Medical professionals have stated that people who have trouble sleeping probably have anxiety or depression. That’s not always the case, but in approximately 65% of situations, that’s the underlying problem.
On the other hand, there are several other reasons people may not be falling asleep as quickly as they’d like. Some additional reasons for why you may have issues with insomnia are listed below:
- Stress at home
- Stress at work
- Stressful life
- Death of a loved one
- Upcoming exam/paper due
- Moving to another city, state, or country
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Irregular waking patterns
- Excessive alcohol usage
- Drinking caffeinated beverages
- Smoking before bed
If you have insomnia, and at least one of the situations listed above is relevant to your life, you may need some help falling asleep. If you’ve finally identified your sleeping problem(s), check out the list of helpful tips below to get you started on a better sleep life.
Stick to a pattern.
If you want to get on the right track, start with establishing a sleeping pattern. That means you have to generally go to bed and wake up the same time each day. If you must alter that time, try not to stray more than 30 minutes away from your normal schedule.
Make sure your environment is ideal for sleeping.
Knowing that your environment is ideal for sleeping is crucial. Sleep should always be associated with words like dark, quiet, and cool. And what that means is that the room you fall asleep in every night should be just that: dark, quiet, and cool. Light nights should be avoided if possible, televisions should be omitted from the bedroom, and temperatures should be dropped somewhere between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you need extra help in achieving the ultimate sleep environment, head to your local home improvement store and buy yourself a set of blackout curtains. Another suggestion you could try is to buy a cooling body pad to put under you while you sleep.
Exercise every day.
Exercising is proven to tire your body and mind out, hence why you fall asleep faster if you exercise every day. Just be sure not to exercise around the time you usually fall asleep.
The best time to exercise is right when you wake up after you’ve already eaten your breakfast. However, not all people enjoy doing this. Some say they get in a better workout when they go to the gym after work. For those of you who like doing the latter instead of the former, keep in mind you should not be exercising up to 4 hours before you go to bed; for example, do not exercise at 6 p.m. if you plan to go to bed any earlier than 10 p.m.
Don’t take any long naps throughout the day.
Long naps always leave people groggy, it’s a scientific fact. Why is it that this always happens? Well, probably because you’re waking up from a deep sleep, without allowing yourself to get anywhere near the 8 hours you actually need.
In addition to this, try not to nap late in the day. If you do take a nap late in the day (usually 4 p.m. or after), you may have difficulty falling asleep at night.
Avoid caffeine before bed.
Everyone knows that drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of soda right before bed is a bad idea. But did you know that you shouldn’t be having caffeine for up to 4 hours before you go to bed? For instance, I’ll use the same example I provided you above: Don’t drink caffeine at 6 p.m. if you’re going to go to bed earlier than 10 p.m.
You should also know that consuming such caffeinated beverages late in the afternoon, or any time during the night, can affect your sleeping schedule by waking you up in the middle of the night.
Try to avoid alcohol before bed.
Alcohol is known to be a depressant. Depressants are known to make you fall asleep. That doesn’t mean that you should use alcohol to fall asleep faster, as it actually has the opposite effect on the body, in turn contributing to poor sleep quality.
How does alcohol contribute to bad sleep quality? It does so by disrupting the normal REM sleeping cycles your body usually goes through on a nightly basis. If you don’t have your REM sleep, you’ll wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.
Stay away from the television before going to bed.
The bright lights from the television will actually keep you up longer at night. In fact, any bright light will keep you up longer at night, so try to stay away from your cell phone and your e-mail while you’re at it.
Don’t try to force yourself to fall asleep.
If you can’t fall asleep within the first 20 minutes of lying in bed, get up and do something else. For instance, you can go brew yourself a nice cup of decaffeinated tea to soothe your body. You could also read a book to tire your mind. You could even try going to the living room to just sit there and relax for a little while. As long as you stop lying there, and as long as you stop thinking about falling asleep, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster.
Whatever you do, do not go back to bed unless you’ve started to feel sleepy. Heed my advice on that one, because if you do go back to bed and you’re not sleepy, you’ll start the cycle up all over again.
By Jenny Lyn