How to Deal with Insomnia: 12 Tips for the Chronic Sleep Deprived
How to Deal with Insomnia: 12 Tips for the Chronic Sleep Deprived
Tick tock, tick tock… The clock’s ticking. Your head’s whirring. You can’t get comfortable. You’re exhausted, but simply can’t sleep. Your insomnia’s playing up again. It ain’t just you either. In fact, 1 in 10 adults struggles with chronic insomnia and up to 35% of us experience brief insomnia symptoms. Those are scary figures when you learn how it can lead to an abundance of physical and mental health issues. Insomnia can increase your risk of stroke, seizure, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety, to name a few. Oh, and don’t forget the reduced sex drive, memory loss, and life expectancy too! Clearly, aside from the sheer annoyance of not being able to sleep, there are serious reasons to learn how to overcome insomnia. We want to help! Keep reading to discover 12 tips on how to deal with insomnia and get a good night’s sleep.
12 Tips for How to Deal with Insomnia
Here we go, time to learn how to deal with insomnia using the following 12 tips!
1. Don’t Drink or Take Stimulants
This sleep-inducing tip makes us feel a bit like overprotective parents. But, unfortunately, it’s true: excessive consumption of alcohol and taking any form of stimulant can exacerbate your insomnia. It’d be a good idea to avoid them where possible. You might be able to get your head around the stimulants. After all, people drink vast amounts of coffee for the sole purpose of staying awake. Makes sense to avoid such stimulants if you want to sleep, right? But what about the booze? After all, doesn’t it make you drowsy? Well, yes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last though. Anyone who has woken up after a heavy night can vouch for the restless, quasi-sleep state of the night before. One of the best tips on how to deal with insomnia to avoid drinking before bed (or at least limit how much you consume). Oh, and smoking’s bad too. That sounds obvious, but the nicotine’s actually a stimulant as well, which, as we now know, is bad news.
2. Avoid Naps
After a night of no sleep, it’s tempting to counteract your tiredness by napping throughout the day. But for the struggling insomniac, it’s a big no-no. It’s totally reasonable to want/need a sleep during the day. However, it’s a vicious spiral. Sleeping in the day means you’ll be less tired at night and what should be bedtime. It’s far better to get into a solid sleep routine instead- more on this in the next tip!
3. Regularize Your Sleep Patterns
Having a structured sleeping pattern is one of the top ten ways deal with insomnia. Essentially, you want your body and mind to know when it’s time for sleep. You make that happen by sticking rigidly to a schedule that works for you. Give yourself a time in the evening to go to bed and an hour in the morning to wake up. It may take some time to establish. But after a while of going to bed at a set hour, and having an alarm that marks the end of sleepy-time, you should hopefully begin to notice yourself slipping into regular patterns of sleep.
4. Keep Things Simple in the Bedroom
Make bedtime, bedtime. Or, at the very least, restrict your bedroom activity to the activities that make sense for it (nudge nudge, wink wink…). Think of your bedroom as your sleeping sanctuary. This is where you go to sleep. Not the place you go to watch Netflix for hours, scroll through Facebook or read the news (more on distractions, next). You want to get into bed and for your mind to know why it’s there! Having an environment that you both associate with sleep, and is conducive to it, is uber important.
5. Stay Off Your Smartphone!
How often do you go to bed and spend hours on your phone (or tablet, or computer…) scrolling through social media? Or messaging your friends? Or doing some last minute shopping? Whatever your activity of choice, it’s known that the exposure to the light from smartphones, tablets and other electronic goods is an effective way to stay awake. Supposedly it’s to do with a disruption of melatonin produced in our body. Melatonin’s a hormone that tells our brain we’re tired and need sleep. No melatonin, no (or less) sleep! The LED screens essentially send signals to our brain telling us to stay alert. Avoiding electronics before bed is one thing. But it speaks to another good rule of thumb…
6. Keep Noise and Distraction out of the Bedroom when Learning How to Deal with Insomnia
Remember how your bedroom should be a veritable sleeping sanctuary? Well, that means you should make it an environment dedicated to that purpose! If you can, keep it simple. Remove tempting distractions such as televisions and other electronics (which, as we now know, have a damaging impact on our sleep patterns anyway). Make it comfortable and cozy and an all-around ideal space to fall asleep. Remove anything that’ll disturb you- be it noisy air conditioning units, pesky buzzing electronics or whatever. Any struggling insomniac should strive for a bedroom that’s silent, comfy and sumptuously sleep-inducing.
