20 Ways to Beat Insomnia and Get Better Sleep
In the busy and driven world that we live in, one of the things that really seems to suffer is a good night’s sleep, regardless of our age. Unfortunately, these sleep deficits are not without their own share of adverse health consequences. Lack of sleep causes our bodies to react negatively, elevating our stress hormone levels and predisposing us to a wide range of disorders which include depression, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
In fact, there are some prominent schools of thought that believe sleep to be the single biggest factor that influences our longevity. It therefore goes without saying that we should all be taking the proper steps to ensure we are getting enough rest. After all, our lives could depend on it. So with this in mind, here are some simple and straightforward suggestions to assist you in getting a good night’s sleep.
1. Use your bed for what it was intended for.
In other words, only use your bed for sex and sleep, and partake in other activities, like reading or paying bills, in other places.
2. Avoid caffeine in the evening.
Indulging in caffeine in the morning is fine, but remember that it can stay in your system for up to 20 hours.
3. Do not drink excessive fluids before bedtime.
It may force you to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
4. Avoid long naps during the day.
They can throw off your bedtime rhythm. If you have to squeeze in a short snooze, take a power nap of 10-15 minutes.
5. Get plenty of exercise, making sure to avoid strenuous exertion near bedtime.
Morning and afternoon workouts have the most benefit for sleep.
6. Be wary of OTC medication.
Certain drugs, like antihistamines and cold medicines, can make you feel groggy and tired. Check the labels and speak with your pharmacist or doctor.
7. Make your bedroom environment as comfortable as possible.
This means choosing a good pillow and mattress, as well as being selective as to who gets to share your bed with you, i.e., pets and kids.
8. Certain foods are believed to help sleep.
These include warm milk and chamomile tea. However, avoid excessive consumption.
9. Be regular.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to condition your body to the routine.
10. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol consumed within an hour of bedtime disrupts the second half of the sleep period, and continued nighttime consumption increasingly disrupts sleep.
11. Go to bed when you’re tired, and turn out the lights.
If you can’t fall asleep, don’t force the issue. Get out of bed and do something to make you drowsy, then get back in bed and go to sleep.
12. Reduce your screen time before bed.
This includes computers and TV. Try to avoid having a TV in your bedroom and falling asleep with it on.
13. Select a ritual.
Relaxing bedtime activities like taking a bath or listening to music can help you drift off to dream land.
14. Set your body clock.
Exposure to proper amounts of bright light (like the sun) during the day may help suppress our body’s production of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone), thus making sleep easier in the evening.
15. Leave your worries for waking hours.
Perhaps easier said than done, but try not to stress about your daily worries once your head hits the pillow.
16. Avoid harsh alarm clocks.
When they jar you awake, they can leave you feeling drowsy and irritable. Instead, try a gentler alarm or soft music.
17. Do not sleep in.
As tempting as it may be, sleeping late is like a nap and can throw off your body’s rhythms, making sleep the next night even harder.
18. Pay attention to your snoring.
It could be a sign of another problem, including sleep apnea, which can lead to health problems, not to mention compromise your sleep.
Certain meditative techniques can quiet your mind enough to allow you to fall asleep.
20. Use sleeping pills as a last resort.
Consult with your doctor before taking any sleeping medication, which can have adverse interactions with other medication.
Editor's note: Alcohol tip has been revised based on reader feedback.
This is a post from our sister blog, Healthy Theory. Visit Healthy Theory for more health tips and news.