Image Courtesy: Stuart Miles
It happens every single night. You go into bed exhausted from the day’s activities, hoping for a peaceful night’s sleep – only to toss and turn until dawn. You get up the next day all cranky, irritable, and still tired.
If you find yourself in this vicious cycle, you might be suffering from insomnia. This is a condition wherein you are unable to get the quality of sleep needed to help you feel well rested and refreshed. Unfortunately, this is a very common problem which affects your energy, mood, health and your ability to perform your daily activities. Thankfully, there are ways to help you sleep better at night without taking sleeping pills or other forms of medication.
However, before that, you first have to identify what keeps you up all night in order to address such problems.
What Keeps You Up At Night?
To properly treat your insomnia, you first have to identify the factors that keep you up all night. Stress, anxiety, and depression are the main culprits for most insomnia cases. But there are also other factors that play a role in your dilemma.
- Is your room too hot or too cold?
- Does the neighbor’s noise or traffic noise prevent you from falling asleep?
- Does your room get flooded with outdoor lights or sunlight at dawn?
- Are your family members or pets keeping you up?
- Is your mattress comfortable?
- Are you in pain or are suffering from an illness?
- Are you taking medications? Remember that antidepressants, cold and flu medicines, pain relievers, and high blood pressure medications can affect your sleep.
- Are you a sleepwalker?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Are you pregnant? Hormonal changes can also affect your sleep pattern.
- Do you suffer from sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or narcolepsy?
The best way to treat insomnia is to treat the underlying emotional, psychological, and physical issues that cause this condition. For instance, if anxiety and depression are the causes of your condition, you should seek professional help. If you are unable to sleep because of an illness or due to your medication, you can ask your physician to prescribe you a different kind of medication – one without alcohol or caffeine.
Adopt Healthy Habits To Help You Sleep
While treating the underlying emotional and physical factors is an excellent step to getting better sleep, it may not be enough. You should also practice healthy sleep routines. Here’s how:
Keep Your Bedroom Dark:
You need to make your room conducive for sleeping. You are probably aware that too much light can interfere with your sleep. Darkness can help your body fall asleep because light sends a signal to your brain that it is time to get up. Keeping your room dark will help your body release a hormone known as melatonin that helps you relax, allowing you to drift into a peaceful sleep.
To help you darken your room, you can use blackout blinds. There are blackout blinds that use innovative materials, as well as a Velcro seal that blocks out light completely. It is better to purchase blackout blinds instead of curtains because the latter can still allow light into the room.
Minimize Noise And Keep Your Room Cool:
Noise and heat can also affect your sleep. You can try using a sound machine or an earplug to minimize outside noise. You can also add white noise into the room. These are low, steady sounds that are soothing. This type of noise can help block out unwanted noise outside. In addition, you should also keep your room cool by adjusting the setting on your air conditioning system or by using a fan.
Avoid Unhealthy Foods:
This means you should stop drinking alcoholic beverages or caffeinated drinks hours before bedtime. In addition, you should also consider quitting smoking. Remember that caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are stimulants.
It is best to avoid napping during the day because it will make it hard for you to sleep at night. If you feel really drowsy, you can take a 30-minute nap around three o’clock in the afternoon.
To help your mind relax, you should wear-out your body. To this end, you should exercise by early afternoon. Doing so will help you sleep better and will help alleviate your daily stress. In addition, exercise flushes the body with fresh blood and oxygen, making you healthier and fit. But remember not to do any vigorous exercise by late afternoon because it may backfire!
Kris Hopkins is a registered nurse who occasionally blogs about the common causes of insomnia and how to treat them. She also recommends her readers to consider getting high quality blackout blinds.