One in three of us suffer from some form of insomnia, whether it’s a couple of nights a week spent tossing and turning or a more serious lack of sleep that affects your day to day life. So how can we take control of this debilitating and frustrating issue? Here, we take a look at a few easy methods which you may not have thought of.
For most of us, the reason we can’t fall asleep at night is the fact that are minds are still active. We cannot go straight from being wide awake and fully functional, to fast asleep; there needs to be a transitional process. Try to develop a bedtime routine that will trigger your brain into winding down. Do certain things every night such as dimming lights, having a shower, or making a cup of tea before bed.
Try to avoid stimulants before bed too, such as watching television, going on your phone, or listening to music as these tend to wake us up. If you’ve had a stressful day your mind might be racing, and you may feel unable to switch off your thoughts. A great trick to use if this often happens to you is to write down the key thoughts you’re having and tell yourself that you will deal with them tomorrow. Don’t let your mind wander back to them, instead focus on the present by tuning into your senses.
The environment in which you’re trying to fall asleep can have a big impact on the success you have. Make sure you create the perfect temperature by opening windows or setting up a fan, or alternatively warming your bed beforehand with a hot water bottle. The ideal light level is something that is personal to everyone, so try to find out what works for you. Some find utter darkness unnerving and prefer to have a small light on or a candle burning, while some find that they cannot sleep with any light whatsoever.
When it comes to sleep help, smells are also important as they trigger certain states of mind, so try out different scented candles or washing powders to see if they help. Most people find that any noise stops them from nodding off, and if this is you, try sound proofing your room using things like draught excluders. Alternatively, you might find it helpful to download something like wave noises if this helps to relax you. Your bed is another important factor; you need to make sure that it is supportive, and that you have a mattress with the right level of firmness for you. You might also find it helpful to invest in some ultra-soft bedding.
What You Eat
Not many people know this but what you eat can have a big impact on how well you are able to sleep. Caffeine is an obvious thing to avoid before bed, and can be found in many surprising things such as ice cream, chocolate, fizzy drinks, and some medications. Eating before bed generally stops you being able to sleep as it gives you energy.
Alcohol, despite making you feel tired, stops you from being able to sleep deeply and causes you to wake up during the night. Foods that encourage sleep include nuts and pulses, poultry, eggs, dairy, leafy greens, and herbal teas as they produce sleep chemicals such as magnesium and tryptophan, which are natural sedatives.
As long as you cut down on stimulants, develop a bedtime routine, and take control of your thoughts, as well as creating the perfect bedroom environment and eating well, you should be able to get on top of your insomnia. For more advice on health and wellbeing, colliersnews.com has some great articles like how yoga can be good for your brain, and how to heal quickly after surgery.