Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, resulting in non-restorative sleep. However, there are ways to help with insomnia:
- Carve out at least 30 minutes of wind-down time before bed in which you do something calming and peaceful, such as reading a book.
- Dim the lights in the house a little for an hour or so before bed.
- Disengage from close-range electronic devices such as laptops, phones, and tablets, as the light from their screens can alert the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
- In order to cool your mind, do a breathing or relaxation exercise.
- If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 30 minutes, get up and return to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music. Lying in bed awake can create a corrupt link between your sleeping environment and wakefulness.
- Wake up at the same time every day; even if you have a hard time falling asleep and feel tired in the morning. This can help fine-tune your body’s clock and aid in falling asleep at night.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and alcohol close to bedtime, as these can delay falling asleep and promote wakeups during the night.
- Make sure your sleep environment is quiet and dark throughout the night, and use darkening shades to block streetlights and early morning light.
- Use a fan or noise machine to block sounds.
- Practice a simple breathing exercise, and make sure your sleep environment is quiet and dark throughout the night.
- Consider earplugs or a fan or noise machine to block sounds.
Relaxation Techniques That Can Help You Get Back To Sleep
- Breathing deeply and fully, involving not only the chest, but also the belly, lower back, and ribcage.
- Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the previous.
- Breathe in through your nose and out via your mouth.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Make yourself comfortable, starting with your feet;
- tense the muscles as tightly as you can
- Hold for 10 seconds, and then relax.
- Continue to do this for every muscle group in your body, working your way up from your feet to your head.
- Sit or lie quietly and focus on your natural breathing and how your body feels.
- Allow thoughts and emotions to come and go without conclusion, always returning to focus on your breathing and your body.
In general, sleeping pills and sleep aids are most effective when used sparingly for a short-term duration, such as traveling across time zones or recovering from a medical procedure. However, your insomnia won’t be cured by sleeping pills, and over the long-term, they can actually make insomnia worse.
Schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist, especially if insomnia is taking a heavy toll on your mood and health.