Everyone suffers from sleepless night from time to time. When these instances interrupt our normal sleep schedule and become more prevalent, it becomes time to re-set our clocks. Unfortunately for many, it isn’t that easy. We settle in to bed and become anxious that insomnia will occur. Before we know it, the vicious circle starts again and we are in for a long night!
Dr. Audrey Liu, director of Mercy Medical Center’s Sleep Center in Baltimore, Maryland says that many factors can contribute to insomnia. She recommends that patients suffering from frequent insomnia first rule out a severe medical problem. “Chronic insomnia, by definition, includes associated daytime symptoms such as low energy, anxiety, impaired concentration, irritability, and sleepiness, which result in a poor quality of life. Insomnia has also been associated with accidents, poor work performance, and increased risk for substance abuse and mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety,” says Liu.
1. Use Your Bedroom For Sleeping Only – By limiting the purpose of the bedroom to sleep, we will enter our room ready to unwind. If we keep office paperwork or piles of laundry in the bedroom, then we begin to think about those distractions and possible stressors when we should be thinking of relaxing at bedtime.
2. Design a Sleep Friendly Bedroom – According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) we should dim the lights in our room to regulate our body and tell our brain it’s time to transfer into sleep mode. Our bedroom should be painted a soothing color, kept at a cool temperature and should have a sound conditioner to alleviate sounds inside or outside. The NSF also recommends that we choose comfortable sheets, pillows and a mattress.
3. Start an Exercise Routine – The National Sleep Foundation advocates establishing a regular exercise routine. It has been proven that people who have an established exercise routine sleep better and longer than those who don’t.
4. Take a Magnesium Supplement Before Bed – Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and can help your body get to the sleepy state naturally. Magnesium can be taken orally or transdermally through oils and Epsom salts.
5. Eliminate Electronics – There are a multitude of studies documenting that light induces wakefulness. When possible, leave your electronics in another room, turn off the television and find a book to help you unwind. If you must have your electronics in the bedroom, turn them off 30 minutes before bed.
6. Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol – Dr. Liu, says, “Avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. All promote wakefulness and disrupt nighttime sleep. Do not drink alcohol to help sleep. It may promote sleep onset, but increases awakenings during the night.”
7. Relax – Try a relaxation technique like yoga, meditation or a soothing bath
with lavender oils and Epsom salts. Yoga For Insomnia and Relax and Sleep Well Free are two excellent apps to help you drift off to dreamland. Yoga For Insomnia takes you through poses, which aim to help reduce insomnia. Relax and Sleep Well Free has been ranked 1st in Healthline’s list of the Best Insomnia Apps of 2015. It takes you on a hypnotherapy journey designed to help you overcome insomnia, stress and anxiety and sleep well at night.
8. Avoid Sleep Medications – Avoid prescription sleep medications that come with a host of side effects and possible long-term problems. They may mask the real problem, become habit forming and cause you to feel groggy throughout the morning.