Whats Causing Your Insomnia
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Are you depressed? Do you feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
- Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
- Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
- Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
- Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
- Is your bedroom quiet and comfortable?
- Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?
Get Up At The Same Time Daily
Creating a routine can be an effective way to combat sleep anxiety and insomnia. By getting up at the same time every day, your body will naturally start to adjust your internal clock or circadian rhythm.
One sleep study, highlighted in the Guardian as A Cure for Insomnia, found that getting up at the same time every day helped the participants body feel sleepy around the same time every night. Over time, this helped the participants bedtimes become consistent.
However, creating a nighttime routine can also have similar effects. Winnie Yu for WebMD suggests creating a nightly routine can help relax your body as it starts to anticipate and expect sleep as you follow through each step. It can also help relieve anxiety, as you know what to expect each night and each morning.
The First Step Towards Better Sleep: Analysis
Questioning yourself about the quality of your sleep and your needs is the first step towards restful nights. How many hours do you require to be fully active and healthy? For example, are four good nights out of seven enough? Does getting one extra-long night per week allow you to properly recuperate? Or, on the contrary, do you need seven to eight hours per night on a regular basis? Be honest. Everyones needs are different. On average, however, most adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Next, evaluate the nature of your sleep problem:
- difficulty falling asleep
- waking up before you need to
- variable sleep.
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Use The Bed Only For Sleep And Sex
If you have trouble sleeping, get up and do some light chores around the house or another activity until you feel tired. Do dishes or declutter a closet or drawer. You should only use your bedroom for sleep and sex. If you work, read, watch TV, or use the computer while in bed, you may be too stimulated to fall asleep. Keep the TV and computer out of the bedroom. You want your body and mind to associate the bedroom with sleep and relaxation. Another good tip is to keep the room cool to improve sleep quality.
What To Do When You Cant Sleep: 9 Tips
Prioritizing a good nights sleep isnt just important for your general health, it can also help with feelings of anxiety, as your body is less likely to feel overwhelmed or on edge when youve slept well.
However, falling asleep can be difficult, so its important to build a strategy for a better nights sleep. Below are some tips to try in order to improve your chances of falling asleep naturally.
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Reach For Some Walnuts
Walnuts are good for heart health and add crunch and a dose of beneficial fat to all sorts of dishes, but theyve also been found, in research, to contain their own form of melatonin, a hormone that helps our bodies regulate a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Try snacking on a small handful about 20 minutes before bed to help you relax and reach a deeper state of restful sleep, says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.
Create A Comfort Zone
Your bedroom should be a peaceful place. Anything that might distract you or be overly stimulating is better in another room. Also, avoid using your bedroom or bed as a workspace if you can. It may be difficult, with many of us working from home, but if you solve problems in your bedroom, which could be too thought-provoking it could prevent you from sleeping.
Most importantly, invest in a comfortable mattress and bedding set, a comfortable pillow can make all the difference.
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Get Up And Walk Around
If you have been lying in bed for 20 minutes and you havent been able to fall asleep, do not keep spending wakeful hours lying in bed. Get up and read, or listen to some relaxing music.
Stay away from the phone, TV, or computer, as the blue lights can interfere with your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm helps you naturally wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. After being awake for an hour or so, or if you feel like youre getting sleepy, go back to bed.
Try Tart Cherry Juice
This refreshing juice contains melatonin, flavonoids and other compounds thought to promote sleep. In a study in the American Journal of Therapeutics, a small sample of older adults with insomnia who were given 8 ounces of tart cherry juice, twice a day for two weeks, slept an average of 84 minutes longer per night , says nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD, adjunct professor of nutrition in food studies at New York University inNew York City.
Other study data has shown a significant elevation in melatonin in groups consuming cherry juice, leading to increased total sleep time. This isnt to say we should all increase our juice intake , but consider adding tart cherry juice to a smoothie, or having a small serving in the evening to see how it affects your sleep.
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Avoid Consuming Caffeine In The Afternoon
Logically, drinking coffee before bedtime is not beneficial for our sleep. But even drinking it in the afternoon could have a negative impact. We must keep in mind that caffeine remains in our bodies for 4 to 9 hours. Since caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, it can interfere in a direct way with sleep. Coffee is not the only stimulant. Other drinks like tea or soft drinks or even food like chocolate can also keep us awake.
