If falling and/or staying asleep is a challenge you chronically face, then you may be suffering from insomnia. Many times, there is an underlying health issue responsible for the manifestation of insomnia. Other times, personal issues that can be tackled mentally such as stress and/or poor routines are responsible for countless sleepless nights. It is crucial to figure out which is the case for you, as clearly the aforementioned may require the additional help and care of a trained medical professional. In the meantime, though, the five following tips may help you catch some shut eye:
1. Sometimes, using your bed for activities other than sleep can contribute to insomnia because your brain begins to associate your bed with stimulating activities. So, to be safe, avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep for awhile and see if doing so makes a difference.
2. If you find your mind racing at night, it is possible you are suffering from worry induced insomnia. Bringing home your daily stressors can easily keep you up at night. After all, if you stay busy all day, your worries may not have room to surface until you hit the sack and all is quiet. To avoid stress induced insomnia, try some calming exercises before bed to clear your head. Some examples include writing, as you are able to dump all your worries onto paper, or meditation, which trains you to find inner peace amidst chaos. Play around with this one until you find a method that works for you.
3. Exercising regularly can also help regulate your sleeping schedule. It is important to keep in mind, though, that exercising too late in the day can be stimulating to the mind and thus prove counterproductive to your goal. To be safe, exercise at least three hours before your desired bedtime. And while compiling a list of things you should avoid three hours prior to going to sleep, go ahead and add…
4. Refrain from eating three hours before your desired bedtime. Just like exercising, eating too close to your bedtime may prove to be stimulating and thus keep you awake. This is especially true in regards to foods with sugar in them -many of which are elusively disguised. To be safe, try to eat dinner three hours before going to bed.
5. Finally, it may be wise to limit or avoid napping if you experience chronic sleep disturbances at night. That you are “catching up” on sleep by taking cat naps throughout the day after sleepless nights may be no more than an illusion. Simply put, the human brain does not scientifically work that way. Your brain operates on a 24 hour “clock” of biological processes, also known as your circadian rhythm. Due to this, it is crucial to help your brain distinguish day from night by consistently associating “sleeping” with “darkness.” Napping during the day can worsen symptoms of insomnia by causing your brain to associate “sleeping” with “daylight,” and “darkness” with “wakefulness.”