Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep helps to keep you productive the next day. But due to our busy schedule, workload, worries, etc., insomnia has become a problem for more than a third of the worldwide population. Surprisingly, parents with children have the highest insomnia among them, followed by 78% of pregnant women, 9.4% of adolescents, and 23% of adults.
Unfortunately, people with insomnia are 28% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, and 4% of people use sleep aids over the long term. Insomnia has a direct medication cost of over $13 billion, and not to mention the trillions of dollars lost due to work productivity.
Insomnia is a well-recognized symptom of anxiety. 33% of the population with an insomnia problem stay awake at night, ruminating about their thoughts and anticipating the worst-case scenarios. This behavior will eventually stop the person from falling asleep and make the situation worse in the long-term. Here, we will share 11 ways to help people get themselves out of the problem and lead a better life with better sleep.
1. Maintain a sleep schedule
Creating a sleep schedule is a crucial way to fight insomnia. One can understand that getting up at a similar time each time is particularly challenging over the weekend, especially when you have a tiring work week.
However, waking up at a set time every day is 23% effective in fighting insomnia and building a healthy body clock. So, develop your sleep routine by waking up at the same time, every day.
2. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine before sleep
There is a significant misconception after consuming alcohol. Alcohol causes drowsiness and helping the person will fall asleep without any difficulty. But in reality, the person will experience fragmented sleep, which will cause insomnia in the late run. So, it’s better to avoid consuming alcohol for sleeping or just before sleeping. Nicotine and caffeine are anti-sleep stimulants, so it’s cardinal to avoid their intake before bedtime.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Naps
To get a good night’s sleep, you should avoid taking naps in the day. However, if you feel exhausted or drained, then taking a 20 minutes nap after lunch is sufficient. Any additional nap time during the day will disrupt our night sleep.
4. Maintain Daily Workouts
Working out daily with a definite regime can improve the quality and quantity of sleep proportionally. However, it would help if you avoided pre-sleep exercises because excessive exhaustion can overtake your body and disrupt your peaceful sleep.
5. Avoid your bed at daytime
Keep in mind that your bed is only meant for sleeping. Avoid using your bed for another purpose other than sleeping. Resist the temptation to use your bed for work and meals. Confine your bed just for sleep will maintain sleep’s psychological association when you jump onto the bed.
6. Avoid food and drinks before sleep
Having dinner 1 to 2 hours before going to sleep is beneficial for better sleep and health. Your stomach will get enough time to digest the food, and the body will activate the parasympathetic nervous system to go into a resting phase.
Sugar-based food stimulates your brain activities and causes your brain to function beyond your control before sleep. Additionally, drinking lots of fluids before bed can pressure your bladder and disrupt sleep with the need to visit the toilet. So, avoid sugary food and drinks would help to maintain the quality of sleep.
7. Keep it dark and cool
Maintaining a pleasant bedroom is crucial to our sleep. Maintain room temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, keep a dim light, and noise level below 10 decibels are ideal conditions to fall asleep fast.
Pets disrupt our sleep too. So, it’s advisable not to allow your pets in your bedroom.
8. Leave all your worries before going to bed
Work is work, and sleep is sleep. Don’t bring your work to bed, and that includes thoughts, worries, and planning. If you find yourself lying in bed and making plans for tomorrow, insomnia will follow you.
To avoid insomnia, you should complete as much work as possible before sleep and leave uncompleted work for tomorrow. It’s annoying not to complete our work before bedtime, but it’s even more annoying if you can’t get a productive day tomorrow when your sleep is disrupted.
9. Practice breathing exercises
Breathing exercises calm the mind and get you to sleep faster. Mindfulness breathing relaxes your muscles and mind to reach a relaxed state before falling asleep.
The 4-7-8 second rule for breathing exercise helps to relax your mind. Take 4 seconds to inhale through your nose, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale in 8 seconds. Repeat this process 10 or more times to calm your body and mind.
10. Avoid screen time before bed
According to research reports, watching videos and using cell phones before bedtime is bad for our health. These short-wavelength, high-energy blue lights are harmful to our eyes, especially in dim light.
The radio-frequency radiations in these devices can stimulate the brain’s neurons even after you stopped using the devices. Therefore, sleep experts recommend you to stop using a cellphone, laptop, and tv 3 to 4 hours before going to sleep.
11. Consider Psychotherapy
If your insomnia is due to anxiety, then do consider psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is proven to be effective in treating anxiety. Your psychotherapist will help you understand what causes you to feel anxious and work with you to change your thoughts and reactions.
You are encouraged to face your fears head-on. Over time, you will realize that the negative thoughts and emotions you think will happen are highly unlikely.
Insomnia and Anxiety shall pass. Just believe in yourself.
Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule.
With these options, we believe your insomnia can be resolved soon.
Take care and stay well.