7. Get the Right Bed
A comfortable bed should be high on your list of priorities in your bid to overcome insomnia and create a suitable bedroom environment. It’s different for everyone. Some prefer harder mattresses, others softer options. Endeavor to find the one that’s right for you. Having a comfortable bed is somewhat foundational in your pursuit of sleep. Remember, it’s rarely one thing that’ll solve all your sleep problems. It usually happens as the end result of many factors coming together. You can get a great head start by having the fundamentals (like a comfy bed) down from the outset.
8. Avoid Excessive Stimulation at Night Time
We already know to avoid stimulants and particular distractions before lights out. But be sure to take an all-around sensible approach to your evening activities. In some ways, it relates to establishing the sleeping pattern we talked about earlier. You want your evenings to be wind-down time. It’s one thing to have a set time you’re meant to go to bed, but another thing entirely to feel sleepy beforehand. Give yourself a fighting chance by only doing relaxing, stress-free, comforting things. Avoid late night work or anything else that tends to excite or stimulate you.
9. Get Enough Exercise
Exercising is another great strategy to help you sleep. Regular exercise helps your body and mind to de-stress. It gets the blood flowing around your body and enables any tension to slip away. Exercise allows you to wear off excess energy too, which can be an annoying cause of sleep-deprivation at night. Likewise, consider exercise such as yoga or tai-chi too, which can have a soporific effect anyway! Be wary of doing intense exercise too close to your assigned bed time though. This can have a stimulating effect that’ll have the opposite effect to the one you’re after.
10. Work On Stress Reduction
Ever go to bed and find your mind racing through the 101 things you have to feel stressed out about? Whether you’re planning, preparing, worrying or generally mentally wandering, it can be helpful to have stress-reducing techniques to help you on your way to dreamland. Consider breathing exercises, meditation or anything else you know helps you drift off. You could also think about setting yourself a time during the day specifically to contemplate any troubles/issues that are floating around. Doing that (and possibly writing them down too) earlier in your day might help you avoid doing it in your head when you want to sleep.
11. Under Versus Over-Indulge
Over-indulgence is another vice that it’s worthwhile avoiding in the bid for sleep. Eating and drinking too much can leave your body with too much to do. Not only can you feel uncomfortable, but the energy required to digest an overloaded tummy-full of food can keep you awake. Equally, there’s the potential for heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues. Oh, and then there’s the obvious issue of drinking too much and needing to pee all the time. It’s the last thing you need in your pursuit of sleep!
12. Don’t Try Too Hard
Don’t you find that when you desperately want something to happen, it almost never does? Likewise, when you desperately don’t want something to happen, it almost always does? The fancy term for this phenomenon is Paradoxical Intention. And it’s the same with sleep. When you’re lying awake at night, exhausted, but unable to get any kip, there’s nothing you want more than to descend into dreamland. With paradoxical intention in mind, the irony may be that to do so you need to convince yourself you want to stay awake!
Time to Turn the Lights Out
There you have it: 12 tips on how to deal with insomnia. Insomnia is an unfortunately common bane in peoples’ lives. It’s a huge issue in and of itself. But the plethora of problems that can accompany it mean you’ll want to avoid insomnia however possible! Thankfully, the tips and techniques we’ve discussed here may help. Avoid alcohol and stimulants, try not to nap in the daytime, keep to a regular sleeping pattern and make your bedroom a ‘sleep sanctuary’ that’s distraction and noise-free. Stay off your phone, avoid stimulation before bed, exercise regularly, don’t over-indulge before bedtime, find time to destress during the day and don’t try too hard to sleep if it ain’t happening’! Remember, it’s rarely one solution that’ll do the trick. Experiment, try each one out and see which combination works best for you. And let us know how you get on in the comments! Oh, and be sure to contact us if someone’s snoring’s an insomnia-inducing problem in your household!
As always, we hope you found this article both informative and entertaining. If so, may we humbly ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. I really does help us out a lot and is greatly appreciated!