sleep schedule
Keeping a steady sleep schedule is the best thing to do for your body clock and will help you a lot when trying to fight insomnia. Set up a good bedtime when you normally feel tired and stick to it, even in the weekends when you feel tempted to stay up late.
Make sure your bedtime is not too early as this will make you wake up during the night and you’ll have trouble falling asleep again. If you just crawl into your bed with your clothes on or fall asleep on the couch after returning exhausted from work and barely having the energy to eat dinner, you’re only going to make matters worse. Find a mildly demanding activity that will prevent you from falling asleep. You can wash the dishes, clean little bit in the home, or prepare your clothes for the next day.
3. Make your worries go away
Stress, anxiety and worrying about things outside your control keep you up at night. Constantly worrying about your problems will not solve them, but it will cause sleep disorders. Try different relaxation techniques to calm yourself and prepare for a nice and peaceful sleep. This will help you fight insomnia and relieve some of the accumulated stress.
4. Create a relaxing sleep ritual
Take a warm bath, have a light snack like a glass of warm milk or a banana, read a book or magazine, listen to soft music; any of these activities done on a regular basis before going to sleep will train the mind to know it’s time to rest.
Most people have a TV in their bedroom and watch it until they fall asleep, sometimes even leaving it on. Even if you set it at a low volume, television should be avoided as most of the times it displays violent or disturbing programs and the flickering light disrupts the body’s internal clock. While you may find it a bit difficult at the beginning to fall asleep without it, you will be better off in the long run. If you have a favorite show during that time, you can record it and watch it later.
5. Keep your diet under control
Eating before sleep is a bad idea and won’t allow you to fight insomnia as it will make your stomach work on digestion especially if the food is fatty or rich. Furthermore, drinking a lot of liquids will make you wake up repeatedly during the night. Of course, don’t go to bed on an empty stomach either. Some light snacks like a hot cup of chamomile tea or a glass of warm milk can calm you down and help you sleep better.
6. Regular exercises
In addition to great health benefits, regular exercises can also improve your sleep. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something intense. A walk in the park, a short run or a ride with your bicycle will reduce sleep problems. Just make sure you do your exercise routine during the morning or early afternoon because in the evening the main goal is not to burn lots of calories but more to get rid of stress, relax and prepare for a deep sleep.
7. Go to bed when you’re tired
If you’re tired and it’s about the time for your normal bedtime, go to sleep. Don’t just stay a few more minutes to check your e-mails or surf the Internet. You will get distracted, stay up late and pay for it the next day.
Also, you should get into your bed only when feeling tired. Otherwise, you’ll just stay in bed for minutes or even hours before falling asleep. Furthermore, when waking up during the night, we’re sometimes not tired anymore. Staying there and staring at the ceiling won’t help. Just get up and find something to do, your desire to sleep may return.
8. Reserve your bed only for sleeping and other “relaxing” activities
Avoid watching TV, emotional discussions, eating or studying into your bed if you want to fight insomnia. Otherwise, you may end up associating your bed with unwanted events that could make it harder for you to fall asleep. Needless to say, keep your laptop on your desk and not on your lap!
9. Avoid caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
- Caffeine can keep you awake for up to 10 or 12 hours, so try not to drink any beverages containing it after lunch hours;
- Smokers could start “thirsting” for a cigar during the night. You should know that nicotine will also disrupt your sleep;
- Drinking may make you a little drowsy but alcohol reduces the quality of sleep and can cause a lot of sleep problems.
10. Try to manage without sleeping pills
You should always check with your doctor before taking any kind of medication to fight insomnia. In the case of sleeping pills, the doctor will check if there will be any interactions with other medication or with another medical condition and recommend the best dosage. When you want to quit, gradually diminish the dosage.