Dietary Supplements For Insomnia
There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. Although they may be described as natural, be aware that sleep remedies can still have side effects and interfere with other medications or vitamins youre taking. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
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Screen Time Helps You Wind Down
Myth. It’s tempting to try to wind down by reading on the computer or watching TV before bed, but both can actually stimulate you. The light and noise of TVs and computers can be engaging and can reduce brain melatonin levels. You want your melatonin levels to increase around bedtime to help you fall asleep. Need just a little noise to help you drift off? Try listening to relaxing music or download a relaxing, sleep app.
On Your Marks Get Ready Sleep
Sleeping well is, first and foremost, a question of lifestyle. You are the only one who can put all the chances on your side to get back to a healthy sleep routine. Be strategic and, especially, determined. Making gradual changes is sometimes more beneficial than rushing too fast to achieve your goal. Your body will hear the signals you are sending and, in return, will help you finally get the rest you deserve!
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Sleep Problems Go Away On Their Own
Myth. Until you know what’s causing your insomnia — whether it’s stress, medication, illness, or another issue — don’t expect it to disappear on its own. If you’ve had problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, or if youâre consistently tired after a nightâs sleep, you may have a sleep disorder, and it’s time to talk to your doctor about treatment.
Meditation And Relaxation Techniques
A regular meditation practice may help to promote sleep by slowing breathing and reducing stress hormone levels. Meditation is a technique that involves consciously directing one’s attention to an object of focus in order to increase awareness, relax the body, and calm the mind.
Some types of meditation include guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or body scan. Also try:
- Visualization: Visualization involves actively imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you’re imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen to the waves. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.
- Relaxation response: This is a mind/body response that occurs after following specific instructions patterned closely after Transcendental Meditation.
- Mindfulness: This type of meditation essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present.
Early evidence suggests that meditation techniques may improve sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says relaxation techniques have enough evidence to say they can be helpful for insomnia. But further research is still needed.
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Challenging The Worries And Thoughts That Fuel Insomnia
Its also helpful to challenge the negative attitudes about sleep and your insomnia problem that youve developed over time. The key is to recognize self-defeating thoughts and replace them with more realistic ones.
|Challenging self-defeating thoughts that fuel insomnia|
|Self-defeating thought:||Sleep-promoting comeback:|
|Unrealistic expectations: I should be able to sleep well every night like a normal person. I shouldnt have a problem!||Lots of people struggle with sleep from time to time. I will be able to sleep with the right techniques.|
|Exaggeration: Its the same every single night, another night of sleepless misery.||Not every night is the same. Some nights I do sleep better than others.|
|Catastrophizing: If I dont get some sleep, Ill tank my presentation and jeopardize my job.||I can get through the presentation even if Im tired. I can still rest and relax tonight, even if I cant sleep.|
|Hopelessness: Im never going to be able to sleep well. Its out of my control.||Insomnia can be cured. If I stop worrying so much and focus on positive solutions, I can beat it.|
|Fortune telling: Its going to take me at least an hour to get to sleep tonight. I just know it.||I dont know what will happen tonight. Maybe Ill get to sleep quickly if I use the strategies Ive learned.|
Bonus: Know Your Caffeine Limit
About 85% of Americans drink at least one caffeinated beverage every day, mainly coffee. You already know that caffeine stimulates your system . But while many people claim they can down coffee an hour before bed and sleep just fine, thats not true for most of us and may not be true for everyone who brags they can sip espresso and then slip off to sleep, says Hartley. Many people lose sleep when stimulants are taken during the afternoon, at large doses, or at all.
However, there are people who are not sensitive to the effects of caffeine at night. In a study on the impact of alcohol, nicotine or caffeine used within four hours of bedtime, researchers found that nicotine and alcohol disrupted sleep, but caffeine did not. The researchers note that they were not able to consider caffeine dosing, sensitivity or tolerance, which are factors that need to be studied in future research on the effects of caffeine on sleep disruption.
But for the majority of people who need to avoid caffeine at night, its not just coffee. They need to be aware of hidden sources of caffeine, like chocolate or coffee ice cream. To promote sleep, try cutting off your caffeine intake by 1 p.m. for a week, and see how it affects your ability to fall asleep. Tweak accordingly from there as you zoom in on the limit that optimizes your bodys ability to function.
