Millions of Americans have trouble sleeping at night, either we can’t fall asleep, or we wake up early and are unable to go back to sleep. For women especially, insomnia can be common because we are constantly thinking about our busy lives, our children, or our careers. You can tell that insomnia is prevalent just by looking at the number of sleep aids in the grocery store aisle. Rather than reaching for a pill the next time you cannot sleep, consider incorporating these tips into your lifestyle which will hopefully improve your sleep habits:
• Avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon. Caffeine could possibly be the culprit responsible for your lack of sleep. After mid-afternoon, try to avoid foods that may contain caffeine such as chocolate or sodas. If you need a cup of coffee with dinner, try decaf instead.
• Try getting up if you can’t sleep. If you can’t go to sleep after being in bed for 30 minutes, try getting up and completing a short activity such as reading or watching a late night comedy. You can return to bed when you are ready.
• Consider the stress factor. Sometimes stressors can impact our ability to sleep well. Instead of lying in bed thinking about all of the reasons you are stressed or that long list of the next day’s activities, try transferring your worry list onto a sheet of paper. Hopefully you will feel like you have gotten a head start on your tasks which will allow you to get some rest.
• Avoid naps during the day. While it may be tempting to nap with your little one in the afternoon, avoid taking an afternoon slumber. Naps during the day may make it more difficult for you to sleep throughout the night.
• Maintain a sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and create a sleep pattern. Adjusting your bedtime and staying up later on the weekends can negatively affect your sleep pattern the next week.
Try these simple techniques which will help you have you getting zzzzz’s instead of counting sheep.