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Exercise Can Be Helpful But Its Important To Know That If You Arent Eating Right Your Sleep Can Suffer
Weâve all been told fruits and veggies are our friends. But eating right isnât just about watching our figure. What we consume during the day or close to bedtime can have a serious impact on how we sleep and for how long. For example, a diet low in fiber and high in saturated fats can decrease the amount of deep, uninterrupted shut eye you get– eating sugar has the same effect, and can even keep you up altogether. Choosing when to eat also has an effect on your sleep, since eating food close to your bedtime can start the digestive process and keep you up well into the night.
Most nutritionists and sleep specialists also advise insomnia sufferers to eliminate alcohol and stimulants like caffeine. âAlcohol may have a sedative effect for the first few hours following consumption, but it can then lead to frequent arousals and a non-restful night’s sleep,â says WebMD.
When it comes to having a healthy diet best suited for quality sleep, vitamin B is going to be your best friend. Low fat proteins like fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy are all incredibly good for you and are high in Vitamin B, which has been shown to help control melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep cycles.
Eating well also has an added benefit of potentially causing you to lose weight, which is just another tip to sleeping better, since a reduction in body fat can help you struggle less with problems like sleep apnea and insomnia.
Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy To Fight Insomnia
Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer notes that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is probably the most effective treatment for chronic insomnia. CBT-i requires some effort, but its proven to help people return to more normal sleep patterns. And bonus: Behavioral treatments are more effective and longer-lasting than sleep aids.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is our treatment of choice, Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer says. About 70 to 80% of people have improvement without the use of medication so its effective.
The goal of this ongoing therapy is to help you change your sleep-related thinking, habits, schedules and behaviors. For example, you may need to change your habit of using your bed for activities such as working on your laptop.
CBT-i also includes regular follow-up visits with a behavioral sleep medicine specialist. This therapist may:
- Have you keep a sleep diary
- Examine your sleep/wake habits to pinpoint the actions that are preventing you from sleeping soundly
- Educate you about sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques
To find a sleep specialist, ask your doctor for a referral. But dont despair if there isnt one in your area. Other effective options are available, including Cleveland Clinics online Go! To Sleep program.
Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer adds that one of the best things you can do to take back the night is stay consistent. We need to be more mindful of our sleep routines, she says. Your brain likes routine.
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How To Cure Insomnia In 12 Minutes
We all have trouble sleeping sometimes. When insomnia strikes, learn the ways you can get your zzzs. From easy fixes to scheduling a doctor visit, there are quick, actionable approaches to consider. Solutions to sleep struggles can be easier than you think. Lets look at how to cure insomnia in 12 minutes.
How To Beat Insomnia And Sleep Easy
Poor sleep as anyone who suffers from it knows can make life a misery. And it is taking its toll on the nation’s health. According to the recently published Great British Sleep Survey, more than 51% of us now struggle to get a good night’s sleep, with women three times more likely to be affected than men.
Evidence collected from 20,000-plus adults between March 2010 and this June shows that 93% of insomniacs report low energy levels and 83% complain of mood swings. Some 77% find it hard to concentrate, 64% say they are less productive at work, and 55% report relationship difficulties.
Even worse, persistent poor sleep can increase the risk of developing conditions including diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and strokes. Research at the University of British Columbia suggests every hour of sleep lost at night may cost us one IQ point the following day. And it is often a long-term issue: a quarter of people with insomnia have suffered from it for more than 10 years.
In Britain, overwhelmingly, we treat poor sleep with medication: the NHS spent a staggering £50m on sleeping pills last year, with 15.3m prescriptions dispensed across England, Scotland and Wales . But many pills have undesirable side-effects and the survey’s findings suggest they do not solve long-term sleep problems: 42% of people who have taken them on and off have continued to have poor sleep for more than a decade.
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Exercise 12 Minutes Per Day
Exercise for 12 minutes in 2-minute spurts throughout the day. This is called HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training. If you do six 2 minute spurts of high-intensity, high-energy aerobic activity throughout the day, you never even have to break a sweat.
Do jumping jacks, pushups, jump rope, etc 4-6 times per day and you may sleep better when you hit the sack. An added benefit is that HIIT also improves metabolism more than other types of exercise.
Or try taking a fast walk or jog for 12 minutes. A little bit of exercise is always better than none at all.